Nachttauchen in CamiguinThe greatest treasure can be found just outside the front door of the Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort. A gorgeous reef which is very popular with divers not only during the day, but also for very special night dives.
From the moment you step off the ladder at the entry point it is already possible to find interesting and unusual species that are resident here in the Philippines (or just in Camiguin!?)
Around the base of the ladder lives a juvenile Snowflake Moray and as you make your way out to the end of the guide rope you begin your search for amazing wildlife. Most of the times you will encounter squid hunting their dinner. Even in such shallow water they can find plenty to feed on. As you get to the training area you will have finned past a few larger rocks and already seen Brittle Stars and sleeping Parrot fish, all doing their very best to hide away from predators and urchins.
Sliding over the edge of the reef onto the main slope you are immediately struck by just how intact pristine the corals are and that so close to shore. It is important to have a healthy reef as this attracts even more variety in the species that inhabit it. Going slowly down over Tube and Barrel Sponges as well as the many, many different hard corals takes you past the Sea Squirts with their bright colourful bodies and even more Brittle Stars. Then you begin to notice the Feather Stars are fully extended to make the most of the gentle current bringing in fresh food.
Amidst all of this you find little pairs of glowing eyeballs dotted around on every surface as the night time cleaning crew of shrimps and crabs come out to begin their work. You need to look twice to realize the amazing decorator crab which uses material from their environment to camouflage.
As you get slightly deeper you then begin to find huge Basket Stars opening their arms and waving back and forth in the current to filter out much needed delicacies from the ocean around them. Looking more like a giant fern than a starfish, these creatures unfold every evening to feed and sometimes spawn and are in a continual state of movement even though they are anchored to large boulders or on top of a coral head.
Hiding around the base of these corals is where you can find anything from Bobtail Squid, juvenile Cuttlefish and if you are lucky maybe even an Octopus or two.
All the time when you dive it is important to keep your eyes wide open to hunt for some of the many breeds of nudibranchs' – from the common Phylidia family through to the Chromodoris, then moving on to the more localised species such as Hypseldoris and Nembrotha's, as well as the usual compliment of Flat Worms and Cowries which all come together to make the Philippines a macro lovers' paradise.
On one of our more recent night dives we found the resident Spearing Mantis Shrimp, the bigger brother of the Peacock Mantis Shrimp. This animal is very territorial and a little bit reclusive, only venturing out of its tunnel to finish capturing a particularly large fish. All the while when diving you followed by scores of Cardinal Fishes that appear unaffected by the torch lights and navigate easily around the hard and soft corals.
With the House Reef being a gentle slope then, it is possible for all levels of divers to have a great experience and encounter such a wide combination of sea life that it can become very addictive.