Many people have asked me to describe the diving here on Tablas Island and I always struggle to answer because the diving here is so wide ranging that it can be hard to decide what aspects to tell people about. So this is my attempt to describe what is available here for divers from absolute beginners through to experienced technical divers.
The peak season for both tourism and diving here on Tablas is between November and April. This is the dry season with temperatures ranging from about 30 degrees during the day and dropping into the low 20’s overnight. Humidity is low at this time of year which makes the temperature quite comfortable (unless you’ve come directly from a Finnish winter, in which case it will take you a few days to adjust).
In the water the temperature during the dry season is around 26 degrees and this rises to about 30 degrees during the wet season. Due to First Buddy’s location on the west coast of Tablas Island the dry season means that our Binucot Bay is protected from any winds and invariably looks as calm as a swimming pool. In fact the whole west coast of Tablas Island is protected during the dry months making diving expeditions a comfortable and safe affair.
Visibility underwater here is spectacular; at its absolute worst during the wet season visibility remains at 10 – 15 m and during the dry 25 – 30+ m is not uncommon.
Before you even reach our resort you’ll see Binucot Bay and our home reef through the crystal clear waters. Binucot Bay has a lot of options; the bay is quite literally covered in coral and very gently slopes down to 18 m before you hit the steep drop off. The majority of the coral life is found between 2 and 10 m deep so can be seen by snorkelers and divers alike. There is one sand patch in the bay which is clearly visible from the shore and has a nice little mini-wall on the south side of it which goes from about 2 – 6 m.
Binucot bay is perfect for conducting try-dives and open water courses due to the calm conditions and the variety of life you can see. It is also great for photography as the shallower water lets in ample light and the visibility here is always good. Logistically it is very easy to dive as you can just walk off the beach from right in front of our resort.
Our bay also contains the recently discovered Padawan’s Pinnacle. With the top at about 10 m deep the pinnacle extends to 18 m on the east side and drops away to 40 m on the western side. Also covered in coral the pinnacle attracts a lot of fish life and turtles are often found here too.
So, just in our home bay you can find something for everyone from snorkelers and beginner divers through to deep recreational or technical divers and plenty for the photographers too.
Some images taken in Binucot Bay and on Padawan's Pinnacle
On the headlands at both the north and south ends of our bay you will find spectacular wall dives. The tops of the walls are between 5 – 8 m and drop down to +40 m. Need I mention that these are also covered in a wide variety of coral? And the vis is always great?
We reach these sites via our inflatable rib boat and the ride take only a few minutes. There is often some current along these walls that can vary from almost nothing to quite strong. This offers nice opportunities for drift diving in the right conditions.
There are also a couple of nice little caverns to explore located on these walls for those that are suitably qualified. And on that note allow me to digress.
I often get divers asking if they can go into these caverns despite the fact that they have never done any training in an overhead environment. Being qualified as a full cave diver I can assure you that I will not take anyone into a cavern or cave that has not done the required training.
I could elaborate quite extensively on this topic but I feel this video explains it best. This is a must watch for anyone who thinks they would like to dive in a cave (particularly those that are not qualified to do so), please watch it. Then, if you still want to go diving in a cave take the time to get properly qualified. Once you have learned the correct techniques to dive in caves safely it is one of the most rewarding experiences you can find as a diver. Fair warning though - it can be very addictive.
Cavern and walls around Binucot Bay
So this is what is available diving wise just within five minutes of our resort here on Tablas Island. In part two I will go through the diving options throughout the rest of the island.