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Diving at Gato Island
June 20, 2015 Diving

Diving at Gato Island was one of the things we did during our trip to Malapascua Island. We engaged Dive Society of Kookay’s Maldito Dive Resort, Malapascua Island for two fun dives at Gato Island.

Where is Gato Island?

Gato Island is a marine reserve located around 1 hour boat ride from Malapascua Island. Gato is a Spanish word which means cat and the island was named after its similar shape to sitting cat. From where we were coming, Gato Island looks nothing like a sitting cat. I would readily assume that we didn’t see it from the right angle.

Also joining us for the fun dives were a couple from Israel and a Briton. I partnered with Yam for all time. We were scheduled for two boat dives where we would have a surface interval and descend for our next dive. I had the pita bread for lunch. The Dive Society boat provided water for us to drink. We were greeted with strong current, for which I was told, such strong current  was a norm in Gato Island.

We descended near the rock formation together with divers from other boat. To be honest, I would say the dive sites were quite crowded with divers. The Briton had difficulty to equalize, so we had to wait for him to descend since the three of us were together as a group. It took him longer than expected as we wasted time waiting for him.

Gato Island is breeding underwater spot for sea snakes. Luckily, we did not see a lot of sea snakes during over dives. A number of white tip sharks swam past us and the Dive Master brought us to a cave opening where we spotted a bamboo shark. That was a first for me. Bamboo shark looks like a giant cat fish in a shark body.

If you want to see the big underwater animals, Gato Island has little to offer. Gato Island offers reef/cavern type of diving and a paradise for muck diving. Here are some of the things we saw as we were diving at Gato Island.

halgerda batangasNudibranch : Halgerda Batangas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANudibranch: Phylidia Varciosa

Tassled ScorpionfishTassled Scorpionfish

Pygmy SeahorseA pygmy seahorse

Pygmy SeahorseSpot me if you can pygmy seahorse

Ornate PipefishOrnate Pipefish

FlatwormA flatworm

For the first dive, I had only recorded 38 minutes dive time because the Briton ran out of air super fast. We had 42 minutes of dive time on the second dive. It was not that satisfactory given the fact that we could have seen a lot more. Gato Island is known as nudibranch city. I think it could have been better if the diving was done with a bunch of diving friends whom you are familiar with. Certain people consume more air than a normal person.

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