Shipwrecks and Sea Life: Uncovering the Marvels of Coron's Diving Haven
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The most popular dive sites in Coron:
Exploring Coron's Spectacular Dive Sites
Located in the southeastern part of Lusong Island, lies the impressive Irako wreck. This 147-meter-long Japanese supply ship was once used for refrigerating food until it sank after devastating bomb hits in 1944. Now, it rests underwater in an upright position, angled to its port side, at a depth of 42 meters.
Considered by wreck experts as the best and most interesting wreck in Coron, Irako offers a challenging but rewarding dive experience. Due to its depth and size, and sometimes unfavorable conditions, penetrating the wreck requires advanced diving skills.
Even experienced wreck diver Claus Rasmussen, known for his expertise in Coron, described his dive in Irako as a “Triple D” drive – Deep, Dark, and Dangerous. However, for those brave enough to explore this remarkable site, it offers a glimpse into history and a chance to see marine life up close.
Divers can expect to encounter shoals of trevally, fusiliers, snappers, lionfish, and scorpionfish. Lucky divers may even spot a rare whale shark, which appears once a year.
Exploring the wreck provides a unique opportunity to see the transmission room, the propeller shaft on the starboard side, kitchen compartments, a workstation with a lathe-machine left, and the engine room with the engines still in place.
Please note that this dive is not recommended for beginners due to the possible dangers involved. To explore the Irako wreck, divers must have an Advanced Open Water certification with a minimum of 25 dives, and a wreck specialty certification is preferred.
The dive site can be accessed by boat and offers a visibility range of 10 to 30 meters.
Akitsushima Wreck, a hidden gem lying off the coast of the island of Lajo and Manglet in Coron Bay, is a magnificent dive site for advanced divers. Sunken by the Americans in 1944, this 148-meter-long naval ship rests at a depth of 38 meters, offering various points of interest to whoever is brave enough to explore its impressive body.
As the only naval ship from its fleet discovered so far, the Akitsushima wreck holds historical significance that makes it even more special to explore. The ship’s exterior boasts a broken-off arm of its stern crane on its port side and a huge crane used to lift a missing seaplane “Emily” on its starboard side. Divers can also spot a couple of 25mm AA-machine guns near the crane and beside the funnels, as well as the turret which is the only one left of the two 12.7 cm twin guns that were in the ship.
The interior of the Akitsushima offers divers a thrilling exploration through three different deck levels, where you can find 12.7 cm guns at the elevator system, live ammunition on the second and third levels, gears of the crane inside the stern section and the engine room, and the commando room with four huge gallons of diesel in place – all highlight of the route.
Although there are only a few corals surrounding the ship’s body, the marine life around it is exquisite. Barracudas, batfish, sweet lips, lionfish, and scorpion fish are commonly seen, with occasional sightings of big rays and turtles. The strong currents in the area, however, make diving even more challenging and decrease visibility up to 3 meters.
Due to its depth and advanced dive conditions, the Akitsushima wreck is not recommended for inexperienced divers. Wreck-specialty certification and an Advanced Open Water certification with ample experience in diving are required to penetrate the wreck. But for those who dare to dive in and explore its hidden secrets, the Akitsushima wreck is an unforgettable adventure waiting to be discovered.
Barracuda Lake, located in the middle of the northwest coast of Coron Island, is an extraordinary dive spot that can be accessed by boat. Diving in Barracuda Lake is a unique and thrilling experience that offers divers the opportunity to explore a beautiful and mysterious underwater environment. The lake, which is fed by a hot spring and connected to the sea through channels, is known for its turquoise colored freshwater that becomes warmer as you descend.
One of the most interesting features of Barracuda Lake is the presence of underwater pinnacles that rise up from the lake floor. These pinnacles are made of limestone and are covered in beautiful coral formations and sponges. Diving around these structures is a magical experience, with schools of fish swimming around the pinnacles and hiding in the crevices.
Another unique aspect of diving in Barracuda Lake is the thermocline that can be found at around 14 meters deep. This is where the fresh and saltwater meet, creating a layer of cooler water that is visible as a shimmering curtain. This can create an eerie feeling while diving, as you move through the water and feel the temperature change around you.
The barracudas are another highlight of diving in this lake. These fish can grow up to a meter long and are known for their impressive speed and agility. They are often found near the pinnacles and can create an exciting experience for divers.
As you move deeper into the lake, the water temperature increases significantly. At around 30 meters deep, the temperature can reach 38 to 40 degrees Celsius. This makes it essential for divers to have proper thermal protection to avoid overheating.
Kogyo Maru is a fascinating shipwreck located in the southeastern corner of Lusong Island. Measuring 158 meters, this Japanese freight ship was sunk by Americans in 1944 and now rests on its starboard side at a depth of 34 meters.
