If you are looking forward to the experience of the magnificent Puerto Galera diving, you’re not alone.
You will find that one of the best locations in the world for scuba diving is in Puerto Galera. We host divers who come to dive with BADLADZ from all corners of the globe.
Why Puerto Galera Diving?
One thing that people love about the Puerto Galera diving is that it’s always exciting. In the waters surrounding Puerto Galera, there are around 40 dive spots including surreal underwater caves, beautiful tropical reefs and mind-blowing shipwrecks.
It boggles the mind how much diversity is along a relatively small stretch of coastline. Under the sea, the cliffs slope deep down below and sea life flourishes.
Puerto Galera diving started more than thirty-five years ago. Back then, it was tougher. If you had come here back then, you would have had to carry your own equipment with you to the island! These days, this island paradise is overflowing with dive shops, most within a short distance to each other. Here at BADLADZ Dive Resort, we have an attached dive shop so if you stay here, diving is simplified with us.
Another thing people love about Puerto Galera diving is that they can come diving any time of the year to dive since our weather is warm year round and we don’t see the kinds of storms a lot of the other islands in the Philippines experience. Depending on the season, the Puerto Galera water diving temperature ranges from 26 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Puerto Galera Diving Season
Many of our divers say another reason they like Puerto Galera diving is it’s in a great location. The islands and mountains around Puerto Galera shelter it from typhoons and storm surges. However, despite the fact that Puerto Galera diving is year round, high season and low season are worth keeping in mind.
High season runs from mid-December to the end of May while low season starts at the end of May and runs through to mid-December. During high season, the weather is better, however visibility can be lower. During the low season, weather in Puerto Galera is receives occasional rain, wind and the occasional typhoon. However, don’t be put off. Often, when it comes to diving in Puerto Galera, the best visibility is during low season.
One of the great things about Puerto Galera diving is that most of the dive spots are around 10 to 15 minutes from the dive center. Since they are close, you will be able to get a lot of value for your time while diving in Puerto Galera. We like to dive in the morning and the afternoon, but you could always do one or the other and enjoy the other half of the day as you like with other activities.
PADI in Puerto Galera Philippines
If you’re looking for a diving education, you’ll be glad to come to dive in Puerto Galera. We teach internationally recognized courses from PADI. To kick off your diving education, start with a Discover Scuba Diving course – an adventure that will blow your mind.
Whether you are a complete beginner and learning to dive or experienced and looking to expand your qualifications, you’ll have all that you need here. There are countless options and opportunities for you to develop yourself as a diver.
At BADLADZ, all the instructors are friendly, fun and professional. If you book a room a BADLADZ, you’ll have great accommodation and many opportunities to enjoy Puerto Galera diving.
Puerto Galera Dive Sites
There are over 40 great scuba diving sites in Puerto Galera. Because of our great location we are only a 20 minute ride from all the dive sites in Puerto Galera.
Here are some of the most popular dive sites:
- Hole In The Wall (18m/60′)
- The Canyons (30m/100′)
- Shark Cave (27m/90′)
- Odie’s Dingding (33m/110′)
- Sabang Point (24m/80′ multilevel)
- Monkey Wreck (42m/140′)
- Manila Channel (18m/60′)
- Coral Gardens (10m/30′)
- Alma Jane Wreck (25m-30m/66′-100′)
- The Hill (12m/40′)
- Batangas Channel (15m/50′)
- St. Christopher (24m/80′ mulitlevel)
- Monkey Beach (18m/60′)
- Ernie’s Caves (27m/90′ mulitilevel)
- Dungon Wall (27m/90′ multilevel)
- Wreck Point (15m/50′)
- West Escarceo (30m/100′ multilevel)
- The Atoll (33m/110′)
- Pink Wall (12m/40′)
- Sabang Junk (18m/60′)
- Japanese Wreck (42m/140′)
- Sinandigan Wall (40m/130′ mulitlevel)
- Washing Machine (15m/50′), Verde
- Drop Off (any depth, multilevel), Verde
You can learn more about Puerto Galera Dive Sites here…
The Best Diving Spots in Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera has always been one of the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines, and one of the reasons for this is the great diving spots like nothing you’ve ever seen before. There is a treasure trove of Puerto Galera diving sites as there are at least 40 dive sites you can choose from.
