If you’re not squealing with delight as your body moves to and fro between gullies, reef, and thousands of fish, then maybe the aptly-named Washing Machine dive site at Verde Island isn’t for you. But that’s okay; there are other sites around this amazing spot in the Philippines that are less pushy. Nearly all of them do have some current, though, so experienced divers will be happiest at Verde Island.
Diving Verde Island
The famous island is about an hour by boat away from White Beach, Puerto Galera. Here you’ll see the biodiversity of the Coral Triangle in its full glory. Recently, the California Academy of Science conducted a survey around Verde Island and identified 100 species of fish, coral, and nudibranchs, so during our stay with Marco Vincent Dive Resort, we decided to drop down and see what we could find.
From the moment we sank beneath the surface on our first dive, millions of brilliantly colored basslets and red anthias engulfed us; so many that it was impossible to take a photo without them. Squadrons of surgeonfish danced in the distance, butterflyfish and anemonefish fluttered about, and there were some schooling jacks for good measure. While mesmerized by the fish life covering the reefs, don’t forget to look down and survey the nooks and crannies every now and again, as you can find loads of blennies and gobies peeking out, expertly camouflaged frogfish and vibrant nudibranchs scattered throughout. You’ll have a hard time keeping up with fish identification when it comes to diving Verde, but if you’re up for the challenge, you won’t be disappointed.
At The Wall, divers descend on a steep wall, covered with corals and gorgonian fans. Schools of smaller fish keep the eyes busy and the camera lens full. Due to the currents and depth, some larger pelagics sometimes make an appearance, such as tuna, mantas and eagle rays.
The Pinnacle, otherwise known as the Drop Off, is a massive reef that narrows as it approaches the surface on the eastern side of the island. Known for occasionally strong down-currents, the site is suitable only for experienced divers. The pay-off for taking the slightly risky plunge is an amazing view of an unusual vertical reef, corals in riotous color, schools of pelagic fish out in the blue, and volcanic bubbles seeping through the coral.
And then, as mentioned, there’s the adrenaline-charged Washing Machine site. During ebb tide, the influx of water swirls and pushes through gullies and swim-throughs, ranging from 20 to 45 feet (6 to 14 m) deep. You’ll want a good guide for this site; those from MV Dive are top-notch. Divers will be pulled and pushed in multiple directions, watching their bubbles go everywhere but up most of the time. You can dive here at slack tide too, which turns it into a normal, but gorgeous, canyon reef dive.
Regardless of which sites you choose at Verde Island, you’re guaranteed a mask full of fish, a rainbow of color and the excitement of unpredictable currents. Dive with Marco Vincent Dive Resort and the guides will make sure you see the best of this legendary location.