1. The Canyons – 25m-35m
This dive is an adrenalin seekers best friend! The Canyons are about less than a 10 minute banca ride and are best dived on the flood tide. The flood tide allows you to let the current wash you right over the Canyons.
You enter the water and do a relatively quick descent to get yourself in position with the flooding tide. You glide on past The Hole in the Wall letting the current effortlessly take you over a few drop-offs gradually descending until you hit the top of the fist canyon in about 24 metres of water.
This can be quite a challenge for those not use to diving in strong currents at depth, these dives are always led by experienced guides. It is a good idea as you come over the first canyon to duck inside and get a bit of a rest from the current.
The current can be exceptionally ferocious here. I have had my mask dislodged from my face taking a peek back into the current. There are some fantastic soft coral action with one big gorgonian fan growing in all different directions, allowing for the swirling current. Moving from the top smaller canyon into the deeper canyon you are me with some amazing sites. Schooling Barracuda, Trevalley not to mention the Sweet Lips.
There is big fish life a plenty here!. The best way to enjoy it is to find a nice spot on the canyon lip and hang on letting the current flow over you, from your perch you can watch the magnificent pelagic fish life creep closer to you in the large canyon below. Much too quickly it is time to ascend. Once again using the current to wash you across the top of the big canyon, you come across a current swept reef, with an old anchor sitting upright, it is about 2 metres high, you can’t miss it.
This is the ascending point, from here you have to be particularly careful as the current washes down the side of the reef to about 60 metres. Ready for your blue water ascent? Let’s go, slowly surfacing keeping together with your buddy and dive guide, completing a safety stop you surface. Have a look around on when you surface watch the dive boat come over a collect you, it is only then you realize how far you have traveled! Fantastic dive for experienced divers, heaps to see, my number 1 dive!
2. Shark Cave – 25m-30m
The Shark Cave is best dived at slack water. You do a blue water descent and arrive on the top of a long rock coral formation which has coarse sand at its base, as you swim over the formation onto the sand you can see that the rock formation has actually created a small in height cave.
The cave itself would be no more than 1.5m high and gradually recedes to about 30cm at the back of the cave which is only 3m deep it would be roughly 10m wide. If you want to see some videos of the Shark Cave in Puerto Galera, have a look here. Inside the cave can be found White Tip Reef Sharks, they disappeared for a while but a number are returning, a truly awesome creature. When they are there it is a great dive, if there are not it is a bit of a let down but there is more than enough to keep you occupied, in fact if the current is right you can pop over to the Canyons.
3. Hole in the Wall – 10m -20m
The Hole in the Wall is another fantastic dive, which is best dived on the flood or slack high water. The Hole in about 12 metres of water and access is best left to a competent guide.
You descend from the dive boat in about 6m of water letting the current take you to the Hole in the Wall. Gliding effortlessly over some of the best hard coral you will ever see, you up between a couple of boulders and at first site there does dot appear to be a hole at all, as you swim closer you can line the entry and exit up and can see daylight gushing in.
The hole itself is only 2m wide less in parts and about 1m high, at all times you can see daylight. The walls are covered with life, so be careful with your buoyancy and not bump into the walls. Once out the other side you are greeted with an enormous array of fish life, Parrotfish, Angelfish, Triggerfish, Moorish Idols and occasionally if you are lucky some of the bigger predatory fish like Trevally and Tuna come in for a feed. This dive is not to be missed, it is not an advanced dive, this one is for beginner to experienced diver alike. This is one dive I can keep coming back to!
4. Sinandigan Wall – 10m-40m
The Sinandigan Wall is directly off the point at Escarceo and can only be accessed by boat, as are most of the dives in Puerto Galera. This dive has a vertical wall dropping down from about 10m to 40m.
The wall is alive with numerous pink and white soft corals, they must be on steroids because they look so healthy. Amongst the soft corals are huge array of Nudibranchs. This is a an underwater photographers dream come true. Just off the wall you can often see pelagic fish waiting for a feed. These fish are pretty common if you get there first up in the morning not to be missed. this site can be managed for novice and experienced diver with plenty or each, for a colour kaleidoscope this is the place to dive.
5. Monkey Wreck/Beach
Just a stones throw away from Sabang this boat dive can be a great combined dive if you get the tides right. The wreck is called Monkey Wreck because it sits off Monkey Beach in about 40 metres of water. The ocean has taken it’s toll on the local island transport vessel, there is a great deal of it to see anymore but what remains of the shell has attracted some incredible fish life.
