Badladz Resort

Puerto Galera Philippines

Scuba Diving at Verde Island

A famous dive site in Puerto Galera is the Verde Island Passage. You can see Verde Island from our BADLADZ Beach Resort. It rises out of the water, appearing as an ancient volcano. While it’s a beautiful geographical landmark above the surface, the real treasure lies under the water.

Verde Island and the surrounding waters are known as the “center of marine biodiversity in the world”. Yes, you read that correctly. In other words, there are more species of fish and coral per square meter in this location, than anywhere else in the world, including the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

All this fantastic ocean life filters out to the waters around Puerto Galera. With over 40 dive sites that will delight even the most avid divers, Puerto Galera is a scuba diving paradise.

Now, if you decide to take a boat out to Verde Island, you’ll be riding for about 50 minutes. That’s how close it is. Here at BADLADZ Scuba Diving, we can take you there. You have the option to add on a delicious BBQ lunch cooked and prepared by our staff, along with the best scuba diving in the world.

Where is Verde Island Philippines?

Verde Island is only a 50-minute boat trip from Puerto Galera and a FANTASTIC day trip with warm water, 30m plus on average visibility, and walls of fish and coral life. It all adds up to a world-class destination!

The currents around the island are quite strong so this world-class diving is really for more experienced divers.

History of Verde Island

These treasures were all salvaged from the 18th Century Manila Galleon the ‘Nuestra Senora de la Vida’ on its voyage bound for Central America. History has documented the sinking of the ‘Nuestra Senora de la Vida,’ in 1620 as the result of a grave miscalculation by the ship’s pilot. The angry passengers, among whom were probably owners of the valuable cargo, hanged the hopeless pilot as the ship was sinking.

Marine Life at Verde Island Passage

In a 2005 study (Carpenter and Springer) the Verde Island Passage near Puerto Galera was discovered to be the world’s “center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity,” hosting the greatest number of shore fish species.

A coral survey recorded 319 species and 74 genera of hard corals. At least half the Philippines’ fish species and many globally threatened species can be found here. Many studies in the Verde Passage continue to yield discoveries of species that are new to science. This further underscores the global biological importance of this area.

Verde Island Passage encompasses more than 17,000 hectares of critical habitats. This includes at least 3,000 hectares of no-take zones, over 14,000 hectares of fishery reserves, and more than 300 hectares of mangrove forest conservation areas. These sites were chosen as a result of biological and social research and they represent the areas that have the most potential for delivering conservation benefits.

Enhanced eco-tourism income and other benefits are proving the value of marine biodiversity conservation.

Scuba Diving at Verde Island

Verde Island Diving is really unique and exciting. There are not many places in the world where you can enjoy fantastic scuba diving and also your surface interval when you can wander the beach and discover pieces of porcelain from Spanish Galleons shipwrecked centuries before.

Usually, a surface interval is pretty uninspiring. Perhaps you get in a bit of snorkeling or you catch a few rays of the sun or check your photos, but on Verde Island, you get to do something few people in the world have ever done or probably will ever do.

A Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Senora de la Vida, which sank in 1620, was discovered in the late seventies just off Verde Island on the southern side. It was heavily salvaged in the ’70s and ’80s and nothing remains of the wreck except for a few pieces of porcelain. The larger plates and terracotta jars are now long gone but you can still go “treasure hunting” for little pieces of porcelain on the beach or near the wreck. It’s a nice souvenir to go home with!

Verde Island Diving

There are 3 standout dives on Verde Island Philippines.

1. The Pinnacle

A huge underwater reef that comes to the surface on the eastern side of Verde Island, the Pinnacle is like a column that starts in about 60m of water and rises, narrowing as it gets to the surface.

You have to be aware, the currents are ferocious with some down current. The idea is to get as close to the pinnacle as possible and then descend to your agreed depth. The dive will then zig-zag up the pinnacle exploring the fantastic corals and marine life that inhabit this underwater behemoth.

If you look out onto the blue you can sometimes see schools of pelagics which is always a bonus. With the current running fast you cannot circumnavigate the pinnacle as you will just get washed away with the current.

This is a world-class dive with brilliant visibility if your diving in Puerto Galera make sure you request a day trip to Verde Island.

2. The Washing Machine

The first thing you must know about the Washing Machine is that there are two ways of diving this location. The first is in slack water and the other is during the ebb tide where the current turns the location into the Washing Machine.

A site is a number of small canyons and swim-throughs which do not get much deeper than 15m, the canyons are all interlocking. The current runs through these passages and canyons with the water rushing in all directions. Then, due to the directions of the passages, the current runs into itself creating a washing machine effect. One second the current pulls you in one direction the next the other. It’s quite exhilarating and not for those with little experience who would not enjoy this dive at all.

Make sure you wear a full wet suit as you may get the odd scrape.

Diving during slack water, you can enjoy the diversity of coral life and fish. There are some great sea whips and fans that thrive in the currents.

3. The Wall

The best-known site on the island is The Wall which is a sheer drop of over 70m into the depths. Beautiful corals and gorgonian fans cover the wall and the colors are superb. Marine life is prolific and there are big groups of batfish, emperors, and surgeons everywhere. The strong waters may well pull in larger pelagics such as tuna, white tip, and blacktip sharks. Manta and eagle rays are sometimes seen cruising past in the deeper blue.

Photography at Verde

The profusion of marine life, corals, and the topography of the island can be very rewarding for photography.

There are also some great beaches, coves, and a museum that contains artifacts collected from Spanish and Chinese shipwrecks.

The reefs around Verde Island have a reputation for their great bio-diversity, and the dive sites are excellent for macro photographers.

Visit Verde Island With BADLADZ Scuba Diving

Do you want to go diving at Verde Island? BADLADZ Scuba Diving does day trips out to Verde Island.

The trip consists of a 50-minute boat ride to the island. When we get there you will get 2 dives at 2 different sites. If you added the BBQ we will end the day on the Island itself.

One last note, this dive is not a dive for beginners. The strong up and down currents can make this dive quite a challenge. This is for advanced divers and above only. We also need to see all divers dive at least once before we can take you there. This is to make sure that you are ready for the possibility of a strong current. The total time is 7 hours for the trip. The total time is 7 hours for the trip.

Please submit an inquiry here or learn more about BADLADZ Scuba Diving here.

Cheers,

Sean

Editors Note: This blog post was originally published September 15, 2015, and has been updated with revised and additional content.

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