Picking the best diving spots in Puerto Galera can be a matter of debate, but some diving sites do tend to be popular more often when divers are eager to make a choice. Among the most popular choices are:
Canyons Dive Site
This diving site is invariably mentioned whenever the topic of best diving spots come up, and for many advanced divers it actually is the best. However, it’s not a unanimous choice because it’s only for advanced divers. Using Nitrox is truly and strongly recommended, and the currents here can be really strong. Just about every kind of corral can be found all over the reef. The colors are amazing. What’s more, the wide variety of fishes and other marine life can be breath-taking. They seem to be everywhere, and sometimes sharks will make an appearance. A single dive won’t be enough to show you its entire splendor, and you’ll really want to come back time and again.
Hole in the Wall Dive Site
This remarkable dive site is on Escarceo Point, and it’s about 60 feet down. You drop into illuminated water, and you’re surrounded by wondrous table corals that are as good as anywhere else. As you descend, you’ll find the hole, which is about 5 feet wide. It’s a little hole in the middle of a huge rock, and that’s where you swim through. You’ve got lots of sponges, fans, soft corals, along with marine life like turtles and snappers. While the current can get strong, it’s easy enough at slack high tide.
Giant Clams Dive Site
The Giant Clams is a fantastic site for beginners, at an average depth of 9 or 10 meters. Despite the shallow depth, there is lots to see, including marvelous coral that grows from the ocean floor. Then there are the giant clams, some of them 60 years old, that are truly a sight to see. If you look carefully, you’ll also find reef octopuses that can change color in the blink of an eye hiding under the rocks.
Sabang Wrecks Dive Site
Three sunken boats can be dived here, and you can see a wide variety of fish here, including surgeonfish, batfish, and smaller damselfish. The deepest is about 70 feet down, and you can do all three wrecks in one dive. Each wreck may seem like its own little town, and they’re all crawling with marine animals. If you’re lucky, your lights can attract the curiosity of small schools of baby squid.
Sinandigan Wall Dive Site
Do you like nudibranchs? There are a lot of them here, and more than a dozen different types may be found in just one dive. There’s a truly divers aquatic life here, with large numbers of fish and soft corals.
That’s just 5 diving sites for you to explore. If you’re trying to make your own list, you may want to visit all the diving sites in Puerto Galera to see which ones are truly the best for you.
Puerto Galera Bay – A Perfect Habitat
The beautiful bay of Puerto Galera provides the perfect habitat for both creatures. The nutrient rich bay provides an ideal environment where both the mimic and wonder-puss thrive. The fine sandy bottom enables the octopus to hide, leaving only it’s eye stalks above the sand. From this hiding place they are not only safer from potential predators but are also then able to survey the surrounding area for prey. Puerto Galera Bay is full of potential food sources for them and yet another reason whey many divers say they love Puerto Galera diving compared to other places.
Many people spend large amounts of money and time to go all the way to Indonesia or Australia, in hopes of spotting the mimic. Here in Puerto Galera Bay, Philippines, just 3 hours from Manila, and you have an even better chance at a fraction of the price. Puerto Galera Bay is a unique microcosm, that provides the ideal habitat for both the mimic and wonder-puss.
BADLADZ Scuba Diving
Visiting BADLADZ Scuba Diving in Puerto Galera greatly increases your chances to see both the elusive mimic octopus and the wonderful octopus. Both are listed as exotic species, which means that they are classified as rare.
Gavin, Christian & Bon are our dive masters here at BADLADZ Scuba Diving. They are true experts in finding both species. We would venture to say that your chances of spotting the creatures while diving with BADLADZ Scuba Diving are bigger than with any other dive shop. This is because BADLADZ Scuba Diving is the only shop located inside the bay. We work hard to explore every crevice of this amazing area, rendering us the macro experts in Puerto Galera diving. Because of this, eager macro lovers, photographers and biologists flock to BADLADZ Scuba Diving in order to experience the full potential of finding exotic species in the bay.
We have have had a success rate of spotting either the mimic or wonder-puss in the 2 best dive sites in the area. One of our favorite things to do is take as many pictures as we can to determine if the octopus seen was indeed a mimic or whether it was a wunderpus. There are often heated debates about which one we have seen. We discuss eye stalk size, markings (whether the stripes on the arms go all the way down to the suckers (wunderpus) or whether there is a defined white stripe near the suckers (mimic), behavior, movement and size.
To help us with our classification of Puerto Galera diving marine life, here is more information about these wonderful creatures. Here is the best of the best of what we found.
Marine Life in Puerto Galera
Meet Bob the Biggest Sea Turtle in Puerto Galera
This right here is Bob, Bob is our resident Green turtle that lives here pretty much year round. Everybody loves to meet him since he is such a large figure sitting under the water.
