Malapascua – Donsol

Explore Malapascua – Donsol
November – December 10 nights from 3200 Euro
Different shark species will be the order of the day as the S/YPhilippine Siren cruises between Malapascua Island, on the northern tip of Cebu and Donsol in the Bicol region. Encounters with thresher sharks, black tip reef sharks and whale sharks can all be expected during this 10-night trip. Many of the islands and reef located in this section of the Visayan Sea have seen few divers due to a lack of dive operators in the region. However there sre sites with pristine corals and schools of fish waiting to be explored in depth. Whilst at Ticao we can expect to see manta rays and macro.

Accommodation

The 40 metre S/Y Philippine Siren luxury diving liveaboard was designed and built using the lessons learnt from our first yacht the S/Y Siren and has been modified to better suit the growing needs of our guests. The 8 cabins are all situated forward of the engine room with 2 fixed double bed cabins located at the bow and 6 twin bed cabins throughout the remaining lower deck quarters, however we offer flexibility with 2 cabins which can be converted from twin to double should guests require (cabins 5 & 6).

The outdoor dining area offers a superb setting for all your meals, with comfortable bench seating set in a semi-circular shape. The dive deck is likely one of the most spacious you will have come across, excepting other Siren Fleet yachts!

We have improved facilities for underwater photographers and videographers, providing both indoor and outdoor designated areas for charging and preparation of your camera and video equipment. Large rinse tanks on the dive deck and a well trained crew!

Built on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, she is a traditional “gaft rigged Phinisi” handcrafted from ironwood and teak. Built by divers for divers the S/Y Philippine Siren is a modern and spacious diving liveaboard.

Aboard the S/Y Philippine Siren we welcome 16 guests on each trip to ensure abundant space for all divers.

Features

Features of the S/Y Philippine Siren liveaboard include:

  • 8 large air-conditioned cabins each with their own personal audio-visual entertainment system and ensuite bathrooms with hot water through our centrally ehated system. Overbed reading lights and individual controls for your air-conditioning unit are provided for your convenience, as well as several cupboards for clothing and personal items, an in-cupboard safety box and a hairdryer. Each guest is provided with 1 bath & 1 hand towel and a cotton bathrobe for use in the cabin
  • Expansive shaded diving deck area, with individual stations and personal storage drawers. Guests are provided with a 12l aluminim tank, weights & belt. Basic Aqua Lung scuba equipment rental (BCD, Regulator, 3mm wetsuit, mask & fins) and SMB (safety sausage) are provided FREE of charge. Sizing requests can be submitted via the online application form when confirming your booking. For your convenience each guest is provided with a numbered deck towel and more towels are available upon request
  • Spacious air-conditioned lounge with cocktail bar, sofas, 42 inch flatscreen & movie network and library of books & games
  • Covered outdoor dining and refreshment area. All meals are served buffet style and guest may help themselves throughout the day to all soft drinks & snacks that are available
  • Un-shaded Sun Deck with 8 cushioned loungers
  • Enriched Air Nitrox is FREE for all certified Nitrox divers. If you are not a certified Nitrox diver all our instructors can certainly teach you the Enriched Air Diver Specialty during your liveaboard trip
  • 2 high-powered Ridged-Hulled Inflatable Boats accompany the S/Y Philippine Siren
  • Laundry Service – our housekeeper will launder your clothes and return to you the same day (0.50 euro per item)
  • Massage Service – available for 3 hours daily* for 25 Euro/ hour
  • Yacht Boutique, which includes a range of Siren Fleet clothing, reef hooks and nudi-pointers
  • Kayaks, for guest use FREE of charge
  • * Excepting arrival and departure days

Specialised features for Underwater Photographers & Videographers include:

  • Indoor & outdoor workstations for the preparation and maintenance of cameras and equipment
  • Large storage drawers for your peripheral items
  • Numerous charging points, adapters available (sockets are 2-pin European style)
  • Large rinse tanks with fresh water solely for camera and video equipment.

Activities

Malapascua – Donsol Dive Site Highlights


Monad Shoal, Malapascua
one of the few dive spots in the World where the shy pelagic thresher sharks may be seen on a daily basis. Divers rest at approximately 25m (90ft) on the sandy bottom to watch the sharks approach and be cleaned. Other visitors to the shoal include manta, devil and eagle rays. Diving with Nitrox is recommended to enjoy extended bottom time.

Kimud Shoal, Malapascua – close by to Monad Shoal and running along the same outer reef ridge is another superb site to spot for thresher sharks and a variety of rays, but the main draw is the opportunity to see hammerhead sharks that visit the waters here between December and May each year. Other pelagic species that frequent the area include tuna, white tip reef sharks and dolphins! Minimum depth of 12m (40ft).

