PHILIPPINE THRESHER SHARKS
2014 TRIP REPORT
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.
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.
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.
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
Starry Night 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.
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
Spotted Porcelain Crab
Rough Box Crab
As for other crustaceans, there were
cleaner shrimps and lobsters aplenty but the energetic
Mantis Shrimps stole the show.
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.
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.
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!