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Leyte - Sogod bay, some words and pics - May/June 2013

Discussion in 'Philippine Paradise Divers' started by Wantonmien, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Wantonmien

    Wantonmien Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines (Ex Taiwan & Oz)
    1,777
    201
    63
    Slow the time down … Where does it all go ?

    Last trip report I put on here was from Bohol, Feb 2012 http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/ph...l-panglao-some-words-pics-end-feb-2012-a.html. We visited there again in May 2012, stayed the same place, did my Rescue diver course, loved the place, but since then with a change of work country to Australia alas too far to get t Philippines often and not so much diving due to lack of dive centres and cost. From Oz base have managed to get out to Heron island, Lady Elliot island (lots of Mantas !) on the GBR and a couple of good sites out of Bundaberg in 2013, but with holidays looming at end of May, it just had to be destination Far East and back to our much missed Philippines. So before it gets too late – and in case it helps others, here we go – a slightly belated pics and words ramble before it become a distant memory.

    We headed to “Leyte & Sogod bay” beginning of June 2013 for 5 nights & the best part of 7 days

    After a visit back to Taiwan, it was Cebu Pacific 01.30 red eye from Taipei, change of airport in Manila, first flight out with Tiger airways to land at Tacloban 10.30, resort driver waiting – and with sleepy eyes realised it was a long overall journey but the driving through lush greenery, nice coastline, no traffic gave me the feeling we were heading to the type of location we like. 3 hours or so from landing in Tacloban, we checked in with Sogod Bay Scuba Resort Sogod Bay Scuba Diving Resort in Southern Leyte, Philippines

    Resort:
    We opted for the Sogod Bay Scuba Resort as a mates from Taiwan & mate here in Oz had stayed there in the past, plus a contact from Scubaboard was heading there the week before us, and so checked in.

    Room right on the beach :crafty: meaning when opening the eyes in the morning we were looking straight out through the thin curtains and double doors at the ocean, that also meant if lights were on in the evening anyone wandering along the beach would have direct view in the room :eyebrow:, but who cares – location of room perfect. Can’t say the room was massive nor really well furnished but aircon, fan, hot water all working (which they don’t always in PHP !) and for the price and location, no problem, ideal for the sleep time. Stepping out of the room and gazing on the vast blue flat ocean worth a fortune. Also sitting out on the balcony or enjoying the cold San Miguel from in front of the restaurant perfect – even managed to get the internet a few times (as it comes and goes there), but all good, nice place to stay and some nice people staying there to trade a tale or two with.

    Resort food and prices OK, though a bit limited and maybe a little overpriced with some of the daily specials, but of course it’s a long way from the shops and with the exception of one restaurant a couple of minute walk up the road, or Peter’s dive resort 5 minute walk the other way, the choice of where to eat or spend beer o’clock is limited to the resort, which we expected. We also walked along half hour or so to the local town a couple of times, wished for a bar or two on route, but local kebabs made the walk worth it - anyway, overall, the idyllic location is a place we would head back to, and would put it on a par or better than say Arthurs over at Anilao, out of the way, good varied diving and nice place to put the feet up. There’s bigger rooms set a couple of mins back from the beach as well, looked pretty good, but for us – 10 seconds walk from bed to ocean was just right, who needs a wake up shower when you have that blue clean water in front of you hey. :shocked2:

    Dive Set up:
    Plenty of room to wash gear, secure lock up provided, no walk and dive boat leaving from 10 metres in front of our room door, with a good bunch of Filipino guys looking after our gear (and having gear for hire) – plus having spares and bits to help out as needed. We took every dive using air – as we didn’t realise there was Nitrox available until the last day, but air quality good, tanks well filled over 200 bar each time, never more than 5 or 6 on the boat and nothing was a problem. Not a bad word. Overall costs of resort + dives booked as a package good value.

