Macro: diving with the famous Thresher sharks of Malapascua has become very well known among divers and travelers in general, but as soon as we arrive we there are always a lot of questions on diving with them. So I give you in this article my best advice to dive with Malapascua Fox Sharks in the Philippines !

Context: I worked for 2 months at Malapascua as an instructor and I did dozens of dives with thresher sharks, so I will try to answer the most frequent questions!

# Do we see thresher sharks every time? 
# Can I dive with thresher sharks if I'm just open water? 
# Where to see thresher sharks in Malapascua?  
# Why is Monad shoal a unique site? 
# How is diving with thresher sharks going? 
# What time do we leave to dive with the Malapascua thresher sharks? ? 
# Are there many people? 
# Why dive with Nitrox? 
# When is the best time to see thresher sharks? 
# Some information on thresher sharks 
# Tips for diving in the best conditions 
# My diving review


Malapascua thresher sharks diving video

Is it guaranteed to see thresher sharks in Malapascua?


  • Basically, they are still there, all year round, there is no season.
  • Then I will say that it depends on the visibility. Some days it is bad (5 m), so they are there, but you do not see them!
  • When the visibility is good, 20 m and more, you can see 10-15 on a dive!
  • I would say that you have: 90% chances of seeing at least one and on average you will see 4-5 on a dive.

Can we dive with thresher sharks in Malapascua if we are open water?


  • In theory no, since as open water you are certified to go only up to 18m in autonomous.
  • In practice, all you have to do is make a " deep adventure With an instructor (ie the deep dive of the advanced course), and yes, you can go see them.
  • On the other hand, I do not recommend doing this "deep adventure" directly on the site of thresher sharks.

Why ?

  1. Because during this dive, theinstructor should do with you some small exercises at 30m (neutral buoyancy, deep drunkenness test, change of colors ...), so while you do that, you can miss 5 min of fox sharks around you ! When you know that the maximum non-decompression time at 30m is 20 min (in other words for the more novice, that you will be able to stay only 20min maximum at 30m because of the amount of nitrogen accumulated), to lose 5 minutes is huge!
  2. Because casually, if you are inexperienced and / or do not dive often, the site of Monad Shoal can be quite impressiveespecially when you go down the wall from 15 to 30m and visibility is low.

So, I advise you to do your "deep adventure" the day before and then go and enjoy the thresher sharks, but that's only my opinion!

Where to see thresher sharks in Malapascua?

carte-site-de-plongee-Monad shoal-malapascua-min

  • The site is called Monad shoal, it's actually a cleaning station, that is to say that the sharks come here so that “cleaning fishes” clean their parasites for them.
  • It is located 45 min by boat from Malapascua.
  • It is a submerged island with a plateau at around 15 m and a wall which then drops to around 30 m with a small dish of around ten meters.
  • Then there is a second wall which descends to it at around 250m.

Why is Monad shoal in Malapascua a unique site?

  • To date, Monad Shoal is the only site in the world where we have the very high probability (90% of chances) of seeing thresher sharks at a recreational depth (30 m).
  • They normally stay in deeper waters (from 100 to 500 m), but they come here very early in the morning and use this cleaning station, then leave (around 8-9 am maximum) in the deeper waters.

How is diving with thresher sharks in Malapascua?


  • Once arrived at the site, the boat will dock at one of the buoys present.
  • We start by descending along a rope to the plateau at about 15 m.
  • We continue to advance to the wall and then we descend along the wall to 30 m.
  • We finally reach one of 3 cleaning stations. They consist of 2 blocks of cement connected together by a rope. So, once down, you will kneel on one of these stations, you will not move and you will look around for sharks.
  • If you do not see anything after several minutes, your guide will probably move you to another station to increase your chances of seeing them.
  • Maximum time at 30 m being 20 min (except if you dive Nitrox, see below), arrived at this time limit, you will go up slowly along the wall to the plateau, where you can continue to dive according to your air consumption.
  • You will finish by making your safety landing 5 m along the rope.

What time do we leave to dive the thresher sharks in Malapascua?


The sharks are there only early in the morningSo you have to get up early to see them!

  • Appointment 4:30 at the diving center, departure 4h45.
  • Arrival at the site around 5h30-5h45 (depending on the conditions), ie the time when the day comes up.

Are there many thresher shark diving in Malapascua?


  • And yes ... It is the flaw of having an exceptional site like this one. Monad shoal becomes a little bit the factory anyway
  • ALL centers go there almost every day, sometimes they even send 2 to 3 boats and they are all full of divers (up to 20 per boat).
  • You can to have 15 to 20 boats at the same time on the site, I let you imagine the number of divers underwater in the same place! Where the advice  (lower) to try to leave as soon as possible and to arrive first!

Why use Nitrox for diving with thresher sharks?


  • So I'm not going to give you a lesson on Nitrox, but basically the site is quite deep (30 m)
  • At this depth, your maximum non-decompression time is around 20 min, so that means that you can stay maximum 20 min to search and observe the sharksthen you will have to go back up to manage your amount of nitrogen in the body.
  • So if you use Nitrox, that is to say 32-33% enriched air as it's very common here, you will increase your time to 30 m from 20 to about 30 min, it's enormous !

When is the best time to see thresher sharks in Malapascua?


  • There is no season to dive with thresher sharks in Malapascua, they are there all year round.
  • January to June is the best time to dive with Malapascua thresher sharks when the sailing conditions to get there are the best.
  • Avoid the rainy season in Malapascua of July to September. The boats go out but the sailing conditions can be very unpleasant, with rain and wind.
  • Avoid the cyclone season at Malapascua : it does not normally rain, but a cyclone alert can occur at any time and diving trips can be canceled for several days.

Some information on thresher sharks


  • Their great particularity is of course the size of their tail, who is as long as their body.
  • They do on average 4 to 6m with their tail.
  • They evolve normally in deep waters (100 to 500m).
  • They are very active at night and less the day.

It's for these 2 reasons (depth and nocturnal activity) it is very rare for a diver to meet them during a dive.

Tips for diving with Malapascua thresher sharks in the best conditions:


  • Avoid big centers (Exotic, Devocean, various Tresher shark, Sea explorer, etc.), they are stuffed with people on boats, prefer centers with fewer people on board.
  • go as soon as possible (Some centers leave at 5am, or 5:15, it's too late, when you arrive it's already the crush below!).
  • If you are open water, don't do your deep adventure at Monad Shoal, made there the day before.
  • If you can, dive in nitrox, you will earn 10 min at the bottom (30 min instead of 20 min).
  • Do not hesitate to make 2 dives! The conditions are really changing from one day to the next. Just because you only have one the 1st time doesn't mean that you won't see 10 the 2nd!
  • Take a rain cape, a towel, or clothes to warm you up, some back trips can be quite rough with lots of waves and wind.


Evolving normally at depths of 100 to 500 m, have the chance to see thresher sharks is really a very rare experience. In addition, they are very special with their tail as long as their body. Whether you are an inexperienced or experienced diver, have the opportunity to see them alone is worth the trip to Malapascua. Then the site of Monad shoal unfortunately becomes really overexploited, so follow well my advice to dive with them in the best conditions and hurry to go before this site loses its unique value.

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