reef scene from Mainit Point, near Batangas, Philippines

This dive spot in the Philippines near Batangas has an immense, seemingly unrivaled density of marine life. From this one vantage point a diver can view perhaps thousands of reef fish. One possible reason for the rich variety of sea life at this particular place, called Mainit Point, is the swift tide-driven current; another is the warm water flow ("mainit", I am told, means "warm" in the native language Tagalog). The large blue starfish measures about nine inches across, and is a very common shallow-water species found throughout the Philippines.

The combination of jagged topography and swift tide-driven currents can lead to trouble for the unwary diver. Once at Mainit Point I was suddenly towed from about 40 feet to over 70 feet down a steep embankment.  I was able to struggle back to shallow water by gripping the bottom and slowly crawling uphill against the current. On balance, I think the challenging features of this particular spot are more than offset by the chance to experience the wonderfully diverse variety of its marine life.

starfish identification: Linckia laevigata
anemonefish identification: Amphiprion clarkii
anemone identification: Entacmaea quadricolor

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