95% of the time we go to visit him he is there and what is even better is that you don’t need to be a trained diver to see him since he likes to stay in shallow water,in a few hours our experience friendly instructors can show you the basics of scuba diving and can have you under the water meeting Bob.
It is hard to know exactly how old Bob is but he is around 60 years+, we can tell this from his size, Bob is a huge green turtle probably safe to say the biggest around by a good amount , everyone that see’s him is amazed at his size, he is well over 6 feet long, 4 feet wide and sits around 2 feet high. How do we know Bob is a he? The easy way to tell is by his his tail, males have longer pointed tails and the females have shorted stumpier tales.
They all called green turtles not because of the color of their shells but the color of their flesh. They don’t actually eat fish instead they consume mostly just sea grass. This sea grass causes their flesh to take on a heavy green color. At the time Europeans first started exploring the globe they encountered green turtles in what is now the Caribbean.
Stories go that there was so many turtles they would constantly hear the shells knocking and banging against the wooden hulls as they sailed close to shore, this was an easy source of food for these early explorers and this is where the green flesh was first discovered.
Luckily this doesn’t happen around here 🙂 usually we only need a few minutes to find Bob when we go Puerto Galera diving, and as you can tell from the photos he is very friendly and is very willing to pose for a selfie . We always say when approaching a big turtle like this to come from the side so they can see you coming and not directly from the front which doesn’t give them much room to escape, we have found if you come from the sides then you can observe them for a lot longer.
If you want to see Bob come visit us when you book your next Puerto Galera diving trip.
Frog Fish in the Philippines
Frog fish come in many colors and sizes. Making the frog fish a favorite find among divers and photographers alike. Here diving in Puerto Galera we have spotted many different frog fish.
From purple, yellow, black red and even purple giant frog fish. In Puerto Galera Bay you will find rich breeding grounds and therefore the option to spot baby frog fish. We have also been so lucky to find the clown frog fish, and the amazing hairy frog fish, and other rare species like this octopus!
Sponge Bob – The Friendliest Frog Fish in Puerto Galera
Looking for Frog Fish in the Philippines?
The frog fish is member of the angler family. They are best at camouflaging itself as a sponge or piece of coral. However this guy decided to venture out of his comfort zone and go for a walk! He is not the most agile of swimmers and tends to bounce about. But he gets there eventually.
The frog fish propels himself using his arms and legs and inhaling water through his mouth.
These frog fish in the Philippines may look funny but the frog fish is actually a fierce predator! He can expand his mouth 12 times it’s original size and then devour his prey in Milli-seconds! Often eating prey twice it’s own size! It literally waits patiently and then sucks in its unsuspecting prey.
It really is a site to see when you’re diving. They are beautiful fish we get to enjoy here when we go diving in Puerto Galera.
Hairy Frogfish in Puerto Galera
The Hairy Frogfish is one of our favorite sea creatures we find here when you go Puerto Galera diving.
Every now and again we find something that even surprises our dive guides, not too long ago we found this very rareHairy Frogfish, one of our guides has done more than 1,000 dives in Puerto Galera and this was the first one he ever saw. We hope to be able to show you it soon also.
Frogfish alone are rare animals but Hairy Frogfish are extremely rare , as you can see from the photos they are very good at camouflaging themselves next to pieces of soft coral usually resting on the sandy bottom doing their best not to get noticed, if you didn’t have your eye peeled it is so easy to swim past one of these without noticing. This is were our dive guides can help.
If you look closely at this photo you will be able to see the frogfishs esca, the esca is the curled up worm looking thing sitting on top of its head, they use this esca as a lure to catch food.
The frogfish lacks a proper swim bladder they can only walk on the bottom using there hand like front fins to move around, when they find something tasty to eat they deploy their esca out and move it around to lure potential meals closer to their mouths , just like how fishermen use a lure to catch fish.
The Fast Frogfish
When a frogfish does strike it does it within 6 / 1,000 of a second, if you are not sure how fast that is, it is so fast you probably won’t even see it with naked eyes. Often you will only see the tail of the poor fish poking out of the frogfish mouth trying to get get away. Since the frogfish lacks proper teeth they swallow their prey whole trapping them inside their huge expanding stomachs. Frogfish like this one here can eat an animal the same size as itself.
Octopus Mototi in Puerto Galera Philippines
Another really rare animal when you go Puerto Galera diving is a Octopus Mototi even rarer than a blue ring octopus, one of the most dangerous animals in the world, when approached or annoyed they will display 2 bright iridescent blue rings either side of their mantle to warn predators to stay away, this one here had just finished breakfast so wasn’t that bothered at me taking photos.
