There are about 12 explored WWII Japanese wrecks along the bays of Coron and Busuanga (for a more details, check out the intro part of my Coron page).
We were able to dive 3 of them and my favorite was the one in the picture, Olympia Maru, not more than 90 feet below. We penetrated the wreck through and through and there I saw the biggest and healthiest breed of fishes. We also saw some interesting contents of the ship that were left by looters, aluminum coils, broken beer and sake bottles.
In 1944, after a few surveillance flights over the area, US military intelligence (try not to laugh at the paradox of that...) noted that several of the small islands around the Calamian Island Group were in fact moving... so the order was put out to bomb those islands.
Among the sunk or wounded were the Kyogu Maru, Kyokuzan Maru, Olympia Maru, Akitsushima, Taiei Maru, Irako, Ekkai Maru, Kamoi, Tangat, Lusong, Shonan Maru and the Kasagisan Maru.
They are littered about the islands, but many are within easy reach for diving. The "skeleton wreck" of Lusong actually breaks the surface during low tide so is an easy exploration even just for those looking to snorkel on the surface!!
The other wrecks require dive guides and the use of a dive shop. Depths vary, but most are found to be 30m (100ft) or more with their decks being 25m (80ft). Deco dives may be incurred.
Dives will be tailored to your experience and certification levels. More advanced divers will be granted the unique experience of exploring deeper and more intricate passages of the wrecks.
The Irako was probably the highlight for me. The labyrinth of passages, the preserved state of the compartments... all surpassing previous experiences for me.
Equipment: Diving with Nitrox and computers are recommended.
All diving shops in Coron can supply full gear and equipment if you do not have any.
Once the wrecks were done, I dove in Barracuda Lake. Most people only look at the beautiful cliffs from the shore line or snorkel from the surface. But below water, the fast-settling silty bottom is like walking on the moon. The halocline and thermocline at 17m (55ft) brought the temperatures up to 38C (98F)!!
When you get to the bottom, you can take off your fins, and simply walk in the soft silt. It is non abrasive, does not stick or cling and settles instantly. It is the closest that civilians will ever have to walking on the moon!
Diving Barracuda Lake requires booking a dive trip with a local dive shop.
Or, if you have your own gear, you will need to hire a boat to cross over to Coron Island. Once there, you must pay the Park Entrance Fee before you can step foot on the island.
There is a steep up and down portage that you must do with your diving gear in order to crest the rocky cliffs and drop into the warm waters below.
Equipment: Diving gear can be found at all local dive shops if you do not have your own. Due to warm temperatures, absolutely no wet suit is needed.
Coron is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for wreck diving in the Philippines. There are at least 12 Japanese boats that were sunk in the are during World War II.
Equipment: Bring your favorite dive gear!