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kiting, diving, trippin' I ain't never been lost, just confused for a few days - Daniel Boone

Busuanga Island, Palawan, Philippines

PHILIPPINES | Sunday, 13 January 2013 | Views [912]

After spending time in Bulacan, an hour or so from Manila for Xmas, I was well and truly looking forward to getting down to Busuanga for some island time and some diving.
As it turned out the flights were booked out on some airlines and travel agents were full of good stories to try to sell us business class seats. One agent told us that credit cards don't work in the Philippines over the extended Xmas period so we'd have to pay her cash for some expensive seats. I booked our own for a third of the price and then a typhoon came along threatening to scuttle all our plans.
My only concern was we would miss out on the typhoon!
The signal 2 typhoon came through without a whimper and I was forced to make some whistling noises myself when the wind chimes gave a half hearted rattle.
After that it was back into town to track down the local guys I'd dived with last time I was here. They had moved, and it was a little confusing trying to work out where to for a while until I was told to get on behind a young divemaster riding a scooter.
Coron Divers have a new place right on the water and had only moved last month, so there was a little chaos, but nothing too bad.
I tried to do two days diving and then a day back with family.
The first 'family' day we went out snorkelling (good way to get sunburnt) and after a lunch saw me sitting on a toilet all that afternoon, but I managed to dive next day - albeit carefully!
The second family day we hired scooters and took off up the National Highway on the western side of the island to have a look around. I was riding an automatic scooter that had a pretty ordinary back brake. by the time we'd travelled a half hour up the road we were first responders for a Filipina/American girl who'd managed to do a pretty good job on her wrist when falling off at one of the terrible bridges along the road.
After that we headed further up the coast just looking around and enjoying a day of it.
We decided to go have a look at a resort called Ocam Ocam on the far north west corner of the island, and this is where we came unstuck.
By now the back brake on this scooter was past ordinary, and when I came over the top of a ridge a bit faster than necessary the back brake wasnt having the desired efffect. I managed to slow it down a fair bit but had a pillion passenger squeezing hard, trying not to squeal and contemplating the ejection seat. When I had it sliding slow enough over the loose rocks on this hill, I grabbed the front brake - with the expected results.
The bike went down, and so did I - with a severely unimpressed wife on my back!
Long story short - No diving the next day, as I couldn't walk after a rock collected me under one knee.
Bugger the family days, I'm starting to think!
I got in another couple of days diving some really interesting and challenging wrecks of the Imperial Japanese Army that were sunk in a surprise raid in 1944. to dive a cargo ship, then swim through a school of fish to find a small bulldozer and cement mixer, the crawl through a hole into the next hold to find cargo/ camouflage nets was good. then to swim down from the boilers along the drive shaft in a space only just big enough for a normal sized person was even better.
And that was only the Kogyo Maru.
There are a dozen or more divable wrecks in reasonably shallow water so the tops are covered in coral, meaning fish, rays, etc., plus the extras inside the wrecks.
Another is the deepest I dived this time at just over 41m then straight back up through the drive shaft (propellor has been salvaged) back through the bowels of the ship for 15m or so in an area too small to change your mind a do a u-turn in.
One oiler has big open holds that make for some interesting travelling along passageways, another has an easily accessible bathroom, and another had a stonefish sitting on one of it's masts to greet divers on the their way in or out.
Because of the no fly for 24hrs after diving, we hired bikes again for a look around after talking to a few people very keen to sell us some 'really good lots'.
We did find one that we are very interested in, and hopefully the solicitor can be tracked down sometime this month to get the ball rolling for our piece of paradise.
Definitely more to come..................


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