Be Careful of the Octopus Mototi
The poison this octopus has is similar to the poison found in pufferfish and poison tree frogs that is 1,200 time more toxic than cyanide. The poison is found inside the saliva glands behind its brain and when it bites the saliva will mix into the wound , however you probably won’t even feel the bite since its beak is so small. This can make it difficult for rescue personnel to determine the reason of a patients illness. Experiments on rabbits indicated that a single adult blue ringed octopus weighing only 25g had enough venom to fatally paralyze 10 large humans.
Some victims have reported being conscious but unable to move or speak and victims have reported still being able to see rescuers give them CPR, they may even appear clinically dead since the heart can beat so slow as a result of the venom with pupils fixed and dilated, In fact, there is some question if the octopus even needs to bite to envenomate a human.
It has also been viewed in the wild that the octopus is so venomous that it can paralyze its prey without even biting it , merely releasing it’s saliva into the surrounding water.
There’s no known antidote for this venom. The only known treatment is hours of heart massage and artificial respiration until the poison has worked its way out of your system , this treatment may need to last for 24 hours depending on the amount of venom.Another good reason to always be careful of your buoyancy and make sure your body is off the bottom.
The Amazing Mimic Octopus and the Wunderpus!
Puerto Galera diving in the bay is diving heaven in the beautiful country The Republic of The Philippines. It is one of the top diving destinations in the country. This epi-centre of biodiversity hosts 40 different dive sites. However the best kept secret here is Puerto Galera bay itself.
The Mimic Octopus
The octopus mimics the physical likeness and movements of more than 15 different species, including sea snakes, lionfish, flatfish (flounders), brittle stars, giant crabs, sea shells, stingrays, jellyfish, sea anemones and mantis shrimp. It accomplishes this by contorting its body and arms, and changing colour.
Although all octopuses can change colour and texture, and many can blend with the sea floor, appearing as rocks, the mimic octopus is the first octopus species ever observed to impersonate other animals.
Based on observation, the mimic octopus may decide which animal to impersonate depending on local predators. For example, when the octopus was being attacked by damselfish, the octopus was observed to appear as a banded sea snake, a damselfish predator. The octopus impersonates the snake by turning black and yellow, burying six of its arms, and waving its other two arms in opposite directions.
How the Mimic Lives and Survives
The mimic octopus lives exclusively in nutrient-rich estuarine bays. It uses a jet of water through its funnel to glide over the sand while searching for prey, typically small fish, crabs, and worms. It also is prey to other species. Like other octopuses, the mimic octopus’ soft body is made of nutritious muscle, without spine or armor, and not obviously poisonous, making it desirable prey for large, deep water carnivore, such as barracuda and small sharks. Often unable to escape such predators, its mimicry of different poisonous creatures serves as its best defense. Mimicry also allows it to prey upon animals that would ordinarily flee an octopus; it can imitate a crab as an apparent mate, only to devour its deceived suitor.
Unlike the vast majority of octopuses, it regularly traverses tunnels and burrows in the sea floor to search for food and to conceal itself from predators. It can often be seen surveying its surroundings from one of these burrows, with only its eyes and head sticking out of the hole.
The mimic octopus often feeds by covering an area of sand under a disc of webs. Then is uses the tips of its fine arms to flush small animals into its suckers. It can probe its arms deep into burrows or holes to search for prey which it can then pass to its mouth.
The Difference Between the Mimic Octopus and Wonderpus
The mimic octopus is often confused with the wonderpus, another recently discovered species. Wunderpus can be distinguished by the pattern of strong, fixed white markings on its body.
This is a awesome sea creature to see when you go Puerto Galera diving with BADLADZ.
The wunderpus can be identified by its distinctive colour paterns. It has well-defined white spots on the mantle, and bars on the arms. They lack a white border at the base of the suckers that is the trait of the mimic. It also has taller eye stalks and lacks a clear white v on the back. These are some of the traits that distinguish it from the mimic, which has poorly-defined dark and white markings on the mantle, and a bright white line along the base of the suckers.
Note the long eye stalks and vertical stripe through eye for ID purposes.
The white spots of the wunderpus are unique among individuals, allowing for the use of photo identification to monitor individuals in the wild.
The best overall identification table for both species can be found on Berkley’s website. Using this table we use the mantle, arms, body markings, eye shape, eye stalk size to identify these two creatures.
