Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Kilima, Philippines
In August and September 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 and the next two weeks at Sabang (Puerto Galera). A t Sabang, we stayed at Capt'n Greggs and dived with them as well.
There are a dozen or more dive sites located within 10 minutes run from Capt'n Greggs.
Unfortunately we had a Super Typhoon hit the northern Philippines when we were at Anilao and lost some days diving there. We were also delayed a day in getting to Sabang.
Kilima is located about 1.3 kilometres from the resort and about 300 metres south from the point at Lighthouse Headland. This is one of the longer runs to a dive site. A GPS mark for the starting spot for the dive site is 13Â° 31' 06.186"N 120Â° 59' 32.158"E (using WGS84 as the datum). Note we also did this dive as a drift starting well past Sinandigan Wall as shown below.
|A satellite photo from Google Earth showing Sinandigan Wall at the red mark Sabang Bay is top left. Kilima site is off the headland between the mark and "The Lighthouse in PG". Dive ended up in the bay north of the red mark.
The first time we dived here we entered the water as shown above and headed to the bottom at 23 metres. My GoPro camera came off my camera base and disappeared. I chased it and so did another diver on the dive. He got to it on the bottom before I did, so it was not lost thankfully. From here we headed east to 29 to 30 metres and then north on a small rock bottom, a bit like nearby Sinandigan Wall.
|The dive site, there is a thresher shark in the middle but too distant to see properly
|The second thresher shark I saw came much closer
The aim of this dive was to see thresher sharks. I had never seen one before, so it was something I was anticipating. After a short time I see one, but it is a long way from me. The divers ahead of me see it much better. Soon I see another one, or perhaps the same one circling. It comes much closer, but is still a fair way from me and I have to zoom my camera as far as it goes. I get a photograph, but as you can see from above, it is not great.
We hang around in this spot for a few more minutes but see no more. It should be noted that when we saw the sharks, the water temperature dropped from 28 degrees to 27 degrees. Apparently they prefer this colder water. After 17 minutes we start to head shallower.
|I believe this is a titan triggerfish nest
One thing I should mention is that on the way to the spot where we saw the threshers, there were a few spots like the photograph above and left. I think this is a titan triggerfish nest. I had meant to ask the guides but I forgot. John and some other divers saw four hump-headed wrasse too, but I did not see even one. That's what I get for being the last diver in the group.
|This nembrotha nudibranch was relatively common
Anyway, as we head shallower over the next 15 minutes, we see some ledges and large coral outcrops. There are a few Moorish idols and quite a few nudibranchs. There are glass shrimps, flatworms and more. When we get to the shallower area, we see a large banded sea snake. It is easy to get close to them to take photographs as they seem to ignore divers (unless they are attracted to them which I have seen).
Over the next 10 minutes we go even shallower and end up in six metres for our safety stop. It is quite nice here.
|A large banded sea snake
|A close up of the sea snakes head
Six days later we did this dive again, but this time starting much further south as there was a strong current running to the north. We really flew on this dive. We covered most of what we saw deeper and all what we saw shallow as we ended up passing some spots I recognised from the first dive. However, we did not see any thresher sharks or humpheaded wrasse. Interestingly, the water temperature on this dive never got below 29 degrees.
This was a great dive thanks to the sighting of the thresher shark! Water temperature was 28Â°C deeper but dropped to 27Â°C for a bit and was 29Â°C above 20 metres in September. The visibility was about 20 metres.
|A rarer nudibranch
|These nudibranchs are fairly common
|I saw quite a few of these flatworms diving at Sabang
|The underside of a starfish's arm
|A couple of the many clownfish seen on these dives