Gato Island

Dive Site: Gato Island

Diving Classification:Reef / Wall/ Cave
Distance:1 Hour
Max. Depth:Max. 30 meters
Current:It could be strong
LocationMalapascua North
Difficulty:Open Water / Advanced Divers


Gato Island is a protected marine sanctuary and it is a perfect place to see both macro and big fishes. This dive spot is particularly famous for the sea snakes, Whitetip Sharks, and Bamboo Sharks resting under the rocks. It is also known for its tunnel dive where Whitetip and Blacktip Reef Sharks await the divers at the exit of the tunnel.

On the colorful soft coral gardens, you can also see frogfishes, pygmy seahorses, and nudibranchs. Away from the Reef are also good to spot schools of squids and sometimes big-mouthed mackerel attracted by bait balls. The underwater rock formation of the island is impressive with its overhangs and swim-throughs that let you enjoy beautiful light games. This dive spot is without a doubt one of the pearls of Malapascua.

Gato Island was subdivided into five dive sites namely: the Cathedral, Guardhouse, Nudibranch City, Cave, and Whitetip Alley. Some of these dive sites are under recovery due to super typhoon Haiyan that hit Malapascua last November 2013 hence, diving is prohibited.

  • Witness Gato Island’s amazing rock formations at the Cathedral.
  • At the Guardhouse, drop down 24 meters then you will find extremely rare pink and yellow pygmy seahorses. Spanish dancers up to 30 cm long, lionfish, lots of nudibranchs, and painted frogfish among others can be seen as you work your way up the wall.
  • As the name implies, Nudibranch City is some sort of a village where nudibranchs dwell and live in harmony with nature. You will find hermit crabs and scorpion fish as well.
  • For the brave hearts, The Cave/Tunnel is your way to go. Dive underneath Gato Island through this 30-meter tunnel and come out the other side. Crabs, lobsters, and puffer fish are abundant, while Whitetip Sharks are just around the corner or near the exit. You may be able to get up close with them inside or see them near the exit, swim slow and feel your heart skip a beat.
  • The cave is a great start but it’s at the Whitetip Alley where these Whitetip Sharks rest their weary head. Watch them sleeping under the rocks or if you’re lucky, you’ll witness them circling around you to make you feel at home. 🙂
Photo Credit: Pascal Kobe
Info Credit: Lanch of Dive Society
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