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Whale Shark Encounters in Mexico
Tiger Beach tiger shark diving
Great hammerhead shark diving
Great white shark diving
giant manta dive at Isla Socorro
oceanic whitetip shark diving
killer whale orca encounter
Dive with Great Whites, Sevengill Sharks, Makos, Blue Sharks, 5 species of Catsharks and Spotted Gully Sharks in False Bay, South Africa.
Whale shark and manta encounter
Salmon shark diving in Alaska
sardine run diving
Beluga Whale Diving
humpback whale diving
sailfish diving
 
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PHILIPPINE THRESHER SHARKS 2014 TRIP REPORT

 

Thresher shark diving in Malapascua

 

This year's Thresher Shark Expedition was jam packed with great marine life sightings. Rather than giving you a dive by dive account of the action, I'm going to try to mention as many encounters as possible and let the images do most of the talking.

Briefly put, the weather was perfect, the macro life on the reefs was varied and entrancing and the reefs themselves looked like Yolanda (last year's super-typhoon) never took place.

 

A large thresher shark makes eye contact

 

THRESHER HEAVEN

This year was the best I have seen for pelagic thresher shark action. We were lucky enough to dive with thresher sharks every single morning and some of them stayed with us for the entire dive. It was quite amazing to see such normally illusive sharks up close for so long.

 

 

Pelagic thresher shark swims over the reef

 

THE HUNT FOR LITTLE SHARKS

After our thresher dives each morning we would return to shore for breakfast and then go in search of smaller sharks and a myriad of other critters that inhabit Malapascua's colorful reefs. It wasn't an easy task because catsharks and bamboo sharks hide in deep recesses during the day, waiting for the cover of darkness. So I'm really happy to report that after a lot of searching we found two coral catsharks and a large banded bamboo shark to film.

 

Coral Catshark diving

 

Banded bamboo shark diving

 

CEPHALOPOD CITY!

Super mollusks were all over the place. We bumped into broadclub cuttlefish on multiple dives and blue-ringed octos too. On our night dives we also saw a starry-night octopus and a tiny algae octopus that I could never have found without the eagle eyes of our attentive guides.

 

Broadclub Cuttlefish

Broadclub Cuttlefish diving Malapascua

 

Starry Night Octopus

Starry Night Octopus diving Philippines

 

Algae Octopus

A small algae octopus

 

A WHO'S WHO OF PHILIPPINE NUDIBRANCHS!

From 4m long thresher sharks to 4cm long nudibranchs, Malapascua delivered endless photographic opportunities and challenges. There must be hundreds of sea slug species around the island. This collection of nudibranch species were taken on just a couple of dives when I switched to macro photography.

 

nidibranch diving in the Philippines

 

CRABBY MUCK DIVING

There were also no shortage of crustaceans on our dives. From tiny spotted porcelain crabs nestled in anemones to expertly camouflaged box crabs, hiding in plain sight, it seemed as though there were pincers in every nook and cranny. Most species were invisible to our inexperienced eyes but once revealed they made excellent photo subjects.

 

Harlequin Swimming Crab

Harlequin swimming crab Malapascua

 

Spotted Porcelain Crab

spotted porcelain crab in anemone in the philippines

 

Rough Box Crab

Rough box crab in Malapascua

 

As for other crustaceans, there were cleaner shrimps and lobsters aplenty but the energetic Mantis Shrimps stole the show.

Mantis Shrimp diving in Malapscua

 

FANTASTIC FISHES

If I start rattling off all the weird and wonderful fishes that we encountered this trip report will go on forever here are a few crowd favorites that are reliably found around Malapascua.

 

From top: False Clown Anemonefish, Pygmy Seahorse, Juvenile Barramundi, Robust Ghost Pipefish.

clown fish in an anemone in Malapascua

pygmy seahorse bargabanti Malapascua PhilippinesJuvenile barramundi diving Philippines

Robust ghost pipefish muck diving in the Philippines

 

WHY MALAPASCUA?

Then there were the sea snakes and the lush soft corals and all the jellies and all the other wonderful underwater gems, not to mention the breathtaking topside vistas, friendly locals and delicious exotic food, but in the end it all comes back to the thresher sharks. If there were no threshers we probably wouldn't have gone and that would have been such a shame.

Fortunately, (in my experience) the sharks have never failed to show so we'll continue to visit Malapascua and hopefully if you join us next December or on subsequent trips you'll have a chance to see why Malapascua is a world class destination.

 

Banded krait sea snake diving in the Philippines

 

From one of this year's guests:

"The dive trip to Malapascua Island, Philippines was another "trip of a lifetime"! Strange how Andy Murch's trips are like that! There were Thresher sharks on every dive during that first early morning dip. I saw 7 sharks on one dive & others said they saw 12 but it's hard to tell how many are repeat sightings. Where in the world can one see such a unique shark? That was just the first dive of the day. The other dives (2 sometime 3 dives when a night dive was included) were also interesting, full of creatures that I have never seen before. The dive guides were great in showing critters that I would not have seen on my own. My guide delighted in pointing out some species too small for me to photograph but I pretended to take a photo anyway because she was trying so hard for me! The boat crew were also excellent in seeing the gear was loaded & set up ready to dive each time. We only had to prepare our camera to take the photos! It was a very successful week thanks to the help of all the staff."

Bob Semple. Nova Scotia.

 

JOIN US ON OUR 2015 MALAPASCUA THRESHER SHARK EXPEDITION!

 

Diving with thresher sharks in the Philippines.

 

 

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS

THE PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT

predatorsinperil.org

 

 

 

Snorkel with Japanese Giant Salamanders

American crocodile diving

 

 

READ THE LATEST:

Sardine Run Trip Report

 

Andy Murch Trip Leader

Andy Murch

EXPEDITION LEADER

Andy Murch is a fanatical big animal diver.

He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most people on this planet and he's very good at it.

Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as Canadian Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography,  and the Journal of Zoology.

Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding Shark and Ray Field Guide on Elasmodiver.com 

 

When not running big animal expeditions or on photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island, Canada

 

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Predators in Peril

Andy is also the driving force behind the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups. Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.

 

Find out more here:

PredatorsInPeril.org

 

Predators in Peril Project