BLUE HOLE-The Blue Hole is one of Guam's most popular dives, with visibility usually in excess of 100 feet/30 meters. It can be done only by boat. As with most dives along Guam's western coast, Redtooth Triggerfish, Titan Triggerfish, Crocodile Needlefish and various Butterflyfish are common. Along the wall plunging into the depths, larger fish such as Napoleons, Barracudas, rays and turtles are sometimes seen. The Blue Hole is a sinkhole with an entrance at about 60'/18m, and opening in the cliffside at about 120'/35m. Straight down it is about 220'/70m, and from there slopes down even further. There is a giant anchor, which was once on the upper shelf at about 80'/24m, but which is now at 250'/80m. Even though the Blue Hole is famous for its deep cavern, it can easily be done as a relatively shallow dive.
CREVICE-The Crevice is a few hundred meters south of the Blue Hole, and has most of the same fish, although turtles are more commonly seen here. There's always a hungry school of Pyramid Butterflyfish to swarm around the divers. There are usually 2 moorings available, one at 50'/15m, the other 90'/28m. The Crevice itself is around 165'/50m at the bottom, and sloping down even farther. There are quite a few nice Sea Fans along the walls of the Crevice. Depending on currents, we sometimes do a drift dive from the Crevice to the Blue Hole.
BARRACUDA ROCK-Although I may be one of the few people to have actually SEEN barracudas there in recent years, this is a very interesting dive. Generally done as a shallow (55'/17m) dive, it features great visibiltiy, as do all of the open ocean sites along Guam's west coast, and a boulder-strewn ocean floor, sometimes harboring colorful lobsters, with a few small "caves" to investigate. These are commonly referred to as "swim throughs" rather than true caves....and no special cave or cavern training is needed to go through them....try not to bump your head on the roof, though! At one point there was a resident Whitetip Reef Shark, but I haven't seen him in a while. The caves will be filled with red Squirrelfish, and another cave, up along the cliffside, has a school of Hatchetfish, and sometimes a big Porcupine fish as well. You have to be a little careful about the surge to enter THAT cave....it can be like the inside of a washing machine at times!
HAP'S REEF-This is a great site for divers of all levels, even non-divers wanting to try an "intro" diving course from a boat. As a bonus, quite often you will be able to see a pod of Spinner Dolphins cruising around the bay near Agat. While these are "wild" dolphins, and their presence can't be guaranteed, when in a playful mood, they will jump and spin around the boat. On other days, they're a bit more reserved. As for the dive itself, the bottom is about 52'/16m, with a substantial reef rising from it...to a depth of about 20'/6m. You WILL be guaranteed schools of colorful Goatfish, Raccoon Butterflyfish, Crocodile Needlefish and usually, Lionfish as well. Here you will sometimes see the Lionfish swimming freely, while in most places, they stay hidden. There are also a couple of nice anemones with Clownfish on top of the reef. Even though the dive is fairly shallow, you may see divers exhibiting symptoms of nitrogen narcosis!
I'm adding a few of these at a time, starting with the more popular sites. If you'd like information on a site I haven't yet written a description for, please email me and I'll get back to you right away. You can click on the small photos to see a larger image.
GUN BEACH-Gun beach, when conditions are fairly calm, is a very easy, convenient dive....located at the north end of "Hotel Row" in Tumon, it can be reached from our dive shop in less than 10 minutes. With over 600 dives there, I've often seen turtles, and once in a while sharks & mantas. One very lucky day a couple years ago, I saw a school of FIVE mantas, and was able to watch them for a few minutes before they moved along. Unfortunately, my diver that day didn't send me a photo....but a few weeks later, another diver there with me sent me this manta photo. This year, I was immersed in a huge, swirling school of silver fish and took this photo. There are 2 main entry points to begin the dive, one of them following a telephone cable out through a cut in the reef....that cable comes in handy at times when you have a bit of surge to contend with returning to the beach! There's also a small "cave" that can be used for your entrance/exit during high tide. Another interesting thing to see is a very large boulder...maybe 15'/5m high....which was "rolled" maybe 100'/30m by our last typhoon, crushing all the coral in its path, like Neptune's bowling ball. This dive is usually done at 20~60'/6~18m, but can be done deeper as well.
