Intro by Dezza, 24 November 2020. Article written by David Parker.
In my latest blog, we looked at the top 15 places to visit in Subic Bay. As mentioned in that blog, due to all the travel protocols needed as part of “the new normal”, more and more people are searching for places in the Philippines they don’t need to fly to.
Most notably, people are looking for places close to Manila. This means they can drive there without the need to undergo swab tests, quarantine and pay all the extra costs involved. It’s much easier to just jump in a car and drive somewhere. Hence the reason for me writing about Subic Bay.
So continuing on with the topic of Subic Bay, I thought I would share with you an article written by a good friend of mine, a fellow expat, Dave Parker. “Scuba Dave” has been living in the Philippines for a number of years and is a scuba diving enthusiast.
Not only that, he is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT), PADI Speciality NITROX Instructor and Emergency First Response Instructor. There aren’t many of the best places in the Philippines Dave hasn’t been to for scuba diving. Therefore, for my latest blog, I would like to share with you an article Dave has written about the best places to scuba dive in Subic Bay.
For those that don’t know, Subic Bay is synonymous with Wreck Diving. However, like many places around the country, there are also lovely coral reef dives in Subic Bay.
So, please continue to read below to learn more about what Subic Bay has to offer for all the scuba diving enthusiasts out there. Even if you aren’t a scuba diver, there are some great history lessons in this article which I’m sure you’ll find enjoyable.
Subic Bay is a bay on the west coast of the island of Luzon in the Philippines, about 100 kms northwest of Manila Bay. The natural harbour shores were formerly the site of a United States Navy facility, now an industrial and commercial area known as the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
For most visitors, the area known as Subic is generally recognised as two distinct locations, first Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Olongapo a local Municipality. It is also fast becoming one of the most sought after Philippines destinations.
For the answer, we must go back to WWII and the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Geographically, Subic Bay has tremendous strategic importance not only during the Second World War but also today. It provides one of nature’s secure and safe anchorages which makes it perfect to use as a natural harbour. Many of the wrecks in Subic Bay are from either the 1898 Spanish/American War or of World War II.
Sunken boat/shipwrecks over time become a natural haven for marine life to make it their new home and as such effectively become artificial coral reefs. This makes for some spectacular marine species viewing at a known location that is generally easy to navigate.
Additionally, some shipwrecks from WWII are of very large vessels with open access to the interior of the wreck. This allows for Scuba Dive penetration inside the cavity of the vessel which can be an extremely exhilarating experience. It can also be an extremely dangerous activity and even life-threatening in some cases.
To understand the nature of wreck diving we must segment the type of dive into some categories. First, how deep is the wreck dive site? Is it close to the shore or is it in “Blue Water” at great depth?
For many sunken wrecks that are close to the shoreline, it is normally possible for an Open Water recreational scuba diver to dive to the location and observe the wreck from the outside only if it is in less than 18 metres of water.
If the wreck is deeper than 18 metres or if the wreck can be penetrated, then the diver’s skill level must reflect his or her ability and accreditation to be able to safely dive the site.
Some of the skill sets include Advance Open Water status, Specialty Wreck Diving Status, Professional level of accreditation and or Technical Diving skills and knowledge.
One should only scuba dive at a dive site to match your own level of accreditation and certified skill level. For Wreck Dives it is essential to have an experienced and technically proficient dive guide or dive professional.
Many wreck dive sites are heavily silted up with sediment and this is especially true inside the body of a wreck. Therefore, correct scuba diving skills must be employed such as buoyancy and finning.
If an inexperienced diver or a diver does not perform the correct skill levels at a wreck site then the likelihood of “clouding” the water and causing disorientation, lack of sight and depth and even death can occur.
There are many more dive sites that have been identified around the area of Subic Bay. The above list highlights the diversity of scuba diving that Subic Bay has to offer.
So, if you are thinking about somewhere that you can simply drive to from Manila, then Subic Bay is definitely somewhere you should consider going. The roads driving up there are great, the scenery is mindblowing and it’s less than a 3-hour drive from Manila. What more could you possibly want to break the COVID-19 lockdown?
If you want to contact Dave and discuss scuba diving in Subic Bay or any other place in the Philippines for that matter, please feel free to email him at email@example.com.
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