Palawan, the Philippine’s last ecological frontier, is fast becoming the most popular vacation spot in the Philippines. With its virgin islands, rich marine life, beautiful sceneries, mountain tops and diving destinations, it‘s easy to understand why. Palawan is composed of several groups of islands, one of which is Coron, the third largest island in the Calamianes archipelago. If you’re looking for underwater adventure, the sunken wrecks of Coron are worth looking into.
During World War II, twelve Japanese ships containing military supplies were said to be anchored in Coron Bay, and when the US Navy launched an air attack, the ships sank went the way of Davy Jones’s locker. The ships were later discovered near the island, lying on the sea floor 32 feet to 141 feet deep. The areas where these ships were found now are famous diving expedition spots around the island.
Following are the seven most popular shipwreck diving attractions in Coron:
Irako Refrigeration Ship – Possibly the best shipwreck dive in the Philippines. It has the best visibility of all wrecks in Coron because it is still mostly intact. There are also interesting species making the wreck their home. For expert divers, deep penetration through the engine room is also possible.
Taiei Maru – Located in Busuanga Island, this freighter tanker is the biggest ship wreck in Coron. There are hard corals, turtles, sea snakes and different species of fish including scorpion and trumpet fish.
Kogyo Maru – The Kogyo Maru was a Japanese freighter carrying building material supplies when it sank. The ship is still intact and the engine parts are still complete. There are hard and soft corals everywhere and divers will have close contact with barracuda swimming by – although, of course, it is advised not to get too close with that contact, given that they are barracuda.
Akitsushima - The Akitsushima was a seaplane carrier. It lies on her port side between the Culion and Busuanga Islands. The ship is almost broken into two parts but the crane for lifting seaplanes is still intact. There are barracudas, yellow fin tunas and batfishes in the wreck.
Olympia Maru – The Olympia Maru is a Japanese freighter located in Coron Bay near Tangat Island. There are many schools of fishes like banana fish, bat fish, puffer fish, scorpions and crocodile fish.
Okikawa Maru – Found in Busuanga Island, this is yet another contender for the title of best wreck dive in the Philippines. The whole ship is covered with exquisite corals, and a variety of marine life can be found in the surroundings. For experienced divers, penetration can be done through various rooms of the ship.
Kyokuzan Maru – The Kyokuzan Maru is a Japanese freighter found in the Northeast part of Busuanga Island. The ship is still intact. With many corals surrounding the wreck, it provides a good diving experience. There are also different species of fish around. Experienced divers may penetrate the wreck and find cars and trucks in the cargo room.
The Coron Bay in Palawan truly offers many great underwater adventure. The many sunken wrecks of Coron make for a good diving experience not only for expert divers but most especially for novice divers.
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