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Whale(shark) of a time at Sogod Bay in the Philippines


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#1 antacid

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 06:34 AM

Hi everyone, I just got back from a second trip to Sogod Bay in the Philippines. You can see my previous trip report and specifics about getting there below

http://wetpixel.com/...topic=27922&hl=

The trip was.. I'll let the pictures do the talking

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DAMN GOOD TRIP! my self portrait with my shaky left hand struggling with the weight of the rig. :bsmilie:

Peter's Dive Resort had recently renovated the dining area, so it's now air conditioned, and comes with free Wifi! There's also a basic gym and treadmill beside it, but I don't think any sane diver is interested in lifting weights other than camera rigs!

The night dive at Burgos jetty was still as superb as ever. It's the only night dive where all the jaded divepros actually did a night dive! We spent almost 80 minutes at the jetty just busy spotting creatures and watching hunting lionfish. Still the best night dive site for me! We saw seahorses, dwarf cuttlefish, stargazers, flounders, pipefish, lobsters, Saron shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, fanged blennies, snake eels, decorator crabs by the ton, candy shrimp, hunting lionfish, and more - all in 2-8m of water.

The dive center seemed reluctant to take us snorkeling with the whalesharks for the 1st 2 days and kept planning more dives for us. Later we found out it was because there has only been 1 sighting the whole of last week, so they didn't want to deal with disappointed guests. However we insisted on going on the 3rd day (we only had 4 days there!) and were richly rewarded with a close encounter with a juvenile 4m whaleshark that circled us for a good 30 minutes. we also saw another couple of whalesharks within the next 90 minutes before heading back for lunch. We went back again the next day and saw maybe 5-6 whalesharks but they were all short encounters.

#1 5fps. Pray and Spray. the juve that played with us and tried to ram all of us many times
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#2 I think I saw a magazine cover with a picture like this. it looked much better than this, of course
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#3 I like how the textures and colours all fit nicely in this pic
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#4 huge barrel sponges at napantao sanctuary. it's been a sanctuary for 16 years and the abundance of fish and health of the reef was evident
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#5 trying out some "aaron wong" lighting.. still far short though!
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#6 playing chicken. taken with 10-17 at the widest end, uncropped.
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#7 Jaws (note to self: over-unders only work when you have strobes! haha)
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#8 the many roaming seahorses at Burgos jetty
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#9 Kamikaze whaleshark trying to figure out if the boat was edible
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hope you enjoyed the pics as much as we enjoyed the amazing experience!

more here: www.colouredshots.com/site/underwater.htm

Edited by antacid, 19 November 2010 - 06:35 AM.

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#2 Steve Williams

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 08:11 AM

Congrats John! Love the self portrait.

Cheers,
Steve

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#3 antacid

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:55 AM

Hi Steve, thanks! It's so rare that we ever see ourselves in the many pictures we take!

I also had the chance to try some video using an IXUS 300HS. Initially the plan was to mount it on top of my DSLR housing (which we called "C-on-C"), but I couldn't find a proper mounting screw for the Ikelite housing for the IXUS. Why can't Ikelite use standard tripod mount screws like the rest of the world? :)

Here's my very amateurish video clip on Vimeo. Warning - take 2 motion sickness pills 30 minutes before playing video

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#4 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 07:27 AM

John,

Great shots!

My group was there just after you guys. We had pretty good whale shark encounters across the bay at Sunok though the local "officials" needed a bit of talking to to explain what we wanted. I agree on the amazing conditions of the reef, Napantao and Limasawa Island were just incredible. We had 2 days of whaleshark at Sunok and I unfortunately injured my ribs climbing up on the outrigger of "Whaleshark II". However, before the shock and Tylenol 3's wore off, I did get off a shot....

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Canon 5dmk2, EF16-35 @ 16mm.

here's a shot of the resort's main guide Junlaps and the Whaleshark II tied off to a mooring line at Napantao

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Cheers

Stu

Edited by scubastu, 20 December 2010 - 07:32 AM.

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#5 gina

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:01 AM

I love your self-portrait! It's a fun picture. And I especially like photo #3 - the close, low angle is a new (to me) take on an anemonefish pic.

-Gina

#6 greedo5678

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 11:34 AM

Hey guys great pics all round. I actually live in P.Burgos. Havent managed to get my dslr in the water with a whale shark yet, but itching to get back there after christmas!

