Dive Subic Bay
The Philippines is well known for its outstanding diving. Divers from around the world come for the clear waters and high biodiversity. Subic Bay is more a specialist destination. If you are a recreational diver interested in wrecks, Subic is your destination. A tech diver? Again Subic. A muck diver? No better place.
Many beginning divers are drawn to warm waters with great visibility, but more experience divers seem to be drawn to wrecks, eventually many cross over into the technical diving area. I recall a trip to Pattaya Thailand a few years back at the time they were sinking an old military ship as a reef. I was talking to the staff of a dive center and they were saying people were already considering their area as the wreck capital of Thailand. The ship being sunk would bring the total number of wrecks within an hours boat ride to four. I felt a little bad about breaking the mood, when someone noticed that the back of my t-shirt showed nine of Subic Bay’s wrecks, and they are all within fifteen minutes of each other.
There are twelve wreck sites within the bay at recreational level, with more at deeper depths both inside and outside of the bay. There are also a number of reef sites.
Another advantage of Subic Bay diving is a longer dive season. The reefs out in the Sulu Sea can only be dived for four to six months. The sea conditions are just too rough and the storms can be extreme. While there are some non-diving days because of weather, the diving at Subic is year round. The bay is one of the best deep water harbors in the world and one of the safest. The entrance to the bay from the sea is narrow and then opening up into a wide bay over five miles long. Grande Island sits at the entrance of the bay with shallow water on one side of the island and a deep channel on the other. This has a great effect on lowering the currents during the changing of the tides. These are also a number of mountain ranges that are close around the bay. These help block high winds and even steer storms away from the area.
In recent years there has been an increased popularity in what is often called muck diving. Often done in locations with poor visibility or where the strata can quickly be stirred up and reduce visibility it focus on the smaller creatures of the sea. Subic Bay has many dive sites now being used for muck diving.
The flagship of our underwater fleet would have to be the USS New York., which is located in the inner harbor area. While The first armor cruiser of the US Navy, Her destination was CA-2 as hull CA-1 was reclassify during construction to a battleship, the USS Maine that was a trigger point of the Spanish American War. As a dive site USS New York has been transformed into an artificial reef. The New York has become one of the most dived ship wrecks in Asia, given her somewhat shallow depth (18 to 27 meters), ease of access, and proximity to other wrecks and activities. The wreck can be dived by most divers. USS New York, (Official History)a 8150-ton armored cruiser built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was commissioned in August 1893. She initially served as flagship of the South Atlantic Squadron, then went to the West Indies before joining the European Squadron in 1895. She was in the North Atlantic Squadron when the Spanish-American War began, and was flagship during the Caribbean campaign that led to the Battle of Santiago on 3 July 1898. From 1898 to 1916, New York served off Latin America, in Asiatic waters, the eastern Pacific, the Atlantic and off Europe. She was renamed Saratoga in 1911. During the First World War, the cruiser was active in both the Pacific and the Atlantic, and was renamed again in 1917, becoming USS Rochester. She remained in the Atlantic after the war, and operating in the Caribbean area until 1932. Rochester was flagship of the Asiatic Fleet in 1932-33, mainly serving in Chinese waters. Decommissioned for the last time in April 1933, she was laid up at Olongapo, Philippines, until scuttled in December 1941 to avoid the risk of capture by the Japanese.