Inside the wreck, divers can find a bulldozer in excellent condition, complete with a 6-cylinder Mitsubishi diesel engine, as well as cargo holds filled with cement bags and rolls of wire fences. The salvage hole in the wreck allows natural light to filter through, adding to the ethereal atmosphere of the dive.
Divers can expect to encounter an array of marine life at Kogyo Maru, including large Lapu-Lapu (groupers), schools of batfish, lionfish hiding in bushes of black corals, barracudas, wrasses, nudibranchs, and occasionally turtles and rays.
Visibility at Kogyo Maru ranges from three to fifteen meters depending on the current conditions, which are generally calm but can sometimes be medium. This dive site is recommended for Advanced Open Water certified divers, while those interested in advanced penetrations in the wreck should have a Wreck Diver certification.
Black Island Wreck
The Black Island Wreck is situated on the east side of Malajon Island and gets its name from the dark-colored rocks that surround it. The wreckage lies upright on a sandy slope, adjacent to a stranded ship on the beach. This coastal ship of unknown origin measures 45 meters in length and has its bow at a depth of 32 meters, while its stern rests at 20 meters.
This is an excellent site for novice divers, photographers, and night divers, as there are plenty of fish to observe. The wreck is relatively shallow, and divers can spot large scorpionfish and red lionfish, small shoals of batfish, big shoals of snappers, fusiliers, and sea basses, trumpetfish, six-banded and imperial angelfish around the superstructure.
The ship’s hull is covered in dense sponges and hydrozoans, while corals are rare on the west side of Malajon Island. However, during strong currents, divers may catch a glimpse of open sea species such as hammerhead sharks.
The waters around Black Island are generally calm with a slow current, but diving is prohibited during inclement weather. With a maximum depth of 32 meters, divers can enjoy a visibility of up to 20 meters.
Bugon Reef is an exceptional dive site located on the northern coast of Culion Island. The reef boasts a diverse topography, with slopes ranging from three meters down to more than 35 meters.
Divers can expect excellent visibility of around 15 to 20 meters, with the shallow areas being the highlight of the dive. These areas are teeming with various species of hard and soft corals, as well as an abundance of fish life.
The reef is home to an array of reef fish, including anemone fish, batfish, moray eels, and puffers, to name a few. Furthermore, divers can frequently spot turtles and giant clams in the area. With a bit of luck, you may also encounter leopard sharks and guitar sharks, adding to the thrill of the dive.
Kalambuyan Reef is a must-visit dive site and is widely considered one of the best reefs in the region. This site boasts a stunning and healthy underwater environment, with typically good visibility and a diverse range of fish and corals.
Underwater photographers will find plenty of opportunities to capture the beauty of this reef, especially its rich macro-life, including nudibranchs. A short 30-minute boat ride from Okikawa Maru in the northwest will bring you to this remarkable reef.
The average depth of the dive is around 17 meters, and due to its remote location, access to the area is usually only possible in combination with wrecks in the northwest part of Coron Bay, namely Akitsushima and Okikawa Maru, or as part of a dive safari.
Lusong Reef is a stunning dive site that extends for approximately two sea miles from the Lusong Wreck to the north. This site boasts an excellent variety of hard and soft corals, making it a captivating destination for divers and snorkelers.
The reef benefits from the protection of a nearby pearl farm, resulting in a thriving marine life that includes turtles, cuttlefish, rays, and a plethora of micro-organisms, including colorful nudibranchs.
Both the wreck and the reef offer fantastic opportunities for underwater photography, with a visibility range of 5 to 15 meters, depending on the current conditions. This makes it easier for divers to capture the beauty of the site and its inhabitants.
The 7 Islands Reef, also known locally as Siete Pecados, is one of the most popular reef dives in the Coron area due to its close proximity to the town. It is a fantastic site for both day and night diving and is often combined with a visit to Barracuda Lake.
This reef has been designated as a marine sanctuary and is closely guarded to ensure its protection. It boasts an incredible variety of healthy hard and soft corals, providing a beautiful backdrop for the abundant marine life. Divers can expect to encounter anemonefish, batfish, cuttlefish, barracudas, groupers, angelfish, emperors, moray eels, giant clams, rare mandarin fish, turtles, lobsters, seahorses, nudibranchs, and rays, including eagle rays.
The diversity of marine life makes this site perfect for underwater photography, and the visibility ranges from 5 to 20 meters. However, fierce currents can occur at times, so divers must exercise caution and follow all safety protocols.
Chindonan House Reef
Chindonan House Reef is a stunning dive site located just 80 meters off the shoreline of Chindonan Island Resort and Divecenter.
This reef is particularly known for its excellent night dives, where divers can witness an array of fascinating marine life including squids, sleeping turtles, octopus, seahorses, and various species of scorpionfish. During the day, it’s a great site for scuba divers of all levels, from beginners to those looking for a refresher dive.