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Wrecks

 

Morazán Maru (former Olympia Maru)


Length: 91.5m
Depth:  25m
Recommended Dive Level: Open Water, Wreck Diver (for deeper penetrations)
Recommended EAN-Nitrox: 36%

Freighter and passenger liner built in England, 1908, sold to Central America, where she served (among others) the route between Honduras and New Orleans. Captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy in Shanghai 1941 and used as an Auxiliary Cargo Vessel.

The origin of this vessel was for long time unknown and many funny or completely wrong statements were made about this mysterious ship. Just recently, in 2006, Marc Julius, a German dive master and wreck-maniac, was that ambitious to check out the secret behind this ship. During the divemaster-course of his wife Eva, the wreck became first time precisely mapped by Marc and Eva and they found out, that e.g. the totally length of the ship is 93m (300.3”)only, instead of fantasy-length of 120m and more you can find this sort of nonsense written in many specifications in the internet, magazines or other publications. By means of this detailed mapping, many other evidences and weeks of research in the internet, Marc could disclose the secret of this beautiful wreck. Chapeau! Well done, Mr. Julius!

The Morazán Maru is one of the most popular wrecks of Coron, because of her beauty, rich fish life and relatively easy level. She is lying on her starboard side in 25m of water.

Four big Cargo holds makes it easy to penetrate the wreck. The empty engine-room (the single steam-engine got salvaged in the 60´s) with two impressive boilers left is one of the highlights. Beautiful mysterious atmosphere is there because of the day light coming in from the salvage-hole in the hull, which is rich covered with hard and soft corals.

Big groupers, puffers, schools of baby barracudas, crocodile fishes (flathead), plenty of scorpion fishes (watch out where you put your hands!), occasionally black and white bended sea snakes and turtles.

There is a usually calm, sometimes mild current and the visibility is 3-15m depending on conditions.

 

Olympia Maru (former Tangat Wreck)


Length: 127m
Depth: 30-31m
Recommended certification level: Open Water, Wreck Diver (for deeper penetrations)
Recommended EAN Nitrox: 36%.

Freighter with unknown origin supposedly built in Europe. The Olympia Maru is sitting in an upright position, 10 degree listed to port. This site is also a pleasant “warm up” dive for wreck lovers. Big Cargo holds allows easy penetration. The bridge-section is nearly totally collapsed because of the main bomb-hits she suffered. The engine is salvaged, only 2 small boilers left inside of the engine room. Plenty of light comes in the holds and in the empty engine room.

Once again many scorpion fishes, massive groupers, batfishes, fusiliers, wrasses, sometimes sea snakes, turtle and rays. Huge bushes of soft corals (black corals) on both sides of the ship, in where well-trained eyes can spot out seahorses and ghost pipe-fishes, and the common lion fish is hovering around the stern and bow.

The still intact bow and stern masts are quite interesting for macro-stuff.

On the nearest front (bow-deck) of the vessel, is a gun-turret left and a nearly present current gives you a very rich fish-life there. (Good spot for underwater-photography)

Visibility is around 8-15m, can drop down to 3-5m depending on conditions. A quite calm, but sometimes reasonable current.

 

Kogyo Maru


Length: 135m
Depth: 33-34m
Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water, Wreck Diver (for more advanced penetrations)
Recommended EAN-Nitrox Mix: 34%

Auxiliary Cargo Ship of the Imperial Japanese Navy basically loaded with construction materials. Rumors want to tell you, she was also loaded with trucks, but they are unfortunately missing...:-(((

The vessel is lying on her starboard side.

In one of the cargo holds you can find the famous bulldozer left, which looks actually more than a tractor, but still in good shape, incl. a beautiful 6-cylinder Mitsubishi diesel-engine, this hold is also full of cement bags, looking now like funny stones. In the next cargo hold there are rolls of wired fences left, the other holds are pretty much empty.

Empty is also the engine room and like before on Morazán Maru, there are 2 massive boilers left. From the top side the daylight is coming through the salvage hole and producing an amazing atmosphere! The hull is nicely covered with hard and soft corals.

The common lapu-lapu (grouper) in reasonable sizes, school of batfishes, massive lion-fishes hiding in bushes of black corals, barracudas, wrasses, nudibranch....occasionally turtles and rays makes the dive double interesting.

The visibility is from 3-15m depending on conditions, usually calm, sometimes medium current.

 

IJNS Irako


Length: 145m
Depth: 42m
Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water with experience (50 and more logged dives), Wreck Diver
Recommended EAN-Nitrox Mix: 28% to 32% depending on your dive-plan

A few minutes boat ride southwest of Kogyo Maru, another impressive Japanese Ship went down in this furious strike of the American Air force in September 24, 1944.