    Diving:
    Well Philippines has been is no stranger to us for a few years, pretty much lost count of the trips there, but due to flight times Leyte hadn’t really been on our radar previously, but although the wrong season we were told there was a good chance of seeing a Whale shark in a close by bay in the wild – and so we went. First dive or two about 50m distance from the resort shore, nice wall and reef, a bit lacking in larger fish due no doubt to over fishing in the past, but over the next 5 days we dived close to the resort, up and down the coast a little, across to opposite coast and took the night dive under the pier at the nearby sleepy town. In all we made 10 dives each, could have got a few more in, but overall 10 was about right for the time we were there.

    My favourite dive, was the night dive under the pier. Three of us with the guide walking into the shallows and down under the pier on a moon free night, with the immediate amount of life simply incredible, groups of seahorses, lots of little octopus, squid, stone fish, devil fish, star gazers, morays wandering around – you name it we saw it. It was one of those dives that whilst trying to look at or focus on one creature for the perfect picture, something even more interesting wandered past, and I think 10 metres was max depth – so dive time approaching two hours – awesome, without doubt one of the best night dives I have had anywhere, with an amazing array of life.

    Other dives, all around we saw the normal wide variety of reef life Philippines holds, and on last day headed up the coast on the back on the flat bed of a van, wind in the hair, hot sun beating down, green lush vegetation, rural environment and where we parked up - a pig cooking on a spit between wooden beach homes, a bunch of Philippines kids asking for their pictures to be taken with great smiles and swimming out with us off the beach full of giggles. Sometimes I love the Philippines, there’s an obvious lack of money and development in parts, but the happiness in local faces is plain to see, and it is unspoilt in parts.

    We entered the water for our last dive, down a sandy grey slope for a muck dive – no disappointment, great selection of life, even found my first harlequin shrimps and lots more besides.

    Before my first dive, the owner of the resort had told me – it was common to see everything from Pygmy seahorses to Whale Sharks on any dive there, and although thinking it might have been a sales pitch – on one of the dives whilst taking a pic of a pygmy seahorse, an excited tapping of a tank by a fellow diver pointed me to a huge shape just within visibility range – a Whale Shark, I could hardly see it and was a bit disappointed with my first ever sighting – but yes, from Pygmy’s to Whale sharks on a dive !

    Overall the diving, varied, reasonable viz, sadly lacking shoaling or ‘big fish’, sharks or rays, (which I guess I’m kind of used to seeing in Australia) but Leyte diving is up there with some of the best in Philippines – with endless life, nice soft and hard corals and perfect for playing with new cameras.

    Whale Sharks
    We were told it was the wrong time of year, season had finished and we were unlikely to see, but needing four persons to get a boat arranged to cross the bay (to San ricardo), we got it organised, and so began a day trip for us hoping to get a glance better than we had had on the earlier dive, and we were not disappointed.

    Across the bay, dolphins entertaining us around the boat, first stop was to pick up some members of an environmental group Physalus ? Large Marine Vertebrates Project Philippines who were studying the frequent Whalesharks and researching the effect of tourism – but here across the bay from our resort in place called San Ricardo, none of the feeding as going on elsewhere, there are whale sharks passing by doing what they want to do, and not being fed which is the way it should be. With one of LaMaVe volunteers coincidentally was from my homeland in Wales with others from PHP. We had a run down on what to do if we were lucky enough to find our Whale shark and along with our boat along came several local spotters, to dot around the bay and peer into the waters to find the prize we hoped to see.

