Barracuda Lake Thermocline Dive in Coron, Palawan, Philippines

There were many firsts on this dive.

It was my first lake dive, a.k.a. fresh water dive.

My first dive without my wet-suit.

First dive without needing to wash my equipment afterwards.

First volcanic lake dive (we're talking REAL hot temperature here).

Finally, first thermocline dive.

A dive where the temperature gets from cold to hot, hotter, too hot as one descends.

Volcanic Lake Thermocline Dive in Coron, Palawan, Philippines

On the surface where tourists splashed about, the water temperature was just like every other lake, cooling and nice.

As I climbed and dragged my equipment over my shoulder, the weight of my BCD and oxygen tank sank into my skin without the protection of my wetsuit. Settling into the water, we began to descend into the lake till a water line where the cold met hot.

Volcanic Lake Thermocline Dive in Coron, Palawan, Philippines
The thermocline. Above a cooling 26 degree Celcius water, below, hot scorching 39 degree Celcius water.

Swimming through the thermocline was a big blur, literally. It was like having your cornea sliced open and nothing in sight was clear. While the temperature might seem/feel unbearable, you pushed on thinking to yourself: "if my dive guide could do it, I could do it".

Temperature rised mercilessly till you hit bottom of the lake where it's covered in volcanic ash. It did look like a sea bed filled with sand, only there was no living thing in sight.

Then my dive guide proceeded to do a head dive into the ground.

Volcanic Lake Thermocline Dive in Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Volcanic Lake Thermocline Dive in Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Here's a video:

Okay, definitely not sand.

Our camera soon died of battery but our experience diving in the Barracuda lake of Coron was definitely one of the most fascinating. We swam into a small but really long cave where lava used to flow through, fit for one person per passage at any given time, testing one's claustrophobia and tolerance for heat. I didn't know if it was my mind or the water got really hot as we ventured deeper into the cave. It was unnerving to think where the cave could lead. To the core of the volcano perhaps. I'm lol-ing at the unlikeliness of it, but it was a scary thought at the time.

And because there was no current, we could take off our fins and play spiderman jumping from one cliff to another underwater without the fear of being dragged away by currents.

Surfacing was another delight as we swam through the thermocline again and experienced chill against our heated skin. If you're never dive through a thermocline before, this will be a highlight dive in Coron; if you're not a fan of heated water, I'd still recommend you to do it for an awesome head-in-ash photo opp.

In case you're wondering why it's called a Barracuda lake was because there was ONE big barracuda living above the thermocline in the lake. Just one. Uno. Ichi. Yea, I didn't know about fresh water barracuda. Must be a lonely fish. 

Read about my article on Wreck Diving in Coron


1 kissed Nicole

  1. Wow, nice...must be a unique experience! Never heard of people diving towards a volcano before (though it makes sense...why not?)