Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Coron is located on Busuanga Island on the northern Palawan. The easiest and fastest way to get there is by flight from Manila. Just 1 hr flight. If you are coming from Palawan Island you can take a ferry from El Nido or Puerto Princesa.

Coron was a supposedly safe assembly area for Japanese shipping and supply fleet. On the 24 September 1944 US Navy strike force of fighters and dive bombers attacked them and left behind a carnage of burning and sinking ships. 7 of them has now been divers play ground. Their depth range of these wrecks are from 12 to 45m, good for recreational and technical diving.

Due to the location within the bay and surrounded islands, visibility is not the best at the wrecks and water contain lots of particles. Some of the wrecks are expose to strong current. But once inside the wreck, it's peaceful and magical.

Wreck diving is not everyone cups of tea, you are confined to tight spaces, overhead hazards, darkness, creepy surrounding and low visibility. Nevertheless, it is a great way to explore the history of a sunken ships and a fun play ground to penetrate all the compartments in a safe manner.

There are total of 7 WWII shipwrecks that are currently a popular dive sites for divers. We dove 4 of them. 
1) Akitsushima Maru (22-36m) 
2) Okikawa Maru (10-26m)
3) Olympia Maru (23-30m)
4) Morazan Maru (12-25m)
We also dove the Barracuda Lake which is a MUST to dive, not because there are a lot to see but the experience of getting into a fresh and salt water lake with water temperature rising up to 37°C at 31m is nowhere you can experience it.

Of the 4 wrecks I like the dives of Okikawa Maru and Morazan Maru. Both have lots of swim thru, windows, doors, levels and big compartments. Okinawa Maru is the largest of all wrecks, the top is covered with corals but current can be strong at certain time based on the tide condition. Morazan Maru is rich in fish life, easy to penetrate and beautiful with lights penetrating from the large holes. Both wrecks are suitable for Open Water Divers.

Watch this 2 videos that captured some of the dives.

Travel date :  23 - 27 Sept 2017
Travel route : SG -F-> Manila -> Busuanga -C-> Coron town
Accommodation and diving : Jims Castle Inn & Reggae Dive Center
Type of diving : Wreck, Lake
Water temperature : 29°C - 39°C
Best time to dive : Diveable year round but avoid hurricane season from September to December.

 -F-> Flight -B-> Boat -C-> Car