    After over half an hour of waiting and thinking it wouldn’t be our lucky day, a shout from a spotter had our boat heading in his direction, in the water with mask and snorkel we went– and there down below a Whaleshark – not huge, maybe 6 m length, 10 metres deep – but nonetheless a real live beautiful Whaleshark – and while enjoying that sight and diving down to get a closer look, another shout and another sighting. Back on the boat, a few minutes later back in the water - and Wow, wow, wow, right in front of partner and I a huge fin appeared, and there just a couple of metres away from us in crystal clear water appeared a beautiful Whaleshark, around 12 or more metres length, at the surface and in no hurry to swim away. We swum along with it for ages, photos from all angles, amazed that the beauty had decided to stay at the surface, in its entire wild freedom casually swimming along. When she had seen the humans and wanted to dive, slowly she drifted down with the sun light shining off her back as she disappeared back to the depths – awesome, amazing, one of those things that make great memories, and made up for all the past times we’d not been so lucky ! :D

    Exit
    And that was it, no mishaps, no losses, lovely varied dives and time to leave the resort, made sure a few pesos went in the tip pots, as the restaurant and dive crew had looked after us and sadly off we set.

    As seems pretty normal from Philippine domestic airports our late afternoon flight back to Manila was delayed by hours – so we missed a planned dinner date in Manila with some mates, instead spending our last three hours bored in Tacloban airport, before eventually heading back to Manila and the late flight back to Taiwan to round off the holiday before returning to Australia and the work thing !!

    Cameras – Me with a new Canon G15, partner with a Lumix FT4, both using single strobes, and as normal her pics better than mine -- mixed few below. Enjoy.

    PS: Next trip for us - new shores, and Fiji.

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    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  2. Quero

    Quero Will be missed Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
    9,494
    2,247
    0
    Thanks so much for the report WTM! I love your shots, especially the yellow pygmy seahorse!
     
    Wantonmien likes this.
  3. Joe Cool

    Joe Cool Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: GVRD, BC Canada
    360
    22
    18
    Thank you for your report and photos. I plan to visit and dive Sogod Bay in the near future. Your report was very helpful!
     
    Wantonmien likes this.
  4. Tippytoes12

    Tippytoes12 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    1,115
    556
    113
    Wow , excellent report , thanks for posting. I am so pleased that you has such a good time and that you saw those beautiful whalesharks.

    Best fishes x
     
    Wantonmien likes this.
  5. rob1967

    rob1967 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    457
    116
    43
    Great report Wantonmein! I am already booked to go there in November, and your report has revved up my anticipation even more! Can't wait!
     
    Wantonmien likes this.
  6. ocdiver1

    ocdiver1 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: orange county, ca
    767
    174
    43
    Glad you enjoyed Sogod Bay and SBSDR, it's one of my favorite spots in the Philippines
     
    Wantonmien likes this.
  7. clgsamson

    clgsamson Koya Kap

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manila, Philippines
    13,068
    63
    48
    Your pics and report bring back good memories of my times there. Used the same resort every time with Pedro as our able DM/guide. And yes, Dopey's burger...
     
  8. rjjj111

    rjjj111 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Florida
    298
    2
    18
    Great posting thanks. Sogod, is still on my very short list to go and see. I will have about 3 weeks total in April 2014 (2 weeks of diving, 1 week of various sightseeing). I was thinking of staying on Palawan for 2 weeks, Coron ship wrecks, El Nino, underground river and zip lining. I was thinking about just staying on Palawan the full 2 weeks. Or stay 2 weeks in Sogod, I am not sure if there is 2 weeks worth of stuff to do there or not? Any suggestions?
     
  9. Wantonmien

    Wantonmien Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines (Ex Taiwan & Oz)
    1,777
    201
    63
    Hi Rjjj, C

    Can't help you on Palawan as I've never been there so maybe if you make it there you can spill the beans with same style trip report as if it wasn't for others trip reports on here I wouldn't have had a clue where to head for the diving or where to stay.

    When we make our trips to Philippnes we normally stay 4 or 5 nights in any one place, and whilst it never seems long enough, I'm pretty sure we manage to see the best of the diving and surrounds in any place within that time - and as for Sogod bay, I reckon a week would be about right.

    Cheers
     
  10. xrcjdx

    xrcjdx Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: coral triangle
    282
    96
    28

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