The Coral Gardens of Talikud
Before I took up scuba diving, the place called Coral Gardens was my favorite snorkeling site. Now I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied with just swimming on the surface in this aquatic haven. I had my second and third dives there today — each with a different entry point.
(I’m not sure how big the area is, but if taken from end to end, I’d say the Coral Gardens site is about half a kilometer long. But I could be mistaken.)
On the latter dive, I saw what I first thought was a clam, about the size of a plate, with a zigzag mouth. But after googling it, I found some images showing what I saw, and now I think it was a honeycomb oyster. (The picture shown here is from What’s That Fish?.) It was attached to a rock and partially covered with seaweed and small sponge coral.
Here’s another newbie diver, in a better shot with the clownfish and sea anemone. The visibility was actually quite good, but this guy’s companions were stirring up the sand so much….
If only it were a problem of reduced visibility due to their kicking up a sandstorm down there, fine. But some of them, this group of Korean kids, were standing on coral while waiting on their companions. One of them was thrashing so much he hit a flower coral a couple of times.
Once I’ve received my SDI open-water license and gotten to know more divers in Davao (especially the more respected, long-time divers), I’m going to ask for their support to have dive shops post notices of diving best practices at their premises. And I’m going to have the notices translated to Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Here are some more photos from today’s dive, taken by Richard, one of the dive masters of Carabao Dive Center:
Tomorrow will be another two dives for me. I’m actually done with the skills training, so Sunday’s dives will be for fun. If they take me to Coral Gardens again, I wouldn’t complain. There’s so much to see there that I could spend hours and hours of bottom time before I get tired of it.
Since it’s a very well-known dive site, dive operators protect it. However, I did see a couple of cracked blue sea fans, and a table coral (that’s bigger than my bed!) with a huge chunk broken off. Also, coral bleaching is everywhere to be seen.
Can’t wait to get my license already!
Speaking of which, I highly recommend the instructors at Carabao. They’re very professional and it’s evident that they take great pains in ensuring their customers’ safety and training. The Carabao Dive Center is a full-service dive shop that operates dive tours, conducts scuba lessons, rents out all sorts of equipment. One of the partners owns two dive boats, and every weekend they always have groups going out to dive.