In front of Grange Island, close to the beach is one of the best dive sites in Subic Bay. The Barges dive site is loved by divers of all skill and experience levels. A variety of marine life with dives for discover diving students to deep divers. Also, the most enjoyed night dive site.
Type of Site: Sunken Material
Depth range: 5 to 34 meters
Skill levels: Discover Diver, Open Water, Advanced Open Water needed for the last barge
Current: Generally calm, some mild current at tide change
Visibility: 5-20 meters not subject to rapid changes in visibility
Average dive time:45 minutes to a hour
Mooring line: Anchor in sand west of first barge
Overall Rating ****
In front of Grange Island, close to the beach is one of the best dive sites in Subic Bay. The Barges dive site is a series of floating docks each getting slightly deeper. It forms a rough “T” shape. There are about 17 barges, until Johan finds another one, and some scatter metal. The barges have a good coral cover, provides a home for a wide variety of marine life and the stratum here is sand.
Little is known about the history of the site, but I suspect it was used as part of a ship repair facility at the end of WWII. The name of the site – barges – is a hold over from the navy days. In military nomenclature at least some of these were: Barges-Dock-Floating.
The Barges are an unassuming dive site. They do not have the draw that many of our wrecks do, but they are like a favorite uncle. The wrecks get the attention, but it is the barges that you return to most often. The barges get more dives than any of the other sites. Many discover dives and first open water dives during Open Water Diver Training are done on the barges. As a training dive site, the conditions are near perfect. Dive boats drop anchor in the sand near the first barge. The depth is 4 to 5 meters. Students have a clear place to practice the basic skills and with the extra time can move off to the nearby first barge. There is not much to see of the barge itself, only the top is visible and that is fully covered in coral. The second barge stands off the sandy bottom a little more.
The first two barges are at the 5 meters depth, a perfect safety stop. Except for the last barge, the entire site can be used by Open Water Divers. They can follow the main line of barges into water to about 20 meters deep. A few barges sit off the straight line separated by a few meters of sand. Each of the barges have some unique features and while some marine life is found on all the barges, there are some species that stick to just one or two barges. The site only has a current on the tide change and that is mild mostly at or near the surface. Visibility is good to very good. It has the greatest bio-diversity of any of the dive sites and often some of the largest that you will find. Some schools will leave for a while but return. Rays are found in the sand between the wrecks.
The dive site is the largest artificial site in the bay. The Barges site is also the leading night dive site in the bay. With the setting of the sun, a wide range of species lead by the cuttlefish and octopus come out to play and hunt. The coral open to feed and the activity on the reef resumes.
Advance open water divers can visit the last barge, which starts in about 22 meters sitting on the side of a steep slope. They can go down to their max depth of 30 meters. The barge continues on for a few more meters for deep divers at 34 meters.