Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Aphols Point, 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 day that the typhoon really started to blow so we went to this site as it was out of the wind.
Aphols Point is located about three kilometres south from the resort across Maricaban Passage on Maricaban Island. A GPS mark for the dive spot is 13Â° 39' 30.164" N 120Â° 54' 05.015" E (using WGS84 as the datum).
|A satellite photo from Google Earth that shows the location of the dive site at the bottom, red marker. Buceo Anilao Resort at top.
|A diagram of the dive site
The dive boat anchors a short distance off the shore to in about five metres of water. It is very calm here as we are out of the wind. To the north the bottom drops to 10 metres then slopes to 25+ metres. The bottom is sand with small very old broken coral pieces and some larger boulders. We headed north into the deeper water. On the way we see a small white anglerfish.
|The tiny white anglerfish
|Pygmy sea horse
From here, we head south-west and over 15 minutes we get to 24 metres. There are lots of barrel sponges, featherstars and small sea whips. We only see a few nudibranchs on the way, but see some lionfish and a juvenile sweetlips. There is also an orangutan crab. We also see a small gorgonia which has a tiny pygmy sea horse on it. It was extremely hard to photograph.
|Some of the reef
From here we turned and headed back towards the boat. We travel at 15 to 17 metres. There are a couple of spotted stingrays, some starfish shrimp, a nice cowfish and of course, anemones and clownfish. We also see a banded sea snake and a harlequin shrimp, very light colouring. We end up in the shallows near the boat.
|The first time I ever saw this stunning nudibranch,
funeral jorunna - Jorunna funebris
|A starfish shrimp
This was a really nice dive. Water temperature was 29C in August and the visibility was very good, perhaps 15 to 18 metres. After the dive the wind had come right up and we were ordered by the dive manager to head back across the passage and dive at Mainit Corner where there were more than 12 dive boats, all sent there for the same reason.
|Willans chromodoris - Chromodoris willani
|Acoel flatworm on a seastar
|Orangutan crab in an anemone
|Banded sea snake