Here’s our dive trip video made by Brian:
Tubbataha is located 150 kilometres southeast of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan and can only be visited through a liveaboard. We have heard about Tubbataha since we started diving 5 years ago but only recently we finally decided to push through our trip. Most liveaboards in Tubbataha are booked 1-2 years in advance, and it is only seasonal, ranging from mid-March to mid June. We were lucky to have a slot for 2 opened in Solitude one even though we booked just a few months before the trip.
Solitude one is a 52-meter steel-hulled vessel which lives up to its mantra of being “built to incorporate comforts close to home”. It was very comfortable and our 10 hour crossing from Puerto Princesa to Tubbataha felt like we were just in a hotel room bed watching our favorite series: Game of Thrones.
Upon reaching Tubbataha, we had our dive briefings and started with our dives. There are 3 reef areas: North Atoll, South Atoll and Jessie Beazley reef. In the North Atoll is a small sandbar with a Ranger station. Usually liveaboard guests could visit the Ranger station atleast once, but because we were at the tail end of the season, the weather was very unpredictable and we didn’t get the chance to visit. There are 2 dinghies that take us to the dive sites (and the Ranger station).
Tubbataha diving features pelagics or the big stuff! You see white tip sharks in all dives. Other common sightings are school of jacks, hawksbill and green sea turtles.
There are many dive sites in each Atoll, our favorite is Shark airport where we had the most epic dive ever. We went to the blue, off the reef, to see some schooling giant barracudas. As soon as the barracudas were gone, we saw a whale shark coming out from the deep. It circled us for a good 2-minutes then when it swam away, a great hammerhead showed up! I literally screamed underwater (with my regulator of course).
With the great dives, we also met good people from all around the world. As Filipinos, we are very proud that we have a world UNESCO heritage site for diving in our country. We wish to go back each year!