MAGALOG21 (2021)



By Margo Peyton President of Kids Sea Camp Inc. Our children’s world has become much larger as today’s technology helps us to engage “virtually” in ways we never dreamed possible. However, beyond our smart phones, there is still a big, beautiful, real world out there. It’s filled with the kind of learning and adventure that expands our hearts and minds in a way technology cannot. When we travel with our children, we provide them with personal experiences that they’ll car- ry with them for the rest of their lives. If you’re eager to plan your next scuba diving adventure as a family, here is the latest off-the-beaten-path treasure thatTom and I just explored and Kids Sea Camp approved. Islands in the Visayas Sea Upon landing on the main island Cebu, we were met by friendly smiles and helpful hands. Biggs Eggert with Sea Explorers provided us cool face cloths, bottled water and hugs.We quickly headed to board a banca boat which reminded me of a giant bamboo water spider; it was spacious and smooth sailing, like a mystical

chariot to our first dive location. Malapascua has become well-known as a premier dive destination fairly recently.This tiny island, just a little more than a mile long, is home to several villages that exist either directly or indirectly to support the growing dive-tourism industry. I have read that Malapascua is the only known place on Earth where one can dive with the endangered thresher sharks and, as I prefer, in a natural setting on seamount cleaning stations at Monad Shoal. Biggs said we would dive with the sharks at sunrise, and as crazy as that sounds, it was not hard at all. Jet lag combined well with the time lag, and we were wide awake and ready to dive at 5 a.m.! Thresher sharks have been on my wish list for many years, and seeing them on every dive far exceeded my expectations.The shoals also attracts devil rays, pelagic fish and hammerheads; more than enough to thrill any diver. Families can enjoy diving the coral gardens and coral walls, as well as farther-out sites including Gato Island and Kemod Shoal.

Malapascua has at least 20 dive operations and hotels situated along Bounty Beach, however Tom and I found only two properties we would deem as family-friendly. Ocean Vida and Buena Vida both have connecting rooms, family-friendly food and kid-friendly staff.Ocean Vida is oceanfront, and BuenaVida is right in the middle of the local village, hosting an amaz- ing spa and restaurant that would please any palette. Gourmet breakfasts, vegan and vegetar- ian dishes and fresh seafood are featured. Sea Explorers, a PADI five-star IDC, is our No. 1 pick for diving and island-hopping throughout the islands of theVisayas Sea. Exceptional service and knowledge, smaller dive gear, tanks sized for kids and a well-trained staff are available for all levels of divers.They easily accommodate big-rig photographers, single families and big groups like ours. Each banca boat offered hot coffee or tea, warm face cloths, fresh fruit and baked breads upon re- turning from our dives. To top it all off, I never touched my gear; it was rinsed and set up per- fectly adorned atop my nitrox tank, awaiting my return. Heaven! I have to say, nothing made the 803-419-2556 email:

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