I have been diving Monad Shoal for the last 4 years, logging hundreds of dives on this looming seamount. During this time I have seen many changes – both positive and negative – on Malapascuas (and indeed, one of the Philippines’) most famous dive sites.
Typhoon Yolanda most certainly made an impact back in 2013, shifting literally tonnes of sand from one side of Monad to the other, exposing a lot of rocky nooks and crannies on the Eastern side (where the thresher cleaning stations are located) for the more vulnerable reef dwellers to hide. This change, coupled with increased protection measures on the Shoal, has dramatically increased both population and diversity of life on Monad Shoal.
Species that were rarely, if ever seen here are now thriving – schools of redtooth triggerfish swarming the plateau, scribbled filefish and batfish in abundance, barracuda cruising the reef and even the occassional sighting of a monstrous green turtle! Clown triggerfish, chunky reef octopuses, eagle and devil rays also spotted on recent excursions.
In a bid to collect data and monitor this biomass increase Evolution is teaming up with People and the Sea, an NGO working with local dive industry and community, to survey key areas of Monad and collect information on various species and analyse any changes that might be occurring to different populations. We will keep you updated as this project unfolds.
There has never been a better time to explore Monad Shoal, not only to spot the majestic threshers, but to observe an abundant and diverse ecosystem right on our doorstep! Next time you visit Evolution, ask us about some of our favourite spots on this towering shoal, and we can share with you some of Monads secret treasures!