As soon as we arrived in Coron we heard of the famous Apo Reef. This is the world’s second largest continual coral reef, second only to the Great Barrier Reef. The diamond shaped reef covers many square miles with an emerald green plain of coral. A large bay cuts through the middle providing a protected anchorage in 80-100 feet of water, plenty deep to not damage any coral. Apo Island lies just to the west and is the site of some incredible diving.
We left Coron at sunup and proceeded anti clockwise around Busanga Island, most of the trip is done by cutting inside a large reef providing protection from the prevalent NE swell. There were a few places with large swell and confused seas causing our new crew to turn a bit green. The 35 miles open stretch gave us large beam seas for a more comfortable and more tummy settling ride.
The new crew, Harpa, has adjusted well to sea life and we were glad to have Sam return from her New Year’s revelries. We also had the extreme pleasure of our first Filipino crew, Jof. We met Jof at the resort in Busanga Bay as she was visiting her friend the manager. Friendships quickly developed and after some soul searching and prodding hopped on board. It is always nice to have a local person join us, and Jof was an exceptional addition.
We hit the reef at the last of the daylight hour and anchored in the large bay under a brilliantly starlit night. The moon was in the he waxing mood and half of Selene peaked at us from above. The next morning we arose early and set out to find the diving at the island. there were a couple of small day dive boats at the sites. We discovered a good amount of moorings and sought the most protected one. The first two dives were amazing, so good to be back in clear water. We saw two turtles, several small sharks, a first for Harpa, and a huge array of fish. We did three dives that day, a full day for us, and headed back to the anchorage for the night. The girls prepared another excellent dinner and we dined under the stars.
The plan was to get in one more dive the next morning and head back ah but the wind gods had another plan. the NE winds picked up to the high teens and we could not find a mooring on the island that would not be rolly. So after a few tries we set out for out next destination, a small island that is home to an array of recued African wildlife. This project is a remnant of the Marcos reign–you know the guy with the wife with all the shoes– where they imported animals in danger during a revolution, now a private island reserve. So we are off to pet a Giraffe, but that is another story.