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Scuba Diving Marinduque

 

Class 2 Philippine Scuba Diving Destination

Scuba diving around Marinduque is mostly for pioneers, insomuch as the mainstream scuba diving industry has chosen to bypass the island group in favor of places easier to reach. However . . .

Marinduque has had a long and varied maritime history, as the seabed around this island group bares evidence. Whether it be Chinese pirate ships, Spanish Galleons or World War II ships of the line, shipwrecks are very much a part of the underwater scenery around Marinduque, and scuba diving is the best way to undertake discovery beneath the waves.

That is not to say that around Marinduque you should only expect to dive on shipwrecks. The Marinduque island group sits squarely in the middle of the marine migration route between the San Bernardino Strait and the Verde Island Passage; between the Pacific Ocean and the West Philippines Sea. In addition to a myriad of reef fish, throughout the year, various pelagic species pass by the islands on their way to and from the Ocean and the Sea.

Getting to and from Marinduque is not as easy as some other Philippine scuba diving destinations. At the moment (2014) there are no scheduled flights into Marinduque's Boac airport so most visitors come via a two to three hour bus ride from Manila to Lucena City, followed by a three hour ferry ride to the island. Within 2014 it is anticipated that regular flights, from Manila and / or Cebu, will resume into Boac airport, once the navigational aids at the airport have been upgraded and the airport runway has been resurfaced.

The main challenges for scuba divers in Marinduque are the sparse facilities and the weather – the waters around Marinduque are very exposed and the monsoon winds keep the sea a little choppy.

Opportunities For Scuba Diving In Marinduque

Scuba diving in and around Marinduque is good. The coral reefs are mostly in excellent health and visibility is excellent throughout the year. There are two phrases that predominate when scuba divers refer to Marinduque: drift diving the walls and exploring wrecks. Although this is not illustrate the whole picture, it is a good start.

Natanco, Mogpog

Scuba diving North of Mogpog town, along the Natanco reef wall, you can drift dive with the mostly gentle tidal flows and feast your eyes on prolific marine life, including gorgonian fans and other spectacular coral formations; fish at Natanco may include highlights such as large grouper and shoals of tuna. Look over your shoulder into the deep blue and you may see a hammerhead shark passing. Not far from Natanco, at Balanan, is a World War II Japanese torpedo boat, lying in about 40 meters; missing a few bits and pieces to salvage the torpedo boat makes an interesting dive for experienced scuba divers.


Baltazar Melchor Gaspar

South of Natanco, the Tres Reyes island group are known by the names of the biblical 'three kings' - Baltazar, Melchor and Gaspar - of which Baltazar offers perhaps the best adventure diving of any Marinduque area. Scuba dive up to 20 meters and observe beautiful corals and a wide variety of marine life. Don't forget you camera. Off Balthazar Island is a cave entrance that is divable to 28 meters; the cave is a popular place for stonefish to hang out - a great incentive to keep you feet off the floor. What is believed to be a Chinese pirate ship is easy to dive between to Melchor Island and Gaspar Island.


Elephant Island

Another spectacular wall dive area South of Baltazar Island, off the southwest of Marinduque, is around Elephant Island; drift diving around Elephant Island is manageable but the tidal flows are stronger here so you may not want to make this your first ever drift dive. Bring your camera though, the corals and marine life are brilliant in color and form and the visibility very good.


Torrijos

Going East and a little North are the scuba diving areas off Torrijos. The diving off Torrijos will suit the investigator diver. The area is known for its fissures, rocks and caverns where all manner of small and large marine life can find refuge and opportunity to ambush lunch. Cruising as top predator off Torrijos are frequent shoals of barracuda. With a maximum depth of around 15 meters, Torrijos also offers the most accessible dive sites around Marindque, for divers of all levels of experience.


New Dive Sites

As Marinduque becomes more popular, new dive sites are being charted all the time. For example: between Polo Island and Miniwaya Island, to the northeast, has recently been enthusiastically noted for scuba diving, as has the area off Banot Island along the North coast. The bottom line is that, if you are a scuba diver who enjoys going where few have gone before then Marinduque should be on your bucket list.

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Scuba Diving Equipment Rental In Marinduque

Scuba diving equipment rental in Marinduque is a challenge insomuch as there is only one dive shop on the whole island - in Torrijos. However, renting scuba diving equipment is possible by prior arrangement through almost every Marinduque beach resort or hotel, you just have to plan ahead a little bit more than at most other places in the Philippines.

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