Apo Reef Diving is as close to nature as you will get!
Apo Reef diving is pure bliss for divers. Apo Reef is a number of reef systems spread out over more than 155,000 hectares, it is a big area out in the South China Sea. Apo Reef diving has some spectacular drop offs and walls with some of the best visibility in the country. If you like big fish action Apo Reef will not disappoint you, schools of trevally, tuna and the photographers dream, barracuda’s, not to mention hammerheads, white and black tip reef sharks, manta, eagle and sting rays and turtles galore. That’s just the big fish life, if you add in the, close to 500 coral and invertebrate species, you have a dynamic ecosystem waiting for you to don your scuba gear and wet!
Apo Reef and Apo Island has been in the past subject to some extremely heavy dynamite fishing for consumption and cyanide poisoning for the easy capture for the aquarium trade. These unscrupulous illegal activities have been shut down and the effected areas have regained there appeal and are growing back at a rate of knots.
Apo Reef is protected and was declared a National Park in 1996. Mind you it takes more than a declaration to stop illegal practices and I have been informed that every now and then something goes adrift.
Apo Island which is to the west of the majority of the reef system is flat and roughly about 25 hectares in size. On Apo Island you have a 35 metre lighthouse, which is used to ward of unsuspecting boats, speaking of which a number have crashed into the reef causing massive physical damage. The Apo National Park has a station on the island which is manned by rangers.
Where is Apo Reef
Apo Reef is off the west coast of the island of Mindoro in the province of
It is about 32 kilometres off the coast in the South China Sea. To the south is the Calamian Island group which is to the north of Palawan.
There is nothing other than the rangers and the lighthouse on Apo Island, so you need to bring and take away everything you bring with you. Due to it’s isolation scuba diving trips to Apo Reef are conducted on live aboard dive vessels, which give you great access to the sites with little travel time between sites with flexibility should the weather turn inclement.
Apo Reef Diving Sites
Apo Island has some great sites for viewing fantastic hard and soft corals, there are some of the largest table corals I have ever seen. The scuba diving is always conducted in some type of current and can be quite tricky. You also have some huge drop offs where can see bucket loads of turtles and other big fish.
If you like big fish encounters this is the place for you. A coral bommie that almost reaches the surface and drops sheer on the sides attracts big currents and big fish, the current can be a bit intimidating and for that reason is not a site for the beginner. Hunters Rock is about 14 kilometres west of Apo Island.
Merope Rock is similar to Hunters. It is a bommie that comes within about 14 metres of the surface, it has some good walls, if look out into the great blue you are usually rewarded with seeing big fish, sharks, barracudas and schooling trevally.
On the east coast of Apo Reef, facing Mindoro Island you will find some more sheer drops in excess of 50 metres. As the name of the site refers it is known for sharks, both white and reef tips, not to forget the barracudas, and other schooling pelagic.
As the reef system is so large there are numerous spots to explore the above is only a snippet of what is in store for you. Apo Reef diving is where you can see consistently big fish.
During surface intervals you are blessed with some of the greatest snorkeling in the world, put it this way you are going to look like a prune by the end of your trip.
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