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Chris White // February 1, 2019

10 Tips for Night Dives at Moalboal: Well known dive Spot in Cebu

Adapted from an article by John Brumm of Sport Diver magazine


Night diving is special because even a familiar site looks different at night. When you make a day dive, you normally scan the entire dive site looking at your surroundings. At night, you see only the area of the dive site that is lit by your light. This forces you to slow down and concentrate on that one area.

Tip #1
Stay close and shallow. Night dives tend to be shallow, so you’ll have plenty of bottom time to go slow and take it all in. Colours, for example, are much more vivid on a night dive than they are during the day. It’s simple dive physics. If you’re making a daytime dive in 66 feet of water, sunlight gets absorbed, stealing away the colours. On a night dive, your light source is never more than five or 10 feet away, so the water doesn’t take away any of the light spectrum.

Tip #2
Redefine “night.” When the sun is low in the sky, very little light penetrates the surface, making it pretty dark underwater, even when there is still a fair amount of light above. Diving at dusk is a good way to start your night-diving career. You have the convenience of gearing up when it is relatively light, but get the full effect of making a night dive. On ocean dusk dives, you also have the added benefit of watching the reef creatures migrate through a kind of “shift change” as the day animals disappear and the night animals come out to play.

Tip #3
Get the right gear. You’ll need a primary dive light and a backup light. The primary light should be the larger and brighter of the two. How large and how bright? That’s up to you, and your choice may vary depending on the clarity of the water. When shopping for a light, try out several as some have different grips and handles to suit your personal preferences. Your backup – or pocket – light should be small enough to stow easily, yet bright enough to help you find your way back home. Most lights designed for this purpose are smaller and typically shaped more like a traditional flashlight. Remember, though, that if the primary light fails and you switch to your backup, it’s time to end the dive. We are reviewing dive lights later this year, but for our 2012 Editor’s Pick for Best Dive light, read about the Sola Dive 500 

Tip #4
Tie one on. Most dive lights come with a way to attach a lanyard or wrist strap. Get one. It’s cheap insurance against dropping and losing your primary source of illumination. Most dive lights are negatively buoyant; if you drop one in deep water it may be gone forever.

Tip #5
Know the signals. If there’s one aspect of night diving that is more complicated than day diving, it's communication. You and your buddy should review hand signals before entering the water and agree on the ones you'll use. You have two options: One is to shine the light on your hands so your buddy can see what you’re saying. The other is to make signals using your light. You can signal “OK” and “Yes” or “No” by moving your light in a circle, or up and down, or side to side. You can even get your buddy’s attention by circling or “lassoing” his light beam and then pulling it toward you. If you’ve practiced this beforehand, your buddy will know what you’re doing.

Should you become separated from your buddy, get vertical and shine your light outward while turning a full circle. Your buddy should do the same and chances are you’ll spot each other. If you surface far from the dive boat, point your light at the boat until you get the crew’s attention, then shine it down on your head so the crew can see you clearly.

Tip #6
Aim carefully. On any night dive, you should treat your light like a loaded gun. Never shine your light directly into another diver’s eyes — you can ruin his night vision.

Tip #7
Go easy on the light. First-time night divers tend to buy the biggest, brightest beam they can find and cling to it like a security blanket. As you gain experience diving at night and get comfortable, you’ll find smaller primary dive lights do just as well, particularly in clear water. On some night dives, lights of other divers, the boat and the moon can provide so much ambient light that you may leave your torch off for much of the dive.

If you do need a light, you may not need its full power. Some LEDs have a half-power setting you can use to dial back the brightness. Or try dimming your light by cupping your fingers over it. In any case, you’ll see more natural behaviours if you use the edge of the pool of light, not the hot spot, to pick out fish and critters.

One of the unique things about night diving in the ocean is bioluminescence. Some varieties of single-celled plankton give off light when they are disturbed underwater. Your fin kicks or a wave of your hand can create an explosion of undersea sparks, but you’ll miss the show in anything but dark conditions.

Tip #8
Do reconnaissance. Before you make your first night dive on a site, you should dive it during the day. This allows you to learn the layout of the site and get comfortable with it. 

Tip #9
Mark the way home. If you’re diving from shore, rather than from a boat, you should also place lights on the beach. It's a good idea to have two lights close together at your entry/exit point and then a third farther away. This gives you something to swim for after the dive when you're swimming back in.

Making a night dive from a boat brings with it a different set of concerns. The boat should be marked with a flashing strobe you can use to find your way back. When surfacing near the boat, shine your light toward the surface and watch carefully to avoid colliding with the hull.

Tip #10
Have fun! Most important, relax and enjoy the dive. It’s natural to be a little anxious before stepping in the dark void of an unlit ocean or lake, but it’s also exciting. When you overcome your anxieties about night diving, you get another eight hours of each precious dive day to explore and create new and lasting dive memories.

What happens if you get separated from your buddy or the boat after finishing a night dive? There’s a reason why we recommend carrying at least two safety signalling devices when you are diving at night.