Irako, a provision-vessel for refrigerating food, sunk after disastrous bomb-hits mainly in her bridge-section and is now resting in a max. Depth of 42m of water in an upright position angled to her portside.

For wreck-experts she is undoubted the best and most interesting wreck on the place. But, because of the depths and the size, sometimes unfavorable conditions and pretty advanced options to penetrate this wreck, it makes dives on this wreck some sort of serious. The good old Danish DM Claus Rassmunsen, one of the most experienced divers on the wrecks of Coron-Bay, called a dive on Irako as a “triple-d”-dive…deep, dark, dangerous…absolutely right!

Irako is definitely not a wreck for beginners. Advanced Open Water Certification with an experience of at least 25 dives, is the basic requirement, better to dive Irako with a wreck-specialty certification, because with a kind of confidence you can experience the beauty and the thrill of this gorgeous wreck much more! Transmission-room, the propeller-shaft on starboard-side, kitchen-compartments, a workstation with a lathe-machine left, the engine-room with the engines still in place are only a few highly exciting penetrations on Irako. But also for underwater naturalists there is a load to see: shoals of travelly, fusiliers and snappers, lion- and scorpion-fish, and maybe once a year a whale-shark....could be, you are the one encounter this gentle giant!

 

IJNS Akitsushima


Length: 114m
Depth: 35m
Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water with experience, Wreck Diver
Recommended EAN-Nitrox Mix: 28%-32%

Undoubted the most famous wreck of Coron Bay is the seaplane-tender Akitsushima, because she is the one and only discovered navy-ship of this fleet (until now), which makes her special interesting to explore. After a disastrous torpedo-hit into the fuel-storage-tanks of the seaplane, caused a huge crack in the stern section, she sunk in between minutes and is lying now on her portside in 35m depth on sandy bottom.

This absolutely impressive dive-site outside as well while penetrating this wreck, offers you many points of interest. The huge crane, used to lift the unfortunately missing seaplane “Emily” on and out the water, is still in place. A couple of 25mm AA-machine-guns you can see nearby the crane and beside the funnels. Of the two 12.7cm twin-guns there is only the turret left (the guns, as well any other valuable materials of all these specified wrecks, e.g. steam–engines and propellers, became already salvaged more than 40 years ago). The bridge-section is more or less collapsed, but the impressive radio-tower is still intact. Underneath the collapsed compartments of the bridge, down on the bottom, is a huge pile of debris, where you can see some gas-masks sticking out this mess…unless a ruthless diver took it already for his private treasure-hunting-collection. Inside, Akitsushima offers you a couple of very exciting routes through 3 different deck levels; at the elevator-system for the 12.7cm-guns in the 2nd and 3rd level are still alive ammunition to find. The gears of the crane inside the stern–section and, above all, the gorgeous engine-room, which contains 4 big diesels in place together with the commando-room, are one of the highlights. Though Akitsushima is not one of the bigger WWII-wrecks you can dive (114.8m in length), at least she is an absolutely beauty.

Although there are not that many corals to see on her body, supposedly caused by a special coating for navy-ships (there are some soft-corals on the hull and on the superstructure), the fish-life around this wreck is amazing. Underneath the stern is a common spot for a school of barracudas in reasonable sizes (up to 1m), batfish sweet lips, lion fish and the omnipresent scorpion fish. This wreck is sometimes also good for big rays and turtles.

Occasionally strong currents, poor visibility (can drop down to 3m, max. viz up to 15m) and the depth makes this wreck to an advanced dive, and is not recommended for inexperienced divers. The penetrations are calling for a wreck-specialty certification.

 

Okikawa Maru (former Taiei Maru)


Length: 160m
Depth: 25m
Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water with experience, Wreck Diver
Recommended EAN-Nitrox Mix: 36%

This oiler, from her size the most massive and impressive wreck on the place, is resting in 26m max. depth in a perfect upright position a 15 min. boat ride in the north-east of Akitsushima.

Heavily damaged and burning after the air raid, Okikawa Maru was floating for nearly 3 weeks in the area; finally, another air strike of the US-Air-Force caused a huge explosion at the bow-section and sent her down. The bow is nearly completely ripped off the rest of the ship, facing now to port.

The top of the superstructures are the most shallow parts, nicely covered with hard and soft-corals and under good conditions sometimes even visible from the surface.

An extraordinary rich and diversified fish–life and plenty of macro-stuff, particularly along both hull-sides, makes this dive to an Eldorado for underwater-photography and naturalists.

