Why I love Diving Subic Bay Philippines
I have been a scuba diver for about 18 years and for around 11 of those years, I have been living in Olongapo on the shores of Subic Bay Philippines. While I will admit it is not the best dive destination in the world, it is a outstanding place to come dive. Let me get out the negatives first, the visibility is not that great. It is however, good enough to explore the wrecks. The natural reefs are there but not heavily covered in coral. The biggest draw for Subic Bay are the wrecks,mostly from WWII. Pattaya Thailand is considered the “wreck capital” of Thailand. It has only four wrecks and one of those is two hours away. Subic has over a dozen, depending on what you consider a “wreck” site. There are other things to get and keep your interest.
- Dive center to any wreck in the bay less than 20 minutes
- Over 12 Wrecks for recreational divers. Open water to Deep.
- About 20 technical dive sites plus a few nearby outside the bay.
- Deep sheltered bay means few days lost due to weather, also little or no currents
- New wrecks found just about every year.
- Great nightlife, locations that are geared toward singles and others that are great for couples. Many with bands.
- Wide range of restaurants
- Wide range of accommodations from simple beachfront to 5 start resorts.
- Inexpensive local transportation
- Overall an inexpensive destination.
- Subic Bay is an international tourist destination because of its water activities, jungles, and tourist attractions. Scuba diving is not the sole reason to come to Subic.
As mentioned visibility is not always great in our bay and if you are looking for great reefs and unlimited visibility then Subic Bay is not for you. The
diving is great in Puerto Galera, maybe you should try there. They have great visibility, limited wrecks but great drift dives. Some of the highest biodiversity in the world is found in Verde Passage a short boat ride away. Like Subic it not threaten by the weather too often. The name Puerto Galera, come from the fact that Galleons would seek the area for safety in times of storms.
The USS New York ARC-2 is the best known and the most dived site in Subic Bay. The USS New York (aka USS Rochester) is one of the most exciting and versatile shipwreck dive sites in Asia. Often found on list of the top wreck dive sites in the world, she attracts divers from all over the world. The first armored cruiser of the United States Navy she served from 1893 to 1931. Upon her “retirement” she was docked at Subic Bay where she provided a number of support services until the outbreak of WWII. She was scuttled in December 1941 to prevent capture by the Japanese.
The USS New York lies on its side in 28 meters of water. The New York has a beam of 19.8 meters, however, Almost a half of the wreck has sunk into the sand leaving the starboard side in 18 meters of water. She is in the inner harbor area of Subic Bay which is about a 15 minute boat ride.
My favorite dive sites are the Japanese Patrol Boat, The Barges and the
San Quintin AKA S/S Andes. The patrol boat is a small trawler converted to a military vessel, and the barges are a string of sunken floating docks that start at 5 meters and drop to 40 meters.
The San Quintin was sunk at the beginning of the Spanish-American War to force the advancing Americans into using the west channel. While scuttling the vessel had the desired impact, other failures resulted in the Spanish relocating back to Manila. I recently discover that the San Quintin was originally built for Cunard lines to run mail and passengers between England and the US.
These are some of the reasons Subic is my home base.