Coron Travel Blog› entry 29 of 47 › view all entries
July 16th, 2008 – by: manuel_s
Coron town is a scruffy but nice enough place, again a little bigger than the last town visited, slightly bigger karaoke bar and disco :). There's really only one thing to do here and that's wreck diving. In short: during the invasion of the Philippines in WWII by the Americans the cargo ships in Manila were within range of the aircraft carriers, so the Japanese Imperial Navy decided to move the lot to Coron bay which they thought was out of range for the Hellcats and Helldivers. They were wrong, and after scouts had figured out that the camouflaged ships weren't small 'islands' they sent 120 planes. About 12 cargo ships were sunk by dive bombing in one strike, all of which lie now at accessible dive depths.
This is wreck heaven! I did 3 days of diving, the first with the San Francisco crew and Matthias to some wrecks in undeep water, and 2 more days to the deeper wrecks. It was awesome, the first time I went into holds, rooms and corridors in a sunken ship. It's slightly scary to dive in confined spaces at 35 m depth but it's a great experience. Some of the highlights:
- Olympia Maru: a cargo ship carrying bricks, it lies on it's side with a huge whole on one side, probably a boiler exploding, I saw part of the enormous drum shaped boilers. Matt and Andy freaked out a bit when we went into the black hole that was the entry point to the ship but in the end everybody got in. The big spaces of the holds made it relatively easy to swim through.
- Irako: this was pretty intense as a big part of teh dive was through narrow corridors, loads of silt, so had to be carefull with the fins and the buoyancy.
- Kogyo Maru: full of cement bags and wire fence rolls, also a small cement mixer there
- Akitsushima: a seaplane tender with a massive crane and still 2 triple barreled AA guns visible. The 2 gun turrets were salvaged so you only see the round emplacements still there on deck.
- Tai Ei Maru / Okikawa: an oil tanker. The 3 storey high rudder was pretty impressive and we went in through the propellor shaft (I suppose the propellor was salvaged). There's still shells on deck. The ship has a massive rupture near the bow, that must have been a tremendous explosion. BTW: it's full of lobsters.
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