Tubbataha Reef, Sulu Sea consists of awesome reefs in pristine conditions, only accessible by live aboard.
Tubbataha is a reef ecosystem made up of two atolls located in the middle of the Sulu Sea. It is a sanctuary for marine life. The reefs lie on the Cagayan Ridge, a line of extinct underwater volcanoes which starts from the north at the Sultana Shoal and ends in the south at the San Miguel Islands. It is located 92 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and 80 nautical miles southwest of Cagayancillo, the municipality that exercises political jurisdiction over it. It was proclaimed as a National Marine Park on August 11, 1988 and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1993, in recognition of its outstanding universal value in terms of marine life species diversity and richness. The national park covers some 33,200 hectares and lies in the middle of the Sulu Sea, it is located about 150 kilometers by boat from Puerto Princessa. The reefs themselves cover an area of around 10,000 hectares.
This actually covers the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Studies and research shows that it contains more than 30% of the world’s coral reefs. Data that was gathered from different research shows that the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas have over 450 species of corals. According to the marine biologists who visited and studied the area, it is the center for genetic richness and the diversity of sea grass with 16 known species. Also, found are the some 400 species of marine algae, 6 species of marine turtles and 222 species of marine mammals, most of which are already endangered.
Best time to go to the Tubbataha reefs is from late March to the end of June
Tubbataha North and South: The two coral atolls (North and South), is separated by a channel eight kilometers wide. The larger north reef, about 16km long and 4.5 km wide, is popularly known as Bird Island due to the numerous “Boobies” that nest on the Islet and South reef, about 5km long and 3km wide is known as the Lighthouse. Everything about this park is large, from leopard sharks, shovel-nosed sharks, manta, eagle rays, tuna groupers and large school of fish. The terrain has much to offer, from gentle slopes to steep walls. Coral cover is vast and large, giant sea fans, sponges and an impressively wide variety and number of hard and soft coral carpets this large reef.
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