Muck Diving Guide
For many underwater photographers, muck diving is their favorite activities. On muck dives, underwater photographers find rare nudibranchs, juvenile fish, frogfish, and strange critters that are found no where else. And they then spend a long time photographing them. For some people, a muck dive is their favorite place to practice underwater photography.
Muck dive sites often have large patches of sand, often rich volcanic black sand, with small patches of life here and there. But these patches are rich in critters, such as seahorses, frogfish, and cuttlefish. In the sand one can often find gobies, mantis shrimp, octopus and more.
Muck Diving Preparation
Learn the critters in the area. Develop a critter list.
Find a good dive guide.
Have the right dive equipment - a large tank full of nitrox is the best, with stiff fins that don't silt up the area when you kick
Plan to dive the sites during the day and night for different opportunities. Here's more about dive planning
Have a good dive light or focus light
Get excited when it's rainy or cloudy - more critters will be out
Tiny frogfish from a muck dive in Anilao. F18, 60mm + 1.4x teleconverter
Best Muck Diving Locations
Good muck place, although the best dive site, the "pier" is now closed
Redondo Beach, California
Every dive here will produce new species of fish, nudibranchs, or other inverts. Best at night! Shore dive only. Enter at Vet's park.
Lembeh Straits, Indonesia
Muck diving here can rival or better the critters found in Lembeh and Bali. Ambon bay is famous for its Rhinopias, Frogfish, ghost pipefish, many juvenile fish and much more. Interestingly, I've head Ambon Scorpionfish have not been seen lately. Some people claim they've been taken.
Good muck diving in Mabul and Kapalai to compliment the big fish of Sipadan
St Vincent, Caribbean
This is the place for critters in the Caribbean
Ulua Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Night dives here always turn up something different
The original place of muck-diving! Lots of critters here.
The Pipeline, Nelson Bay, Australia
Recommended by Dave Harasti
Contact me to tell me about your own local muck dive.
Muck Diving Underwater Photography Tips
Be patient and try to wait for a behavior photograph.
Don't harass creatures just for your own benefit. Practice proper dive etiquette.
Beware of backscatter. Stay down current from your photo subject, and don't approach other photographers until they finish with the subject.
Practice good underwater photographer's etiquette
Muck diving can produce rare underwater photography treats, like this wonderpus octopus. F11, 60mm lens + 1.4x teleconverter
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