Coron is one of 7,107 islands in the Philippines — an undisputed diver’s paradise. You can reach the island, which is most famous for its fantastic WWII wreck diving, by plane or ferry. A little less famous — but definitely worth a dive — is Barracuda Lake. Divers here can expect a unique and interesting experience as it’s a mixture of fresh and salt water, with visible thermo- and haloclines.
Diving Barracuda Lake
Upon beaching at the dive site, which is about 20 minutes by boat from Lualhati Wharf in Coron, divers must carry their gear up a staircase and along a wooden pathway. The 15- to 20-minute minute walk takes you inside the tall, dark limestone cliffs that surround the spectacular lake.
The fresh water at the surface is a comfortable 82 F (28 C) — so you can skip the wetsuit entirely or go with a 3 mm shorty. At around 46 feet (14 m), the water temperature rises from 82 F to 100 F (28 to 38 C). The thermo- and haloclines are visible as divers slowly descend into the depths of the lake. At this high temperature the water seems ‘thick’ as you make your way to the bottom, where it becomes slightly cooler and more comfortable.
The bottom of the lake is soft, silty sand, swallowing extended hands into its silky touch. Along the furthest wall there is a crevice where a barracuda sometimes hangs out. While you may think that Barracuda Lake is named such because of a large population of barracudas, it is actually thanks to a large barracuda skeleton found in these waters.
From the perch of the crevice, divers can see the gray-black lines created by the halocline where the cooler, fresh/brackish water and warmer saltwater mix. Divers often stop in the shallows near the entrance of the lake to remove their fins and experience the feeling of playing on the surface of the moon, navigating around boulders and sunken tree stumps.
When to go
Diving at Barracuda lake is excellent year-round
The water temperature ranges from 82 to 100 F (28 to 38 C), making a swimsuit adequate for this dive. The maximum depth of the dive is 115 feet (35 m), with an average visibility of around 100 feet (30 m).
With its unique water composition, extreme thermo- and haloclines and odd, silky, silty bottom, Barracuda Lake offers a dive filled with new and uncanny sensory experiences. It is truly a dive you don’t want to miss next time you visit the Philippines.