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Written by Scuba Instructors ~ DIVEIN.com’s Complete Guide to:

The 8 Best Wrecks Around Coron Bay Revealed!

Location

Coron Bay, Palawan, Philippines

Currency

Philippine Peso
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Language

Tagalog
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The author:

sylvia jenkins

Sylvia Jenkins

Scuba Instructor
Sylvia is a scuba instructor and underwater photographer

On 24 September 1944, a squadron of US bombers appeared above the Japanese fleet hiding in Coron’s natural harbour and opened fire. The bombers’ fierce attack was viciously victorious, sinking ten ships in just fifteen minutes. Now with a new lease on life, these ships are well-preserved underwater sites, a boon to scuba diving in the Philippines and contributing to Coron’s world reputation.

Coron is an island in the province of picturesque Palawan, on the western side of Philippines. Like it’s bigger neighbour El Nido, the island offers limestone karst landscapes, white sandy beaches and crystal-clear freshwater lakes. But it’s what’s underwater that really draws the tourists in. 

The wrecks are generally in pristine condition, allowing you to admire their military exterior covered in corals and swarming in marine life. 

For the more confident and comfortable divers, one can zigzag through the wrecks and see what weird artefacts remain. The ships range in characteristics and depths, welcoming beginner, intermediate and experienced levels. 

Contents:

  1. The wrecks: what you’ll see
  2. How to get to Coron 
  3. Where to stay 
  4. Best time to visit

The 8 Best Wrecks Around Coron Bay

Level


  1. Advanced Wrecks
  2. Intermediate Wrecks
  3. Beginner Wrecks

Show only our favorite dive sites:


  1. Yes
  2. No

IRAKO

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Just around the corner from Kogyo Maru sits Irako, a must for wreck enthusiasts. Due to her depth of 108-138ft/33m-42m, challenging entry points and medium-strong currents that frequent the site, this is a wreck to be taken seriously.

What Will You See

Diving inside Irako means negotiating dark doorways and tight corners, and being mindful of messy mucky sand. Since she is in an upright position and in relatively good condition, inside the rooms are rewarding views. Journey through to see the engine rooms, cargo holds and transmission room.

There are lots of sponges, elephant ears, fans and black corals scattered with macro life. Habiting on the wreck are scorpionfish, crocodile fish, lionfish, groupers and schools of fusiliers residing around the black corals on the bow.

Level

She is definitely the most exciting wreck in the bay, but due to currents and depths, you have to earn the right to dive her!


Advanced Wrecks Our Favorite

AKITSUSHIMA

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Upon seeing Akitsushima, you discover a truly awesome ship of war, 375ft/114m long and 65ft/20m wide, Akitsushima was a well-stocked battleship designed to carry friendly seaplanes. Lying on her portside, her deepest point is 115ft/35m on the sandy bottom.

What Will You See

This intriguing site has much to offer, both on the exterior and interior. A set of 25mm AA-machine guns can be seen alongside the massive crane lying on the seabed. Swimming along this crane, you get a true sense of size.

There are many different routes to take, weaving through the three decks and engine rooms. The main exit, near the back of the main deck, is the compartment created by the lethal torpedo that took down Akitsushima.

Due to a special coating used on navy ships, there is not much coral life as compared to some of the other wrecks. Yet this allows divers to appreciate her shape and beauty as the fish wiz around.

Level

You must be at least Intermediate level with the appropriate training in wreck diving. The current fluctuates from medium to quite strong, demanding more than a modicum of experience.

akitsushima 2


Advanced Wrecks Our Favorite

OKIKAWA MARU

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Fifteen minutes ride from Akitsushima, and you arrive at Okikawa Maru. The shallowest part of this oil tanker is 40ft/12m and resting upright, 85ft/26m at the bottom.

What Will You See

Entering the wreck is done through its propellor shaft, traversing the reasonably well-lit floors. This is a tight spot so watch your fins! Inside you pass engine rooms where you see the oil barrels and its fuel leaked out. Divers’ bubbles have pushed and trapped the oil against the ceiling.

Due to the pressure increase, the oil has become like play-doh, and you can take and touch it with your hands. A rare opportunity to interact with an underwater site in a tangible way! But be careful, as it will rub off on your hands! Similar to Akitsushima, routes normally exit through the damaged cavity at the stern of the ship, or popping out through the manholes.

The entire superstructure has an array of corals, macro critters and reef scenes to enjoy. Carpeting the deck is an abundance of black and soft corals, nudibranchs, sweetlips, barracudas and turtles.

Level

With life comes currents, and at Okikawa they can get pretty strong, creating a challenging dive. Don’t be surprised if your dive is rescheduled to a later date for more favourable conditions. Only divers of intermediate level and experience with strong currents, low visibility and wrecks are recommended to visit Okikawa

okikawa maru 2


Intermediate Wrecks Our Favorite

OLYMPIA MARU

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Calm conditions, shallower depths, and easier to navigate, Olympia Maru is popular to those just arriving in Coron or new to wreck diving. In reasonably good condition and upright, Olympia’s shallowest point is 40ft/12m atop her funnels and meets the bottom at approximately 100ft/30m.

What Will You See

Olympia Maru, depending on the visibility, is normally approached by the mooring line attached to a stern funnel. At its base, a school of fusiliers encircles and surrounds the nearby gun turret. The large cargo holds and the bridge have collapsed, so entering and exiting is relatively easy. The engine room is mostly salvaged, leaving two boilers behind today.

Rounding the front of the freighter is lots of fan coral and other large bushy varieties with plenty of reef fish such as lionfish, massive scorpionfish, crocodile fish and sweetlips.

Compared to its cousins scattered across the bay, Olympia Maru has little to offer inside. However this makes it a good wreck for intermediate divers to practice their buoyancy before visiting the formidable wrecks.

