Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro would have to be one of the top dive areas in the Philippines. Big fishes, humongous canyons, caves and wrecks!
Whether you are experienced, novice or want to learn, diving Puerto Galera has all the options you seek.
In Puerto Galera, reef-building corals occur in shallow water, ranging from the surface down to depths between 3 and 40 meters. Not only do they provide home for the many reef fish, but also they are of vital importance of the local population. Reefs protect the coast from typhoons by acting as a wave breaker. In addition, coral reefs in Puerto Galera are a major attraction for divers from all over the world
The 5km foreshore of world-class dive sites are a protected area and marine sanctuary. Visibility varies from 10m to 30m and sometime even better depending on the temperature, current strength and wind direction. Due to the depth and currents in the Verde Island Passage, waters of Puerto Galera are clear and inhabit a vast amount of various forms of marine life. Making Puerto Galera one of the most exiting dive sites in the Philippines and attracting travelers from all continents.
Renowned for its natural beauty and diversity of marine life and environments Puerto Galera was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO as far back as 1973. More recently Puerto Galera was awarded by UNESCO and received high ranking in the list of most beautiful bays in the world. Puerto Galera offers over 30 unique dive sites for divers of all levels from beginner to experienced and technical divers. Most of the divesites are located near the town of Sabang. Approximately 10 to 15 minutes by boat from White Beach. This easy access coupled with fantastic clear water make for one mind blowing adventure.
The best diving conditions are usually from March to September as water temperature reaches 29°C, the seas are at their calmest and visibility is at its clearest. In December, water temperature can drop to as low as 22°C on the deeper dives due to thermoclines caused by upwelling of clear, cooler water. However, conditions remain good enough for year round diving. Typhoon season is usually from end of July until end of November resulting in winds, rain and choppy seas but there are enough sheltered areas in Puerto Galera accessible to dive.
Shark Cave (35 minutes boat ride)
A large overhang, known to be the favorite resting place of white tip sharks during daytime.
Maximum Depth : 30 m | Skill Level : Advance
What to see : Barracudas, jacks, trevally, hammerhead, white tip reef sharks, Sting Rays
Lalaguna Bay (35 minutes boat ride)
Usually clam with a gentle current. Visibility can reach 20m.
Maximum Depth : 15m | Skill Level : Novice & Above
What to see : lots of small reef fish, nudibranchs and colorful crinoids.
Hole In The Wall (35 minutes boat ride)
The Hole is about 1½m/5′ wide covered with multi-coloured sponges and crinoids.
Maximum Depth : 25m | Skill Level : Novice & Above
What to see : Parrotfish, Pennan fish, Moorish idols, snappers, trumpetfish, sweetlips, and more,,,
Odie’s Ding Dingl (20 minutes boat ride)
This is an 8m/25′ high wall located off Manila Channel.
Maximum Depth : 36 m | Skill Level : Novice & Above
What to see : Blue-triggerfish , banded sea snakes, giant clams, angelfish, trumpetfish.
West Escarceo (30 minutes boat ride | 3m – 24m)
A relatively shallow divesite with and huge abundance of fish and both hard and soft corals. The corals in this site have been spared from the coral bleaching event in 1998 that has affected many reefs in many other parts of the world. This is probably due to up-wellings in the Verde Island passage cooling the reef. Photographers can find endless subjects for wide angle and macro photography. A must see!!
This site is well known among underwater photographers. Recommended to all levels.
Maximum Depth : 27 m | Skill Level : Novice & Above
What to see : Massive table corals, blue & yellow sea squirts, feather duster worms,
Sabang Wreck (22 minutes boat ride)
It is excellent place to study the many gobie & shrimp relationships. Great site for fish feeding.
Maximum Depth : 25 m | Skill Level : Novice & Above
What to see : batfish, large surgeonfish, many eels, large lionfish, damsels, trumpets
The Canyons (30 minutes boat ride)
This site is popular among divers who wants underwater action. Excellent for Nitrox Dive
Maximum Depth : 35 m | Skill Level : Advance
What to see : Large schools of snapper, emperors, sweetlips, barracudas, jacks, trevally
Sinandigan Wall (40 minutes boat ride | 10m – 40m)
The wall is not really long but ranges from 10 to 40 m and contains a big variety of nudibrances. These sea slugs are soft-bodied snails The name “nudibrances” refers a branchial plume of bushy material on their back that is used for respiration.. Next to nudibrances it is home to many other invertebrates, such as cuttlefish. This site is popular with both naturalists and photographers.
