Whale Sharks, Volcanoes and Broken Souls

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April 5th 2010
Published: April 5th 2010
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So Foggy, Eddie and I headed to a small, unfrequented (and unexpecting) town in the region of Bicol called Legaspi with the main aim of spotting some whale sharks in the region.

Day 1 we arrive there (don't ask me the day or date!), get picked up and find a hotel. The landing passed over this active volcano, but more about that later. Hotel was the only place in town with it's own pool so we were pretty happy with that! Think the name was Vista del Mayon if anyone is interested. It has a view of Mount Mayon (the volcano) out the back and at night you can really see the orange glow from the crater at the top. We went and had something to eat and then set off to do some Zip-Lining up on this hill. Dinner that night cost us 170 Pesos for a good feed and something to eat for the 3 of us! That's the equivalent of about 2.60 GBP. We tried to get a good sleep because we set off the next day at 6am so head to Donsol to try and catch a glimpse of the Whale Sharks out there.

The trip down took just over an hour but took us through some of the quietest, remotest towns I have ever seen! They were literally wooden huts on the side of the road with fighting cocks outside tied to trees and rice spread out on the floor to dry (which every tricycle driver just drives through)!

Got to Donsol where the boat was waiting with a fat Dutch guy, a Polish guy that could have been on ChuckleVision and a guy from West Kirby. So armed with Snorkel and Flippers the boat headed out from the beach. 15 minutes later the boat starts circling in search of the world's biggest fish. Another half an hour later the BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) told us all to get our masks and fins on to prepare to bail. He'd spotted a Butanding (local dialect for whale shark). It was every man to battle stations as only one boat at a time can interact with them. So we got into the water and the BIO is leading us. Next thing he points down so I look all around me but don't see anything because the sea is so full of plancton (the whole reason they are there). He then points down just behind me and as I turned around I saw this HUUUUGGGEEEEEEE mouth coming at me. They are dosile creatures but I tried to swim out the way because you're not supposed to touch them. I was too slow this thing literally bumps me out the way! It was incredible!! So I hung about and watched all 6 metres of it swim past before I turned round to follow it. They are really inquisitive but one they dive deeper than 5 or 6 metres it is impossible to follow them unless you have a really good set of lungs.

We continued persuing the Butanding for another 4 hours and I was lucky enough to see another 6!! They never guarantee you'll see one so some people see none where other people saw 10 or 11 in one day. But all in all a successful day. I unfortunately got no pictures or the Whale Sharks because you are always in such a rush to get out of the boat that your camera is the last thing you think about! You just want to get in and see one before another boat muscles in. Which they did! The would just come and park between you and the whale shark as you are preparing and get to it first.

Anyway that night we had high fives and a few celebratory beers but not too many as the next day we had to be up really early for the stroll up the active Mount Mayon....

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Successful day!Successful day!
Successful day!

Checking my pits for Eddie's sake

5th April 2010

Just read your latest blog. Diving sounds good. Glad you are checking your personal hygiene for Eddie, especially in that heat! Pity you didn't have a cheap underwater camera with you, try to find one before you dive again. Keep the blogs flowingxxx

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