White island and giant clams

On Monday, I went to Agutayan Island (see satellite map here) as part of a yearly activity undertaken by the McKeough Marine Center. Each year they measure the giant clams population there. They invite volunteers to participate and I was one of them.

Agutayan island is…barely an island, it’s more like a sand bar really (about 500 sq. m.). There are no trees, no grass, no vegetation at all. Just sand. White sand. It is known also as The Agutayan Fish Sanctuary and is rich with marine life. It is located about 5 kilometers from the municipality of Jasaan (where we took the boat). Apparently it’s best explored while scuba-diving though this time we just snorkeled as the clams are in very shallow water.

Agutayan island

Agutayan island

We spent about an hour or so measuring the beasts. They wear their name very well, they’re huge, from about 40cm to 70cm. They look beautiful also, with fluorescent blue and green spot on the inside. Apparently there are only nine kinds of giant clams in the world, seven of which are found in the Philippines. There is more info on them here if you want.

Giant Clam

Giant Clam - (Photo taken from the blog of Melissa Ranin - see link above)

I’m hoping I’ll get to do some diving in the Philippines while I’m in the country. With so many islands there are many good dive spots, and many are not crowded at all. I haven’t done any diving in about 7 years so I’d probably need to a refresher course though. We’ll see.

Mindanao coastline on the way back from Agutayan

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