Hooking up with JM to go diving
03.04.2007 28 °C
After spending the night in Manila domestic airport I boarded my flight to Tagbilaran at 6.40 a.m. After only catching a couple of hours kip on my rucksac in the departure lounge I was delighted to find myself with 2 spare seats next to me on the plane to lie my weary head on. On the approach to Bohol I was greeted by a beautiful view of the sandy beaches and gorgeous blue sea from the air. The short flight was very comfortable and I was looking forward to meeting up with Jamie and getting some dives in. Being a tiny airport, the baggage collection consisted of pulling your own bag off the back of the truck which suited me fine!! Greeted by a dozen moto riders I took the one nearest the back of the crowd just to get some space to negotiate the price, which was about $3 for the half hour ride out to Lona Beach. A pleasant ride through some countryside and I was at Jay's hotel room door. The lazy Canuck was still in his pit (granted it was only 10.00 a.m) but arose and we went out for some brekkie on the beach! I'd met Jay in a hostel in Chengdu and we'd arranged to hook up in the Pines, it was after speaking with him about diving that I decided to visit the country and check out the dive spots on offer.
After brekkie, over a few games of pool, he filled me in on his exploits during the remaining week he'd spent in China and what he made of the Pines so far. He'd already done a couple of dives with a company next to the hotel but wasn't impressed with them so we checked out what some of the other dive operators offered. We found a company called Underworld, run by a crazy German guy called Helmut, who had decent gear and was pretty sound so we arranged to go the following morning. That night we tucked into a few beers and some awesome seafood bbq on the beach.
It was a fairly early start the next morning (as is typical for scuba-divers) and we had a decent breakfast at Underworld before choosing our gear and walking down to the boat. It was a beautiful morning and the sea was calm as we headed out to our dive spot called sanctuary, pretty much perfect dive conditions. Visibilty was about 20 metres when we got down there and we spent a very relaxing hour down there amongst the fishes and coral. Jaap, our divemaster, pointed out a 1.5m baracuda in the vicinity watching us swim by and when we got to surface he said it was a resident of the area he'd seen many times before. We had a spot of lunch and hung out at Underworld during the early afternoon before Jay, Jaap and Helmut went out on a second dive. I came down with a stomach bug and was gutted to miss out, opting to retire to bed for the afternoon. Jay returned absolutley psyched about the dive he'd been on so I was pleased for him but gutted for myself! We hung out playing pool the next day and this became a theme for our trip around the Pines! He was winning the series at about 12-10 with the lead never being more than 2 games for either of us when we left Tagbilaran the next morning.