Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Kirbys Rock, Philippines
In August 2023 I did a three week long dive trip to the Philippines with my friend John. We spent the first week at Anilao staying at Buceo Anilao Dive Resort.
There are dozens of dive sites located within 20 minutes run from the resort.
Unfortunately we had a Super Typhoon hit the northern Philippines when we were there, so the Coast Guard banned all boats and diving later in the week. This dive site was one we visited on the third day.
Kirbys Rock is located about 4.5 kilometres to the west of the resort off the northern end of Caban Island. It takes about 20 minutes to get there. A GPS mark for the dive spot is 13Â° 41' 24.306" N 120Â° 50' 57.984" E (using WGS84 as the datum).
|A satellite photo from Google Earth that shows the location of the dive site at left and Buceo Anilao Resort at right
The rock breaks the surface coming up from about 41 metres. The dive boat anchors almost on the top. The bottom slopes to 30+ metres. The bottom is sand with small rocks here and there. There are also some old coral pieces that are larger than the rocks. The bottom has sea whips, soft corals, and many featherstars and some sponges.
|A map of the dive siteused courtesy of Buceo Anilao Resort
|A soft coral crab
|A comensual crab on a sea cucumber
From the boat we dropped to the west and went deeper to about 22 metres. We then headed south coming across quite a few species of nudibranch and some octopus. Eventually at 24 metres we came to a medium sized light pink gorgonia. This was home to three tiny pygmy sea horses, the smallest I have ever seen, perhaps only 5 mm at the most in length. They were very hard to photograph and I really only got one reasonable shot as they continually hid behind the gorgonia. In addition, without a light on them, you cannot tell the pygmy from the gorgonia.
|A tiny pygmy sea horse in a gorgonia
We then headed back north towards the boat, getting shallower as we went. There were a few mantis shrimps, one was out in the open but impossible to photograph. As we went we saw more nudibranchs and some different shrimps. There were no anemones seen and some butterflyfish and some Moorish idols.
We ended up back at the boat and finished our dive in the shallows. There were a few more species of nudibranch seen here. In August the water temperature was 29C and the visibility was 12 to 15 metres. A very good dive site.
|Sea whip goby