Malapascua is a beautiful island which is less touristy as compared to other dive islands in Philippines. Malapascua is one of the most famous islands in SEA to see the Thresher Sharks as they migrate to the cleaning stations.
Thresher Shark Research & Conservation Project
I participated in TSRCP in December 2017, the participating dive shop that has always been assisting with the project was Divelink. Read more about TSRCP with the link in the photo above. In a short summary, TSRCP is one of the most interesting volunteer project I have ever participated in. We set of at 4:30 AM (GMT+8) to be able to reach the dive sites for a dawn dive. Each dive site has 3 different pairs of volunteers where each pair of volunteer will bring down a gopro for video recording, a slate with a pencil for recording of Thresher shark sighting while recording the following:
- Entry and exit timing of the shark from the cleaning station
- The sexual orientation of the shark
- The size of the shark (S/M/L)
- The direction in which they were heading to
- Any other special behaviors.
Each pair would also carry a Surface interval camera where we leave the camera underwater while we head up for the surface interval and have a change of tank. When we end the day dives, we will head back to the resort and study the surface interval video to see if there were any sightings with the same requirements of data recording as above. The results would then be handed over to a PHD student who was doing a thesis on the sharks. TSRCP has been ongoing for years which in recent years the papers and research paid off to get the Thresher Sharks onto CITES Appendix 2.
Dive Sites which I have been to during my stay on the beautiful Island Malapascua:
- Manta Station
- Lapus Lapus
- Gato Island
- Dakit Dakit
More about Mala
For those who have been to the island before would know that the island is huge but not the entire island is tourist populated. The tourist populated area could be covered in est 3 hours by foot (Depending on how fast you crawl).