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Recent Scuba Diving Finds at Subic Bay Philippines

This is a copy of a facebook post by PG Swerte about Scuba Diving Subic Bay Philippines

Do you dive? After reporting on the Steam Tug recently I got to thinking about the things we’ve found in the Bay in recent years while diving with Johan’s Dive Resort on Baloy Beach, and investigating the sonar hits that Johan De Sadeleir has tagged as possible items of interest. Looking through my dive log I found countless mud-dives, debris, small items (a cable-layer, anchors, crates etc.) …and miles and miles (and miles) of sand… 🙂… But sometimes; …just sometimes, we find things that when we come upon them they take your breath away, set your senses tingling and promote frantic high-fiving, involuntary smiles that flood masks, and unintelligible grunts of delight into regulators… here’s a few such finds…

On May 17, 2015 we hit the trifecta.. My logs # 373-375. At 12 o’clock we dropped in to 42 meters and “re-found” the Orion’s Tail (having previously lost the coordinates). At 1:30 we dropped to 40 meters and found the Twin Engine LCM, and at 3:04 that very same day we dropped to 36 meters onto the AD5 Skyraider. Diving with Henry Bulatao and Chris Thorp we could hardly believe our eyes when it appeared majestically out of the gloom.

subic bay philillines Skyraider Ad-5

Dive the AD-5 Skyraider only at Subic Bay Philippines

On May 31, 2015 (my log# 379) at 1:00 pm on our second dive that day and still buzzing from our previous find only two weeks earlier, Chris and I dropped to 36 meters and were confronted by the M3 halftrack; complete with a 75 mm Howitzer pointing skyward as if ready to defend itself.

On 2nd March 2016 (my log# 413) while diving with Julian Jubs Bland and Chris, we found the submerged Channel Marker Buoy #10 at 36 meter’s.

On 20 April 2016 (my log# 432) diving with Ian Major and Chris we found the wing of a PBY Catalina.

On 26 May 2016 (my log 446) Chris and I found the wing tip and outer engine nacelle of the Orion… (…although it took us months of research and emails to experts to figure out what it was!)

On 16th Dec 2016 we found “something” at 37 meters.. a tripod? .. a drilling rig? …a pile of bricks? …vis was poor and after several dives we were still clueless as to what it was… In mid- January we tried again but came up no wiser. At the end of January 2017 diving with Chris, Julian and Ian, we thought perhaps there was a prop and a boiler of some sort… but couldn’t be sure. I felt however it was more than a pile of debris and in the following weeks it nagged at me.

In May I asked Johan if we could go take another look, so on May 3, 2017 we dropped to 37m in vastly better vis and as Ian hovered back and surveyed the area in it’s entirety it was obvious it was a steam boat. Returning on 10 May (my log #510) with 15 litre nitrox back gas and 50% deco tanks to prolong bottom time; we took video and some initial measurements, and returned again on May 17th to verify measurements and take more pictures. Armed with that data I began to research online. sifting through countess references and making comparisons with various Naval databases I finally made the (probable) identification of the site as the District Tug “Banaag” YT-104; based in Olongapo US Naval base from 1911 thru 1941.

Why Scuba dive  Subic Bay?

So what’s my point? I pity those that are scared away from Subic diving by the reports of poor vis, because for the real divers and history enthusiasts Subic is the gift that keeps on giving! Two hours by road from Manila i’ts packed with historical wrecks and some very nice rocks and fish dives for the photographers too, if you know where to look. Some great dive operators, (careful, considerate and responsible)… some awesome instructors, and knowledgeable dive leaders.

Those that have dived here know what I mean, those that haven’t don’t know what you’re missing. Come expecting to be tested, (..it’s not Anilao), and come expecting to be thrilled and amazed because diving Subic Bay is an awesome experience!

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