Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Montani, 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.
Montani is located to the west of Sabang. It is in a channel that leads to Puerto Galera. It is about two kilometres to the channel entrance and Montani is about 1300 metres south of the entrance on the western side of the channel. A GPS mark for the starting spot for the dive site is 13Â° 31' 04.174"N 120Â° 57' 34.492"E (using WGS84 as the datum).
|A satellite photo from Google Earth, Montani is shown. Sabang Bay is at far right.
This site is in the main channel which leads to the town of Puerto Galera. The channel is 200 to 300 metres wide and is done as a drift dive normally. We started as shown in the above photograph and drifted to the north on a very slide current. The depth was about four metres where we started and we gradually got deeper to about 14 metres.
The bottom is sand with some coral rubble. There are some structures in the water, not sure what they are, and at 10 metres there is a plastic water pipe which is sometimes above the sand. There are some sponges, including ones I have never seen before, like corrugated cardboard in some ways. After a while we came to some coral outcrops.
|A large cowfish, I don't think I have ever seen this specific species before
|A goby on the strange sponge
|Another species of goby on a sponge
This site had lots of nudibranchs, some very interesting ones. There were also banded sea snakes, a large cowfish (unlike any I had seen before) as well as some anemones and clownfish. There were also dancing shrimp on some of the structures. There were also two pipefish, some flatworms and seawhip shrimps.
As we drifted north, we zig-zagged a little, going east and west a bit checking things out. The water pipe was sometimes under the sand, sometimes on the sand and yet at other times high over the sand. It provided protection and home to lots of species of fish, nudibranchs and invertebrates.
|A very beautiful nudibranch
|This was tiny!
Eventually we ended up heading more to the west into the shallows to do our safety stop. There really was a lot to see on this dive and I did my longest dive of the trip at 81 minutes. I wish we had come here a number of times, it was an excellent dive.
|Some sort of elyssia species perhaps
|These are very common
Water temperature was 29Â°C in September. The visibility was about 15 metres.
|Not sure of this species, perhaps Coris gaimard
|Strawberrry and cream chromodoris, Chromodoris fidelis
|Sea whip shrimp
|A large hermit crab
|One of the many sea urchins
|Some clownfish in an anemone