SEABEE JUNKYARD-Situated near the mouth of Apra Harbor, this is a change of pace from nearly any other dive site in Guam. After construction of the breakwater to complete the harbor, the leftover construction machinery, huge pipes, and "too-much-trouble-to-move" materials were left at the site. Since the site is now mostly 30'/10m underwater, there's an interesting assortment of old bulldozers, cranes, and other machinery. For the mechanically-inclined, it's fun to try to figure out what these now coral-encrusted things "used" to be. There are also lots of WWII-era Coke bottles, and occasionally ammunition can be found in the vicinity. I don't have photos of them at the moment, but in addition to the usual reef fish, you'll be able to see small shrimp on Cushion Stars and a variety of nudibranches (ocean slugs, basically, but a lot more colorful!) (Both photos by Hashimoto) Oh...as construction sites tend to be dangerous, be sure to watch out for ghosts!
AMERICAN TANKER-This concrete barge was sunk after WWII to help form the breakwater...but due to faulty positioning, is actually down the slope a ways. The ship is listing ("tilting" for non-nautical types) about 20 degrees to starboard. There are a few open rooms along the ship deck, as well as the superstructure itself, which can be safely entered by divers without special shipwreck training. The interior of ANY shipwreck, of course, should not be entered without special training. In some of these rooms, there's an air pocket at the ceiling. It's kind of interesting to put your head in the air pocket and listen to the gurgling water, but don't breathe this stale air...it ranges from smelly to toxic. I'll usually find an Emperor Angelfish hanging around the rudder, and there are Red Snapplers, Titan Triggerfish and assorted Fusillears, Butterflyfish & Parrotfish around the wreck.
FINGER REEF-Near the mouth of the harbor, on the south side of Apra Harbor, is a colorful reef most famous for its very large, red anemone. Divers rarely go deeper than about 60'/18m, and much of the dive is often done on top of the reef, coming back to the boat at about 15'/5m. There's a small swim-through cave just east of the mooring, and there will often be schools of Crocodile Needlefish, Unicornfish and Cornetfish near it. If you look carefully, you will be able to see small, transparent glass shrimp among the tentacles of the anemones. I've seen turtles & schools of small barracudas there as well.
PITI BOMBHOLES-Although this requires a few minutes walking, it's very commonly used for intro divers, Open Water classes, and those who want a long bottom time in a shallow, easy dive. There's sometimes a pretty good current running north to south in the shallow area, but it disappears once you get to about 15'/5m. The deepest you can go here is about 40'/12m, unless you bring a shovel. There's an underwater observatory here, which is usually filled with tourists during the daytime. There's a bridge leading out to the observatory, under which the "Seawalkers" can be seen. (they wear a helmet & walk on the bottom rather than dive...but since they're on a leash...umm, I mean a tether...they don't go very far.) The observatory itself has windows encircling the structure at about 15'/5m. It's kind of fun to wave at the tourists from outside the windows, write notes on your slate, make "bubble rings" for their amusement, etc. There are some anemones & clams set up on shelves around the windows. One fish you'll usually see here, but rarely elsewhere, is the Scribbled Filefish. Another fish, the Dotted Butterflyfish, is described in MICRONESIAN REEF FISHES by ROBERT F MEYERS, page 156 as "It is known from Guam on the basis of a single reliable observation...." but I've seen them about 8 times....once here, at Piti Bombholes. Also, you'll see schools of Goatfish, One-Spot Snappers, Cornetfish, Bluefin Trevallies, and various butterflyfish, such as the Teardrop Butterflyfish. The nicer corals are behind & to the south side of the observatory, where the intro divers rarely go.
