Snorkeling the clear blue waters of the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary

Snorkeling the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary



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It’s always great to have visitors from home stop by, and in July my friend/mentor/former boss Kenny Mendez from Trout Unlimited came over to the Philippines with his family to visit relatives on the island of Luzon. After a week of unwinding on the resort island of Boracay, Kenny, Liz, Nick, Will and Theo caught a flight to Cebu and then the Ocean Jet ferry to Dumaguete for a quick visit to Apo and tour Dumaguete. We covered a lot of ground in two days, and you can see some photos from our adventures here.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    After touring Dumaguete with Kenny and his family, our first stop on Apo Island was to go snorkeling in the marine sanctuary. Here's Will checking out the bright corals in the shallow waters near shore.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    I got a shaky photo of this alligator fish as it cruised near the surface in search of other fish to eat.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Kenny and Will cruised around the sanctuary for a while, taking in the underwater scenery.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    After lunch I took a quick dive at Katipanan, just to the left of the Chapel dive site. We immediately spotted this sea snake.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    The anemone this clown fish lives inside looks almost like algae.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    To me this sponge looks almost like a flower vase.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    The branching corals are an important habitat for the smaller fish.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    A few more of Apo's clown fish, the anemones at Katipanan have the same greenish cast that the ones on Bohol's Balicasag have.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Trumpet fish like this one are one of the stranger-looking species you'll find on the reefs here.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    A few more vase-like sponges.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Here's a close-up of a gorgonian--it looks to me like a sort of space alien.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    These corals seem to be having a border dispute.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Blue starfish passed out amongst the corals.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Ian led us on a relaxed pace for the dive.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    I like the way the light from the sky backlit these damsel fish.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Here's another angle on the backlit damsel fish.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Close up of a leopard sea cucumber.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Ian spotted this small hawskbill sea turtle munching on some soft corals.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    As I approached it just kept eating, so I took a close up shot of its jagged shell.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    Eventually the turtle finished its meal and started to swim away.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    After the hawksbill swam off, we soon came across this large green sea turtle. They look a lot like the hawksbills, but they tend to spend more time in the open sea so they have scavengers like the pilot fish in this photo hitchhiking along for the ride.

  • Apo Island - July 2005

    Apo Island - July 2005
    The green turtle turned towards the open blue of the deep sea and was soon gone.