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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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March 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 33, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Magic Oceans; Bohol Island, Philippines

another great Philippines bargain

from the March, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Magic Oceans outrigger or bangkaThe sun was setting behind the island as the outrigger motored slowly toward Secret Corner. Short stretches of powder-white sand interrupted the lush limestone coast, covered by lush tropical foliage. We anchored off Anda's main township, four miles east of Magic Oceans, where a few locals were bathing off the beach. Only four of us dove that night, my buddy and I and our two local dive guides, Lee Ann and Irish, a local PADI instructor trainer. The sandy bottom with its occasional tufts of grass at first didn't seem promising, but having been there the night before, I knew it was full of curiosities.

First to appear was an inquisitive snake eel (Brachysomophis crocodilinus), poking its head from the sand. Next, what looked like a floating blade of grass, perhaps 6" long, upon close inspection revealed tiny pulsating gills and fluttering pectoral fins: a short-tailed pipefish (Trachyrhamphus bicoarctatus). I rudely interrupted two hermit crabs' conjugal intimacy, and they scurried away from my light. A mantis shrimp briefly poked its head from the sand. A six-foot holothurian sea cucumber (Synapta Maculata) fed in the sand, its thin body marked by evenly spaced rings. When I poked it gently, a porcupine boxfish, witnessing my transgression, was alarmed enough to spike its body. A few yards away, a trio of three-inch scorpion fish waited patiently for their prey. A box crab scuttled away as a couple of coconut octopuses drew my attention. The star of the evening was a tiny, beet-red flamboyant cuttlefish dancing on Lee Ann's pointer. It was my last night dive, and I was not disappointed....

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