Got Muck, Subic Bay (Wrecks too)

Photographer Jun V Lao, Jun Lao, Paparazsea
story and photos published in Asian Diver Apr 2014

Subic is a historic treasure trove of WW2 wrecks which are the main draw of the bay. Tec Divers around the world are the strongest clientele for the dive operators in the area but photographers tend to skip Subic due to turbid waters and the myth that there is lack of macro marine life. ..

I’ve been diving Subic Bay since 2008 and most operators are focused on pushing for wreck certification and tec courses that they miss out on exploring sites which would surely tickle the fancy of underwater photographers. 

The big news for Subic this year is there is a huge school of jackfish which took residence at El Capitan Wreck. The school has grown so big they almost cover the wreck from bow to stern (well almost).  Capturing fishballs and tornadoes are almost guaranteed at a shallow 20 feet while one can get creative by shooting the jackfish shimmers and silhouettes from within El Capitan.

Photographer Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
big big school
The tiny as shared have always been overlooked around the bay but just a few minutes off base lies a treasure trove of magnificent critters. The bay is connected to rivers which creates an abundance of estuaries, which is the favorite habitat of the strange and the rare. Muck Diving along the coast of Olongapo is one of the best in the Philippine’s.  In one dive, one can encounter an abundance of seahorses, shaggy frogfish, blennies and margin octopus in every corner.  For the photographer, its one of the most insane muck dives you will do and expect your flash batteries to drain more quickly than you expect due to the surprisingly abundant macro life.

Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
Crowned Seahorse
published several times and won placed in four photo contests
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
an attractive Hispidus frogfish
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
can you find the red froggy?

Read: Mola Mola & Mantas Bali
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
another froggy nearby the red one
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
Margin octopus inside a bottle
Jun lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
snow white blenny

While estuaries bring in an abundance of critters, it also makes waters more turbid around the bay. Most photographers skip attempts on taking photos of the outside of thewrecks because most operators take them to the sites in the late mornings and afternoons, and visibility by this time is best confined for inside wreck photography. If one goes early in the morning, expect visibility to be flexible enough for you to get great wreck shots.
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
the bow as playground to thousands of Jackfish
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
ship ahoy
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
light up the jelly

Read: Underwater Fantasy Sessions
The Lowdown:  Subic bay is a playpen for underwater photographers just waiting to be rediscovered. To maximize your opportunities, one must do dives at the Wrecks earlier than usual and explore the muck sites in the late mornings and afternoons. After raking up those stellar wreck and macro shots, have a grand ball at El Capitan shooting the magnificent and massive school of jackfish.
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
Getting Here
From SEA- Tiger Airways via Clark and a 1 hr and 30 minute transfer
From Manila- By Car: A 2 hour drive, enter NLEX, either take Pampanga exit or SCTEX exit and just follow the signs
By Bus: Stations at Cubao, P150+ fare

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1 Komentar

these were cool dives with you mate, thanks for sharing dude...awesome pics of me, good times