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Grande Island - Philippines

Grande Island is a boat accessible salt water dive site, located in Subic bay, Zambales, Philippines. This dive site has an average rating of 4.57 out of 5 from 7 scuba divers. The maximum depth is 51-60ft/16-18m. The average visibility is 16-20ft/5-6m. This dive site provides bathrooms and airfills.

The tourism office for the area calls Subic Bay the “Pearl of the Orient” and much like a pearl, it value is hidden unless you know where to look. While scuba diving is becoming increasingly popular in the Philippines and more international divers are arriving, the growth of diving in Subic Bay while growing is doing so at a slower rate. The area offers a wide variety of wrecks to dive as well as reefs. Unlike Coron where you ride for hours to get to a wreck site, the majority of Subic sites are within 20 minutes of the dive centers.

In addition, unlike most other places in the Philippines, the dive boats used are conventional boats not local banca. Just how many wrecks are there in Subic Bay and around its entrance? That is a very difficult question. Unlike Coron or Truk, whose wrecks occurred over a relatively short period, Subic’s WWII wrecks covered almost the entire war period. No less than 25 Japanese ships were reported sunk during the war years. Some of these may have been removed in the late fifties as salvage operations were done to open up the bay for shipping Additional ships were sunk after the war either as targets or victims of mother nature. It is widely believed that an additional ten large ships may lie within the Bay. The area is not limited to WWII wrecks, at the entrance to the bay alongside Grande Island, is the remains of the Spanish American war wreck San Quintin. Outside the bay in deep water lie the remains of a Spanish Galleon as well as a 16th century Chinese Junk (beyond diving range).

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 did an enormous amount of damage to Luzon and the Zambales/Subic Bay area was very hard hit. A meter of ash covered the area including homes and business. Within days, a typhoon entered the area turning the ash into mud. Many homes and business collapse under the weight. One resident stated that the river looked just like the cement coming out of a cement mixer. A large percentage of the coral was killed lying under the ash. When the Navy occupied the naval base at Subic, many of the wrecks were closed to diving. Divers however had the advantage of diving in water that was crystal clear with 40 or more meters of visibility on the wrecks that were open. The bay was the home of different varieties of sharks, dolphins, and turtles. While a few turtles still nest on the beaches the visibility, sharks and dolphins are no longer here. The visibility is returning slowly and the coral is recovering. Hopefully the turtles, sharks and dolphins will return in abundance also. More turtles and rays have been seen this year than last and the number of sharks just outside the bay also seems to be on the rise

The last few years have seen a dramatic growth in the number of dive operators in the Bay area. In 1998 there was only one full time operator at Subic today there are seven. Three dive centers also have integrated accommodations, Johan’s on Baloy Long Beach, Barrio Barretto, Olongapo has very nice simple rooms to service it dive clients and their friends. Located on the beach you are just steps away from the beach to your rooms. Also in Olongapo with their own beach is the 2N2 dive center. This center with its hotel caters mostly to Korean Divers. On SBMA, Masterdive has Vascos, a restaurant and small hotel combination. The owner of Masterdive has an extensive background in wrecks in the Philippines. A few dive centers are located at or tied into hotels. Blue Rock resort has changed its name to Blue Rock Resort and Dive center. Diver Down International is located at Subic International Hotel. Scuba Shack is located on the waterfront next to the new marina. Scuba Shack is the oldest dive center in Subic Bay. Ocean Adventure also has a dive center. Grande Island has just opened a dive center.

Area Wrecks

USS NEW YORK - A 120m-long hull. 27m of water between Alava Pier and the northern end of Cubi Point runway.
EL CAPITAN - A 3,000-ton freighter, about 130m long that crashed down the mouth of Ilanin Bay.5m below the surface.
SAN QUENTIN - The oldest known wreck in Subic, a wooden gunboat scuttled by the Spanish in 1898.
LST - Situated between Grande Island and the southern tip of the runway. 32m deep.
ORYOKU MARU - Located 400m off Alava pier. 20m (60ft) deep.
PATROL BOAT - In Triboa Bay at a depth of 20-25m (60-75ft).
LCU LANDING VESSEL - Triboa Bay. 5-20m (25-60ft).

Dive Site Map

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scubadivingnomad - 3/04/2016 1:55 AM
Rating Added: 4
Barges sit off north side, San Quintin off to the east. A fringing reef on the west side of the island is called Caynons
FastFord - 9/11/2012 10:08 PM
Rating Added: 4
As a Navy Diver, we had access to all the wrecks in the bay, back before the Volcano. They were pristine and covered with life and pelagic fish. The one and only time I ahve ever seen an Oceanic White tip shark was in Subic Bay. Hammerheads, Tigers and Silvertips were everywhere back in the day.