SOS on Dive Sites Part 3 of 3

1. Big Laurel
A little further out from Small Laurel (the last site mentioned in part 2 of this series) is its bigger namesake, which also has a much longer reef. This spot is mostly a snaking reef around 1000m long where the top is at 8-10m and the bottom at 15-18m. The reef top is covered with hard corals and the slope is made up mostly of soft corals and sponges. Look out for frog fish, which like to hang out on the curtain sponges mimicking their lime green colour. As with small Laurel we can spot many different nudibranchs and shrimps. It’s best to dive here in the months of April to October when the visibility is consistently better.

2. Tambisaan
This dive site (as well as the next 3 on our list) is on the eastern side of Boracay Island and normally only dived during the Habagat, or rainy season, from June to October. In general, the eastern side of the island is shallower, with average depths in the 8-15m range and maximum depths of around 20m. Here you should not expect to see big fish, but plenty of pretty corals and smaller reef fish.

3. Tulubhan
This spot consists of two oval shaped reefs, one large and one small, surrounded by white sand. As we swim away from the island the bottom of the slope gradually gets deeper, reaching a maximum of 22m, where nice corals cover the slope and we can see many feather stars, which we can inspect for the many kinds of shrimps that live in symbiosis with them. Small reef fish and nudibranchs are omnipresent.

4. Bolabog Reef
This is a long reef of approximately 2 km enclosing the lagoon of Bulabog, world famous for its fantastic windsurfing and kite-boarding conditions in the Amihan season (November to March). During the off season we often dive on this pretty reef which has depths ranging from 3m to 15m. This dive is ideal for beginners and students who can dive around a wreck on their very first dive. The wreck is the remains of a barge carrying huge cement sacks which sunk during a storm in around 2005. Much of the barge was salvaged but the remains are home to many cardinal fish and damsels. A good photo location given the clear and shallow water.

5. Lapus Lapus
Once again this reef is only dived in the off season and is actually one of the lesser dived spots on the whole island. There are two large rocks about 150m from the beautiful beach of Lapus Lapus. The reef is very shallow at 3 to 10m and the corals are very pretty given the strong currents we often encounter here.

6. Bat Cave
This is a very unusual dive where we must wait for perfect conditions; flat water and high tide. On the eastern end of the north shore of Boracay the cliffs are riddled with tunnels and caves above and below the surface of the sea. You can jump off the boat close to the cliffs and reach the bottom at just 3m deep. Swimming parallel to the shore we investigate each cavern, many of which lead to tunnels branching off in different directions. We can see lobsters, crabs, shrimps and ghost pipe fishes. Many sea snakes also rest in the damp areas above the water line. In one cave we are able to surface amongst the stalactites to see hundreds of bats hanging from the ceiling.

7. Naasog Point
30 minutes to the south of Boracay is Naasog Point, the closest dive site on the Northwest Panay peninsula. We jump in close to the cliffs and descend onto a 5m deep plateau; from there we have a vertical wall on which to enjoy long dives.

8. Dog Drift
This is a very long series of slopes and walls that runs between Naasog and Buruanga Points. The name comes from an unfortunate dead dog seen floating by when the dive site was discovered some 25 years ago. The shallower area of these reefs is at 8-10m. Different areas have different topography, but in general, there are steep slopes down to 25-30m. Corals and sponges offer many places for numerous species of reef fish and invertebrates to go about their daily business.

9. Lapu Wall
This is the most recently discovered dive spot in this area and is a little deeper than the others. A reef flat from 20-28 m deep is covered in colourful cauliflower corals leading to a vertical wall to 38m with large overhangs covered in fan corals and black coral bushes. There is abundant fish life consisting of snappers, sweetlips, surgeons, banner fish and jacks. At the base of the wall we once again encounter white sand dunes with coral outcrops where corals and fish abound. Given the depth this spot is ideal to dive on Nitrox (please see the PADI Courses section or the Nitrox page).

10. Buruanga Point
Another must dive spot while on a day trip is Buruanga Point, otherwise known as Batason Point. More recently this has become famous as “Ariel’s Point”, which is set up as a picnic place on the rocks where cliff jumping is the main attraction. In fact, the dive commences directly beneath those cliffs with a plateau at 4m depth leading onto a vertical wall down to 30m+. The wall is blanketed by colourful, soft corals playing host to groupers, trumpet fish, flute mouths, anemones with their resident anemone fish, plus the ubiquitous flatworms, nudibranchs and lionfish. There are numerous swim throughs in the deeper parts and the highlight of the dive is the resident group of horse eye trevally schooling at the corner where the current is strongest. On a day trip we will rest between dives in the spectacular Batason Bay and enjoy a BBQ lunch on the boat or the beach.

11. Batason Bay
Without moving the boat we can start the dive in the same spot as Buruanga Point, but we will swim in the opposite direction, into the bay. The wall, with its 60 to 70 degrees angle, starts at 5m and, as we follow it down, there are numerous holes and cracks to investigate. There are plenty of curtain and barrel sponges, feather stars and hard corals; anemones and lion fish are also plentiful. This is a great location for a night dive as the surface is normally calm and there is more to see at night than in daytime. Look out for the twin spot lion fish; quite rare but relatively easy to spot here at night.
12. Black Rock
This is the furthest spot in this area – about 50 minutes from Boracay but just a 15min hop from Buruanga. We moor the boat next to the barren limestone rock that gives the dive site its name, and below the boat we find numerous rocks on a flat bottom 8m deep. Swimming in a direction away from land we reach the wall which drops vertically to 30m where we find large boulders and swim throughs. A small distance from the wall there is a beautiful, sharp 10m high pinnacle covered in black corals and anemones and surrounded by an army of lion fish, constantly watching their glass fish prey. This spot is very close to deep open water and, as such, we can often see dolphins, whales and even the odd marlin breaking the surface.
Never mind what dive site you choose, once under water not a single brain cell thinks about all the daily complicated choices on Boracay! So get suited and let’s dive! It’s more fun to dive on Boracay Island!   

Editor’s Note: The Boracay Sun would like to thank Angela for the fantastic work she has done in preparing this article, and we hope that you will take a walk down to Fisheye Divers soon to speak with her about your next (or even first!) dive!

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