I am trying to build a whale shark database using whaleshark.org and their ID system. If you can read their website and if you have any leftside pics of the area in question i would love if you submit them to the database and an email to me at wood.olly@mac.com or PM me here, would help our research loads.

Any more great shots for the masses? OR maybe keep it to ourselves so it doesnt get crowded!

Olly
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#7 antacid

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 09:54 PM

Hey Stu, you must be the group of Canadian divers Jun was telling me about. You were there for a whole week right? Sorry to hear that you bruised your ribs.. rough weather?

We had some strong winds and choppy seas when we were there especially in the morning and evening. But whaleshark time was great! I like the perspective of your first shot.. it really shows how big the whaleshark is. Did you guys have hired spotters in the little boats too? What did you mean by the local officials not understanding what you wanted?

Gina, thanks! Somehow I had a macro lens on and no subjects, so I tried to pass time with this very shy anemone fish. Glad you liked it!

Olly, you can see more of my pictures here: www.colouredshots.com/site/underwater.htm I've got lots of shots of the whalesharks on the left and I'll submit them to whaleshark.org and drop you an email too. I remember spotting 1 or 2 whalesharks repeatedly on the same day or the next day. They were quite recognizable as one had 3 prop cuts on the tail, and the other had a open wound on the lip.
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#8 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:46 PM

Hey Stu, you must be the group of Canadian divers Jun was telling me about. You were there for a whole week right? Sorry to hear that you bruised your ribs.. rough weather?


That was us ... eh! :good: We were there for 2 full weeks! Waters were a bit choppy when I tried to get on the outrigger of Whaleshark II...outrigger 1, ribs 0.

The offiicals at Sunok had a very .... fluid policy when it came to what was a 3 hour whale shark encounter. Basically, what we agreed upon before the encounter (us going for a dive and lunch before starting) was deemed too complicated and thus they tried to cut our visit short by 1 hour. There was a bit of colorful local language used (by me) and later a further talking to by Jun towards the "park ranger". We did hire the 3 guys on outriggers as well but that's another story....needless to say if the sharks are in Sunok on my next trip, I shudder at the thought of going, I'd rather they were on Peter's side of the bay or Limasawa.

I can't wait to get back!

S.

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#9 greedo5678

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 01:30 AM

Previously the sharks always went to Sonok and only visited Burgos or Limasawa on the off chance. But the whole of last year they seemed to favour the west side of Limasawa than Sonok. Sonok had rare sightings while Limasawa had 5-6 sharks per day.

The Sonok guys have always been, and will continue to be deluded in thinking that these wild animals belong to them and that we the tourists have to pay to see them. I have worked closely with them for about 4 years trying to promote sustainable income. The spotters used to be fishermen who used 'fast line' fishing - a technique where they go as fast as they can dragging a line of hooks between 2 boats trying to find the tuna or jack that are in the area, however they are known to plough straight through the sharks. They are still allowed to use this technique in the off season but hiring them as spotters gives them income while that fishing practice is banned.

The Sonok dive is good but the guys there always try and charge you extra for diving there even though its not a marine park and it has no protection or authority to charge divers. They even try to charge you whale shark prices during the off season if you just go to dive the point.

So it was our great pleasure last year that the sharks were at Limasawa as we could really sit down and arrange the rules and regs for that area and promote the sustainable tourism of the sharks. It also meant we could dive the Coves of Limasawa and then go round and see the sharks on a full day out.

Fingers crossed again that they return to Limasawa. Ill keep you all posted over the next few weeks.

Olly
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#10 eileenchangs

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:44 AM

I just returned from Philippine southern leyte island sogod bay diving ----an amazing trip including whale shark encounter + beautiful reef + great jetty diving + muck diving together in a trip , I stay in Peter's dive resort :

1. whale shark tour : ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/21146950@N00/...57628414449119/ )

2. wide-angle : ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/21146950@N00/...57628414405751/ )

3. Amazing Padre burgos jetty , better than raja ampat arborek island jetty : ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/21146950@N00/...57628414230505/ )

4. Macro : ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/21146950@N00/...57628413961683/ )

5. Ocean, people : (http://www.flickr.com/photos/21146950@N00/...57628414136985/ ).


Perry Kuo