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Diving with the Aliens and the Clowns in Dauin

Located in the Philippine province of Negros Oriental, Dauin offered exciting dive sites for the muck divers; scuba divers who love muck diving. Not many scuba divers love this type of diving; this is a type of dive where scuba divers dive in sandy or sediment bottom to look for weird looking sea animals, just like aliens! There are no lovely corals, but more dark sand slope with artificial reef like car tires or unused bikes in the dive sites. However in Dauin, the sandy slope dive sites are often accompanied by few corals with anemone fish, the clownfish! The clownfish were seen almost in every dive sites, what a joy!

Muck Dive Sites

There are 15 dive sites in Dauin alone and several dive sites in Apo Island and Siquijor Island. Both Islands can be accessed from Dauin by boat. We were also diving in Apo Island, but I will write about it in my future post. All dive sites in Dauin shared a similar characteristic of the sandy slope, but there was some additional unique ‘artificial reef’. A broken car was located at the border of Poblacion and Cars dives sites. The car was broken into pieces after a typhoon attack. Meanwhile, in the dive site Pyramid, a scuba diver could easily spot a pyramid structure made by the human, and it was already covered with soft corals.

My favorite dive site in Dauin was Mainit. Mainit is a local language for hot because the dive site is located nearby to thermal hot springs. We spotted yellow patches that were very warm to touch. Other dive sites in Dauin are usually calm, but Mainit always has current. I experienced it as ‘soft’ current if compared to the currents in Bali, Komodo and Raja Ampat (Indonesia) which were much stronger. The dive site has natural reefs and rocks that covered with corals and full of fishes. We saw lots of different species of the clownfish, mantis shrimp, blue spotted stingrays, barracudas and much more. And for the first time, I saw a pretty sea spider, Pycnogonid.

Night diving should not be missed when you were on diving holiday in Dauin. The sea was calm during the night. We saw a pretty bobtail squid – oh, she was so pretty! Unfortunately, my underwater casing for my camera was in the foggy mood – I had no luck to get her pictures properly. If you wonder what the bobtail squid look like, just check the image by Randi Ang. We spotted so many species even at the night time – incredible! It was pitch dark and we could only focus on a certain area with our dive lights but the shrimps, squids, crabs and sea spiders were easily spotted. Only during the night dives that we did not see the clownfish.


Dauin is now my second favorite muck diving destination after Lembeh Strait (Indonesia). Lembeh Strait is known in scuba diving community as the world’s capital of muck diving, but I will not surprise if Dauin will take over the crown in the future. Watch out Indonesia 😉

Personally, I love muck diving because there is always new unique marine species to see. Observing their behavior is fascinating – how they move and hide under the sand. They are right in front of you but it does not mean you can see them. The challenge of a muck diver is: how many weird looking marine animal can a diver find/see in one dive. On this post, I shared only a few images of the weird looking species we saw during my muck diving in Dauin. We spotted more species and certainly, we would love to visit Dauin again 🙂



  1. Indah…great photos, as usual. Love the clown fish, but who doesn’t love a clown fish? I’ve never photographed under water. Seems like you have to have your act together. Seems like you have your act together!! Me…I’m too lazy to mess with all the equipment. And breathing through a tube creeps me out! So I dive vicariously through you! Thanks

  2. I had not heard of muck diving before, but I can definitely believe you see a lot of different species on the sandy bottoms. It is the perfect place for hiding for predators. Your underwater photos as stunning as always! Wonder where the clownfish stays at night?

    • I wonder as well, I have been doing night diving several times and never saw a single clownfish, and the anemone where they live was also empty 🙂 Thank you so much for your compliment 🙂

  3. Beautiful, Mbak! Ada banyak sekali biota laut unik yang saya lihat di postingan ini, keren banget. Yang seperti siput itu juga unik sekali :hihi, bahkan ada laba-laba laut juga. Kayaknya semua binatang dan tanaman yang ada di darat lama-lama ada di laut juga ya Mbak :hehe. Dan goat fish sepertinya dinamakan demikian gara-gara jenggotnya :hihi. Betapa kayanya laut di dunia ini, semoga kelestariannya selalu terjaga :)).

  4. Hi Indah,

    Lovely photography. Clearly these are born out of the convergence of passion and photographic equipment. So what percentage of credit would you give to each of these?


  5. What is it with you pinay who cant stop travelling?? I knew one sometime back she had covered 90%islands by 25 years age , another one on similar lines,.. you got rollers fitted in your legs too.. would you ever stop making me jealous?? 🙂

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