I love to drop down the reef see the wreck do a quick tour of it and then head back up the reef and let the current take be on a coral and small fish feast. There are some fantastic clownfish to be seen here, mostly Amphiprion Clarkii, which are extremely territorial. The visibility never lets you down here and you can see the sloping reef off to the side, always a good idea to monitor your depth gauge as you can get lost in the big blue. This dive is a great combined dive or can be done individually, the wreck does not have as much to offer as it once did.
6. Sabang Wrecks – 18m
The Sabang Wrecks are directly off Sabang Beach where it is always nice and flat and calm. There is a mooring line that attached to the bow of the wreck so it is very easy to find. Make sure you don’t touch the mooring line as you descend as there are a few stinging nasties on it, use it as a visual reference. As soon as you enter the water watch out as you are attacked by hungry Batfish wanting to be fed bananas, gorgeous creatures.
The old Vietnamese Fish boat sits upright in 18m on a sandy floor. It is literally moving with life. Beside it is the second wreck of an old passenger boat about 20m in length. Completing the trio about a 45m swim is a steel hulled yacht also sitting upright on the sand bed. The life that these three wrecks has created is literally mind blowing, the vessels cannot be penetrated as the two wooden hull boats are crumbling in on themselves, you can swim through the cabin on the steel yacht, just be mindful of the Lionfish waiting in ambush for small fish, they have a venomous spine. You will also find Moral Eels, Rays in the sand and the old larger fish will pop in. generally this is a beginners dive which never ceases to fascinate. This dive is a must night dive!
7. Coral Gardens – 10m-12m
The Coral Gardens are a fantastic beginners dive, I can never get enough of the incredible coral formations. The site has some of the largest plate coral in shallow water that I have ever seen. With some big bommie coming to within a metre of the surface they are fantastic for marine life.
The reef is alive and vibrant here and is a photographer delight, the current is not as ferocious as it is off West Escarcio and if you are prepared to sniff around you will find some incredibly interesting animals. Considering this site is used extensively by the dive schools the coral is in fantastic condition. Diving the Coral Gardens is nice and easy with plenty of visual appeal for all, I like it!.
8. Batangas Channel – 5m-15m
Batangas Channel usually has some current running which makes this an ideal drift dive, entering at one end and being spat out the other. The site is renowned for its huge barrel sponges are which are some of the best I have seen. As the current picks up schools of fish generally enter the channel for a feed and it is quite common to see rays, jacks and snapper.
The coral, both hard and soft is healthy and great for the underwater photographer. This site is great, beginners will love it as there is lots to see and nice and easy, just let the current do your swimming and maneuver yourself into a position to watch the underwater show!
9. Fish Bowl – 40m+
This dive is for experienced divers only on a flood tide. You descend very near to the canyons and the descent is called a bullet descent, because you have to move quick the current is generally flying. The need for a guide who knows where and what they are going is a must! This dive is not for the feint hearted, it is hard work. As you descend deeper and deeper into the big blue you gradually make out the side of a very steep reef which is covered in sea whips and soft corals.
At about 40m the reef stop and opens up to a huge bowl shape opening which continues down into the depths, it is here that you hang on for all it’s worth and watch the spectacle below you in the bowl. It is not called the Fish Bowl for nothing. Huge schools of Barracuda, Tuna, Treavally, White Tip Ref Sharks all roll into the Fish Bowl, which is just mind blowing. When time is up and at that depth it comes around pretty quick you an ascend via two ways either a blue water ascent, you just let go and move off with the current, or you can literally hug the reef and swim up and out where if your guide is any good you will come out at the base of the Canyons. This is a great dive I would not recommend you take a camera with you if the current is roaring along, you don’t need the distraction.
10. Sweet Lips Cave– 40m-55m
Sweet Lips can be difficult to find and has to be judged perfectly with the tides being slack or half an hour either side. This dive is only for experienced divers with a blue water descent, you can generally make out the bottom from the 5m depth. The bottom is sandy as the reef at 40m drops over into the big blue. As you follow the wall along the reef you come to corner which has a crack in it.
Inside this crack are numerous fish and plenty of Sweet Lips hovering in the mouth of the tunnel. You can actually enter the tunnel or cave as you enter it veers of to the side where you can see the open ocean which is where you can exit the cave. The life here is staggering and always impressive. If you look out into the big blue from the wall you may even see some pelagic fish schooling. A magnificent dive for the experienced only.