PALACE WALL-This is a site which we sometimes do from our charters going to the north, which few tourists get to dive. As the name implies, it is behind the Palace Hotel with a fairly sheer wall beginning at around 60'/18m...or deeper in some places...dropping off to the bottom at about 160'/50m, and then a gradual slope down to who knows how deep! We almost always do this as a drift dive, south to north, first going along the wall at about 100'/30m, where we'll see sea fans, sea whips, and occasional large fish...last time there I saw a group of 3 big Napoleon Wrasse. We finish the dive up along the shelf, where you'll see Blue Starfish, anemones, and usually octopus peering out of their hiding places. If you know what to look for, you can often see them from about 40'/12m away...but as you get closer, they shriiiiiiink down into their hole, and you'll be left with nothing to see but their eyes!
GAB GAB 2-This point is unique in Guam for 2 reasons: 1) The Atlantis tourist submarine goes around this reef and 2) it is the only place divers go OFTEN where big fish can almost be guaranteed. The reason for this is that the submarine crew put out fish food...which often looks suspiciously like Purina Dog Chow (as well as chopped up fish parts)....which bring in the larger fish. The big fish at Gab Gab 2 are Giant Trevallies, and there is often a big school of Batfish as well. Additionally, there's a very well-fed Moray Eel at this site, and if you look closely, especially in the round concrete structures on the reef, you can find big Stonefish. I've seen 1 manta there, and turtles now & then as well. Most of the dive is done at about 50'/15m, although directly under the boat, while moored, it is about 110'/33m. There's not much down there but mud, so we rarely dive there! (Although it's a good place to look for fallen weight belts & such.) This is also a good place to practice your navigation skills....the mooring is set away from the reef, so there's a short swim due North to get to the reef.....pretty easy, although making the swim BACK to find the mooring line can be more of a challenge. But don't worry....as long as you can remember the most important direction....UP!.....you'll be fine.
TOKAI MARU & CORMORAN-This is definitely a one-of-a-kind dive site...there is a WW I German ship (the Cormoran) and a WW II Japanese ship (the Tokai Maru, of course) which are actually in contact with each other. I've read that this is the only place in the world where this is the case. This site is especially popular with visiting military divers. In most cases, it is done from a boat, but I've done it from the beach, when I have divers who REALLY want to see it, and don't mind the 20-minute plus surface swim to & from the wreck! A brief bit of history (don't worry, there's no test!)...the Cormoran was "scuttled," that is, sunk by its own captain, after US forces took over Guam during WW I and told the captain "gimme your boat," or words to that effect. The Japanese ship was actually sunk during battle, and damage from the bombing can be seen on the ship. While the harbor bottom here is around 100'/30m, the top deck of the Tokai Maru is about 50'/14m, while the Cormoran is a bit deeper...60'/18m. Both ships are resting on their sides. While shipwrecks don't have the abundant fish life of the reefs, you'll usually see schools of Fusillears, and sometimes big Puffer or Porcupine Fish, and this Batfish, ready to have my finger for lunch! As with all shipwrecks, don't try to penetrate the dark interior (outside passageways & rooms are ok) without proper training. The inside of ships often have decades of fine silt built up, and a stray kick will reduce visibility to almost nothing...making it difficult to find your way back out. Email me & I'll tell you a story of why this is a bad idea!
CORMORAN-Please scroll down to Tokai Maru, as the two ships are together.
BLUE & WHITE-Instead of taking the usual left (south) turn going out of the harbor, we go to the right to see this site. We need fairly calm ocean conditions to go here; otherwise it can be a bumpy ride on the boat! The unique thing about this site is the presence of Garden Eels down at about 100'/30m. Garden eels stick their heads out of the sand, and wave back and forth while they feed on small plankton. Well, maybe "sway" back & forth is more accurate...it's very hard for them to wave, since they don't have any hands. If you approach them too closely (about 15'/5m) they will retreat back into their holes in the sand. There's a small boulder in the sand flat, just about that distance from the eels...so it's a good place to hide and watch them from. At the end of this sand patch, the wall drops down to a deeper level of about 160'/50m. Along this wall, I've seen schools of barracuda, swirling jacks, and an occasional shark. Along the shallower slope, there are quite a few anemones, some large clams, schools of surgeonfish, and another fish we usually don't see, the Oriental Sweetlips. As with most sites outside of the harbor, visibility is usually 100'/30m or more.
