#1 Go shipwreck diving in Coron

Coron has a wide range of dive sites to suit all levels of dive experience, from shallow to advanced wreck diving there is something for everyone.

The main attraction however is undoubtedly the wrecks of the Japanese supply fleet sunk in September 1944.

Irako in it's former glory

The Irako

The Irako was a Japanese refrigeration ship located at the mouth of Coron Bay. N 11*58. 059′, E 120*02. 412′

The ship was quit

e large at 9723 tons, 146.9 metres in overall length and 19 meters wide. The engines,two steam powered turbines (8300 shp) driving twin propellers provided a maximum speed of 17.5 knots.

The Irako (along with the Okikawa) is debated to be best wreck dive in the Philippines. The Irako almost completely intact and has very good visibility you know yo u are on a big shipwreck. Big schools of yellow fin tuna, groupers, lion fish and scorpion fish surround this wreck. To date two permanent residents (2 sea turtles) live in the crumpled superstructure. There is also a huge column of Jacks inhabiting the bow area.

There is a beautiful deep penetration dive through the engine room for well trained, properly equipped divers.

Due to it’s location, The Irako usually has the best visibility of all the wrecks in Coron Bay.

This dive is best ma

de breathing 32% Nitrox for a 50% increase in allowable bottom time. Penetration of the interior requires 28 -30% Nitrox depending on which deck level you wish to swim through.

The Maximum depth of the Iraku is 43 meters at the bottom, the deck level is between 28 to 35 meters. Recommended certification level: Minimum:  Advanced Open Water Diver, Best certification :Deep Diver Specialty, Wreck Diver Specialty.

Okikawa Maru - A Once Beautiful Ship

Okikawa Maru

The Okikawa is a Japanese oil tanker with a displacement of 168 m long. Location:  N 12*.01. 128′, E 119*.58. 176′.

The Okikawa

in length, width, and volume is the largest of the Coron wrecks. At this depth you may be able to make an hour-long dive.

The Okikawa Maru is voted to be the best wreck dive by half of the diver who see her so if the Irako isnt the best dive then the Okikawa! Dive both wrecks then cast your vote.This wreck covered with beautiful corals and offers a large diversity of marine-life. The deck is between 10m and 17m and is good starting place for wreck dive beginners.

There are many possible penetration dives for advanced  wreck divers including a penetration up the propeller shaft from outsi

de of the ship all the way into the engine room. Strong tides often affect this wreck so be prepared to see a lot of fish feeding in these currents. At the bow you may see a large school of snappers, maybe a big bat fish or 2 and various other species living in or around the wreck.

This dive is best when using 34% or 38% Nitrox for a 70% plus increase in allowable submersed time. Dives in excess of one hour are common.

The Okikawa’s maximum depth is 26 meters at the bottom and 10 to 16 meters on the deck.

Recommended certifica

tion level:
1. Diving outside the deck. Open Water Diver
2. Diving with a strong current. Advanced Open Water Diver
3. Penetration dive. Wreck Diver Specialty

AkitsushiA Seaplane Tenderma

The Akitsushima a Japanese Seaplane Carrier is located at N 11*59. 218′, E 119*58. 417′

The Akitsushima was a seaplane carrier with a displacement of 4724 tons, a length of 118 meters and was 15.7 meters wide. Powered by four diesel engines driving twin propellers, creating a total of 8000 shp, and producing a maximum speed of 19 knots

Akitsushima was also armed with 10 piece, 25 mm anti-aircraft guns, four piece five inch (50 cal) guns and carried one large Kanwanishi flying boat.

The Akitsushima was a large warship, now laying on her port side. She was struck by a large bomb close to the stern where the flying boat rested on the metal tracks and sank immediately. The ship was almost torn into two pieces. The flying boat disappeared upon impact.