Here are our pictures from BADLADZ Scuba Diving of both the mimic and wunderpus.
Using the classification table we can see that the mimic (below) has a clear white “V” at the back of the mantle. The white areas tend to connect in a pattern compared to the Wunderpus. It has defined white “islands” that tend not connect. The Wunderpus also lacks the clear white “V” that is always on the mimic.
Useful hint from BADLADZ Scuba Diving: It can be difficult to identify which species you are looking at underwater. Picture Identification after the dive is much easier. Looking for the white “V” on the mantle is the easiest way to Identify which creature you are looking at during the dive.
Here we can see the difference in the eye stalks. The mimic has shorter stalks, a brown horizontal stripe through the eye, while the wunderpus has longer eye stalks and a vertical brown stripe near the eye. You can also see the reddish brown area underneath the eye of the mimic that is in the Identification table from Berkley. It seems also from these pictures that the The wunderpus has blunt-tipped papillae of the top of the eye stalks, where as the mimics papillae are pointed. They also differ in length and design.
In these 2 photos you can see the difference in the legs of the mimic and wunderpus. The mimic has a clear defined stripe on the outer part of the legs. This is because the suckers remain white. The dark stripe on the leg does not go down all the way down to the sucker. Whereas on the wunderpus you will not see a clear, defined stripe. The dark stripe goes all the way down to the sucker.
Useful tip from BADLADZ Scuba Diving: Using the white stripe or lack of one as a primary means of identifying which species you are looking for can be very misleading. Often the positioning or contorting of the legs on the mimic can hide the white stripe leading one to think one has found a wunderpus. It is therefore better to use all the above methods combined to make a correct identification.
Often the mimic will disguise itself beyond recognition. Hence the name. Below you will see a mimic Octopus that at first glance does not look like any of the previous pictures. this photograph demonstrates why the mimic earned it’s name. Above left shows the mimic imitating a flounder by using it’s sharp and ability to change colors and patterns quickly.
Secret Bay: Macro Marine Life Photography When Puerto Galera Diving
Secret Bay is one of my favorite dive sites when I go Puerto Galera diving. Heck, it is my favorite dive site in the Philippines! It is the king of muck dives, the creme de la creme of small critter hunting. The elation of finding the weird and wonderful miniatures in what looks like a barren landscape is the best feeling ever.
We usually drop down on the small banca boat wreck in Puerto Galera Bay where there is always great sea life. Lion fish, moray and often sting rays are common to see. Juvenile sweetlips also love to hang out on the wreck. Then it is off into the sand where the wonders lie hidden. And hidden they are! If it were not for our team’s eagle eyes most people would just swim by blissfully ignorant.
So Much Marine Life
Since it is my favorite site, I do have an impressive list of what I have seen there. Seahorses, too many to count, snake eel, frog-fish, boxer shrimp to name some. The stars of the show that make me want to do the underwater happy dance was the baby frog-fish, (in the photo). It is the size of my thumbnail and is so beautiful I want to burst!
Then when I thought it could not get any better along come the TWO!! (not one) mimic octopus or wonderpuss. (The jury is still out on which is which.) Halleluiah – the holy grail has been found!! And boy did they preform – they slid along the sand all legs training behind. They changed color, dug themselves into the sand. It was an amazing show!! When we finally surfaced I think I must have looked like the Cheshire cat.
Get A Room Right Next To The Diving Boats
You can save yourself the hassle of traveling from your hotel back and forth to the dive shop. Just stay in one of our tropical resorts instead! Wake up in the morning, eat some breakfast in our restaurant, and jump straight into the diving boat! We have two different resorts to offer you exactly what you’re looking for.
Our Dive Resort is located right on the pier, where the diving boats dock. Simply walk ascot the pier and onto the dive boat, then you’re ready to go! It overlooks the magnificent Puerto Galera Bay, offering you a sight you’ll be sure to remember.
BADLADZ Beach Resort is just out of town, but is bigger and more relaxing than the other resort. It has a semi-private beach and a swimming pool, and offers you peace and quiet if that’s what you’re looking for.
Both resorts have single and double rooms with queen-sized beds, air conditioning, LED TV’s and private bathrooms. You can refresh in our in-house International restaurant with bar and WIFI Internet, where the friendly staff is happy to assist you. No matter which resort you choose, you’ll have an unforgettable experience for sure.
If you’re coming to dive with a group, just contact us, and we’ll be happy to offer you a discount on your room.
More Puerto Galera Diving Resources
Below you will find more Puerto Galera diving resources: