Exploring the Wonders of Tubbataha: A Dive into the Heart of the Coral Triangle
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Tubbataha is a coral reef system located in the Sulu Sea, Philippines and is recognized as one of the most remarkable coral reefs on our planet. Discovered by divers in the late 1970s, Tubbataha is among the top 10 dive sites in the world.
Due to its isolated location, Tubbataha can only be accessed through liveaboard boats. Divers can experience the awe-inspiring biodiversity and dramatic underwater terrain of the reefs, and encounter large marine animals such as sharks, turtles, and manta rays. The reefs are also a popular breeding ground for seabirds, such as terns and boobies.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park boasts some of the most diverse and impressive coral reefs in the world, with over 600 species of coral. The coral formations are incredibly varied, ranging from branching and table corals to massive boulder and mushroom corals. The underwater landscape is a stunning array of canyons, crevices, and walls, all adorned with vibrant and colourful corals. Tubbataha’s coral reefs provide a vital habitat for countless marine species and play an essential role in sustaining the ocean’s health and biodiversity.
Tubbataha is composed of two huge coral atolls, the north atoll and the south atoll, and a smaller coral structure called Jessie Beazley Reef, located about 20 kilometers north of the atolls. The reefs of Tubbataha and Jessie Beazley are part of Cagayancillo, a remote island municipality about 130 kilometers to the northeast, inhabited mainly by fishermen.
Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global center of marine biodiversity, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa. Its dive season lasts only three months, from mid-March until mid-June, during which diving conditions are usually optimum with clear skies, calm seas, and visibility ranging from 30 to 45 meters.
Liveaboard boats are the only way to visit the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, as it is located in an isolated area. These boats typically offer comfortable cabins, delicious meals, and well-equipped dive facilities. They provide a unique opportunity to explore the reefs and marine life of Tubbataha, with multiple dives per day and the chance to experience the park’s stunning underwater topography and biodiversity.