Shore or Beach Diving has many advantages. You are not restricted by boat schedules and can dive whenever you want. Usually it’s only you and your dive buddy, or dive guide, so groups are small. You can dive for as long as you want since you don’t feel pressured to surface because other divers finished diving and are waiting for you on board. And, usually, shore dives are cheaper than boat dives.
Conditions for shore diving are excellent at our dive shop. The dive center is located directly at the water’s edge. Just walk a few meters and you are in a coral garden teeming with fish, hard and soft corals, starfish and more often than not turtles. The reef slopes gently to about 4m / 12f, depending on the tide. About 40m / 120f from the shore, the reef abruptly ends at steep drop-off, dropping to depths deeper than 60m / 200f. Currents are usually gentle, turtles at this point are abundant and coral coverage is excellent.
Beach entries are usually easy, but can occasionally be demanding. If waves are high and there is surf, enter the water without your fins and hold on your buddy. When the water is about chest deep, inflate your BCD, lean back and quickly slip on your fins. Swim out over the drop-off and quickly descend a few meters / feet to escape the surf.
Guidelines for unsupervised shore diving
Shore divers must hold and an advanced certification (SSI, PADI, CMAS or any other); have to dive in buddy teams and should have surface marker buoys; have to have an orientation dive on the reef with one of our dive masters or instructors; must file a dive plan before the dive with the front desk. Only recreational dives are allowed, no deep or deco dives.
Boat Diving in Moalboal is very easy. What makes boat diving so comfortable here is that the dive spots, including Pescador Island, are only minutes away. The average dive spots can be reached within 10-20 minutes. Our dive boats are either small speed boats good for 4 – 6 divers or local outrigger boats, called banca, modified for scuba divers.
There is no time limit on the dives, as long as other divers don’t complain about waiting too long on board after they already finished their dives. In this case we recommend a maximum dive time of 60 minutes.
Boat Diving Schedules
We offer 3-4 regular boat dives a day. First one is the morning dive at 9:00 am. Next dive is at 12:00 noon, usually closer by the dive center or at the sardines ball at Panagsama Beach. The noon dive is followed by an afternoon boat dive 2:30 pm. Sunset dives and night dives are conducted on request.
Enriched air or Nitrox is an alternative breathing gas used by Recreational and Technical Divers, if you have not heard of the gas before you might be wondering what all of the fuss is about. Here are a few reasons why this might be the gas of choice for you.
Nitrox is air enriched with a higher Oxygen (O2) content, for recreational divers this can be anything from 22% to 40% O2 (as opposed to the regular 21% found in air). Technical divers typically use nitrox for decompression, blends of 50% O2 and higher are common. By adding more O2 the percentage of Nitrogen in your gas blend is reduced, you might remember from your open water course that nitrogen absorbed by your body is what limits the amount of time you can spend underwater.
Here are some examples of how No Deco Limits (NDL), or the amount of time a diver may spend safely underwater, are affected by different breathing gases. Nitrox 32% and 36% are two very popular blends of Enriched Air so we will compare these to air.
Diver breathing gases are always clean, but Nitrox passes through additional filtration components of a compressor to filter out contaminates. Additionally the chemical used to filter these contaminates is of a much higher grade in O2 clean systems. In short, cleaner gas in your lungs.
Nitrogen build up in the body causes a diver to feel tired after diving, this can often be confused with exertion from exercise on the dive. Nitrox divers often comment on how much more energy they have for repetitive dives.
Longer Repetitive Dives
Why? You guessed it, less nitrogen in your body means your second third or even fourth dive of the day can be much longer than would be possible with air, allowing you to get the most out of your dive trip.
Shorter Surface Intervals
For the same reason Nitrox permits longer dive times it can reduce the required time at the surface between dives, there is less Nitrogen in your body to off-gas.
How can I try the gas?
The Enriched Air Nitrox Training can be completed in a day, during the course your instructor will show you the equipment we use, such as designated Nitrox cylinders and Gas Analysers, discuss dive planning for Nitrox and dive computer use. At the end of the course you will have a certification recognized worldwide, allowing you to use the gas wherever you choose to dive.
Not convinced yet? No problem, one of our dive professionals can take you out for a supervised dive, after a detailed briefing, and you can try Nitrox without committing to a course. If you decide to continue we will credit this experience towards your training.
We can promise you this without reservation, you will never forget your first night dive. Everything is a little different right from the moment you start gearing up as it grows darker outside, the walk down to the shore and entering the dark water. The ambiance is amazing, as you descend with your flashlight in hand waiting for the bottom to come into view stop for a minute and soak it up.
So what can you hope to see? Something that surprises most first time nights divers is that there is a lot of ambient light, it’s not just what you get to see in the beam of your flashlight. Whilst the dark water does provide a magnificently eerie atmosphere, once your eyes adjust, you will be able to make out a lot of detail.
What your flashlight does illuminate will be in more vivid detail than daylight, water absorbs natural light from the surface, reds appear to be brown, yellows dulled. When you pass your torch beach over the coral you will be amazed at the difference.
What you’ll see
As you go you will see nocturnal marine life scuttling left and right, cuttlefish will provide their own light show for you as they flash red, green blue and white in a few seconds, be careful not to shine your light directly at the sleeping turtle and wake them up. Crabs, crustaceans, squid and docile reef fish are much easier to spot at night.
At a time when everyone in the dive teams agrees, press your flashlights to your chest to block out the light and wave your spare hand in front of you, this stirs up tiny phosphorescent plankton in the water that glow green when displaced. Look behind you when you kick and you will notice you leave a wake of them behind your fins.
Training you’ll need
Diving safely in any conditions is made possible by a balance of training and experience, sufficiently experienced open water divers can join night dives, but advanced training is recommended. Either way you should dive the same dive site in daylight with one of our divemasters so they can check your skills and you can familiarize yourself with the layout.
Firstly you need to be in control of your buoyancy, with limited visibility there is less margin for error, second your ascents and descents need to be very well controlled. In addition to normal dive equipment you will need to learn how to use a flashlight for communication and do so without blinding your dive buddies.
Night Dive Activities
Night dives are conducted every day from shore. Just schedule one with our front desk and your dive master. Experienced divers can conduct night dives (and dives at dawn) on their own, just pick up your tanks at the dive shop and off you go. Once a week, we schedule a night dive at Pescador Island; even more often on your request and if we have a few other divers who like to join. If you have no experience with night diving, take the Advanced Open Water Course or Night Dive Specialty Course with us.
We are lucky to live in a place with extraordinary marine life. You can shoot wide angle images from whale sharks and sardine balls or macros from ghost pipe fish or pygmy sea horses. However, many divers have nice and sophisticated uw camera set up but lack the skill and experience to get the images they are after. Enter Bo Mancao, Underwater Photographer Extraordinary, who teamed up with us to help you getting the pictures you deserve.
Underwater Photo Documentary Service
Have a professional underwater photographer join your travel and vacation dives, documenting your diving activities and what you see under water. Bo will join all your dives and he takes a variety of images throughout the day, above and under water. The digital pictures will be given to you at the end of the day, either on CD or Flash Drive. This service is available for individuals and groups.
Master UW Photography Skills Course
Bo offers special courses for individuals who are not new to underwater photography. He will help develop skills for divers who have their own camera and have been making pictures underwater for some time but are frustrated by the results they get. These courses are custom-tailored for the individual diver. His one to one tuition will help you get better results and better images in less time.
Our U/W Photography partner Bo Mancao is iconic in the South East Asian dive industry.