Down to the dive site: Verde Island

by | Jul 1, 2023 | dive sites, Diving, Puerto Galera, VIP Transport

Dive site name: Verde Island sites including The Wall, the Pinnacle, the Drop Off, and the Washing Machine

Dive type: wall dive, reef dive, drift dive

Depth: 6 – 30m  

Viz: 5m to 25m 

Skill level: intermediate and up 

Getting there: 25 minutes by speedboat, one hour by banca

There are dive sites, and then there are dive sites.

Some say the best dive on earth is North Horn on the Great Barrier Reef, home to half a dozen shark species, there are others for whom the manta blackwater dive in Kona, Hawaii tops their bucket list. 

There are divers who argue the sardine runs of Alguhas Banks in South Africa are the dive of a lifetime, and wreck dive fans who speak breathlessly of the SS Thistlegorm at the bottom of the Red Sea.

But when those in the know get together and talk about the best places to dive on the planet, the sites of Verde Island are listed in the same breath as the ones above: The Wall, The Pinnacle, the Drop Off and the Washing Machine. This is the centre-of-the-centre of the Coral Triangle, where the marine biodiversity is denser and richer than in perhaps any seas on the planet.

Triggerfish shoaling around Verde Island

Verde Island lies, straightforwardly enough, in the centre of the Verde Island Passage which separates the islands of Luzon and Mindoro.

Unlike most of Puerto Galera’s dive sites it isn’t just a five minute speedboat ride from our front door, so this trip of a lifetime involves more planning, a bigger group, and multiple dives.

So pack your sunscreen and your phone, but don’t worry about the rest as we will provide everything else you need: coffee, snacks, and if we’re going for a longer trip, a full lunch to enjoy on the beach.

The trip takes just 25 minutes on a speedboat for a small group, and close to an hour if we use a banca boat – a local outrigger style craft – to transport a larger group of divers (and our chef!)

We set off not long after 7am, when most of the dive shops in town are asleep, so we arrive at Verde in time to have the waters to ourselves for our first dive of the day.

Abundant marine life

You’ll see other boats arrive while we take a surface interval and enjoy coffee and homemade biscuits, but by the time we’re getting back in the water their divers are coming out for a breather – we know how to give our guests the best possible experience so it feels like you have the dive site to yourself.

Arguably Verde’s most unforgettable dive site is called The Drop Off, also known as the Pinnacle or San Agapito, which lies about 300m from shore.

As we approach you’ll see the water littered with the tips of pinnacles breaking the surface, and once you’re in the water and descending you’ll see these are the tips of spires of coral reaching up to the surface from the plethora of colours and corals which form the reef below.

The steep slopes of the wall descend to 70m or more and the currents around Verde can be no joke, making this site best for those with an Advanced Open Water certification and above.

As you drop down and around the wall, hugging close to the reef, you’ll see huge gorgonian fans upto 3m across, basket sponges bigger than a man, and huge nets of anemones which make this part of the reef their home.

The cavelets and ridges between the corals are home to moray eels, lurking lionfish, scurrying mantis shrimp, sea snakes and scorpionfish.

A break on land on Verde Island
Lunch on Verde Island

Look further out into the blue and you’ll spot larger fish including schools of jacks, sweetlips, tuna and snapper scything their way through the fierce currents.

Our experienced guides will take you up to “the corner”, where the water runs fastest, and peak out over the ridge of the reef to make the decision what to do next. These currents are not to be trifled with, so the circumstances and the water flow will inform their decision on where to go next. Trust your guide and hug close to the reef to stay out of trouble.

A second dive after refreshments will take a gentler route over the sea bed bubbling with volcanic vents – this whole area is formed by volcanic activity – and here you’ll see more giant corals, as well as so many redtoothed triggerfish you may find they block out the sunlight and obscure the reef. It doesn’t count as poor visibility if your sight is occluded by the sheer density of marine life!

One much-beloved spectacle at this site – which can be dived twice on the west and east sides depending on current, are massive shoals of swimming red-orange anthias.

They cover huge swathes of the wall, which can make it look like the whole reef is moving or pulsing.

With a group of experienced divers who are strong swimmers another site in the island’s waters to be experienced is called Washing Machine – because those brave enough to enter will find themselves swirled around in the eddies and currents like laundry in a drum.

Not a dive for the faint-hearted or inexperienced, following our PADI divemaster closely and find a rock to hang on to if needs be, while you watch your bubbles drift off sideways or diagonally rather than upwards!

After our dives it’s up and out of the water to enjoy a sumptuous feast on land and a moment to enjoy the quiet beaches and spectacular views out over the Passage back towards Sabang and Lalaguna.

Diving off Verde Island

So come and enjoy a trip of a lifetime to dive the world-famous Verde Island.

Click over to our Accommodation Page to book a stay or get in toucb:  Phone: +63 917 570 3415    |    WhatsApp / WeChat / Viber: +63 917 570 3415    |    Email:    |    Go to our Contact Us page

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