It’s the peak of summer yet the sun constantly take backseat from the frequent rain. Luckily, last weekend, after a week long of rain in the city, sunshine was full blast when we arrived Puerto Galera Saturday morning.
The star attraction of this dive trip is Verde Island.
Verde Island has been described as the “center of the center” of the world’s marine biodiversity. Its spectacular reef formations has more than 300 species of coral and underwater rock canyons that host nearly 60 percent of the world’s known shore-fish specie. It is also known for its unpredictable current and challenging dive.
Ten (10) of us arrived Muelle and were met by Torsten of Badladz Dive Shop. Deprived of sleep but smiles were up to our ears because of the blazing sunshine. We couldn’t wait to gear up. So very soon we were out on an outrigger headed for Verde Island Drop Off.
More than 50 dives later, I’m still a little bit nervous just before a dive, especially if the site has a reputation for strong current. But I always calm down immediately after back-rolling into the water. I’ve dived Verde Island before but remember we turned back due to strong current. (?)
The 45 minute boat ride was calm all the way until we got there. We knew even without the DM telling us because suddenly you feel the strong waves as if a giant spoon were stirring the sea. My heart started to pound madly.
We were 11 diver and were divided into 2 groups of 4. That would be the Wandersoles and Scubajets. Isma who is a new diver will have Torsten as buddy, then the dive master guide. Because of the strong current on the surface, we will do negative entry, and all at the same time. Exciting.
After hitting the water, I concentrated on fining downward. It was an awesome view down with walls of colorful corals as shallow as 5 meters. We hit a bottom at 21 meter and started drifting with the coral reef at our right side. We are to circumnavigate the wall. Soon I was preoccupied with sightseeing and posing for Beth who has a UW camera.
We came to the edge and turning right, suddenly a wave of strong current flush into my face attempting to strip the mask off me! I held on to the corals with both hands. I was third in line with DM in front, Beth next, then Zara a few fins behind me and I have no idea about the rest. I made it to the other side of the wall, making sure to keep low and holding on to a stable rock before moving to the next. I turn my head and saw Beth stopped at the corner, fluttering like a flag, not proceeding. The DM kept signaling for me to follow and climb up the reef.
I was a bit scared at this point. I didn’t know why Beth stopped and it worried me. Bajillion of things were going through my head. I always say I can’t enjoy a dive when my sister(s) come with me because I worry for them the whole time. Turned out I worry about people, period. It’s the “eldest-sibling” syndrome in me I suppose. It’s quite crazy because all these divers, except for Isma, were more experienced than myself. Maybe it had only been 2 seconds but I was getting impatient that the rest of the group hasn’t made it to this side yet. I was chanting prayers to keep everyone safe then I followed the DM to climb the zigzag path up the coral wall, cutting myself along the way, not wearing gloves (i lost them). It was freaking crazy!
Then we stopped again. The DM went back and forth checking for the other divers. Torsten then brought Isma to where we (Beth, Zara, me) were, I didn’t see Vangie. This is when I remember to check my dive computer and saw that we were only -6 meters, I looked up and saw the surface. So we are already doing the mandatory safety stop, nobody even realize this.
We did our 2nd dive at Sinandigan because they current were getting crazier. I think also because we were too big a group for 2 guides to handle. But we couldn’t stop talking about this electrifying dive the rest of the weekend. See I’m still talking about it.
photos by www.indayguapa.com