The best site to see different species of ” nudibranchophiles”
Maximum Depth : 35 m | Skill Level : Advance
What to see : Tuna, Jacks, snappers , barracuda, sharks, cuttlefish
Sabang Bay (20 minutes boat ride)
A ridge rising to 5m/15′ is covered with more crinoids that are colourful and corals.
Maximum Depth : 24 m | Skill Level : Novice & Above
What to see : Stony corals, soft corals, unusual invertebrates ex. large cuttlefish & octopus
Verde Island (50 minutes boat ride)
Requires a good guide and some experience of current diving. Made at slack tide it is an easy dive.
Maximum Depth : 80 m | Skill Level : Advance
What to see : Banded sea snakes, Regal Fish, nudibranch, soft corals
St. Christopher (18m – 22m)
Hull of a cargo boat that was sunk to create an artificial reef. The wreck has become the home for juvenile snappers, batfish and other reef fish. Fantastic colored feather stars and sponges cover parts of the wreck and surrounding areas.
M/V Almajane Wreck (30m Max)
A Philippine cargo vessel that was sunk in 2003 to create artificial reef. Before sinking the boat all dangerous obstacles were removed, therefore is great for wreck, night, deep and nitrox specialties.
Sabang Wrecks (18m)
A sunken sailboat at 18m makes this site an ideal place for fish feeding. There reside numerous damselfish and batfish. In and around the wreck big white-eyed and snowflake moray eels can be found. Frogfish and mantis shrimp can be spotted in the small coral reefs patches.
Sabang Point (5m – 21m)
A rocky healthy reef that starts shallow and goes down to area with many hard and soft corals. The healthy reef is abundant with fish life, including parrotfish, sweetlips, small snapper, shoals of anthias and surgeonfish. Turtles and cuttlefish are also commonly spotted.
Monkey Beach (3m – 18m)
Coral reef that starts shallow and slopes down to a sandy bottom. Large coral outcrops are covered with Christmas Tree tube worms. Plate corals are teeming with small tropical reef fish and soft corals are also abundant at this site.
Ernie’s Cave (3m – 30m)
Large rocky coral formations start at 3m and goes to 30m. At 21m there is a small cave. Ernie was a large grouper who used to live in the cave, but unfortunately he left the cave. Many fish school above this site, which make it well worth diving.
Hole in the Wall (7m – 18m)
Close to Escarceo a large coral and rock formation that is characterized by a hole at approximately 12m, this is large enough to swim through. This site leads to a series of canyons characterized by multi-colored sponges.
Pink Wall (5m – 12m)
A shallow reef, which contains a small wall. Part of the wall appears to be pink do to tree corals growing on it. This is one of the more popular night dives in the area. There are many smaller fish here to provide food for the predators. Trumpetfish, stonefish, lionfish and moray eels all patrol the area.
The Atoll (18m – 30m)
Submerged rock that is covered by soft corals, sponges and sea fans. Moray eels, lionfish, scorpionfish and octopus can be seen in this site. Usually blue triggerfish hover above the rock and duck into holes at the slightest sign of danger.
Shark Cave (25m – 30m)
This site is famous for the 5 m deep cave at a depth of 25m. Usually white tip reef sharks are found resting in the cave. Lying in the mouth of the cave it is possible to approach within a couple of meters of the sharks. If they become disturbed they simply swim away. On the days that there are no sharks, blue spotted stingrays can be found on the sand and octopus are commonly seen on the reef
Fish Bowl (24m – 40m)
The rocky reef top is covered with long whip corals and soft tree corals. It drops off to a sandy bottom in deep water. In the bowl you may see white tip reef sharks, sweetlips and rainbow runners.
Canyons (24m – 30m)
Large reef area that has been split by large cracks forming 3 underwater canyons. Both small and big fish and basket sponges are common in this site. Often large fish like tuna, Sweetlips, snapper, can be spotted even more massive animals are being seen above the Canyons. Manta’s, Thresher Sharks and Hammerheads have been seen at this site.
Horse Head Reef (35m – 50m)
The reef covers a very large area with an average depth of about 35m. The site take its name from one of the rock formations that resembles a horse’s head but there are other numerous rock formations that make the topography of the site really interesting.
The Steps (5m – 30m)
A series of reefs, small walls and varying contours that range in depth from 30m to the shallow water in 5m. The Steps is a great site for multilevel diving. The dive starts as you descend down to the deepest reef and then you can make your way up past a small wall covered with hard and soft coral.
Boulders (3m – 21m)
A dive site dominated by large builders making a complex structure underwater, where many marine animals make their home. In additions this site is always a surprise, because you will never know what to see in the many caves.
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