Nudibranch City, Gato Island – rubble, rocks, sponges and corals provide a perfect habitat and create an “Undersea City” for a wide variety of nudibranchs and flatworms. Blue dragons, chromodoris, nembrotha, hypselodoris, and plakobranchs.

White Tip Alley, Gato Island as the name suggests provides an almost guaranteed sighting of white tip reef sharks that enjoy their rest on the sand tucked under rocks and coral bommies. Other species found here include scorpion fish and seahorses. Pygmy seahorses may also be found too as well as whip coral shrimps which cling to the colourful whip corals adorning the overhangs of the island.

Dona Marilyn, Malapascua – Lying on her starboard side at a depth of 32m (110ft) this 100m (300ft) long passenger ferry is now a haven for marble and blue spotted stingrays and home to schools of sweetlips. Covered with corals and the remains of fishing nets she gives an eerie vibe to divers – not least because of the many people who lost their lives during her sinking more than 20 years ago. Guarding the wreckage is a resident giant moray eel and also commonly seen are large scorpion fish, lionfish and cuttlefish. Minimum depth 18m (60ft).

Kerikite, Almagro & Santo Nino islands – Dives along the coral and sponge laden reef walls are the signature of these tiny islands. Huge sea fans stack up in a variety of colours running down from 3m – to over 30m. Divers can get lost amongst them and there is a high probability of long nose hawkfish and pygmy seahorse sightings for keen-eyed patient divers. Blue spotted sting rays can be found resting on the sandy bottom whilst white tip reef sharks put in an occasional appearance. Plenty of fish and amazing corals just about sums up the dive sites!

Naranyan Pass & Capul pass – If you like to have isolation and be away from civilization then the Naranyan/Capul pass is the place for you. The island scenery and chance to go ashore brings us to this region but there is also plenty to see underwater including nudibranchs, crustaceans and ribbon eels. Current depending divers may be lucky with a shark encounter or two on the outer lying shoals; however with incoming swells direct from the Pacific Ocean dives are very dependent on the local conditions being safe.

Manta Bowl Shoal, Ticao Island – lies in the middle of the ocean and is considered the “Manta Ray Capital” of the Philippines, due to the high concentration of plankton brought in on the San Bernardino currents. Also attracted into the “Ticao Pass” are thresher, whale and hammerhead shark species.

R.A.C. Point, Ticao – provides a variety of topography in one site; including a coral garden and sandy slope. Schools of butterfly fish, fusileers, surgeon fish and triggerfish form vast clouds over the reef, engulfing divers who can just sit back and watch the show. Manta rays also come for cleaning on the bommies so you can expect a dramatic encounter or two.

The Point, San Miguel Island – with its converging currents is THE spot to hang out and watch for sharks, manta rays and eagle rays. Dotted along the reef are numerous caves and crevices which shelter smaller creatures such as lionfish and boxer shrimps – a great place for photography.

Donsol – Whale shark snorkelling is the main attraction for marine life lovers visiting Donsol. Between November and June each year the nutrient rich waters of Donsol Bay attract numerous whale sharks in for a feast on plankton and krill. Several sharks can be seen during our snorkelling activities, ranging in size from 4-12m (12 -40ft), many of which have been successfully tagged and identified through on-going research. Snorkelling with these gentle giants is an awe-inspiring event and we are sure you won’t leave disappointed!

Location

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Itinerary & Schedule

Departing from Malapascua the S/Y Philippine Siren crew welcome their guests aboard to spend the first 2-3 days of the trip diving Monad Shoal, Gato Island and the Dona Marilon wreck. A mix of macro critters including sea horses and ghostpipefish are commonly seen, but its the change to seee thresher sharks and manta rays that have our guests repeating dives at Monad Shoal. Moving northwards we then encounter Maripipi, Santo Nino and Almagro Islands where topography ranges from dark volcanic sand to steep reef walls laden with sea fans and sponges. Marine life found here includes long nose hawkfish, white tip reef sharks and blue spotted sting rays.
whalesharkDives at the Naranyan and Capul Pass follow. Here divers can expect some current as the tides move in through the channels from the Pacific Ocean, which can bring forth pelagics such as grey reef sharks and wahoo. Reaching Ticao we dive the “Manta Bowl” to spot these gentle giants drawn here by the plankton blook from the San Bernadino Pass. Thresher sharks and the occasional hammerhead have also been spotted here. The island has a range of sites, some where currents can be expected to bring schools of fish, whilst there are plenty of “relaxed” dives where schools of bannerfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish and fusiliers literally engulf divers. Our trip culminates in Donsol, where numerous whale sharks can be seen in the shallow waters of the bay. Only snorkelling is permitted but this provides a better interaction all round.

This trip involves some long distance travel with some 120 nautical miles covered. Your cruise director will schedule up to 30 dives and a snorkelling excursion though this will be dependent on the conditions during your cruise.

Trips also operate in reverse, departing from Donsol and culminating in Malapascua.

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