Diving in San Jose, Philippines

Our dive camp, Wuthering Heights at San Jose, Philippines.
©Jean Janssen

The Atlantis resort staff worked very hard to find ways for us to dive.  What should  have been dive day 4 and we are still unable to enter the water near the resort in the morning.  The dive staff leader Paul researched another location that three members of the staff including my dive guide, Vernie, had been to before.  We were taken by the Atlantis Jeepneys to San Jose, north of Dumaguete, for beach diving at the Wuthering Heights resort.  There was a dock and several covered areas that Atlantis rented for the day.

Christmas Tree worms. These close when something comes near and open like christmas trees when not threatened.
©Jean Janssen

Vernie was in our jeepney on the way down and he pointed out his favorite seafood restaurant in town and another along the beach.  He lives in one of the areas we drove through and he pointed out his old school, the area where his house is, and his father’s home.  Emily suggested we stop by for cocktails on the way back to the resort.  Vernie wisely choose to ride in the other jeepney on the way back.

Once we arrived at Wuthering Heights, the boat crew brought all our equipment down and set it up for us.  We just had to wade into the water and they brought us our gear.  Neal helped me get my fins on and then secure my BCD.  The Princesses were at it again with Vernie in the lead.  Emily and Tom joined us, as did another dive guide Genie, who is also familiar with the area.

A yellow trumpetfish. San Jose, Philippines
©Jean Janssen

We saw a peacock mantis shrimp, an extra large nudibranch, a yellow trumpet fish, christmas tree worms, and small lobster and crabs, in addition to all the special coral reef fish we love.

These juvenile sweetlips are hard to photograph, so I am pretty proud of this shot of him headed down into the coral.
©Jean Janssen

Genie found us a juvenile Harlequin Sweet Lips and demonstrated the sweet lips dance (this is where I needed a video camera).  The sweetlips is a bright fish that moves the front part of its body in the opposite direction than the back end and looks like it is dancing.  Adorable and so hard to find.  From then on, Genie and I always did the dance when we saw each other.

Vernie and Neal dancing during the surface interval at Wuthering Heights.
©Jean Janssen

During the surface interval we hung out at the beach and Vernie and Neal danced to some tunes that Neal played on his ipod.  Snacks and drinks were served.  Neal has perfected the Captain Jack Sparrow look with his long locks and pirate bandana.

After the break we were back in the water for our second dive.  This time we dove in the same area, but headed to the pier to check out the growth and the critters there.  There was a lot more current on this dive and Emily struggled a little, as she is a new and smaller diver.  She has been nominated to be a princess.  However, since she is with her husband Tom she is ineligible to be one of the “Single Married Babes”.  We are the married females traveling without our husbands on this dive trip.  Some of us have husbands that don’t dive; others are just traveling without their diver husbands.

Donna’s turtle at San Miguel
©Jean Janssen

There was a bus ride back to the Atlantis resort and then a wonderful lunch.  We were able to do a boat dive leaving from the resort in the afternoon.   The weather is clearing, but the visibility is still poor.  We saw an adult sweet lips, which is black and white instead of the orange and white juvenile.  Donna found a small lionfish resting on the coral that she liked.  The lionfish are attractive, but poisonous and are now found in abundance.  (Near home in the Gulf of Mexico, the lionfish are taking over as their numbers have grown so large.)  Donna was unimpressed with the dive given the conditions, but all was saved when she got to see a turtle.  Amazing how much fun they are to watch.  Rocky just loves them and seeing a turtle just makes me miss him more.  He bonded with them when he was smaller and about the same size as a sea turtle.  He is convinced they came close to him thinking he was one of their own.

A colorful nudibranch at San Jose, Philippines
©Jean Janssen

Donna doesn’t night dive, but that evening I was buddies with Martin and Bill and did the Florescent Night Dive.  We wore a special yellow lens over your mask and use a modified flashlight.   Junnar was our dive guide and it is nice to get another chance to dive with my rescuer.  The flashlight has three settings, a white light, blue light, and off.  Anything that glows really shows up under the blue light, so I used that one most of the dive.  Martin freaked out a little and used the white light, making it more of a regular night dive for him.  We had almost a full moon, so between that and Martin’s white light, I sometimes just turned my light off when navigating.  The Corals are spectacular using the mask and blue light-bright oranges, yellows, pinks, reds, blues, and greens.  We saw a red frogfish that looked pink under the blue light (you can do a quick switch to white to check out what you are seeing).  Junnar said that this is the only frogfish that has a florescence so we were very lucky that he found it.  The highlight was a small bright florescent eel that wove in and out of the bright corals.  Spectacular.

San Jose, Philippines
©Jean Janssen

There are only three places that offer the Florescent Night Dive.  Rocky and I almost did it in Bonaire with Buddy Dive in March when we dove there on spring break.  Unfortunately, it was only offered one night and we couldn’t get in.  I think he would love it, so I will make sure it gets to his bucket list.  It is not for everyone; I know I enjoyed it much more than Martin or Bill.  However, if you like night diving I recommend giving it a try.

The dock at Wuthering Heights at San Jose, Philippines
©Jean Janssen


I was exhausted at dinner and we have an early start tomorrow.  It was a full day of diving for me.  Talk about getting back on that horse.  What a ride.

About travelbynatasha

I am a retired attorney who loves to travel. Several years ago I began working on a Century Club membership achieved by traveling to 100 "foreign" countries. Today, at 49 years of age the count is at 82. Many were visited on land based trips. Some were cruise ports. Some were dive sites. Most have been fascinating.
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1 Response to Diving in San Jose, Philippines

  1. The sweetlips “dance” is one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen! They’re so FAST! 🙂

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