Scuba Diving: Diving Conditions Around Boracay
The Philippines has only two seasons: Dry and wet. The dry season is from December to June. Surface temperatures average 25 degrees Celsius from December to February, and can go as high as 38 degrees from March until June.
The wet season is from July until November, with temperatures on the surface ranging from 28 to 30 degrees Celsius.
The year-round average water temperature of Boracay is about 28 degrees Celsius. The coldest it ever gets is 21 degrees Celsius at 30 meters depth in December to February. The warmest months are April and May when the water temperature can reach highs of 32 degrees Celsius.
Visibility at Boracay’s dive sites seems to be directly related to the water temperature. During the warm summer months (April to June), visibility can reach 30 to 50 meters, while in the colder season (December to February), it can be only 5 to 10 meters. A yearly plankton and algae bloom seems to be responsible for reduced visibility from December to February. Year-round average is 15 to 20 meters.
Currents along the “longer” parts of Boracay Island—east and west—are quite mild, which make the dive sites along these areas ideal for beginners or training. The currents at the northern channel between Boracay and Carabao Island, and the southern channel between Boracay and Panay Island can be fierce at times. For this reason, tide tables are consulted during dive planning.
The bottom composition of Boracay at any depth is fine white sand, which reflects sunlight and makes surroundings very bright during dives. Just watch your buoyancy to avoid “sandstorms” underwater!
There are two predominant winds: Habagat or southwest monsoon, and Amihan or northeast monsoon. We schedule dives on the west side of the island during Amihan season (December to February), and on the east side during Habagat (July to September). It is possible to dive here all year round, although a few dive sites may not be accessible during the monsoon season. Most of the year, though, surface conditions are generally calm.
In terms of marine life, the Philippines is considered a biodiversity hotspot. More species occur in this region than in any other part of the tropical reef world. Boracay has gained a solid reputation for macro photography because of the abundance of small critters such as pipefish, gobies, and nudibranchs, as well as the usual colorful reef fishes like damsels, angelfish, wrasses, squirrelfish and cardinals. Parrotfish, emperors, triggerfish and groupers generally reside in 15 to 20 meter deep water, while pelagics like sharks, tunas, trevallies and rays are commonly sighted in the deeper dive sites like Yapak and Camia. Coral growth is very healthy and spectacular in areas with steady current, such as Crocodile and Laurel.