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Scuba Diving in Malapascua Island, Cebu, the Philippines
Dive Site: Exotic House Reef
Location: Malapascua Island, Cebu
Description: Reef + "attractions"
Depth: 5 - 12 metres (16 - 39 feet)
Visibility: 15 metres (50 feet)
On the outer reef lagoon in front of Exotic Divers Resort is their house reef. Marked by a circular perimeter of long bamboo poles fixed to the seabed with concrete blocks it is easy to tell from the shore if there is any current here and which direction it is travelling in simply by looking at the angle of the bamboo poles. Only 5 minutes boat ride from shore this is a perfect site for less experienced divers or divers learning to SCUBA. The seabed undulates slightly and slopes gently between 5 and 12 metres. The composition is mostly sand, with some small coral heads and patches of grass in the shallows. The locals have gone to some effort having sunk a couple of old Jeepnes (Filipino shuttle buses). There are also some concrete triangular blocks, tyres and several old bamboo frames (presumably part of an old pier?). All these bits are in close proximity to one another with navigation made even easier as most of the main features have guide ropes running between them over the seafloor. This is a great place to practice natural pilotage or compass work.
There can be a current at the surface, which isn't much of a consideration once you have descended. If this is the case when you dive here, it's worth the extra surface effort and fining during descent, knowing it shouldn't be a heard swim once you reach the seafloor. Millions of tiny sweeper fish dart around the shallows in the bright sunlight. The Jeepnes interiors are densely populated with glassfish and cardinal fish and one is home to large lionfish, who usually posed head on for photographs. Shoals of batfish cruise in and around the bamboo frames and there were some very interesting filefish and sweetlips hanging under the framework. Pufferfish, gobies, goatfish and nudibranchs were also numerous on the house reef. A group of remoras followed us around on all our dives here looking to attach to our cylinders or other body parts. Look out for the thresher shark!!!! An old tail portion of a plane has been modified to resemble a 4 metre thresher, complete with scythe like tail and razor sharp teeth. Not often you see a metal thresher in 8 metres of water!
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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