If you are diving the Philippines, as a visitor, a resident or an expatriate; Verde Island needs to be on your scuba-safari bucket list. Situated between Batangas and the island of Mindoro, Verde Island is a day trip away from Puerto Galera (as well as Sabang and White Beach). The area around Verde Island boasts some of the best diving in the area, which is to say some of the best diving anywhere in the world. Depending on the tide, the currents in the area run from tepid to strong. This dive is therefore best suited to more experienced divers with an advanced PADI open water certification.
With over 300 coral species, the area (known as the “coral triangle) is considered one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of coral found anywhere. The pristine coral attracts an astonishing array of marine lifeincluding dense schools of anthia fish, dolphins, fans,sea whips, sea snakes,rays, reef sharks, as well as endangered species such as hawksbill turtles, olive ridley turtles, green turtles, humphead wrasses, giant groupers and giant clams.
Because Verde Island is some distance from our location on Big La Laguna, you should coordinate with Scandi’s dive team to organize a day trip to remember. It’s best to enlist a few like-minded advanced divers for the trip to share the cost of the boat and crew. More importantly, you’ll definitely want to compadres for the experience as you explore the stunning beauty of a Verde Island Dive.
Verde Island Dive Trip Logistics: The boat leaves early in the morning to catch the proper tides for diving Pinnacle, Coral Garden or Washing Machine. Scandi will organize a dive master and crew who will take care of your gear and lunch after your two dives. The crew brings drinking water and towels as well as most everything you need besides a camera (which you will definitely want). Typically the dives are separated by a surface interval followed by lunch on the beach before you head back to Scandi in the early afternoon.
The Pinnacle/Drop Off
The Pinnacle is a massive reef located on the east side of Verde Island. Your boat will drop you near the point or pinnacle of the reef where you descend to explore the amazing variety of coral and marine life denizens of the reef formation. It’s important to maintain buoyancy and stay with the dive master as the current is best gaged by a diver with plenty of Verde Island experience to ensure you don’t get blown off the wall or caught in a rogue up or down current. As you traverse through the dive, you will see large fan coral, sponges and large schools of juvenile triggerfish, butterfly fish and antheas. The area is so abundant with life, that the schools actually obscure the surface. The variety of marine life as well as the hard and soft coral together with great visibility make this Puerto Galera’s premier dive.
After the stunning experience of the Drop Off, Washing Machine makes for a wholly different scuba experience. Depending on the tidal conditions when you dive, you might experience currents that rip across several shallow canyons that push you in different directions or a great, shallow dive for photographing sea life and coral. Besides a wild current ride, you can see schooling fish and occasionally pelagics such as tuna, traveled or reef sharks. With the current churning, hence the name “Washing Machine,” it may shift direction unexpectedly and so the dive is reserved for experienced divers with and experienced guide.