We have been diving for 3 days now in Coron, lovely experience! Coron is famous for its shipwreck diving.
During the second world war year 1944, about 120 US Navy bomber planes attacked the 24 Japanese ships that had anchor at Coron Bay and around Busuanga Island. It’s a horrific history around this now very peaceful place, but it’s also what has put Coron on the map for divers. I don’t know if there are so many shipwrecks anywhere else.
I dived with Corto divers, I can truly recommend them, and the apartments they have above the dive shop :)
We took tricycles from Corto Divers to the pier, and then a small boat out to the bigger dive boat. Nice bungo boat with toilet and kitchen, and enough space for us all (not like the small inflatable motorboat we had in Portugal when we were diving where we had all the gear on the floor, and it was about the size of the little boat we took now to the bigger boat, haha).
The first day we were a bigger group of 7 divers with 3 dive masters. Me and Duilio had Nicole as a dive master, she is born here in Coron. The first day we had a Danish guy, Philip, with us too in the group with Nicole. I really liked her, she was very calm and explained the planned route in before hand, and she always said ”I want you to look around and experience, take your time!” – so yes, I felt there was no rush that I would get lost or anything if I found something, we really dived in a slow pace, enjoying and taking it all in. :)
We had 3 dives on the first day, visiting 3 different shipwrecks. We were around the Tangat-area, about 1 hour from Coron with Boat.
The first ship was “Sangat Gunboat” in the East tangat. It was a submarine hunter, but the submarine “loop” was beneath instead for above, as the regular submarines. LOA 35m, beam 7m, and depth 3-18m. This was our first shipwreck dive, we thought it was really big, but our dive masters calls it “the baby ship” haha. It was awesome, and the visibility was good too I think! There were many fishes inside the ship, and you could see the sun come in though the ships windows. We saw a few Nemos :)
After that we dived at “Morazan Maru”, that was a Civilian Cargo ship from the 2nd world war, the LOA was 112 m, beam 13m, depth 12-26m. After seeing this ship I understand that they thought the other was a baby ship! Haha. Saw many scorpion and lion fish on the wreck. We dived inside through a small quadratic hole on the top of the ship and had to use lanterns to see inside the ship. It was huuuge inside! Supercool to dive around there, imagining what had been there before while looking through the ”windows”.
After lunch we did the third dive was on “Olympia Maru”, an army auxiliary supply ship. LOA 128m, beam 16,7 , 5612 gross tons. It’s quite shallow, 18-24m, and you go in from the shore. The visibility on this one wasn’t as good as the other dive sites, couldn’t see how big this ship really was, but yeah, I could still tell it was huge!
The second day we were doing 2 dives, and we were only 4 divers with 2 divemasters, me and Duilio had Nicole and Xuan from Spain and Ahmed from Palestina had another divemaster. It’s really good that we have so small groups, we can look out for each other and it’s easier to not lose anyone. We rented another boat for the day since there was another group going to the shipwrecks we visited yesterday. So we had the whole boat for ourselves.
We visited the Barracuda lake that we had visited earlier on the highlights tour, but this time we dived there. Not so much marine life – but it was still a completely unique experience – first of all – it was a very clean lake – truly crystal clear.
But the coolest is the big differences of temperature in the water, which looks like layers of blurriness, but I was SO SURPRISED that it was so hot at the bottom of the lake!! We have all learned the sign for ”cold” while diving, and Nicole told us the sign for hot, but I never thought I would need to use it haha. Until I got to the bottom, and it was like a sauna!! The dive watch said 38 degrees but it felt much much more. It was like a really hot shower! We dived only in the bikini and without wetsuits – happy we did!! Haha.
At the end of the dive we took off our fins, des inflated our BCDS and “walked” at the bottom. It felt like walking on the moon, almost weightless, but it goes soooo sloooow haha. Much harder than you can think, cause you still need to keep a balance haha J Then we climbed up along the rocky sides, they were quite spiky and it was about 15m climb up, I caught myself being afraid to fall down, when I remembered that I was in the WATER and I could actually swim! Hahaha. It was a really cool experience :)
The second dive was at Twin peaks, a coral reef close by. Besides many corals we saw sea horses, sea stars, crabs and nudy branches. A weird thing I’ve seen a couple of times now is something that looks like a metal ball, apparently it’s called “bulls eye”, and is an alga. Weird. I’m also fascinated about all the translucent sponges, like membranes.
The third day and last dive day for us we went about 2 hours away from Coron with boat, with the same group as yesterday but in Corto divers boat again. I enjoyed our way there by lying in the proa reading a book and glancing at the water beneath the book, haha.
The first dive was at “Akitsushima”, a navy seaplane tender, where the planes used to land on the sea. LOA is 118m and beam 15,7m, 4724 tdd long tons. Depth 22-36m. This shipwreck was huuuuge. We went inside and it was literally millions of tiny fishes everywhere. We could see the engine room inside. We used our lanterns here to be able to see something. Sometimes we couldn’t see each other even when we were a couple of meters apart due to the fishes, but we had already decided a meeting point, where the ship had broken, and where we were going to exit.
It was really cool. It’s good that we did this wreck the third day after getting some more experience on buoyancy yesterday. Duilio has become a better diver, but they gave him a bigger tank with 3 liters more air for this dive since it’s much deeper here then the other dives and we consume more air. We went down to 30 m!
We had a break for lunch and siesta and then proceeded with a shallower dive at “Okikawa Maru”, a navy auxiliary oiler ship. Loa 160m, beam 20m, 10043 gross tons, depth 10-26m. The ship was also super huge, couldn’t see it all, we entered to a small part and used the flashlights again. Awesome. Then we dived along the corridors on the sides of the ship, cool to think that people had walked around there like 70 years ago. Many many nudybransches there. There was a quite high current there, so it was a little more difficult dive. On our way back up, we had to hold on to the cord up to not drift away with the current. Especially while doing the safety stop, we were all horizontal in the water haha.
So… Diving in Coron is now over for us. I’m happy to have experienced both shipwrecks, the lake and the coral reef. I’m also happy we got really good food for lunch cooked on the boat itself everyday! I’m really surprised that they can do so much in a tiny kitchen on a boat. The staff was great. We had water and beverages the whole day, got help to check the gear, put on our fins and everything. Everyone has been very friendly and helpful.
If you want to have a good experience in Coron – dive with Corto Divers! :)