On Monday 11th March we embarked on our long journey to Malapascua which was our first destination. The first flight was great as we had so much room to stretch and relax as the flight wasn’t full, 7 hours later we arrived in Dubai. Walking through Dubai airport was just amazing! They just casually had palm trees growing everywhere, wall waterfalls and a McLaren just sitting in the middle looking spectacular! It was a short wait at Dubai but it was enough time to get an expensive round in. The next flight to Cebu wasn’t as comfortable as we hit quite a lot of turbulence. Sleeping felt impossible but eventually we managed to get a couple of hours; 8 hours went by and we had arrived in Cebu.The next part of the journey nobody was really looking forward to, as it was a 4-hour car journey to the marina. After everyone had split up into the three cars at the airport, we were ready to set off. 100 yards down the road we knew it was going to be an interesting and scary drive because by the looks of it nobody obeyed the rules of the road. Horns were going off left, right and centre, cars just pulling out in front of everyone. In the end we were constantly on edge that we hardly got any sleep. We finally arrived at the marina for our last part of the journey, we got our luggage out of the cars and we weren’t expecting what we saw next. The local people had to drag a small passenger boat out into the water; they carried 30kg of luggage down uneven, rocky terrain to be able to transport our luggage to the big boat that couldn’t get any closer because of the tide. Watching them with our luggage was nerve racking because they were carrying the bags over the water and stacking the bags higher than expected. Once all the bags were loaded on, they were transported to the bigger boat first, we just all stood there watching it disappear into the darkness. We had to be split into two groups of 7 as there were too many of us to transport at one time. We were all on the main boat now and we started the last hour of our journey. After such a long 24 hours travelling, we finally saw the lights of Malapasuca Island. We were greeted at the beach by staff from the resort and we all received a ribbon flower. We headed straight to the restaurant to order food and a well-earned drink.
We didn’t see the beauty of the island until the next morning and it was something you would see in a book or on the internet. After breakfast it was time for our first dive, this was in the house reef which is just off the beach of Malapasuca. We split ourselves up into four groups as were such a big group we would see more in smaller groups. We saw so many beautiful animals from blue ringed octopuses, seahorses, nudibranchs, puffer fish to hermit crabs. It was a very beautiful first dive of the holiday, which got us excited for what was to come. Our next dive brought us to Quilliano1 where we saw so many different types of starfish, puffer fish, banned pipe fish, nudibranch, clown fish and blue ringed octopus.
The next morning got us up at 5am! We were very excited about this dive at Monad Shoal; this was the site where we would see Thresher Sharks! The journey to the dive was amazing as we got to see the sunrise. It only took 10 minutes for the sun to come up so capturing the sunrise at its finest, you needed to be quick. It was time to kit up as we were approaching the dive site. We were the first group in the water.
Our first night dive took us to Light House reef; it was about a 10-15 minute boat ride. The night dives were very early in the evening as the sun sets at 6pm. We saw a group of mandarin fish mating, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, textile cone shell, scorpion fish and cinnamon clown fish.
The next morning, we woke up and had our next briefing which was Pescador Island. The sea was very rough this morning and we knew that there was going to be a current on this next dive. We got into the water and started to fin over to the island so then we could try and keep out of the current as this was a wall dive. We had never been in such a strong current before that we had to hold onto the reef to stop and wait for our group and to take photos. In the end we just decided to take videos instead of trying to stay still for a photo as it wasn’t going to work. Towards the end of the dive we went above onto the flat reef which was on top of the wall and there was no current at all. This was very frustrating as it was very pretty.
We had another hour or so on the surface and again tea and coffee and biscuits were waiting for us. The next dive location was Panagsama Beach which is where a massive shoal of sardines live. It was so weird to swim through a massive shoal like that as it was so thick. We also saw nudibranchs, shrimp and turtles throughout the dive.
Our final day arrived, we got up had breakfast and made our way down to the boat for the briefing. The location of this was Sampaguita Point, this was a reef wall dive and we saw puffer fish, nudibranchs, turtles and many different types of fish. We had another hour on the surface for tea and coffee and biscuits before the next dive.
Our dives were over, so we headed back to the resort for some lunch. We then had the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted. We went straight over to the pool as it was very hot on our last day. We went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. It was very nice, and we got to order fries, they weren’t on the menu, but the chef made them for us. Let’s put it this way they didn’t last 5 minutes on the plate that they were presented on.
The following morning came; it was our time to leave. We got our belongings and headed down to the bus after breakfast. We said goodbye and we were on our way. The bus journey was roughly about 4 hours to the airport. When we arrived at the airport the check in desk wasn’t even open yet, so we lined up anyway. Once we all got through security and duty free, we all sat down to have a Burger King! We had a few hours to kill before we were able to board our flight. The first flight took 12 hours to get to Dubai we didn’t get much sleep, so it was a very long journey. When we arrived at Dubai, we only had a short time to get to our connecting flight. The flight from Dubai to Gatwick seemed so much longer than it was as we couldn’t get any sleep as we were so uncomfortable, and we weren’t used to the time difference. We landed at Gatwick, finally we were home, we collected our luggage said goodbye and we all went our separate ways.
This was such an amazing trip; we will never forget the experiences we have had. We can’t wait for the next one!