Night Dives at Turtle B ay Dive Resort

We recommend three great sites for night dives at Turtle  Bay Dive Resort:

  1. Our house reef - easy shore dive, lots of special stuff including Mandarin fish (just before dusk), electric clams and lots more;
  2. The Muck Dive Site by Moalboal Town pier - a lot of really unusual stuff you will not find anywhere else including star gazers; and
  3. Pescador island - beautiful coral and a chance to see sharks come up from the depths

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Chris White // March 17, 2015

7 Sea Star Facts

7 Sea Star Facts

Article by: Danielle Schofield


With regular appearances from the seabed to the big screen’s cartoons, the starfish is a widely-known and well-loved sea creature, especially with children. However, it’s not actually a fish and for that reason, marine biologists prefer to call the invertebrate a sea star.
Most people know that sea stars typically have 5 (or multiples of 5) identical arms. These arms extend from a center body in a star shaped arrangement, and they travel across the seabed slowly with suction-cup “tube feet.”
Here are seven more fun facts on sea stars you can use to impress your kids/friends/fellow divers the next time you spot one:
#1 – Sea stars can reproduce sexually and asexually. During ideal conditions, sea stars group together to spawn, and have sexual organs, or gonads, in each arm. Males and females release thousands of sperm and eggs into the water and hope they meet for fertilization. Asexual reproduction usually occurs as a result of dismemberment.
#2 – Sea stars have unusual stomachs. It pushes its stomach through its mouth, digesting food while the stomach is outside its body.
#3 – Sea stars don’t have a brain or blood. Instead of blood, they have a seawater vascular system. In the place of a brain, the sea star has an intricate nervous system.
#4 – Sea stars can change gender. Depending on availability of food and the water temperature, a sea star can change its gender to whichever one is best suited for its environment.
#5 – Sea stars can regenerate body parts. A new sea star can regenerate if part of it becomes severed. Regeneration is a less than ideal way to reproduce because it doesn’t allow for DNA diversification.
#6 – The female sea star can produce millions of eggs. Other animals eat most of the eggs, meaning only a few will ever become adults.
#7 – They have an eyespot at the end of each arm. Their vision is primitive, and they can only sense movement, light and dark.
Ericka Villa // March 3, 2015

5 Reasons To Love Moalboal


Article written by: Nikka Corsino 

Cebu is a very well-loved destination, and for good reason: no matter what type of traveler you are.

There is just too much to see — from the northern islands of Malapascua and Bantayan, to Camotes, all the way south to Sumilon — that it would take multiple trips to see just the well-documented sights of this province.

On the western side of the province, facing the Negros landmass and Tañon Strait — an incredibly rich marine environment — is the tiny town of Moalboal. Moalboal has a quiet, small-town feel, perfect for those of you yearning for a vacation from their vacation — until you discover what’s underneath its waters. Quiet, sleepy Moalboal sees unmatched action underwater — yet another reason to keep coming back to Cebu.

Here are 5 reasons why this underwater paradise is worth it, and why you should consider it for your next Cebu adventure:

The Sardine Run

Sardine Run, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

Sardine Run by Owen Ballesteros


The sardine run — a phenomenon in which millions of sardines form shoals as a defense mechanism against predators — is one of the most fascinating underwater spectacles to witness. Moalboal makes it rather easy to appreciate this sight: just off the shore at Panagsama Beach, millions of sardines congregate, creating long swaths or tornado-like shapes, moving in a slow rhythm that will leave most spectators speechless.

The best way to see the sardine run is from down below, by scuba diving or freediving. But it is still possible to see the sardines from snorkeling depths.

World-Class Scuba Diving

Sardine Run, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

Diver surrounded by sardines by Owen Ballesteros


Moalboal is home to several spectacular dive sites, including Pescador Island, just 10 minutes from Panagsama Beach. Considered one of the world’s best dive sites, Pescador Island offers fairly regular sightings of sea turtles, schools of jacks, frogfish, sea fans, and sundry soft and hard corals. Snorkeling trips are also possible for non-divers.

Other dive sites around the area include Tuble, Tongo Point, White Beach, Basdako Sanctuary, and Airplane Wreck, in which a two-seater plane was sunk to serve as an artificial reef. Sea turtles are also regularly sighted at the house reefs off Panagsama Beach.

With world-class dive sites just a stone’s throw away, Moalboal also makes for the perfect place to take scuba diving certification courses.


Stunning Sunsets

Sunset at Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

Sunset at Panagsama Beach by Owen Ballesteros


Facing the west with a distant view of Negros, Moalboal’s sunsets are another stunning sight, especially after spending a long day underwater. It’s not unusual too to spot a sea turtle wading in the waters of Panagsama as the sun sinks and bathes the beach various hues of red, orange, and purple.


White Beach

White Beach Basdaku, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

White Beach, Moalboal, Cebu by Ian Ong


With its long stretch of white sand and clear waters, White Beach, or Basdaku, compensates well for Panagsama Beach’s lack of shoreline for those who want their dose of sun, sea, and sand. White Beach also hosts a line of resorts, making it an alternative base to Panagsama Beach.


Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

Kawasan Falls by Kenneth Gaerlan


Most travelers to Moalboal opt for a sidetrip to Kawasan Falls, which is about 30 minutes away in the next town of Badian. A multi-tiered falls, Kawasan’s first and biggest tier can be reached by walking 1.5 kilometers inland, where a natural pool awaits visitors. Snacks are available from stores surrounding the falls. Getting to the second and topmost tiers will require another 15 to 20 minutes.


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