Chapel Point gets its name from the Church that overlooks this site. It consists of a gentle slope of white sand and patches of Coral leading down to about 12m/40ft, where it suddenly drops off into an impressive wall. There are many colourful Tube and Finger Sponges along the wall together with Gorgonian Seafans that sprout from the volcanic rocks and golden coloured Leather Corals, whose polyps shimmer in the sunlight, making for an impressive sight. As you work your way along the wall there are a number of small overhangs and ledges to explore, which are home to Clearfin Lionfish and White-Eyed Moray Eels. You will then come across a small cavern at about 20m/65ft that sometimes has a school of Silversides hiding from predators. This cavern makes for a great photo opportunity, as there is a colourful soft coral hanging from the ceiling and Midnight Snapper are often hanging out in the entrance.
As you ascend to the reef flat, clouds of colourful reef fishes can be seen around the expanse of stunning Hard Corals, Sailfin Shrimp Gobies can be seen in the sandy patches, Ribbon Eel hang out of their burrows looking for food, Bluefin Trevally hunt for their next meal, Banded Sea Kraits chase down prey and huge Green Turtles are seen on most dives.
This is another one of Apo’s dive sites where the volcanic nature of the island can be seen as steady streams of bubbles erupting from the sand, shimmering as they catch the sunlight. This is an easy dive site with minimal to no current and a varied topography. There is a small wall, followed by a sandy slope scattered with Hard Coral formations, Anemone’s full of symbiotic creatures and beautiful Leather Corals. You can see many different reef fish species here, plus the odd Green Turtle and Banded Sea Krait.
Largahan is a very diverse site; it has Hard Coral formations separated by dark volcanic sand, ledges with deep undercuts, a fair-sized wall, and a Soft Coral garden in the shallows. Apo Island’s volcanic origin is very evident in this site, as bubbles are produced by underground geothermal activity and continuously stream from the sand. This is a good site for macro subjects if, for some strange reason, you haven’t seen enough already on our coastal sites! Regular sightings of a variety of different Nudibranchs, Flatworms, Scorpionfishes, the occasional Frogfishes and Ribbon Eels can be found amongst Largahan’s nooks and crannies. We don’t dive this site to regularly, as with the abundance of macro life on the coastal sites, we normally make the most of the stunning reef scenery when selecting dive sites for our Apo Island Day Trips.
Rock Point East is a large finger-shaped reef protruding from Apo Island’s South East corner. Its proximity leaves it exposed to stronger currents, which ensures incredible fish life and Coral formations, as well as the occasional visit from larger pelagic fish. The east side of Rock Point is a steep wall, which leads to a plateau at the tip of the point. Depending on currents, divers have the choice of continuing to the west side, exploring the plateau or doing a U-Turn and returning along the east wall. Colorful clouds of schooling fish, impressive Hard and Soft Coral formations and interesting macro subjects can be found here. Schooling Fusiliers, Butterflyfishes, Surgeonfishes, Longfin Bannerfish and Red-Toothed Triggerfishes are some of the species that are very numerous in this site, plus hunting Giant and Bluefin Trevally can sometimes be seen here too. As with all other sites on Apo Island, there is always a high chance of seeing Turtles and Sea Snakes.
The west side of Rock Point is a steep slope, which leads to a plateau at the tip of the point. Depending on the current, divers have the choice of continuing to the east side to explore the plateau or returning along the west slope. The deeper parts of the slope have great Hard Corals and Sponges, and it is possible to see larger fish, like Longnose Emperor, passing by. The shallower sections are covered in a luxurious Soft Coral forest; it’s some of the healthiest and most prolific Corals you will ever see! As these Soft Corals are a favorite food of the Hawksbill Turtle, there is a good chance of seeing several of the resident population while diving here. Sometimes Giant Frogfish can be found here perched on top of Sponges, as well as all the usual tropical reef fishes and a variety of different Nudibranchs and Flatworms.
This marine sanctuary is a ‘no fishing zone’ and a maximum of 12 divers, plus guides, are permitted to dive here at a time. This high level of protection benefits the whole of Apo Island, allowing fish stocks to regenerate. The Sanctuary is a sloping reef with spectacular hard coral growth, and this huge diversity of Corals is one of the most notable characteristics of Apo Island. Almost every square meter of this site is bursting with the myriad hues and textures of different Coral colonies. This is where the famous ‘Clownfish City’ is located. As the name suggests, there are numerous Anemones situated here, all in a fairly confined area and hosting a large population Anemonefish. At this site you can commonly see Moray Eels, Fusiliers, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Scorpionfish, Midnight Snappers, Diagonal-Banded Sweetlips, different species of Surgeonfish, many different Nudibranchs and of course fantastic Hard and Soft Coral everywhere.
Mamsa is the local word for Trevally and, as you would expect, this is an excellent place to see them. A resident school of Big-Eye Trevally, that can be hundreds strong, can be seen here and are sometimes very near the reef and, at other times, move of into the blue. For protection against predators they swim in a spiraling circular motion, forming a huge spinning ball of fish! You can also see other large pelagic fish, like Dogtooth Tuna, Spanish Mackerel, Giant Trevally and Rainbow Runners. The topography is similar to Cogon, so a sloping reef leading into a steep wall, which is covered in Hard and Soft Corals. There are also numerous Barrel Sponges, Tube Sponges, Anemones and Crinoids that perch themselves on top of the Corals in the current prone areas ready to pick Plankton from the water as it floats by. Like all of Apo’s dive sites, you will see many other smaller reef fishes that dance in the current, occasionally diving into the reef for cover from passing Bluefin Trevally out on the hunt. There is often a strong current, so at times this site is not suitable for all divers.
This is another wall dive that has lots of undercuts, overhangs and ledges. There is very nice Hard Coral growth here, as well as beautiful Soft Coral gardens. Sailfin Gobies and Nudibranchs can be found on the sandy ledges on the wall, as well as the occasional large Malabar Grouper, Midnight Snapper, Surgeonfish and Bignose Unicornfish. While swimming among the soft corals, divers should keep an eye out for the elusive radial filefish.
Sometimes known as the ‘washing machine’, this site is usually done as a drift dive because of the prevailing currents that are almost always present. This current, however, ensures prolific marine life so the is a high probability to see a large school of Big-Eye Trevally, solitary Giant Trevally out on the hunt for prey, Spanish Mackerel, Dogtooth Tuna, Midnight Snappers, Barracuda and clouds of Anthias and Fusiliers are always present. The sloping reef section of this site is also a good place to look for huge Green Turtles and Banded Sea Kraits and occasionally meter-long Bumphead Parrotfish are seen on this site. At one point there is a sand channel running between two rock cliffs, which provides shelter from the current and is an excellent place to sit and watch the show! At slack tide and during certain phases of the moon, Coconut is suitable for novice divers, but otherwise it is strictly for advanced divers with drift diving experience.