Underwater Photography from Apo Island near Dumaguete

Scuba Safari from Dumaguete to Apo Island



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Before our friend Noriko, a JICA volunteer from Japan assigned to help teach new pottery methods to local people in Dumaguete, returned home we planned a group dive to go to Apo. It was a trip just for the day, but we left early in the morning from Silliman Beach and got in two great dives on Apo’s Cogon and Coconut Points.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    This time it was my turn to wear the pajama-style wetsuit, though in this photo I had it on backwards. Probably why it was so uncomfortable! From left: me, Dan, Noriko.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Sanda had the best seat in the house to watch all of us plunking overboard to get set for our dive on Apo's Cogon Point.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    The visibility was really good once we got under the water and into the dive.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Cogon Point is named after the fishing village of Cogon, it's one of the small communities on Apo. About 90% of the families on the island make their living from fishing, and Cogon Point is one of the prime fishing grounds on the island so you'll sometimes see fish traps like this one. Sometimes divers decide to destroy the traps because they think that fishing is not allowed on Apo; this isn't the case of course and what these well intentioned divers are actually doing is destroying the livelihoods of the greatest supporters and stewards of the marine sanctuary.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    This large grouper (lapu-lapu) was resting on the large sandy area at the beginning of the Cogon Point dive.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    I see these large puffer fish often in the deeper parts of the dives on Apo--their eyes are so strange looking!

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    An Apo nudibranch surrounded by tunicates.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    I like how this photo seems almost like these two are just passing each other on the way to work or something.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Luckily we found the rest of the jacks in their usual spot at Cogon Point.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    From a distance they just seem to melt out of the blue depths and take shape.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    It's not very hard to see why this is one of the prime fishing grounds at Apo.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    As long as you don't get too close, they will hold their uniform spacing arrangement.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Here's another shot of the school of jacks.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    A thriving and sustainable fishery.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    This worm is a filter feeder that strains its food from the microscopic critters that float along in the water column.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    The corals are so dense in certain parts of Apo that it's difficult to see where any additional colonies could fit in.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    We stopped for a quick lunch break, then on to the second dive at Chapel.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    This meant suiting up in the marine pajamas again, though this time I had it on correctly (my mistake was assuming that wetsuit zippers are always in the back). From left: me, Sanda, and Tia.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    I used the detachable underwater flash to light this sea fan dramatically from behind to bring out the red colors.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Another healthy coral on Apo.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Here's a pair of tomato clown fish.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    I used the flash to bring out the colors of these clown fish living in this anemone.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    It's not as often that you see an anemone that has squelched itself up into a ball, but the potted plant appearance when they do can make for some more unusual photos.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Another one of the weird, vacant-eyed puffers. This one has a scavenger fish on it to pick up the scraps; often the animals that spend some of their time in the more open ocean depths will pick up these opportunistic hitchhikers.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    A few more clown fish.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    The detachable flash really can light up some of the darker recesses beneath the coral outcroppings.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Small damsel fish often stay close to branching corals for protection.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Even small lion fish like this one are voracious predators.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    I really liked the way this shot of the damsel fish turned out.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Another one of my favorite damsel fish shots.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Another Apo dive was over, and the afternoon sun was shining pleasantly through the surface and into the shallows.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    We caught the boat all the way back to Dumaguete, it's about an hour and a half trip.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    As we pulled in to Silliman Beach near the Silliman University Marine Lab, the fishermen were returning from an afternoon of fishing.

  • Apo Island - June 2005

    Apo Island - June 2005
    Here's a fisherman in a small outrigger bangka boat.