Underwater photo of a clown fish from the Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary

Clown Fish at the Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary: Bohol



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The marine sanctuary on Balicasag Island has been one of my favorite places to go diving here in the Philippines. A few other volunteers and I met up there in July for two great dives to see the thriving sea life there. As usual, I missed seeing a turtle and a big school of barracudas because I was staring at the bottom and taking pictures of clown fish. I really need to do a better job of looking ahead of me the next time I get over there!

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    For some reason on the boat ride over to the island, I decided it would be a good time to reenact the "I'm the king of the world" scene from Titanic.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    Pete and Daniel are thinking, "why doesn't he put the camera away so we can go ahead and dive."

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    Daniel had to cling to this rope to keep from getting washed away by the strong current.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    This porcupine fish held his ground relying on his camouflage to keep him safe.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    This skunk clown fish doesn't really smell that bad underwater.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    Then he lost interest... Click here to add this photo to your computer desktop wallpaper.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    ...and away he goes.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    Balicasag is well known for the large resident school of jackfish that patrols the sharp coral wall dropoff.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    They seem accustomed to divers and will let you swim quite close to the school without scattering.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    They always stay very close together, safety in numbers I guess.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    The closer you get to them, the tighter they group into a formation.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    They're supposed to be great for sashimi!

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    This red grouper (known locally as a lapu-lapu) shows that the marine sanctuary at Balicasag is working. If the sanctuary weren't in place this fish would probably not have a chance to reach a catchable size.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    Lorenzo was our very capable dive guide for this trip.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    The Balicasag reef is thriving with a huge variety of fish species and corals.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    This stonefish was pretty tough to spot in the murky depths of the deep water.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    It was just perched inside a small nook of the coral wall lying in wait for an unsuspecting victim to swim along.

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    After going diving, we stopped by Jun's guitar shop to say hi and pick up some instruments. This guitar is a bamboo version of the 12 string guitar that Jun made for me from the pattern I downloaded from the internet (click here for the full story).

  • Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004

    Balicasag Marine Sanctuary - July 2004
    Jun's dad made a violin out of jackfruit, so I gave it a try. Unfortunately I had to leave my violin back in Winchester, VA while I'm in the Philippines, but it was nice to play this one.