frogfish in Puerto Galera

Muck Diving in Puerto Galera, Philippines

Puerto Galera is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life. However, beyond the well-known diving sites lies a hidden gem that attracts underwater enthusiasts from around the world: muck diving. This unique type of diving offers an unparalleled experience, uncovering the weird and wonderful creatures that thrive in the sandy, muddy seabeds. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the fascinating world of muck diving in Puerto Galera, exploring the best sites, what you can expect to see, and why this destination should be on every diver’s bucket list.

flamboyant cuttlefish found on a muck dive in Puerto Galera
Flamboyant Cuttlefish

What is Muck Diving?

Muck diving is a type of scuba diving that focuses on exploring the sandy, silty, and muddy areas of the ocean floor, rather than the more traditional coral reefs and vibrant marine landscapes. The term “muck” refers to the substrate found in these areas, which often consists of a mixture of sand, silt, and debris. Despite its unappealing name, muck diving offers a unique and thrilling underwater experience, revealing a host of bizarre and fascinating creatures that are rarely seen in other environments.

blue ring octopus in Puerto Galera
Blue Ring Octopus

Top Muck Diving Sites in Puerto Galera

Casalay Resort is strategically located in the bay where all the best muck diving sites are located! All the sites are less than a 3-minute boat ride away from the resort. 

1. Secret Bay

Secret Bay is one of the premier muck diving sites in Puerto Galera. Known for its shallow waters and sandy bottom, this site is a hotspot for macro photographers and critter hunters. Here, you can find a plethora of fascinating creatures, including flamboyant cuttlefish, ghost pipefish, and various species of nudibranchs. The site’s calm conditions and excellent visibility make it perfect for both novice and experienced divers.

2. Boatyard

Another fantastic muck diving site, the Boatyard is a former shipyard where numerous shipwrecks rest on the seabed. Explore the nooks and crannies of these submerged structures to discover a diverse array of muck dwellers.

3. Giant Clams

Located just 5 minutes boat ride from Casalay is this famous muck diving site. The dive starts shallow at 6 meters where the giant clams can be spotted feeding on nutrient rich waters. As you descend deeper into muck, different species of nudibranch can be spotted, as well as seahorses and turtles, frogfish, mimic octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish. It’s also a great night dive location, where you can spot mimic octopus and wonderpus hunting.

4. Montani

Probably the best muck/ night dive, located just across the bay from the resort! During night dive this shallow dive turns into a treasure hunt for muck dwellers and nocturnals which include seahorses, flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, different species of nudibranchs, and a variety of creepers and crawlers.

A mimic octopus found in Puerto Galera
Mimic Octopus

Marine Life

So, what exactly can you expect to see on a muck dive in Puerto Galera? Prepare to be amazed by a cast of characters unlike any found on a coral reef. Here are some of the superstars:

Frogfish: These masters of disguise resemble a lumpy rock or a piece of seaweed. Look closely, and you’ll see their wide, perpetually grumpy-looking mouths, waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey. Finding a frogfish is a game of patience and a keen eye, but the reward is a truly unique photo opportunity.

Nudibranchs: Also known as sea slugs, these flamboyant creatures come in a dazzling array of colors and shapes. From the polka-dotted Chromodoris lochi to the vibrantly striped Phyllidia varicosa, nudibranchs are a photographer’s dream, showcasing the incredible biodiversity found in muck.

Ghost Pipefishes: These translucent creatures resemble slender seahorses and are another master of disguise. Spotting a ghost pipefish requires a keen eye and a bit of luck, but the reward is a truly ethereal encounter.

Flamboyant Cuttlefish: Known for their vibrant colors and mesmerizing movements, these cuttlefish are a favorite among photographers.

Octopuses: From mimic octopuses to blue-ringed octopuses, these intelligent creatures are a fascinating sight to behold.


frogfish in Puerto Galera

Macro Photography

Muck diving in Puerto Galera is a paradise for macro photographers. The incredible diversity of small creatures and the close encounters they offer make it an ideal training ground for honing your underwater photography skills.

Here are some additional tips for capturing stunning muck diving photos:

Learn about the Creatures: Understanding the behavior and habitat preferences of your target subjects will help you predict their movements and anticipate photo opportunities.

Master Buoyancy Control: Even the slightest movement can stir up silt, ruining your photos. Perfect your buoyancy control to ensure clear and crisp images.

Experiment with Lighting: Playing with different lighting techniques can dramatically enhance your photos. Utilize strobes or video lights to create dramatic effects and highlight the unique features of your subjects.

Focus Stacking: Many muck diving creatures are incredibly small. Focus stacking, a technique that combines multiple images with different focal points, allows you to achieve stunning detail throughout the entire subject.

By venturing into the world of muck diving in Puerto Galera, you’ll not only discover a hidden world teeming with unique creatures but also gain valuable macro photography skills.

Flabellina nudibranch found in Puerto Galera

Tips for a Successful Muck Dive

1. Dive with a Knowledgeable Guide

A local dive guide with experience in muck diving can greatly enhance your experience. They know the best spots to find specific critters and can help you navigate the often tricky underwater terrain.

2. Use the Right Equipment

Macro photography requires specific equipment, such as a macro lens and a powerful dive light. Ensure you have the necessary gear to capture the intricate details of the tiny creatures you’ll encounter.

3. Be Patient and Observant

Muck diving is all about taking your time and carefully observing your surroundings. Many of the creatures are masters of camouflage, so patience and a keen eye are essential.

4. Minimize your impact

Always practice responsible diving by maintaining neutral buoyancy and avoiding contact with the seabed. This helps preserve the delicate habitats and ensures the safety of the marine life.

Muck diving in Puerto Galera offers a unique and exhilarating underwater experience, showcasing the incredible diversity and beauty of marine life that thrives in the sandy and silty seabeds. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, the region’s top muck diving sites promise an unforgettable adventure filled with rare and fascinating encounters. By following the tips provided and immersing yourself in the unique underwater world of Puerto Galera, you’ll discover why this destination is a must-visit for any diving enthusiast.

*Photos by Miramundi Mike

Author: Casalay Boutique Villas and Dive