Muck Diving in the Philippines

Last week we talked about the reef diving we did in the Philippines. Today, we are talking about the other type of diving: muck diving.  This isn't the kind of muck that is found in inland lakes, the kind that you sink ankle deep into when you step into it, and goes 'sluuuurp' when you pull your foot out (or, would, if it wasn't underwater).  This muck is more or less sand, and isn't ''mucky'' at all.  When I heard muck diving, I was just a little grossed out (see my description of what I though muck meant above), and I thought there wouldn't be much to see.  Boy was I wrong.  I had NO idea that we would see that much stuff diving over sand.

My FAVORITE part of muck diving was seeing the seahorses :)  Ever since we started diving, I have wanted to see a seahorse and I finally got to.  We did a couple of dives on one site called Sea Horse City - which was awesome.  You can get pretty close to them, close enough to see their eyes move and watch you.  I could probably watch them all day, well at least until my air ran out.  There were so many of them, too!  During one dive alone, we saw close to 10 of them.  Pretty cool!

Also found during muck diving were lots of cool nudibranchs, ones that you don't necessarily see reef diving.  My favorites were these bright orange ones with black polka dots. These were affectionately named "Picachu" nudibranchs (I promise that will be the only Pokemon reference on this blog).

Another site we visited was Giant Clams.  I'm used to clams that are, at largest, the size of my hand.  These things were more like boulders.  You could even see inside of them a little bit to see how they fed.  We were warned before the dive not to stick out hands in since they can close up (like a normal sized clam), and then your hand would get stuck or possibly crushed.  So, I stayed well away from them, which is generally a good practice with any marine life.

We also saw lots of little ghost shrimp, some hermit crabs as big as my fist, and a cuttlefish as large as my torso.  On the sand, there are these little piles of ''stuff.''  The stuff can be a piece of coral, an anemone, or just some sticks.  Regardless of what it is though, each pile of stuff has so much life!  What looks like a pile of sticks and dead leaves is home to little fish, ghost shrimp, probably a nudibranch or two, and maybe some little crustaceans.  It was so cool to see how each little area was like its own little biosphere.

While muck diving doesn't have the density of life that reef diving has, it's awesome diving in its own right.  I think the best part of muck diving is the hunt. While reef diving, you are surrounded by fish and sea creatures, meaning you don't have to ''search'' as much.  I use the term search lightly though since if you want to see small things, or things that like to hide, you do need to search, but to have a good dive and see some marine creatures, one does not need to look very hard.  Muck diving though, you need to look, and look closely.  Check out some of the pictures below for things we saw muck diving!

- Meghan -