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Scuba Diving in Apo Island Apr 13-23, 2017

Scuba Diving in Apo Island

Dive Shop: Mario Scuba Diving and Homestay
Location Google Map: Apo Island, Dauin (municipality), Negros Oriental (province), Philippines
GPS waypoint: 09°04'40.08"N 123°16'09.19"E

World's Top 10 Dive Spots
Apo Island brings promise of scuba diving fun. I don't get the chance to dive on most of my travels so being on this island gives me eager anticipation to dive one of the world's best dive destinations.

My last dive has been over a year ago and I was feeling slightly tentative about my first dive here. But the dive masters at Mario Scuba Diving, MacMac and Jed, know exactly what buttons to push to give me that reassurance that I'm in good hands.

Coconut Dive

Date: Apr 13, 2017
Dive Site: Coconut
Dive Master: Jed
Depth: 18m
Visibility: 15m
Duration: 1 hour
Dive No.: 33

Scuba Diving in Apo Island
picture courtesy of Mathieu

Coconut is on the northern tip of Apo Island going west towards the south. It is a drift dive and one of the favorite spots on the island. A diver is likely to see big stuff on this dive.

The Dive
Visibility was not ideal but that didn't prevent us from seeing a meter-long Trevali and Mackerel on the outset. Those were the biggest I've seen! While veteran divers look for the very small stuff (muck dive), I'm still on the big ones. After those visual highlights, the thrill was left to the drift dive itself - just maintaining bouyancy as we hitched a ride on the current, watching sealife passby like a parade.

It has been a year since my last scuba dive. I didn't have difficulty during the dive, but post-dive, I noticed I couldn't open my mouth wide open. My jaw was locked perhaps from biting the mouth piece too hard. I also felt slightly nauseated - nothing a light nap couldn't fix.

Chapel Dive

Date: Apr 18, 2017
Dive Site: Chapel
Dive Master: MacMac
Depth: 18m
Visibility: 15m
Duration: 1 hour
Dive No.: 34

The Crew
With the cancellation of the Freediving class due to a boat no-show, I joined a fun dive to the Chapel dive site with 2 divers from Luxemburg, Chun and Ron with MacMac as dive master. Chapel is just in front of the main landing area but we still used a boat.

Chapel Features
Chapel is essentially a coral wall dropping down 30m. The coral reef is as healthy as it gets. Even though the visibility was less than ideal, the pristine condition of the eco-system was evident with its bright colors and coral density. Fish was not as plentiful as other dive sites but the coral splendor more than made up for it. There were lots of Nudibrank and the 'small stuff' as MacMac pointed out. As a newbie, I was still into the big stuff, hoping a huge Trevali might pass by, but nothing big showed up. Perhaps that's for another day.

Rush Hour
On 2 occasions, we came upon 2 separate group of divers heading on the opposite direction. It was a big group of perhaps 7 divers, some of them carrying a spider-like contraption of sophisticated underwater camera equipment. It felt like rush people crossing the pedestrian lane from both sides of the street. I noticed one of the other divers mistaking us for her group. She must have been thinking, "Why are they heading back?".

Coconut Dive

Date: Apr 19, 2017
Dive Site: Coconut
Dive Master: MacMac
Depth: 24m
Visibility: 10m
Duration: 50 mins
Dive No.: 35

Deja Vu, Coconut
No freediving? Then I go scuba diving - such are the offerings at Mario Scuba Diving. The next scuba dive was at Coconut. I would have preferred a dive at Rock Point as I hear many good things about it. Besides, I just dived Coconut a few days ago. Still, a dive at Coconut is always good. Most divers I asked chose Coconut as their favorite amongst all dive spots on the island.

Ron, Chun and MacMac
Like the Chapel dive, I was again diving with the Luxemburg duo Ron and Chun, together with Dive Master MacMac. I have a comfort level with this group as I often hang-out with them at the shop. Ron and Chun have gone the world over for the best dive spots - it's engaging to hear them talk about their adventures.

The Dive
It was a negative entry (empty BCD) afterwhich we hitchhiked on the current that took us along the coastal reef. The visibility was bad but the teeming fish more than made up for it - oversized but non-aggressive Titan Triggerfish, a good number of bigger-than-average sea snakes, 2 turtles, a foot-long frog fish and swimming with a school of Trevalis. The health of the reef system and the corals was A+ with colors and diversity brimming at the top.

Cogon Dive

Date: Apr 21, 2017
Dive Site: Cogon
Dive Master: Jed
Depth: 22m
Visibility: 10m
Duration: 1 hour
Dive No.: 36

The Drift
Usually, when I have a Freedive class, I skip the Scuba dive. However, with just a few days left before I leave the island, there was a sense of urgency to make the most out of my stay.

After the Freedive, I opted for the Cogon scuba dive. Like Coconut, Cogon is a drift dive but going along the east coast of the island heading south. With Mathieu as my dive buddy and Jed our Dive Master, we drifted with strong current on marginal visibility along a drop-off slope whose bottom I could not see - we hovered around 20m. We saw a school of Trevali, a huge marbled Grouper (20'), lots of sizeable sea snakes and a whole gamut of colorful supporting actors - just like being in a big aquarium with current to play with. Despite poor visibility, it all made for a great dive.

Ideal Day
This day is packed - conducting a 6am yoga class, participating in the 8:30am freediving class and doing the 12:30pm Cogon fun dive. Everyday should be this much fun.

Rock Point Dive

Date: Apr 23, 2017
Dive Site: Rock Point
Dive Master: MacMac
Dive Buddy: Saki
Depth: 18m
Visibility: 10m
Duration: 1 hour
Dive No.: 37

The Best
When I asked Ron, a veteran of many dive spots around the world, which dive spot he will choose if he could only dive one spot for the rest of this life, he simply said Rock Point at Apo Island. I asked, "Are you considering Tubbataha Reef?". He said Yes. Whoa! Having heard that, I could not leave Apo Island without a dive at Rock Point. I was already leaving that day, but Japanese advanced-diver Saki was making a last-hurrah dive. I joined her as my buddy.

Healthy Corals
No, I didn't see any big fish that got me excited, but the intensity of the corals and the reef system was totally up the roof. The colors were vivid and there was hardly a patch of sand - everything was filled to the brim with healthy corals.

Ending Thoughts
Being at Mario Scuba Diving and Homestay, I could have dived a few times a day if I wanted to. But somehow, an occassional dive was all the fix I needed. Diving is fun but I wait for the crave before putting on the wet suit - much like eating only when I'm hungry. Diving at Apo Island is as good as it gets despite less than ideal visibility during the last few days. From what I hear from veteran divers, the corals of Apo are unmatched.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Laurent MartinLaurent Martin
(Apr 28, 2017) Welcome to a new world :-)

Google Map Apo Island, Dauin, Philippines

diving spots in Apo Island dive spots
  • Coconut in Apo Island Coconut - drift dive, school of Trevali, big fish
  • Cogon in Apo Island Cogon - drift dive
  • Mamsa in Apo Island Mamsa
  • Boluarte in Apo Island Boluarte
  • Largahan in Apo Island Largahan
  • Chapel in Apo Island Chapel - wall dive
  • Katipanan in Apo Island Katipanan
  • Rock Point in Apo Island Rock Point
hotels in Apo Island homestay / dive shop in Apo Island dive shop

Apo Island FYI / Tips

Apo Island Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 45.26 as of July 7, 2015)

How to get there from Dumaguete:

Apo Island Blogs:

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