Dauin diving showcases the weird and wonderful macro life that this coast has to offer. With fantastic muck diving opportunities and challenging drift dives on the nearby Apo Island, Dauin provides something for all divers.
Diving in Dauin
Located on the southern coast of Negros Island in the Visayas region of the Philippines, Dauin is fast becoming a famous dive destination. There are several nearby dive hotspots like Dumaguete and Apo Island to explore as well.
It is a popular location for people to do beginner dive courses - the gently sloped, sandy sea bed makes for an excellent classroom. For experienced divers, there is the chance to see not only rare macro beasties but also dive the dramatic walls and caves of Apo Island. Photographers are in for a treat at these dive sites - with plenty of macro hidden in the sand.
There are several dive resorts and dive centres to choose from too. There are more independent dive centres than resorts, though there are a few places where you can stay and dive. Some liveaboards frequent the area but as the majority of dive sites are shore dives, staying on land is sometimes more convenient.
Best time to dive
Dauin diving is good all year round but it is dependent on the month. The wet season (which runs from June to November) can offer slightly more challenging diving. Though the rains do not affect the diving so much, the increased winds (and chances of typhoons) in September and October can increase the waves and decrease the visibility. Luckily, as most dives are shore dives - seasickness shouldn’t be a problem!
The dry season from December to June offers the best diving. There is less rainfall and the seas tend to be at their calmest. The coldest months are December and January where the water temperatures can get down to 25oC. The hottest months (for both air and water) are May and June.
Types of diving
The most famous diving around Dauin is muck diving. The silty ocean floor has a plethora of macro critters to investigate. Though these dives are suitable for all levels of diver, good buoyancy will help you (and your fellow divers!) enjoy the dive much more. Excess hand movement and flutter kicking can stir up the sand, which makes finding tiny animals or focusing your camera much harder!
As stated, dive resorts and dive centres offer plenty of choice for all manners of budgets. Most options allow you to stay where you like, which can help the more thrifty travellers. It is a popular location for dive courses - the gradual slopes make it perfect for newbie divers.
What to see
Weird and wonderful critters await you underneath the “mucky” silt floor of most dives. Nudibranch are revered by many divers, and it’s easy to see why here, with diverse individuals jostling for your attention. Cephalopod lovers will not be disappointed; with coconut, mimic and deadly blue-ringed octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, bobtail squid and wonderpus. The comical frogfish make excellent creatures to look for, as they come in so many shapes and sizes. Lobsters, shrimps and crabs come in many types such as the hard-to-spot orangutan crab which hides in flowing anemones. Among the seagrass and corals, there are also ghost pipefish and seahorses.
The reef fish are here in abundance as well. Schools of jacks, barracuda, snapper and fusiliers are typical sights along with the bigger fish in the blue like trevally, reef sharks, turtles and tuna. Along the reef bed, you may see moray and ribbon eels and undulating black and white striped sea snakes. One particular treat is the vibrant mandarin fish.
Best places to dive
The Chapel (Apo Island) is a steep wall with caves to explore at around 20m. It is best suited to advanced divers. Coconut Point (Apo Island). Due to its strong currents, it is nicknamed the “washing machine” and is only really suitable for divers experienced with currents. It features some big fish in the blue which come to enjoy the fast-moving water, including tuna, trevally and reef sharks.
Mamsa Point (Apo Island). This is a deep site, with a sand and coral bed lying at 25m. Divers can see lots of turtles, eagle rays, moray eels and lots of reef fish.
Pura Vida House Reef. This shallow oasis of marine fish is great for beginners and night dives. Growing on man-made structures like concrete blocks, steel structures and car wrecks, the coral here plays host to fish galore.
Bonnet’s Corner. A true muck dive, with no corals - only sand. This is a perfect dive for macro enthusiasts. You can also spot octopus making their way across the sand as well as cuttlefish and frogfish.