Monad Shoal Dive Site

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Monad Shoal dive site is most famous for being the only dive site in the world where threshers sharks can be seen on most days. It is found on Malapascua Island in the Cebu area and is a well known dive in the area. Seeing the Thresher Sharks is quite remarkable as most of the time, these sharks live at around 350 meters and so it is rare to see these large fish. They can grow up to six meters and are have a very distinctive shape, with a long and angled tail that is used to smack and stun fish during hunting.

Thresher Shark at Monad Shoal

Thresher Shark at Monad Shoal, Malapascua. Photo Credit: Jamie Allan

The site is a cleaning site for these thresher sharks, and they come here to be cleaned of parasites by other smaller fish. The site also attracts rays for the same reason and so divers can see devil rays and eagle rays as well.

Manta rays are also frequent visitors and they are commonly sighted by divers making this a very popular dive site. Given its depth, this dive site can only be completed by experienced divers. It is advisable to complete the dive with mixed air to get a longer bottom time.

The dive site is actually an underwater island at a depth of around 28 meters, with a diameter of around 1.5 km. There is a reef at 14 meters, which has some great coral, but the real action happens on this island at around 28 meters. Along with the larger pelagic fish, divers can also spend time looking at the fusiliers and cleaner wrasses that are waiting to do clean the other fish.

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Katie Stacey October 10, 2017

It was 2011 when I decided to head out to Malapascua and do my DMT with Thresher Shark Divers. For two glorious months, every morning I would get up before the sun and take the twenty minute boat journey out to Monad Shoal, a cleaning station that sat 20m down on a sunken coral platform.

We would descend the line and there we would kneel and wait, watching into the deep blue, the drop off reaching below us indefinitely. The threshers were never guaranteed but other critters would capture my attention whilst I waited – various species of nudibranchs, mantis shrimps and pygmy seahorses if I was really lucky!

On my first morning I remember hearing the ‘tink tink’ as my instructor banged his tank, and a thresher shark swam straight over my head, perhaps a metre above. Those big doe eyes and that rainbow shaped tail – I was completely mesmerised.

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Jamie Allan November 06, 2017

Malapascua’s golden crown, Monad Shoal is the definition of a good start to the day! The site is the only known place on earth where thresher Shark sightings can be pretty much guaranteed every single day.

The threshers come up from the depths of the Marianna trench to perform their daily cleaning ritual. Due to their sensitivity to light, the threshers time this exactly as cleaning stations open around the break of dawn so dives would usually aim to be going in around this time.

I would recommend a profiled dive on this site which can cover multiple cleaning stations and provide encounters with reef sharks, cruising eagle rays and even the occasional frogfish.

Diving on enriched air is a really good idea on this site as cleaning stations at 27M are usually busier so extended bottom time is a definite plus.

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Klaudia Kubicka November 06, 2017

Have you ever seen how majestically sharks swim?

Have you seen the most beautiful shark swimming with small movements of its long tail?

I have and let me tell you how amazing it is.

In order to see thresher sharks I needed to get up at 4 am and report to the shop at 4:30. Then about 30 minutes on the boat while half asleep I put my gear together, a giant stride and then splash, coldness of the water wakes me up. I need to go below 27 meters and sit quietly on a shelf while waiting for the sharks to come.

The visibility is bad; how am I supposed to see a shark here? I’m not; it’s the shark who decides to take a look at the divers. It swims few meters away curious of the bubble making creatures. It turns away and comes back closer in a circle to take a better look. And again. And again. It circles. It looks at us with its big eyes. It seems so personal, so curious and intelligent, so majestic with the long tail, that seems to be the only moving part of its body.

My DM’s dive computer beeps, we need to go up. It’s so hard to stop the eye contact with the shark and ascend.

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