But also amazing penetrations through the thrilling propeller-shaft, the former accommodations and the oil-tanks offering wreck-diver-specialists unforgettable dives. Like on the other specified wrecks, the conditions of visibility varies, but especially exceedingly fierce currents on Okikawa Maru sometimes might present you quite challenging diving. Therefore, best to check the conditions first and sometimes it is not a bad idea to cancel this dive, especially for beginners, and wait for better conditions on another day.

 

East Tangat Gun-Boat


Length: 35m
Depth: 3-19m
Recommended certification level: Snorkeler, Discover Scuba divers, Open Water Diver

Pretty close to the east-shore of Tangat–Island, you can dive a small, 35m long Japanese anti-submarine-chaser and Tug-boat in shallow water of min. 3m down to max 19m. A perfect dive for beginners or a 3.rd dive of the day, and of course, for underwater-photographer! Her original Japanese name is Tamakaze.

The Crew of this boat most likely scuttled it after the air-raid because it is so close to the shore and there are no big damages. Together with Lusong-Gunboat it was one of the easiest wrecks of this fleet for locals as well for the commercial salvage-company (and later on for divers) to salvage all valuable items out and off.

However, this wreck is still a lovely dive, most of the time under very calm condition; the visibility varies from 5-15m. A plenty of fish-life around the wreck, with groupers, batfishes, crocodile-fish, the common coral-fishes and, especially on cloudy days or in the late afternoon, you can spot out the rare, spacey-colored, Mandarin-fish, hovering somewhere in the corals of the reef beside of the wreck. Only a very few options to penetrate, it is pretty easy to navigate on this wreck and for the more experienced divers possible to explore and play around in a buddy-team even without a guide.

 

Luson Gun Boat


Length: 30m
Depth: 0-14m
Recommended certification level: Snorkeler, Discover Scuba divers, Open Water Diver

Luson Gun Boat is a small wreck located in the northwest of Irako. Pretty much wrecked its lying in shallow water of 0-14m and its surrounded by a pleasant variety of corals with a good fish life. The most common reef fishes like anemone-fishes, wrasses, butterfly- and angelfishes are here at home. Because of the shallowness and mostly clear water it is a pleasure for underwater photography!! Excellent for snorkeling as well or for a third dive of the day.

Visibility is around 5-15m, depending on conditions; usually calm, with sometimes reasonable currents.

 

Black Island Wreck


Length: 45m
Depth: 34m
Recommended certification level:

This dive-site is also called, Nanshin Maru” Wreck, which imply a Japanese origin of this sunken ship. In fact, that is not true. Though the origin is still unclear, for sure it is not one of the Japanese ships belonged to the fleet attacked by US-Aircraft in Sept. 24, 1944.

Most likely it is an American vessel (coastal-oiler) sunk sometime after WW II in a typhoon. On one dive a couple of years ago, I could spot out a pretty hidden plate in the empty engine-room with technical specifications in English language. The location of the wreck is pretty close to the fabulous beach of Black Island, one of the most mysterious and beautiful islands in this area; it looks like a perfect pirate-island.

The over-length of the vessel is around 45m and she is resting in a upright position, angled to port, on a sandy slope, so the bow is the deepest part in 34m, the stern is in around 20m. While already close to the open sea of the South-China–Sea, the visibility there is most of the time quite pleasant with around 15-20m, usually no current. Because of the size there are not a lot of options to penetrate the wreck, only the engine-room, some parts of the bridge and the empty cargo – but the spaces there are pretty narrow and maybe good for one diver only. Fish life is quite pleasant with a lot of interesting small stuff, big sized Emperors, batfish, lionfish, a lot of angel fishes and anemone-fishes, sometimes sea snakes and with good luck you can encounter some pelagic, like sharks or bigger rays.

Because of the quite remote location, calling for a bangka-ride of 2 ½ - 3 hours, this dive-site is very seldom operated from Coron-Town.

 

Lake Barracuda Lake


Depth: 0-30+m
Recommended certification level: Snorkeler, Discover Scuba divers, Open Water Diver

Located on the north-shore of the fascinating Coron-Island (only 20 min boat ride from Coron town), Barracuda-Lake is one of the most unusual, amazing and wired dive-sites of the Philippines.

