Diving With Thresher Sharks – Malapascua Island
I am the most seasick I have ever felt. No matter what my instructor says, I am NOT throwing up in my regulator. This sucks. What am I doing here — deep under the ocean, trying to get my freaking ears to pop, and paying money to feel miserable? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Then, all of a sudden, it swims by. Hellllooo, Mr. Thresher Shark! At around twelve feet long, it is smooth, graceful, and BIG. For a few moments, I forget about the pitching of the ocean, and of my stomach, and I feel at peace.
Scuba diving is normally a serene activity, with your own breaths being the only soundtrack. Somehow, feeling like you are going to vom at any second takes away a bit of the magic. But, I was here, and I had seen a shark!
One of the reasons I wanted to travel to Malapascua Island was its reputation as the only place in the world where you can dive with thresher sharks on a regular basis. They have a feeding station on Monad Shoal, a 45-minute boat ride from the island.
Apparently, thresher sharks are early birds. In order to dive with them, we had to meet at 4:30 a.m. Of course, life runs on Philippines time, and we weren’t actually going anywhere in the boat until 5:30 or so.
I had already been on boat rides in the area and not felt the slightest bit seasick, so I hadn’t thought to pop any Dramamine prior to my trip. BIG mistake.
The waters were unusually rough (my guide, Tony, said they were the worst he’d seen in months), and soon into the trip everyone probably thought I was a mega-bitch for ignoring their stories, when in fact, I was just trying to keep it together. (Or, more accurately, down.)
When we finally got to Monad Shoal, I was in full-on panic mode. In a trembling voice, I asked Tony, “If I have to puke, where should I do it?” As soon as he said, “Just over the side of the boat,” I was at it.
I will spare you the details, but he and the other crew-members pretty much just hurried to get me into my gear so that I could go underwater.
At first, I was a bit hesitant to descend, as I physically did not think I could do it. But Tony and the other crew members assured me that I wouldn’t feel the motion of the ocean as much underwater.
And, if I didn’t go down, my only other option I would be sitting in the rocky ass boat for 45 minutes waiting for the other people to finish their dives. Ummmm, no thanks.
Though I was less than enthusiastic at the time (is there anyone more miserable to be around than a really seasick person?), I am so glad I went with their expert advice and proceeded with the dive.
Supposedly, you can throw up into your regulator, but for me that was totes disgusting and was in no way an option. So, it was rough going for a while, but seeing the shark made the experience all worth it.
As for the ride back, suffice it to say that I was in the fetal position for the ENTIRE time. Oh well, it was an experience. Shockingly enough, I didn’t really feel like snapping too many pix that day, so all of these are from later dives.
Did I mention that Malapascua is a teeny island, and I was pretty much known as the pukey girl for the rest of the week? Awes.
Have you ever gotten seasick when you really didn’t want to?
This is a postcard from Malapascua Island, in the Philippines. I went diving with Purple Snapper Dive Resort, which I would highly recommend. One dive costs 1,550 Philippine pesos – a super affordable $37. You must have your advance open-water certification (or be enrolled in the course) to dive at Monad Shoal.