Nestled in the heart of the Philippines’ stunning Palawan archipelago lies Barracuda Lake, one of the most unique and enthralling dive sites in the world. Known for its surreal underwater landscapes and extraordinary thermocline, Barracuda Lake offers divers an experience that is as mystifying as it is captivating. Let’s delve into the wonders of diving in Barracuda Lake, and uncover why it is a must-visit destination for scuba enthusiasts!

The Journey to Barracuda Lake

Getting to Barracuda Lake is an adventure in itself. Upon arrival, divers are greeted with a steep limestone karst landscape, requiring a climb up and over jagged rocks to reach the lake. This hike, while challenging, only adds to the sense of adventure and anticipation. Once over the rocks, the lake appears—a tranquil, azure expanse set against towering limestone cliffs.

For us at Pirate Divers, Barracuda Lake is usually done as the second stop in a day trip to minimize travel time between dive sites. A wreck dive is done before and after the Barracuda Lake dive.

A Unique Underwater World

What sets Barracuda Lake apart from other dive sites is its distinctive thermocline and halocline. The lake is a mixture of fresh and saltwater, creating layers that vary drastically in temperature and salinity. At the surface, the water is a comfortable 28°C (82°F), but as divers descend to around 14 meters (45 feet), they encounter a thermocline where the temperature jumps to a toasty 38°C (100°F). This abrupt change is not only felt but seen, as the water often shimmers where the layers meet, distorting the view like a heatwave on asphalt.

The Enigmatic Barracuda

The lake gets its name from the barracuda that was once frequently sighted here. Though sightings are rare today, the legend of the lone barracuda adds an air of mystery to the lake. Divers often find themselves peering into the blue, half-expecting to catch a glimpse of the elusive fish. Even without a barracuda sighting, the lake’s underwater features are more than enough to captivate divers.

Underwater Landscapes

Descending into Barracuda Lake is like entering another world. The rocky walls extend below the surface, creating dramatic underwater cliffs and formations. Visibility is typically excellent, often exceeding 30 meters (98 feet), allowing divers to fully appreciate the intricate limestone formations. These submerged landscapes are devoid of the usual coral and marine life found in the open sea, offering a stark but mesmerizing scenery.

One of the highlights of diving here is exploring the underwater caves and crevices. These features add an element of exploration and challenge, making each dive a unique experience. The walls of the lake are covered in layers of silt and mineral deposits, creating a textured and otherworldly environment that feels almost like swimming through a forgotten underwater cathedral.

The Thrill of the Thermocline

The thermocline is a major draw for divers at Barracuda Lake. This natural phenomenon creates a layered effect in the water, with distinct separations between the warmer and cooler layers. As divers pass through these layers, they can feel the temperature shift dramatically. This is not only a physical sensation but also a visual spectacle, as the thermocline can create a shimmering mirage-like effect.

For divers, this experience is both surreal and thrilling. It’s one thing to read about thermoclines in a textbook, but quite another to feel the sudden rush of warm water and see the wavering, ghostly lines that mark the boundaries of different water temperatures. This unique aspect of Barracuda Lake makes it a must-visit for those looking to experience something truly different from typical ocean dives.

Diving Logistics and Tips

Diving in Barracuda Lake requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  1. Gear Up: Ensure your dive gear is in top condition. Due to the lake’s unique conditions, it’s essential to have reliable equipment. It is discouraged to use a wetsuit given the temperature variations.
  2. Stay Hydrated: The hike to the lake can be strenuous, and the warm water can be dehydrating. Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated.
  3. Respect the Environment: As with all dive sites, it’s crucial to minimize your impact on the environment. Avoid touching the limestone formations and be mindful of your buoyancy to prevent stirring up sediment.
  4. Safety First: The lake’s warm temperatures can be deceptive. Always monitor your dive time and depth, and follow standard safety protocols.

Barracuda Lake stands out as a dive destination due to its unique thermocline, striking underwater landscapes, and the air of mystery surrounding its namesake. For divers seeking an extraordinary and unforgettable experience, Barracuda Lake is a must-visit! Beyond the lake, the rich diving opportunities in Coron further solidify this region as a premier destination for underwater exploration. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a curious adventurer, Barracuda Lake promises an experience like no other, blending the thrill of discovery with the serene beauty of nature’s hidden depths.

We offer dives to Barracuda Lake as part of a day trip or our 5-Day Busuanga Coron Adventure. Check out our rates here!

  • Underwater Photography Tips for Coron’s Wrecks

    8 May 2024

  • Cool Artifacts to See in Coron Shipwrecks

    26 March 2024

  • Why Coron Busuanga is the Perfect Place to Get Your Scuba Diving Certification

    12 February 2024