Night Dive at Apo Island, Philippines

Night Dive at Apo Island: After Dark at Liberty’s Resort



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The highlight of Dr. Johnston’s field trips in the Philippines was the overnight trip to Apo Island. As part of the background info for the course, everyone read a chapter about Apo in “The Enchanted Braid”, a book about threatened reefs worldwide. We did a dive on the Chapel site during the day and night to compare the species that are present at different times of the day. We also took an afternoon trip to the Marine Sanctuary to do some snorkeling.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    I found this bubble coral at the Chapel dive just off Apo's main beach.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    In the afternoon we snorkeled the Apo Marine Sanctuary, this is a shot of the clown fish city.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Here's another shot of the clown fish city that shows a few more of the residents.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    It didn't take long to find the school of juvenile jacks that live in the sanctuary.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    When they grow larger they will move out of the sanctuary and to either Coconut or Cogon points where the current is stronger.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    After snorkeling in the sanctuary I stopped off to play a little music at a house where they were having a birthday party.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    I played a few songs and then headed back to Liberty's to get ready for the night dive later on.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Meanwhile the students were having an intense game of Jenga at Liberty's.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Sunsets over the Mindanao Sea are always great to watch from Apo.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Usually in the afternoons the Apo kids come out and play on the beach. Not sure where they were on this afternoon.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005I found this bubble coral at the Chapel dive just off Apo's main beach.In the afternoon we snorkeled the Apo Marine Sanctuary, this is a shot of the clown fish city.Here's another shot of the clown fish city that shows a few more of the residents.It didn't take long to find the school of juvenile jacks that live in the sanctuary.When they grow larger they will move out of the sanctuary and to either Coconut or Cogon points where the current is stronger.After snorkeling in the sanctuary I stopped off to play a little music at a house where they were having a birthday party.I played a few songs and then headed back to Liberty's to get ready for the night dive later on.Meanwhile the students were having an intense game of Jenga at Liberty's.Sunsets over the Mindanao Sea are always great to watch from Apo.Usually in the afternoons the Apo kids come out and play on the beach. Not sure where they were on this afternoon.The hammock at the Apo dive shop has a great view of the sunset over the sea.Here's a shot of Apo's well-known Boluarte rock formation.Here's another view of the Apo sunset.Just as the sun dipped over the horizon, we headed out to the Chapel dive spot for the night dive (a first for me).Right away we spotted this nudibranch that is usually only seen at night.Crocodile fish like this one are also usually only seen at night.This puffer fish was resting under the coral head.Lion fish are also generally more active at night.This octopus moved really fast and was hard to spot on the bottom. They're also generally only seen moving around at night.We also found this school of catfish schooled up beside some coral.Although it may not appear large in the photo, this hermit crab was pretty huge. I guess I needed to include something in the frame to provide a scale for comparison.On the left side of the shell there is an anemone clinging for the ride.After the dive, Mario the barangay captain of Apo told the students about the history of island and the sanctuary there.Sumilon Island - Mid January 2005The last field trip for Dr. Johnston's class in the Philippines was a return to Sumilon Island. This time the students had underwater writing tablets and took down observations about whichever species of fish or coral they chose to study. Meanwhile I circulated around and took more photos of the many different species that live in Sumilon's sanctuary. (Click here to see the photo essay--22 photos)

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Here's a shot of Apo's well-known Boluarte rock formation.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Here's another view of the Apo sunset.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Just as the sun dipped over the horizon, we headed out to the Chapel dive spot for the night dive (a first for me).

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Right away we spotted this nudibranch that is usually only seen at night.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Crocodile fish like this one are also usually only seen at night.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    This puffer fish was resting under the coral head.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Lion fish are also generally more active at night.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    This octopus moved really fast and was hard to spot on the bottom. They're also generally only seen moving around at night.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    We also found this school of catfish schooled up beside some coral.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    Although it may not appear large in the photo, this hermit crab was pretty huge. I guess I needed to include something in the frame to provide a scale for comparison.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    On the left side of the shell there is an anemone clinging for the ride.

  • Apo Island - Mid-January 2005

    Apo Island - Mid-January 2005
    After the dive, Mario the barangay captain of Apo told the students about the history of island and the sanctuary there.