Tubbataha

Located 98 nautical miles (181 km) southeast of Puerto Princesa in Palawan, the Tubbataha UNESCO World Heritage reef lies almost in the middle of the Sulu Sea in the Philippines. Home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world, Tubbataha is known internationally as one of the best scuba diving sites on earth. I was very lucky to join Tubbataha Park Manager Angelique Songco on the WWF research vessel Minerva to visit Tubbataha in April 2006. With visibility sometimes pushing beyond 120 feet, Tubbataha is also one of the most dramatic spots for underwater photography in the world. Although there are generally fewer small tropical fish and soft corals around Tubbataha (when compared to Apo Island, another of my favorite dive sites), the concentration of large pelagic fish species such as sharks, tuna, and even whale sharks makes every dive at Tubbataha very memorable. This gallery of my favorite photos from Tubbataha includes shots of a tiger shark, trevally, rare and endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles, brilliantly colored schools of damsel fish, dolphins, ocean sunrises & sunsets, as well as photos of Bird Island—a beautiful tropical island surrounded by blue water and pristine coral reef and an important nesting habitat for endangered migratory bird species.