Palawan, Philippines is known worldwide as an amazing dive location. While visiting Coron I dove 4 different WWII wrecks and also saw an abundance of marine life including my first cuttlefish!
The Cuttlefish is a mollusk, meaning it has a soft, squishy body, and more specifically a cephalopod related to squid and octopus. This cuttlefish was rapidly changing color almost like waves rippling over its body, due to specialized cells called chromatophores, which allow it to change color. Cuttlefish and other cephalopods also have highly developed eyes and relatively large brains.
I found this sea cucumber while diving at my site. It is an echinoderm, due to its spiny skin and tube feet, related to seastars and sea urchins. April and May are the summer months here in the Philippines, which also means that the ocean water is calm and perfect for SCUBA diving. Next month and during the summer I will be working with my office to survey the reefs in Romblon…more diving!
After a 7hr boat ride, 2hr bus ride, a taxi, a 13hr layover, a small plane ride, and one last van trip, I finally arrived in Palawan, Philippines for New Years and a diving vacation with some Australian volunteers that I work with in Romblon. We stayed in Coron, which is known for it’s wreck diving!
I dove four different wrecks, all Japanese ships sunk by the US during WWII in 1944. We were able to swim inside all of the boats including a cargo ship, one assault vessel and an oil tanker. We needed special underwater dive lights to see while inside, except when swimming past one of the large holes left by US bombs. Some passageways were very narrow and required single file lines, while others, particularly the oil tanker, had huge spaces!
The trip was amazing! For the diving, the combination of Filipino and international foods, the people, and the gorgeous views. Here is a sunset taken after climbing the 700+ stairs overlooking the town (that was my typical morning workout up and down 2-3 times, but the view at the top was worth it).
SJ Byce as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. And Intern at CIEE Bonaire '17