is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll not want to miss in Boracay no matter what your level of experience. Some local reefs still have 70% of the coral intact while others are virtually coral graveyards. Environmentally responsible diving means looking but leaving the coral where it is and using anchors carefully.
Done correctly, the scuba diving industry can actually be a plus as the income produced easily outweighs the short term benefits of catching a few more fish with dynamite.
The long term protection of coral and water quality is also the guarantee of a vibrant tourist industry in the future.
Dive shops must be members of Boracay Association of Scuba-diving Schools (BASS) which monitors the condition of equipment and supports dive related environmental projects. There are dozens of dive shops, primarily centered along White Beach that ensure a health competition resulting in good equipment and extensive dive schedules. Prices are reasonable and set by agreement by BASS. A basic dive at one of the 25 or so sites within 15 minutes of White Beach costs about 33 USD including equipment.
For safety reasons one must have PADI certification to dive. Schools offer courses of different levels and with additional courses one can upgrade one’s certification. In a day and a half one can obtain the minimal “Scuba Diver” status so that one can go on an open dive with an instructor.
The completion of the standard “Open Water Diving Course” is possible in 3 days thus allowing one to purchase equipment and get air tanks filled alone plus dive without an instructor but with another diver with at least the same classification.
With experience and further courses one can do the Advanced Open Water and Master levels as well as specialty courses like Emergency First Response or PADI Rescue Diver.
Advanced divers will want to check out the “ship wreck” a steel hulled fishing boat called the Camia II that was sunk in early 2000 by the Manila Fishing Company. It lies in 10 meters (30 feet) of water and attracts a multitude of sea life. Off of Yapak are 4 wall dives beginning at depths of 10 – 12 meters where sharks, rays and schools of tuna are often seen.
The Beach and Crocodile Island are both dives suitable for beginners during the day but along with the ship wreck are often dived at night by experienced divers looking for a different experience.
Other beginner dives where one can view nice coral include Laurel Island where one dives through a hole on the island, down to 18 meters or alternatively explore the Laurel wall from 10 to 25 meters depth, as well as Fridays Rock and its nearby coral garden.
If one has a full day or longer, Panay Island offers 4 walls with depths from 3 to 30 meters for all levels, Manigum Island has an excellent wall for experienced divers and 2-day minimum one can see Panagatan Cay, a cluster of 3 islands with sheer walls where barracudas and turtles are often sighted.