As a diver with a young family finding a great holiday location to suit everyone is difficult. Boracay, in the Philippines, offers a fantastic choice. It has plenty of nightlife, shopping and a variety of watersports… and most of all, it’s suitable for all age groups. It also has some fantastic artificial reefs in the form of these two wrecks:
Camia wreck, Boracay
I first visited this area a few years ago as a guest at a friend’s wedding and a few of us took some time out from the celebrations to go for a dive. The party island of Boracay is home to some great diving and the local diving industry has gone to a great deal of effort to provide a safe introduction to wreck diving.
The Camia is a 30m steel-hulled cargo ship, deliberately sunk as a dive site and artificial reef in 2001. Lying on a rocky, sandy bottom in 25-30m of water it is developing nicely as home to hard coral and many species of marine life. The vessel can be penetrated however a safety line is advised as the silt can build up and visibility can go without warning if someone kicks too hard. Some entries are tight so care is needed.
Inside you will see numerous pairs of batfish and various reef fish, stonefish and scorpionfish. Look carefully and you will find pygmy seahorses. Red bass and barracuda patrol the vessel and occasionally a grey or black tip shark will make an appearance. This is a year round dive for the advanced diver, but contact a local dive guide for the best times as currents can get very strong and avoid the rainy season if possible. The dive is located between Virgin Drop and Coral Garden and is usually buoyed off.
Tri-Bird wreck, Boracay
Again, the local dive industry should be congratulated… the second deliberately sunk wreck forming a new artificial reef is a plane!
In 2009, this Russian 3 engine jet crashed on the runway at Caticlan, so it was decided in 2012 to sink it approximately 1 mile off White Beach as a dive site. It now sits upside down on a sandy bottom in 27-30m of water.
This 21m long, 25m wingspan 36 seater jet is a joy to dive; the seats are stripped out so penetration is simple and fun. If you think boats look good on the bottom, you have to see this! Patrolled by black tips if you are lucky, there are numerous reef fish in and around the plane. On the seabed, under the fuselage, you can find stonefish and scorpionfish, whilst off in the sand various rays lay watching. It is great to swim away a little, then look back to see the whole plane resting on the seabed; this offers fantastic opportunities for the photographer.
As with the Camia, this is a dive for advanced divers. Contact your local guide for the best time and to avoid the strong currents that are sometimes around the area.
This dive will certainly make an impression on you. Nitrox is available at the majority of dive operators and the standard of local dive guides is very good. Hire equipment is readily available, as is instruction with the usual agencies.