It’s certainly not the most glamorous type of scuba diving. There isn’t the visual appeal of reef diving or the sense of adventure in wreck diving, but for a growing number of scuba divers, “MUCK” diving is all the rage.
What is “muck” diving? Believe it or not, it is exactly what it sounds like – diving in sand, broken corals and sometimes even trash. In short, MUCK. But before you get completely turned off, you need to know that some of the most spectacular underwater photographs have been taken by divers exploring muck sites and these shallow dives means more time to discover many unique critters.
Many of the popular muck sites are in the South Pacific. A recent group of dive professionals just returned from diving in the Philippines. Some of the critters that were discovered (yes, in the muck) included a variety of nudibranchs, sea horses, pipefish, frogfish and the very “shy” Mandarin fish – that only comes out at night.
It doesn’t help that many of these critters are small and hard to find (most would easily fit on top of a quarter), but to hard-core muck divers, that’s part of the challenge. “There are some creatures just a short distance from shore that you won’t find anywhere else in the world,” said one dive pro. “Some divers spend all their time in the muck – and are very happy about it.”
Certainly muck diving isn’t for everyone, but you can’t argue with the photos (some of the most spectacular and colorful shots found anywhere). While there isn’t a “muck diving” specialty course, there are some underwater photographer and videographer specialties that can introduce interested divers to this unique form of diving.