Wonderful Kayangan Lake and Twin Lagoon, unrepeatable Malcapuya or Bulog Dos, and still, our most rewarding experience in Coron and the entire trip to The Philippines was the amazing wreck diving. Despite not being very experienced, we are quite demanding in terms of diving, we do not like to dive at all times, and maybe it was because they were our first sunken ships, but the excitement was immense. I do not remember a so rewarding diving since the Similan.
Unfortunately, one of the places that have left me with a better feeling on a trip will be poor in terms of graphic material, because at that time we did not have an adventure camera; we did have an aquatic one but that could not be submerged deeper than 3 meters, so I could only use it to record the Luzon Boat from the surface, not even the deep part of it. Therefore, for once, I will use a video that is not my own. I wanted to put one of the company with which we did the diving, but the truth is that I like more one of the competition, so here goes:
In Coron Bay there are multiple wrecks, almost all Japanese, and almost all sunk the same day, September the 24th 1944, when an American aerial attack surprised the Japanese fleet. That day, 10 boats sank at shallow depth in a relatively small area, forming the spot that is now considered the best in all Southeast Asia for wreck diving. Most are at an acceptable depth, even for beginners; they are in good condition and there are all sizes. The thrill of diving through the interior of a ship almost 100 meters long and leaving its hull through the hole that caused its sinking is indescribable.
WHEN TO GO
The boats are in an area protected from intense currents, because they are surrounded by islands, so you can dive all year round, with a bit better visibility in the dry season (from December to June).
In addition to wrecks, of course we can find all kinds of marine life usual in these waters: corals, barracudas, scorpion fish, sea turtles, anemones with clown fish …
At least there are 6 companies with excellent valuations in Coron Town. All are attached to PADI; the monitors speak English, and in many cases other languages, since more than half usually come from the United States and European countries such as France, Spain and the Netherlands.
The price for immersion varies in each company, but in 2018 they cost approximately:
- 2 dives: 3,000 PHP.
- 3 dives: 2,500 PHP.
- Snorkel: 500 PHP.
We initially booked two, but we left so freaked out of the water that of course we wanted to do the third dive.
All excursions include the complete equipment, lunch on the boat and water. As always, they are cheaper for those who carry their own equipment. We went with Rocksteady Divers, which is currently called Reagge Dive Center, and still has very good ratings.
What I recommend: if you like diving, at least 2 days, 6 dives in 6 different wrecks, especially if you are advanced divers that can go down to all boats… that 160 meters long Okinawa Maru is waiting for you. Few places in the world are as magnificent as this one for wreck diving. Ideally, even if it is a little more expensive than the simple dives, do the PADI wreck diving course, and so we will get our accreditation in this specialty.
Below we describe the 3 wrecks in which we dive, all accessible to Open Water Diver.
EAST TANGAT / TERU KAZE MARU
This is usually the first to be visited, since it is the closest to the town:
- Length: 35 m.
- Depth: from 3 to 19 m.
Very simple, to make contact all those who, like us, had never dived in a sunken ship. Visible to those who snorkel. Although it is small, diving inside is really worth it. It is full of marine life.
This was without a doubt the most impressive dive:
- Length: 93 m.
- Maximum depth: 25 m.
The boat is lying on its right side, leaving the left to a depth between 12 and 16 meters, so that even an Open Water Diver can dive all its interior keeping to a depth no deeper than 16-18 meters, an incredible experience. You can see the rooms perfectly, some so large that we had the feeling of floating without gravity inside a spaceship. We left the ship through the hole that made one of the bombs in the hull.
- Length: 30 m.
- Depth: 0-14 m.
The favorite of snorkelers, since at low tide the bow even appears on the surface. It is very inclined, and the stern is much deeper. It is also a fun dive, since the interior is narrower, has many nooks.