The crane used for lifting the seaplane is still intact. The crane is lying on the sandy bottom and attracts schools of  batfish and barracudas and the odd grouper. One 3-barreled AA (anti-aircraft) gun is still present at the front of the flying boat tracks. This is a fascinating dive where you can see all sorts of marine life around the wreck.

Due to the depth and various jagged metal hazards within, no dives (swim throughs) are allowed without a wreck diver certification. Wreck divers can make an impressive penetration into the engine room to see the four engines and the gears and machinery for operating the crane are the main objects of interest for a penetration dive.

This dive is best made using a 30% or 32% Nitrox mix for a 50% increase in allowable submersible time.

The Akitsushima maximum depth is 35 meters, the average depth is about 25 to 29 meters. Recommended certification level: Advanced Open water Diver. For penetration: Wreck Diver specialty.


Kogyo Maru, sunk in Coron Bay, Palawan, PhilippinesKogyo Maru

The Kogyo Maru is located at N 11*58. 782′ E 120*02. 413′. She was a Japanese freighter carrying construction materials and building supplies for the Japanese war effort in the Pacific. The Kogyo Maru was 6353 tons, 129 meters long, and 18 meters wide. She was powered by two steam turbines (517Nhp) geared to a single shaft.

The Kogyo Maru is presently lying on her starboard side in 34 meters of water. It offers dive (swim throughs) into all six holds and through the engine room & bridge area.

The Kogyo Maru’s second hold contains an incline of concrete bags which collapsed as the ship sank. A small bulldozer draws attention as you swim into the hold, complete but totally encrusted with coral,  You can swim over the deck to the bridge and engine room below. Enter both from the stern for easier access. Swim through the spacious engine room and look around then exit out through the bridge. If you have enough air go below deck level to the stern and see all of the machines and equipment for moving cargo on the ship. You will see both hard and soft corals covering the side of the ship.

This dive is best when made using 30% or 34% Nitrox for a 50% increase in allowable time. If you have enough gas mixture and a long enough No Decompression Limit you can cover the whole ship on one dive.

The Kogyo Maru’s Maximum depth is 34 meters, average depth 24-26meters

Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water, Wreck Diver Specialty.


Olympia Maru, Sunk in Coron Bay, Palawan, PhilippinesOlympia Maru

The Olympia Maru was a Japanese Freighter sitting upright in approximately 30 meters of water and located at N11*58. 291′, E 120*03. 707’S

The Olympia Maru had a displacement of 122 meters long and 17 meters wide, weighing 5612 tons. The ship was refitted between  June 2nd to August 2nd, 1930, with an oil two stroke six cylinder engine producing 582hp. The ship was  requisitioned by the Japanese Defence Forces during the War but was still owned by Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha Ltd at the time of sinking.The  Olympia Maru is a very good dive site with an abundance of marine life.  Large schools of banana fish, giant bat and puffer fish lurk around the wreck.  Easy penetration and a good opportunity to discover wreck diving.

The Olympia afloatThis is a great dive using 33 – 36% Nitrox for a 75% increase in allowable submersible time.
The Olympia Maru’s Maximum depth: 30 meters, deck level 18-24 meters. Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water Diver, Wreck Diver Specialty.


Japanese Freighter, Sunk in Coron Bay, Palawan, PhilippinesJapanese Freighter maybe theTaiei Maru?

The true name of this wreck remains unknown to this day but it’s a freighter 137 meters long, lying on its starboard side. Location: N 11*59. 266′, E 120*02.199′

This is a beautiful wreck site where you can observe all kinds of diverse sea life everything from  groupers, sweetlips, scorpion fish, trumpet fish and occasionally turtles and sea snakes. Hard corals cover the port side, which is up to 16 meters below the surface.

The big cargo and engine rooms allow easy penetration of this wreck for Wreck Certified divers. If you dive on a sunny day you get a chandelier like effect from the beams of sunlight entering and exiting the cargo holds.Two massive boilers in the center of the ship are big attractions on this dive. Behind the boilers you can see the damage resulting from one of the bomb strikes that disabled the ship.