After a short climb over lime-stones with full gear (on special request we organize a Sherpa for you, don´t worry!) you reach this beautiful, with pure nature surrounded spot. The dive itself is like a wired space-flight on a foreign planet. Three different thermo-clines with temperature between 30°-37° you have to cross on your flight down to max. 30m; on this point there is a layer starting where you can experience zero visibility, like diving in black tea…so, pointless to go deeper! The bottom-constitution is a funny stuff like jelly; you can put your whole arm inside, or if you like, your head....;-))), but watch out the alien and u/w-goblin might snatch you and pull you down into the mud. The trip brings you along unusual looking rock-formation, steep walls and mysterious caves in a breathtaking atmosphere. The most recommended part to cruise is in around 13m-15m where the “cold” freshwater-layer (30°) meets the hot saltwater (37°); here you can choose your most favorite one and change whenever you like, or you swim with your head in the cold and your body in the hot water. Actually, you can see an exact line in between these two thermo-clines...looks like a second surface.

Honestly, there is not much marine-life to see; a family of rabbit-fishes, small catfishes, shells and freshwater-shrimps, sometimes snappers, batfishes or even puffers crossing through a narrow channel from the sea. This connection causes most likely also the presence of the famous single barracuda, who actually is living resident in the lake...some like it hot!

But again, especially the high unaccustomed atmosphere in a likewise underwater surrounding, makes this dive to a “must see” for any diver with an inclination for unusual. Unique! Bizarre!

 

Reefs

 

Bugor-Reef


Depth: 3-35m+

This excellent reef near the north-shore of Culion Island slopes from 3m down to 35m+.

It usually offers a quite good visibility of 15-20m. The best parts are the shallow ones with a plenty of different species of hard and soft corals and a rich fish life, including the common reef-fishes like anemone-fishes, batfishes, moray-eels, puffers, etc. Turtles and the giant clams are common; with good luck you can encounter a leopard-shark and guitar-shark.

It is possible to combine this dive with one of the wrecks in Coron-Bay.

 

Kalambuyan Reef


Depth: 17m

A 30min boat ride in the north–west of Okikawa maru this dive-site is one of the best reefs in the region and offers you a beautiful, healthy environment under water with usually pleasant visibility and an excellent diversity of corals and fishes. It is also very good for underwater-photography because of the rich macro-stuff, especially nudibranch.

Sometimes strong current is calling for exciting drift-dives with a pick-up of the dive boat.

Because of its quite far distance from Coron-Town it is usually only possible to operate in a combination with the wrecks in the northwest part of Coron-Bay (Akitsushima and Okikawa Maru) or on a dive safari.

 

Lusong Reef


Depth: 17m

The reef itself stretches from the Lusong Wreck to the north, for around 2 sea-miles and offers good to excellent quality of hard and soft corals.

Because of the protection of a pearl-farm nearby, it has also a pretty good fish life, including turtles, cattle-fish, rays and plenty of macro-stuff like colorful nudibranch.

Both, the wreck as well the reef, are very interesting for underwater photography. Visibility 5-15m, depending on conditions; usually calm with sometimes reasonable currents which calls again for a drift dive!

 

7 Islands (or 7 Rocks) Reef (local name: Siete Picado)


Depth: 24m

It is one of the most popular reef dives around Coron because of its close distance to the town (only 20min with the boat). Also good for a single dive or night dive, but usually and best in combination with Barracuda lake.

Since a couple of years this reef is a marine Sanctuary and the friendly guard Mang Bitong keeps a sharp eye of its protection (he is also collecting the entrance-fee of 100Pesos/diver)

From very shallow the reef slopes down to max. 24m and has an amazing high variety of healthy soft and hard corals. An excellent diversity of fishes like many kinds of anemone-fishes, batfishes, cuttle fish, barracudas, groupers, angel fishes, emperors, moray-eels and the giant clams, the rare mandarin fish, turtles, lobsters, seahorses, nudibranch and rays, sometimes even eagle-rays, makes this dive-site to a perfect spot for underwater photography .

Depending on conditions, the visibility varies from 5-20m, sometimes fierce currents

 

The Pinocle


Depth: 30m

It´s a wall-dive close to the north-shore of Coron Island. The wall goes down to a max. of 30m and is nicely covered with basically soft-corals. In its small caves you find a plenty of macro-stuff, and the fish-life offers you also a great variety. Visibility is 10-15m in average.

 

Alcatraz Rock


Depth: 25m


Pretty close to the Pinocle and Siete Picados, Alcatraz- Reef is a lovely dive around a small, rocky island. Some parts of this reef are unfortunately damaged by dynamite fishing years ago, but the main part of the reef is still in healthy conditions. Angel-fishes, snappers, the common different kinds of anemone fishes, batfish and cuttlefishes, turtles, blue-spotted stingray and colorful nudibranch are only a small selection of a plentiful underwater-marine-life.

 

 

 

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