Divesafaris to Apo Reef and Coron

We offer divesafaris to famous Apo Reef and the japanese wrecks of Coron

Divesafaris

One of the most exciting activities on Pandan Island is to go on a dive safari on our “M/B Karla”. The vessels is a local outrigger boat, called ‘bangkas’ or ‘bancas’ and is custom built for dive safaris, it provides fast and safe transport to all the dive sites and a large shaded area to spend your surface intervals.

Modern navigation and communication equipment, Schifauer air compressors, Wenoll oxygen systems and flushing toilets are standard.

Our two main destinations for safaris are Apo Reef, with its coral gardens and deep walls for one or two days trips and Coron (Busuanga) with its hundred of islets and its famous World War II wrecks for four to six days trips.

For those divers who do not have a lot of time but still would like to experience the thrill of a wreck dive we also organize three day trips to the the nearest – and probably best kept – wreck of Busuanga, the Dimalanta Wreck. This safari also includes dives on Apo Reef.

Trips to Apo Reef are organized on a regular basis, about two to three times a week.

For more background information on Apo Reef please visit www.apo-reef.com

Apo Reef

Pandan Island is the closest dive operator to the world-known Apo Reef, and is established as the leading diveshop organizing dive-safaris to the reef. Apo Reef is an atoll of 40 square kilometers and offers uncountable dive sites and a good chance to see sharks and other pelagics. Turtles are also very common.

The reef is famous for its marine life and drop-offs, which are mostly vertical walls down to 30 – 80 meters. From Pandan Island Apo Reef can be reached by the outrigger boats”M/B Karla” or “M/B Rainbow’s End” in only ninety minutes.

APO REEF has been declared a marine park a couple of years ago, an entrance fee levied by the Eco-tourism Office Sablayan has to be paid by each visitor.

A normal day trip to Apo Reef would be like this:
7:00 am   Departure from Pandan Island after breakfast
9:30 am   Arrival on Shark Ridge, getting ready for the first dive
11:00 am  Surfacing from first dive, continue to Apo Island
12:00 am  Arrival on Apo Island getting ready for second dive
13:00 am  Surfacing from second dive, lunch break, surface interval, possibility to visit Apo Island.
14:30 am  Third dive, around Apo Island
15:30 am  Surfacing from third dive, return to Pandan Island
18:30 am  Arrival on Pandan Island

This schedule is approximate and can change due to weather conditions and other events.

DIVE SPOTS ON APO REEF

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QR-Code for SSI Divelog

SHARK RIDGE
Depth between 10 – 50 m. The whole North-east side of Apo reef consists of a sheer drop with many overhangs. Whitetip and gray reef sharks are common sight here as well as turtles, barracudas and schools of snappers.

APO ISLAND
There are several dive sites around Apo island ranging between 10 and

QR-Code for SSI Divelog

QR-Code for SSI Divelog

50 m. These site are the best as far as corals are concerned. Huge table corals, stag horns, brain corals, fire corals and a huge variety of soft corals can be found all around the island. The northern, eastern an southern side consist of sheer drops with many pelagics and turtles, in

recent years Hammerhead sharks and Manta rays are encountered more and more frequently. Currents can be unpredictable and make the northern dive site difficult for beginners. The western

side is rather a slope than a drop-off which makes it more

easy for less experienced divers. Apo reef has been declared a marine park and there is a turtle sanctuary and a ranger station on Apo island .

QR-Code for SSI Divelog

QR-Code for SSI Divelog

APO 29
Apo 29 is a an underwater mound reaching to about 25 meters below the surface of the South China Sea, a true blue water dive, only for experienced divers, as currents can be strong and unpredictable and the sharks more curious than in other spots around Apo reSaveef.

HUNTER’S ROCK
The authors personal favorite, this dive spot located about 10 nautical miles west of Apo Island consists of a rock pinnacle that almost reaches the surface, sharks and big trevallys are very common as are strong current which makes this dive spot tricky for inexperienced divers without professional guide.

MEROPE ROCK
Also Merope, like Hunters Rock, is about 10 nautical miles west of Apo Island which makes it only accessible during overnight Apo trips or on the way to Busuanga. An underwater mound reaching to about 15 below the surface, the eastern side consists of a wall that offers good chances to see sharks, tunas and other pelagics.


Guidelines for diveboats

Guidelines for snorkeling on Apo Reef

Busuanga diving safari

Busuanga Island is the biggest island in the Calamian Group, between Palawan and Mindoro, which consists of several hundred islands, all easy to reach from Pandan Island.

It is amongst these islands the Japanese support fleet of the ‘Invasion of Leyte’ was hiding, when they were spotted by American reconnaissance planes from ‘Task Force 38’ on the 24th of September 1944 and attacked shortly after.

More then 20 ships were sunk in this attack; about half of them are interesting to dive on. As the maximum depth between the islands does not exceed 40m (130 ft) and some of the wrecks are as shallow as 8m (25 ft), the Busuanga Safari is interesting for all divers, be advanced or just recently certified. However, good buoyancy control and finning technique are an asset, as the visibility tends to be between 10 – 15m only( 30 – 40 ft), and some wrecks (in channels) are exposed to tidal currents. These are actually a lot of fun, as the dive guide knows the routes in the lee sides of the wrecks and will use the currents to drift back to the mooring line.
During the 4 or 5 days safaris normally 8 – 16 dives can be made (including night dives), depending on the weather, the beer consumption, the stamina and enthusiasm of the divers….

Our diveboat

One of the most exciting activities on Pandan Island is to go on a dive safari with our dive boat, ‘M/B Karla’. The vessel is a local outrigger boat, called ‘bangka’ or ‘banca’ and is custom built for dive safaris, it provides fast and safe transport to all the dive sites and a large shaded area to spend your surface intervals.

Our diveboat is a local outtrigger boat but great care has been taken to adapt it to the needs and requirements of diving and snorkling activites.

M/B Karla,  sleeps 6 guests plus 2 guides, the crew, and a chef. Accommodation is basic, but lovely: we sleep on the large sundeck, under the stars or under a tent, if it’s humid.

A depth sounder, VHF-radio and GPS make navigation safer.


M/B Karla
Length: 21 meters
Draft: 1.8 meters
Top speed: 13 knots
Passengers daytrip: 8
Passengers overnight: 5
Compressor: Schifauer V32 (265 l/min)
Fresh water: 440 l
Equippment: VHF, depth sounder, GPS
Tender: 4 HP
Safety equippment: Oxygen, Lifewests, extensive 1st aid kit