Friday, May 06, 2011

Apo Reef, Mindoro, Philippines

Apo Reef is under the Municipal Jurisdiction of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. The location and isolation of Apo Reef serves as filter for the marine stocks of the Sulu and South China Seas. It is characterized by two season: dry from December to May and wet from June to November with average humidity of 75% almost year round .Changes in weather condition doesn't affect diving visibility. You can visit Apo Reef the whole year round!

It is a world famous marine park, frequently published in dive magazines as a place where an extensive wealth of marine life can be found; ranging from great macro photography opportunities to schools of large pelagic fish including many species of shark, barracuda and manta rays. This marine sanctuary is only a three hour boat ride from Pandan Island so ideal for day trips; although live-a-boards are also offered from various locations around the Philippines.

This 155, 827- hectare atoll-like reef located 20 miles (32km) west of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines is divided by a narrow channel into 2 lagoon systems (north and south). This channel runs from east to west and its depth varies from 5.9 ft (1.8m) to 90 ft. (27m). A brilliant white sand bottom, numerous coral formations and patches of branching coral are evidence throughout the area. Some 385 species of fish are in residence in the general area, including sharks (hammerhead included), stingrays, eagle rays, mantas, tuna and schools of jacks and snappers, as well as swarms of vividly hued reef tropical's. Lots and lots of turtles! Apo reef was once considered the prime scuba diving area in the Philippines (prior to discovery of Tubbataha). Coral species number around 400-500. Three (3) ships have also been known to have found their final resting place amongst the marine inhabitants of this reef.

The northern edge of the lagoon has magnificent drop-offs, with gorgonians and sea fans dominating an underwater landscape literally awash with impressive coral formations. On the east side, white tip and black tip sharks, as well as manta rays are not uncommon while scuba diving at Apo Reef..

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