Hi all and Happy New Year.
This trip report is a little different than all others, mostly because I was not working, but “leisure” diving with Karen. It was an awesome way to spend the holiday break.
We departed on the 25th December for Clarke airport in the Philippines and we were looking forward to diving Subic Bay. For me it was all about rusty wrecks that I have not dived before and for Karen more chances to capture that cool photo.
Over 4 days we did a relaxing ten dives. We could have done more but we were both suffering from the cold water.
Ok, it’s not that cold at 26 degrees, but when you are used to 28 degrees, it gets cold very quickly. Also on the boat for an hour in between dives in the wind is a challenge. brrrrrr…. note to self – get 5mm wet suit and take a jumper or a windbreaker jacket.
We dived the USS New York, AN Landing Ship Tank (LST) or as the crew onboard during world war 11 called it – “Long Slow Target”, Landing Craft Utility (LCU), El Captain, the Barges and a Japanese Patrol Boat.
Each wreck was awesome in its own way. The level of enjoyment all depends on the unpredictable and ever changing visibility. We dived the LCU twice and the viz was great both dives, at least 15m, but it’s a small wreck with four tiny engines that appear to be 6 cylinders each. I also managed to squeeze into the door leading to the head, and the toilet bowl is buried up to the brim in silt. It was a big room, but I managed to silt it all up. Oopps.
We dived the USS New York twice and the first was the best with viz varying from 5m-15m depending what depth we were at.
The propeller is still there and is worthy of a good photo, well that is only when someone does not swim all over it kicking up all the silt.
I was really surprised by the size of the 4 big guns (2 bow and 2 stern).
I have seen big guns on the HMS Repulse before, but the guns on the USS New York are much bigger than the Repulse, not taking anything away from the Repulse, because it’s a great dive too, anyway I digress.
We also dived the El Captain twice and the viz was perfect on the first dive at 10-15m and not so hot on the second dive.
On the first dive Karen was brave enough to follow me inside from the bow to the stern, which is about 20 minutes of penetration, the viz inside was better than the outside.
Average depth was 10-12m and there were exits everywhere, so it is was safe and easy.
Actually this wreck is shallow at 5m to 25m.
The dive on the Barges, well for me was sleepy but for Karen it was great. There were Macro subjects everywhere, Ghost Pipe Fish, Nemo, Bat Fish and other stuff that she was happy snapping away at. Our guide said and I quote – ” ok guys max depth 30m , max time 45 minutes”.
Sounds good to me I said, so after 75 minutes into the dive I’m wondering who is keeping track of time.
The most enjoyable two dives for me, was on the LST. It is a big ship and lies at 25-45m. On the first dive the viz was good at 10m and I was so happy that I wrote a note to Karen on my wet notes “we have to dive this again” she agreed. The second dive the next day was even better and we could see all of the wreck. The viz was the best all week, at least 20m. We stayed on the deck for most of the dive and I had a bit of a poke around inside some of the long corridors and cargo holds, but was careful to stay away from the collapsing second cargo hold. You could see that it had collapsed and it had torn the walkway completely off the starboard side.
The main deck had Lion Fish, Scorpion Fish and Blue Spotted Rays to keep Karen happy. One diver had a look in a door way and his knee was only about 5mm from a Scorpion Fish right at the doorway.
Subic Bay is definitely worth a visit as long as you don’t expect perfect viz, all day, everyday. You need to be happy with what ever it gives you. For the wreck nuts like me, it’s a “must” dive. Who cares about viz? It’s always dark inside anyway.
Additional photos may be viewed on our Facebook page here – Scubic Bay, Philippines – 25 to 30 Dec, 2011