Third in our series of blogs on types of diving is muck diving.

If you have never heard of muck diving before, it does sound completely unappealing and actually the reality of what you are doing is essentially as it sounds. But perhaps what the title does not allude to is the extraordinary marine life found in the muck.

Clown Frogfish Muck diving refers to diving in waters where the bottom mainly consists of black sand or grey silt with lumps of dead coral and detritus. These muck diving sites are prevalent in areas near river mouths of land with volcanic activity. Volcanic lava and ash are rich in minerals and alongside brackish water provide conditions that are unfavourable for marine creatures to thrive in, thus forcing organisms to adapt or die and resulting in an abundance of unusual and endemic species. Due to the nature of the substrate, visibility is usually poor and sites also tend to have artificial rubbish and rotting vegetation which are being used as shelter by the marine critters.

So without the crystal clear water and colourful pristine coral reefs that we are used to, what is the point? Well I thought this before my first muck dive but once I had experienced it first-hand, there was no going back. In one morning of diving we saw more than ten different species of nudibranch, most of which I had never send before, several different species of frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, seahorses and the illusive mimic octopus (as it turns out not so illusive when muck diving in Lembeh). The critters you see while muck diving are so rare on a normal dive and extraordinary, colourful, unique, weird... but seem to be plentiful in these mysterious muck diving sites.

The best muck diving in the world

Hoping to have convinced you that muck diving is definitely worth it for at least part of a diving trip, here are a few of Original Diving's top picks for the best muck diving in the world:

  1. Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea - the original muck diving spot!
  2. Lembeh Strait, Indonesia - muck diving capital of the world.
  3. Mabul, Borneo - an area most famous for the turtles of Sipadan, the adjacent island of Mabul offers excellent muck diving.
  4. Ambon, Indonesia - where the psychedelic frogfish was first discovered!
  5. Puerto Galera, Philippines - great destination for all-round diving but a couple of brilliant muck dives too.

Fancy diving into the muck? Get in touch to find out more...