If you’re ever invited by a group of Philippine scuba diving instructors to join them for a day of personal diving at a secluded, private, white sand beach – be sure to accept the offer. It will probably be one of the most memorable days of your life.
Such was my experience when I joined three dive masters here in Malay, Aklan, Panay, Philippines, at one of the most beautiful locations imaginable.
Perfect dive spot on Panay Island
The stunning Hinugtan Beach Resort is located about a 15-minute scooter ride from our current rental apartment along the far northwest coast of Panay island. Getting there via land also requires a walk down a steep, washed-out road and a hike through the jungle.
The guys I went with are normally diving with tourists on popular Boracay island. But because of the coronavirus shutdown, they have been idled for the last couple months. We’ve come to know one of the lads while walking our local beachfront. With quarantine restrictions lifted in June, it was ok to arrange this special group outing.
Of course, the only dive gear I travel with is a dive mask and snorkel. So they graciously provided all the equipment I needed. The air tanks and weight belts are available at the resort – but we brought all the other gear on the scooters.
After making our way down to the secluded beach we settled into a spacious seaside nipa hut and assembled the equipment. Within 20 minutes we were all on a boat with our stuff for the short ride to the dive site.
Underwater respite from crazy world
Moments later the four of us began a fabulous 45-minute long, 20 to 30 meter-deep dive along a steep drop/wall covered with marine life. And the dive was a true pleasure. No tourists struggling with equipment or buoyancy or equalization. These guys were pros. No doubt, they were thankful I’m a pretty proficient diver as well.
After the initial dive we headed back to the resort for some lunch of barbecue pork and fish and rice – and to refill the air tanks. After a good hour break, we went to another section of the underwater wall just a couple hundred feet offshore.
Another fantastic, lengthy, and totally relaxing dive. No covid. No chaos. No economic crisis. No violence. No protests. No politics. No psychos. No problems. Just peace.
After the second dive, back on shore, we disassembled and rinsed everything then sat around drinking beers for a while. For better or worse, back in the real world and face masks and social distancing and concerns of all kinds.
Of course, I thanked my hosts profusely and kicked in some cash to cover their time and costs. Hopefully, with our local area starting to reopen for business, they will be returning to their diving jobs in the next couple weeks.
Many thanks, J & J & N. It was another day in our pandemic paradise that I will never forget.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails, & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Perfect dive spot on Panay Island.”
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