Shark diving at Gato Island.

I love wall dives. If you get your buoyancy just right then with a light current a wall dive can give you some of the best diving there is. You have the whole reef in front of you and over your shoulder is always a chance of something appearing from the deep blue.

Gato Island is a very cool wall dive with some added excitement!

Gato Island is in the Visayan Sea in the central Philippines.

Gato Island is in the Visayan Sea in the central Philippines.

Approaching Gato Island at dawn.

Approaching Gato Island at dawn.

Here is my dive profile from my Suunto D4i computer. Note the details say I dived on air. I actually dived on a 32% Nitrox mix to give extended bottom time but Suunto doesn't allow switching from air (which I used the previous day) to Nitrox within a 24 hour period.... I've no idea why except maybe for very conservative safety reasons).

My dive profile for the first Gato Island dive at 6.33 in the morning. The long 15 minute hang is going through the tunnel and then waiting at the end to watch the sharks.

My dive profile for the first Gato Island dive at 6.33 in the morning. The long 15 minute hang is going through the tunnel and then waiting at the end to watch the sharks.

We rolled out of one of the main boats lighters just after dawn and immediately dropped to a plateau at 12m then off the edge down the wall to 28m. The water was a pleasant 26c (ideal for a 2mm shorty) and visibility was a good 25m.

There was a lot of life on the wall including frog fish and a large banded sea snake.

Dropping off of the plateau.

Dropping off of the plateau.

The best part of the dive was a tunnel straight through the island at about 25m deep. The tunnel was about 3m wide and 60m long. At first the tunnel was pitch black and I was thankful for my torch but soon we saw (literally) light at the end of the tunnel.

We had been warned before we dived that a group of large white tip reef sharks often use the end of the tunnel for sleeping. I love sharks so I was hoping they would be there. And sure enough as I got to the end of the tunnel I disturbed about six of them. The largest being about 2m long. By now there was a strong current on my back so I managed to wedge myself in the tunnel exit and film the sharks as they circled. An awesome end to the dive.

Philippine Tarsiers

Now I won't be troubling the Wildlife Photographer of the Year judges with these photos but they remind me of a wonderful day deep in the jungles of Bohol Island in the Philippines. I've always wanted to see a tarsier in the wild. They are the worlds smallest primate (measuring less than six inches long) and are currently vulnerable to extinction. Many are kept in captivity in so called conservation centres but they have almosr no chance of breeding in captivity.

We found this one sleeping high in the canopy after a few hours searching with a local guide.

Green turtles in The Phillipines

My first attempt at underwater photography. These are all green turtles taken at about 15m depth at Balicasag Island in the Phillipines. Although they are found throughout the worlds tropical oceans they are endangered. These all appear to be adult females (males have long tails and claws on their front flippers).