This dive is best using 34% to 38% Nitrox for a 75% increase in allowable bottom time.

This ships maximum depth: 25 meters, average about 16 meters.

Recommended certification level: Open Water Diver excluding penetration, Advanced Open Water Diver, Wreck Diver Specialty


Tangat Gunboat, Sunk East of Tangat Island in Coron Bay, Palawan, PhilippinesEast Tangat Gunboat

The East Tangat Gunboat was a small gunboat or submarine hunter 40 meters long on the coral reef on the east side of Tangat Island.

The East Tangat Gunboat dive site is good for wreck diving beginners snorkelers and underwater photographers. It’s also a lovely spacer  dive between deeper wreck sites. The wreck starts at only 3 meters down so even snorkelers can see the shape and explore the bow of the ship.

The East Tangat Gunboat dive maximum depth: 22 meters. Recommended certification level: Skin (snorkel) Diver, Open Water Diver.


Lusong Gunboat, Sunk east of Lusong Island in Coron, Bay, Palawan, Philippines

Lusong Gunboat

The Lusong Gunboat wreck, like the East Tangat wreck,  was also a gunboat or submarine hunter. The stern breaks the surface at low tide and is located  in front of the east side of Lusong Island at N 11*58. 260′, – E 120*01.447′

The Lusong Gunboat wreck is great for snorkeling. It is nicely covered with hard corals and offers a huge variety of aquatic life. There are good opportunities for wreck photographers and this dive is good as a “dive between dives.”

Lusong Gunboat maximum depth: 11 meters. Recommended certification level: Skin Diver, Open Water Diver.


Skeleton Wreck, northwest corner of Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines.

 

 

The Skeleton Wreck

This wreck is the keel, ribs and stringers of a steel-hulled boat about 25 meters long. Not much to see when you have been diving with “The Big Boys (wrecks) ” It’s on most of the island hopping and snorkeling tours so expect crowds. its located on the Northwest corner of Coron Island

This wreck was beached with the bow 12 meters from Coron Island. The stern points away from the island. The wreck’s 5 meters deep at the bow to 22 meters at the stern. A pass through on the starboard side of the hull at 14 meters allows you to swim from the inside of the boat out over the coral reef.

Maximum depth: 22 meters on the bottom. Slopes from 7 to 22 meters. Recommended certification level: Skin Diver, Open Water Diver.


Barracuda Lake

The Dive With a Climb!!The “Dive Review” a collection of diving testimonials kept at Hub Backpackers Hangout Hostel for Divers in Coron has the following reviews of Barracuda Lake:

“A must do Dive”

“One of the most Bizarre dives in the Philippines.”

“See the thermal layers and do underwater climbing”

Barracuda Lake is located at the North end of Coron Island. This amazing dive starts with some challenging mountain climbing, sometimes in full diving equipment, over sharp limestone cliffs. Wear tennis shoes or sandals and carry your fins on your tank. The climb only takes 10 or so minutes and the exertion is worth it. The scenery is spectacular and the underwater terrain is some of the most interesting you will see anywhere on the planet. The top 4 meters is warm fresh water and below 4 meters the water is saline. There are dramatic changes in water temperature from 28 to 38 Celsius. You can even see the thermoclines at 4 and 13 meters. At 34 to 35 meters the water changes from crystal clear to medium brown. If your lucky, you might even see the local resident barracuda approximately 1.5m long that likes to guard this majestic domain. This is definately a dive that you should not miss!

Barracuda lake’s maximum depth: 35 meters.

Recommended certification level: Open Water Diver, Mountain Climbing Diver Specialty.