Level

The current is generally calm, and can be enjoyed by intermediate and experienced divers.


Intermediate Wrecks Our Favorite

KOGYO MARU

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Kogyo Maru is a 442ft/135m Japanese freighter lying on her starboard side, the shallowest part at 82ft/25m and deepest 115ft/35m.

What Will You See

There are six cargo holds making for easy penetration, and cool finds like cement bags, rolls of wires and even a bulldozer! These cargo holds are big and are easily accessible for a quick peek inside the wreck. Going deeper to see the engine room and its two enormous boilers requires wreck and nitrox training.

Exiting the wreck through the cargo gives wonderfully coral-framed views full of fish. Sea-life visiting Kogyo Maru includes the local grouper, scorpionfish, barracuda, turtles and macro critters like nudibranchs. Perfect for underwater photographers!

Level

Situated a little shallower then her neighbouring Irako, Kogyo Maru is popular with intermediate divers.

kogyo maru


Intermediate Wrecks Our Favorite

MORAZAN MARU

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Morazan Maru is 302ft/92m and sits at 82ft/25m, making her one of the most popular wrecks of Coron. It was only recently that the origin and proper title was given to her, thanks to extensive mapping and research. Morazan Maru is an Auxiliary cargo vessel, so the four big cargo holds are easy penetration points.

What Will You See

One of the highlights is an engine room with two enormous boilers. A more stimulating dive for experienced divers, is a journey through the whole ship, bow to stern. On the way, pass through a room with a little air pocket, and you get to stick your head out at 65ft/20m deep--but keep your reg in your mouth! Definitely a niche novelty for scuba divers!

Morazan Maru is lying starboard side down, and so looking out the coral crusted portholes is great for underwater photography. Fish life includes barracudas, squid, turtles, lionfish and lots of macro as well.

Level

Morazan Maru has a variety of routes, and going deeper and further into the wreck requires more training like wreck and nitrox. But staying atop and just popping into the cargo holds is possible for beginner and intermediate divers.

morazan maru 2


Intermediate Wrecks Our Favorite

EAST TANGAT

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Another great wreck for those new to wreck diving or wanting something easier. East Tangat is a 135ft/35m long anti-submarine chaser. At depths of 9-62ft/3-19m and close to shore, East Tangat has low currents and is easily accessible for new divers and snorkelers.

What Will You See

Visibility is increased with ample sunlight reaching the site. There is no direct penetration point, but it is possible to weave in and out of rusted bars on the exterior.

Taking shelter are lots of critters, such as flatworms, nudibranchs, banded boxer crabs, and fish like bat, butterfly and angel. Just at the bow, hiding in the antler coral, is the famous mandarin fish and beautiful polka dot cardinal-fish. Go a little further to the surrounding healthy reef, and colossal barrel sponges and elephant ear are sure to impress.

Level

East Tangat is the perfect dive to finish a day of deep diving, and enjoy the marine life that inhabits the area.

east tangat 2


Beginner Wrecks Our Favorite

LUSONG GUNBOAT

Credit: RagsII liveaboard

Lusong gunboat, situated just northwest of Irako, is a small wreck, popular with snorkelers, divers and free divers. Arriving at Lusong, you can see her from the surface, making an awesome view.

What Will You See

Like East Tangat, Lusong is a shallow, near-shore wreck, so good visibility and low currents. The feel of the dive is very similar to East Tangat, albeit a little less impressive.

However just off-site and offshore, there is great wall diving, with large groupers and lots of turtles and anemones. Photographers, perhaps a little fed up with mediocre visibility and mild currents, will enjoy Lusong’s calm conditions and beautiful reef scenes.

Level

The Gunboat is a welcoming break from the challenging Olympia or Irako, and a great way to end your diving day.

lusong gunboat 2

All dive maps provided by Credit: RagsII liveaboard


Beginner Wrecks Our Favorite

HOW TO GET TO CORON 

VIA PLANE

The main airport of Coron is Busuanga Airport (USU) which services the entire Busuanga Island. This is a domestic airport only, receiving direct flights from Manila, Cebu and Luzon. If you are planning to fly to Coron, you will have to go through one of the hub cities. Domestic airlines such as Skyjet, Cebgo and Philippine Airlines offer flights. 

Once arrived at Busuanga Airport (USU), you then taxi into Coron Town. This is 11miles/17km, taking approximately 45 minutes. You can share a minivan with other tourists for 150 pesos (around $3), or hire an entire van at 1500 pesos ($30). 

VIA FERRY 

If you are going El Nido – Coron, it is much easier to travel via ferry. The fast Montenegro ferry leaves 6am and 12pm, taking approximately 4 hours (weather depending). The price is 1848 pesos (40 bucks) per person. It parks in Coron Town pier, and there will be jeepney busses to take you to your hotel. 

If you are going from Puerto Prinsesa – Coron, there is a ferry option. 2GO ferry leaves every Sunday at 5am and arrives at 4pm. Prices start at 1112 pesos ($23). The journey is 11 hours, and so it is an easy and cheap way to travel for those of us with huge dive bags; if you have the time.

WHERE TO STAY 

Coron, being the epicenter of wreck diving and holiday makers alike, has a plenty of hotels, hostels and dive resorts to choose from. To see all the local dive shops and resorts, we recommend Divebooker as it shows many centers and offers free insurance!  Alternatively, you can also visit the wrecks of Coron via liveaboard. Now you can easily cruise around the bay and usually you visit the beautiful coral rich Apo Island just around the corner.

BEST TIME TO VISIT 

Being in the tropics it was a wet and a dry season.
Wet: June- September: frequent bursts of heavy rain
Dry: October – June: hot and dry 

wrecks on coron bay data

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