In Puerto Galera we are diving a body of water called the Verde Island Passage. It's a narrow tidal strait between Mindoro and Luzon Islands, with Verde Island itself positioned right in the middle of it.
Tech Asia is on a peninsula extending out in to the clear water of the Verde Passage. This makes it almost like an island with very little effect from rivers and run off. Perfect for reefs to thrive. To the West we have the vast expanse of the South China Sea, and out East, the Tablas Straits leading to the Sibuyan Sea. Huge volumes of water move through the Passage with the tides and drift diving is the norm, with boats staying live and following the divers.
The Verde Island Passage is also very deep, hundreds of meters of water in front of us, and has been a stable passage for over twenty million years while other shallower seas became land bridges during ice ages when sea levels fell.
Putting everything together - deep water, high flow, marine life migrating in from two different seas and being uninterrupted for millions of years, you would expect an outstanding diving environment. And that is what we have. A diversity of life that has become recognized globally as having very few equals, and a blend of high energy drift dives as well as sheltered bays without current if it better suits your needs.
What do you encounter underwater? In most places there is a reef slope from shore to about 20-30m in depth depending where you are. It's steeper on the points and gentler in the bays but that is what you see. At the base of the reef there is fairly flat sand and it's tempting to believe there is nothing more beyond. However, at 40-45m you reach the top of the outer reef, a fairly distinct, pristine wall extending for several kilometers around the peninsiula with only occasional breaks. This is where we dive...!
How this formed we really don't know, but the consistency of the depth, the visiblity of bedding planes in the rocks, and small caves present, create the impression perhaps of a submerged shoreline that we are visiting. The rockiest parts are real magnets for growth and big reef fish and everything you see is very much undisturbed.
The base of the wall is around 55m. A further sand slope follows and then another similar but more broken feature picks up at about 65-70m. Maybe another record of where sea level once was? In any case this kind of topograhy is great to dive and gives much more area to explore and variety than just vertical walls. It's also often close enough to land to get right back up into the shallows to decompress. You can get a good idea about specific dive sites if you click on their locations on this map.
The best diving is close to Tech Asia and it is rare for us to go more than half an hour away. This makes it easy to put in two technical dives per day with time to return to the shop and spend surface intervals on land, get lunch, brief and debrief, whatever you need to do. General poinnts on how we arrange things are :
Overall this makes an easy schedule for divers or students, without the need to be out on a boat for the entire day.
Sound dive planning tends to make technical diving a very safe activity and difficulties are rare. Things you may want to know are :
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