“Island hopping Sir?”
“Island hopping Ma’am?”
If you have ever been on a beach or diving holiday in the Philippines, this proposal from local beachfront touts will be very familiar to you! I have never actually taken these guys up on their offer so I am not sure quite how many islands such a trip would involve, but I strongly suspect it would just consist of a lazy pootle up the coast on their brother’s bangka for the minimum distance that they can get away with. In my opinion, for an excursion to be worthy of the name ‘island hopping’, you’d have to make several hops between several islands. And that is exactly what I will be doing next week with a couple of Hong Kong diving buddies, on a much bigger scale than a mere beachfront boat ride.
It’s going to be a 10-day island hopping tour in the Visayas which will involve diving in three great locations, with some unexplored dive sites, shark sightings (hopefully), tec dives and lots of photo potential! I will of course be posting my underwater photos on this site.
Samar, Leyte and Cebu — Map from Google
Our planned itinerary
Our first stop will be at Kerikite Island (red pin on the map) in Samar province, where a new dive resort has just opened. Kerikite Exotic Island Dive Resort is a branch of the very well-established Exotic dive shop at Malapascua. The Kerikite resort claims to be the first PADI dive centre in Samar, and as yet there is not a lot of information about it online. We are expecting to visit some sites that have seen very few if any divers before, so I’m very curious about what we will find there. I’ll certainly be posting a review of the resort too, so watch this space.
After a couple of days’ diving at Kerikite we will sail to Malapascua in northern Cebu, a journey of several hours through the Visayan Sea, doing a couple of dives at Sambauan and Carnasa Islands which we will pass along the way (orange and yellow pins respectively). On an average trip I would never get a chance to travel to these remote parts of the country just for diving, so I’m very excited at the prospect of exploring these little islands.
The second stage (no pun intended) of the trip will be a short stay at the diving paradise that is Malapascua (green pin). With its resident thresher sharks, the island is one of the diving highlights of the country. My last trip to Malapascua back in 2013 felt far too short and I have wanted to go back ever since! See below for some photos from that trip.
Finally, I will round off this diving tour with a few relaxing dives at Mactan Island (blue pin) where I plan to do some staged deco dives for practice. Mactan is a great training ground and its San Juan ferry wreck and Marigondon Cavern dive sites have some great photo potential.
This blog will therefore go a little quiet during this time but internet connection permitting, I’ll be posting updates during my island hopping travels either here or on this site’s facebook page.
Gallery — a taster of Malapascua (pictures from September 2013)
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