Sunday, May 18, 2008

Scuba Diving - Barracuda Lake

This is one of the best places to visit in Coron - only if you're a licensed scuba diver. Though the view is spectacular, it's actually the scuba diving experience that sets it apart from other destinations. You get here by boat. It takes around 15-20 minutes to get there. When you arrive you are greeted by the sign above.
The lake is actually secluded and you have to climb up a sharp rocky cliff then climb back down again the other side. Thankfully, the locals hammered together makeshifts stairs and railings to help you with the climb. Be very careful here, or you'll end up with broken bones and lots of deep gashes. The rocks are razor sharp! What awaits you on the other side is breathtaking. The sheer cliffs and rock formations are spectacular. For non-divers, you can snorkel in the lake. The water is brackish. Unfortunately, there is nothing really to see underwater - though you do feel like you're swimming in a bowl. Actually, the lake may actually have been a now extinct volcano. But I'm no scientist, so don't quote me on this!

If you are a scuba diver, then you’ll have an out-of-this-world experience. Like snorkeling, there is nothing to see underwater. The water is cool. But when you hit 40 feet, you hit what you think is thermocline. As you descend deeper and deeper, the water becomes warmer until it becomes uncomfortably hot. Then after 70 feet, the water becomes cool again. Talk about a weird experience! You’ll reach a maximum depth of 100 feet. Any further down, and it’s just total darkness. Maybe it’s because the soil beyond 100 feet is much darker.

Speaking of soil… The ground wasn’t made of sand. The ground was this soil that was both yucky and mushy. It felt so gross that I tried to avoid touching it. But then I couldn’t resist sticking my hand in. My arm went all the way in until my elbow. Our dive master was even brave enough to stick his head into the muck. Afterwards, we were all embraced by a brown cloud because of all the disturbances we were making on the ground.

The ascent back to the surface was the reverse of the descent. It was cool, hot, warm, and finally cool again. This actually lends credence to my hypothesis that this was indeed an extinct volcano because the hot part of the dive feels like you were in a hot spring. But how can the hot part be in the middle only?

Here's a link with a nice diagram of Barracuda Lake.

If you hate currents, you'll love this dive. Be careful with your weights though, because your bouyancy will be different than in the salt water.

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