The Cave in Barracuda Lake

There is a  very deep cave in Barracuda lake entered at a depth of 33 meters.  The cave has been marked with a guide line on the right side as you enter. The cave is large enough for only one diver to swim in and turn around at a time so please wait your turn. The silt and sediment on the bottom is packed and should remain undisturbed by the diver. This cave is quite dark and the sediment is also quite which gives it an eerie sensation. Proper dive equipment would include a light and at least an octopus with a 7-foot hose or other secure source. The current tells you that it is connecting Barracuda Lake to the ocean. This is a dive that you should not miss but you must make sure you are prepared..

The Cave Maximum depth: 40 meters, please use extreme caution below 40 meters.

Recommended certification level: Limiting your penetration dive to 40 meters total distance from the surface (a 6 meter penetration) then Advanced Open Water Course with Deep Diver Specialty or Cavern Diver Specialty should be enough. Should you plan to penetrate beyond 40 total meters from the surface then you should be a Cave Diver with extensive experience and carry the necessary safety equipment.


Cathedral Cave
Cathederal Cave, south end of Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines

The Cathedral cave under Coron Island, Palawan and directly connected to the sea. It’s located on the East side of the South end of Coron Island.

Cathedral Cave is a fantastic dive spot. It starts at6 meters deep at a hole next to the sheer rock wall of Coron Island. You enter a tunnel and descend to 13 meters.

Then you pass out of the tunnel and see a ray of light that penetrates the interior of a cave. The skeletal trunk of a sunken tree and main branches of the tree rest on top of a sand mound in the middle of the cave. Following the light you pass over the sand dune and continue ahead to the left towards another passage that leads to a chamber with an air pocket above sea level. Again back through the tunnel into the open sea where you dive among the beautiful corals with great visibility. Cathedral Cave MUST ONLY BE ATTEMPTED in calm weather never attempt to enter the Cave in a storm surge and large waves.

Don’t miss it !

Maximum depth: 10 meters inside the cave. Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water with a Cavern Diver Specialty.

Nanshin-Maru tanker

This is a Civilian tanker 834 gross tons, also called “The Black Island Wreck” it can be easily identified as a small tanker the ship is approximately 50 meters long sitting upright on a sandy bottom.

Located close to Black Island Beach this wreck is 3.5 hours away from Coron and can be dived as a day trip with a 7 am departure or an overnight dive. This dive site is a fantastic wreck dive for beginner wreck divers as it is a beautiful dive in clear water with  plenty of scorpion, lion, trumpet, groupers, and batfish.

This dive maximum depth: 31 meters. The wreck starts in 21-meters of deep water. Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water Diver, Wreck Diver Specialty.

Kyokuzan Maru, Sunk northeast of Busuanga Island, Palawan, Philippines

 

The Kyokuzan Maru

The Kyokuzan Maru was a Japanese freighter approximately 160-180 meters long. it’s location is Northeast of Busuanga Island. The easiest way to dive this wreck is a one hour van ride to the north end of Busuanga then transferring to a rented dive boat. This is done as an all-day trip for two dives on the Kyokuzan Maru or maybe better for an  extended stay of a couple days.

This wreck is a beautiful dive. Mainly intact, this sunken ship usually offers great visibility of about 20 meters and ideal diving conditions. Japanese staff cars and trucks can still  be found in the cargo rooms.

This dive is best when made while breathing 36% Nitrox for a 75% increase in allowable dive time.

The  Kyokuzan Maru’s maximum depth is 40 meters at the bottom. The deck level lies between 22 and 28 meters. Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water Diver, Wreck Diver Specialty.


The Seven Picados Reef

The Siete Picados Reef is located just to the east beyond the lighthouse in Coron town This reef is undergoing a huge conservation program and the coral and fish life appear to be improving almost monthly. The outstanding features of this reef are large formations of pristine staghorn coral, table coral and gorgonia fans. Some of the small islands are connect underwater via small saddles. There are schools of reef fish of all different species, some juvenile barracuda and small Napoleon Wrasse along with some Green Sea turtles.

Max depth: 22 meters. Recommended certification level: Open Water Diver