SHARK'S PIT-This is another dive site which could, perhaps, be renamed. As with Barracuda Rock, the site name doesn't really give you an indication of what you're likely to see there! The story behind the name is: after WW II, a lot of military debris, including trash from the mess hall, was bulldozered (is that a word?...well, it is now) off the cliff, bringing in fish, which, in turn, were followed by sharks. As this process hasn't occurred now for many decades, all of the food is gone, so you're no more likely to see a shark there than at any other place. But the name's still cool, right? So, enough about what this site DOESN"T have, now on to what it DOES have. While the food & garbage are long gone, the metal waste is still there...this ranges from ammunition, spoons, spools of wire all the way to tanks & jeeps. The mooring here is at 66'/20m, and there's a big underwater pinnacle which rises up to within about 15'/5m of the surface....ideal for taking care of your safety stop, looking at little crabs & such in the coral growing there. There are also sea whips growing on the sides on this pinnacle, more shallow than you'll usually see elsewhere. There' always a big school of Pyramid Butterflyfish here, and different sorts of Sa Cucumbers & Nudibranches among the debris. There's one odd area, up around 50'/15m...a large circular section appears to have been "scooped" out of the bottom, with old coke bottles & various debris protruding out of the rock....it looks like a bomb might have exploded years ago to do this, but I really have no idea what caused this formation.
APRA BEACH-This is the site where I have by far the most dives....over 1,100 at last count! The reason for this is that it's almost always calm, and has a very easy entry point, with almost no walking required. Because of this, along with Piti Bombholes, probably more people dive these two sites than any others. While I don't really recommend it for experienced divers, it's very good for intros, Open Water students, and those who want a really easy dive if they want to brush up on their skills or whatever. There are actually 2 primary entry points, which gives people a little different perspective. In addition to the Red-Banded Shrimp, which are common everywhere, there is a pair of another kind of shrimp (better look up their name, I guess) which are not nearly as common. There are the usual Crocodile Needlefish, Parrotfish, Unicornfish, various Butterflyfish and Anemones. I'll see turtles there once in a while, and there's one coral formation which usually has 2~4 Stonefish. As a little challenge to my divers, I'll take a little swim around this formation, count Stonefish, and tell my divers how many there are, and ask (via my underwater slate) them to try to find them. The divers rarely are able to, as Stonefish are very difficult to see...often buried in the sand so only their eyes & mouth protrude. There's also a sunken buoy not too deep...about 45'/13m.
PITI CHANNEL-This is another site mostly used for intros & Open Water classes. The maximum depth along here is only about 18'/6m. Basically it's a long, winding channel beginning at the Cabras Power Plant and ending out in the open ocean, creating a relatively deep channel through the reef flat, which is only a few feet deep. After you make the first "bend" there can be a strong current taking you out to the ocean. I've never heard of anybody doing it as a drift dive that far, though it's something I might try for fun someday. I DO sometimes do it as a drift dive to an adjoining park....a couple hundred yards/meters away...which avoids the problem of coming back against the current. (If you stay near the entry point, there's never much of a current to worry about.) Of course, there's then a long walk back to the car, but I do that myself, and let the divers wait at the park & take apart the dive gear while I go get the car. You DO see some unusual things here, though...probably due to the uncommon topography of a fast channel through a long reef flat. I'll almost always see a few big Porcupine Fish hanging out at one of the coral heads; also there are a lot of Sea Urchins...if you find a discarded spine in the sand, and slide it through your fingers, it will leave a purple dye...kind of interesting. We'll also see Frogfish here, schools of (needlefish?) and squid, sometimes. On my last night dive there, we saw a Banded Snake Eel burrow into the sand BACKWARDS, a Decorator Crab...covered with sponges & stuff for camouflage...and a ray trying to dig its dinner out of the gravel at about 3'/1m, right at the entry point.
The sites below here don't yet have any photos or links added to the descriptions.....