Book Your Dive - Review, Compare and Book Your SCUBA Dives

Muck diving refers to diving through the sediments found at the bottom of the sea or on the ocean floor.  It is generally very muddy and mucky, hence the name. 

Usually, in amongst the muck, divers will find old fishing equipment, coral skeletons, garbage and tires.  There are many creatures that enjoy the muck, particularly very young ones, and you may be able to come across such species as:

  • Anglerfish
  • Nudibranch
  • Blue ringed octopus
  • Shrimp
  • Pygmy seahorses (if you’re really lucky, as these are very rare).
The term “muck diving” came from Papua New Guinea and described people who dove from a live aboard boat during the night time.

Best Sites for Muck Diving

The most well known places for muck diving are found in South East Asia in such locations as Malaysia (mainly Kapalai and Mabul, in Sabah), Indonesia mainly the Lembeh Straits, Manado and Bali. This is because the muck in those locations is just perfect for the amazing creatures that you can come across.

Muck Diving in the Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

The Lembeh Strait offers some absolutely fascinating marine habitats.  It is a true macro paradise and a favorite place for divers.  There are many locations where you can go diving with most of them being very sandy or containing some small reefs. 

You can take all the time in the world looking for rare and special sea creatures.  It is full of frogfish, which you are very likely to encounter however there are many other fascinating critters and creatures including the cuttlefish in all its flamboyancy, the mimic octopus, wonderpus, harlequin shrimps, nudibranch and skeleton shrimps. 

There are some delightfully weird creatures to be found as well, such as the stonefish, the Ambon scorpionfish, sea robins, devil fish, weedy scorpionfish and stargazers.  And, of course, there is an array of different seahorses available as well, including the elusive pygmy seahorse.

If you consider a muck diving trip to Lembeh Strait we would recommend to check out the beautiful Dabirahe Resort 

Muck diving frog fish

Photo Credit: prilfish

Muck Diving in Sipadan, Mabul

Sipadan, in Mabul, Malaysia, is widely recognized as being the best muck diving site in the world.  Don’t expect breath taking sites or fantastic visibility of course, that is simply not what muck diving is about.  If this is what you are after, you would be better off going somewhere else. 

But, down on the bottom, in amongst all the dirt, you will be able to find the most bizarre little creatures.  You don’t even have to swim for it, just find a good spot and wait.

Muck Diving in the Secret Bay, Bali

The Secret Bay in Bali is another one of the best sites for muck diving.  Again, this is only suitable for those who have an interest in muck diving as it is shallow and muddy and there is almost no coral available. 

However, you will be able to find frogfish, nudibranch, seahorses, shrimp fish, pipefish and dragonets to name but a few.  No large predators come to these shallow waters, hence the creatures can enjoy what could be considered as a sheltered and happy childhood.

It is best to dive the Secret Bay during high tide.  The waters are chilly, so do bring a good quality wetsuit and always try to not stir up the mud, of course.  Secret Bay is a favorite spot of macro photographers as well, with some many beautiful, weird and wonderful creatures to be found.

Muck diving Nudibranch

Photo Credit: divemecressi

Muck Diving and Macro Photography

Macro photographers really love muck diving as the creatures that you can come across can be really rare.  As the waters are so calm and shallow there are also plenty of opportunities to photograph them. 

Macro photography is a type of photography that looks at extreme close ups.  In true macro photography, the creature or object on the photograph has to be larger than the creature in real life.

Muck Diving Preparations

Choosing a destination for muck diving is usually the biggest battle.  There are generally quite a few sites to choose from, but it all depends on whether or not you want to do any other dives as well. 

Muck diving as fascinating as it can be can also quickly become boring due to the lack of visibility.  You should also make sure you have the necessary license for diving and that you have a good quality wetsuit. 

You are likely to dive at night and in reasonably cold waters, so this really is an essential item… and whatever you do, don’t forget your camera as you’ll have some awesome photo opportunities.

What is your favorite muck dive destination? Let us know in the comments below

Would you like to go Muck diving? contact us. We have multiple partners that offer dive packages + accommodation and scuba lessons too.

Enjoyed this blogpost? Sign up for our free newsletter! and get our scuba blogs delivered in your inbox.

Blog written by: Rutger Thole who used to be a scuba scuba instructor but he got stuck in a suit a couple of years ago. Now he is on his way back, as a the founder of bookyourdive he travels and dives as much as he can.

comments powered by Disqus
($) USD