Shipwrecks worth exploring in Coron

Exploring a sunken ship is an exciting adventure that shows you a glimpse of the past. Seeing the actual shipwreck firsthand allows you to connect the stories that you heard and read about. It’s like getting a first-hand history lesson. 

In the Philippines, Coron is one of the most visited destinations when it comes to wreck diving which includes Sangat Wreck, Akitsushima, Olympia Maru, and Irako Maru. These World War II remnants are considered as some of the well-preserved shipwrecks in the world and each one has its special characteristics. If you’re going wreck diving in Coron, Palawan, you won’t go wrong with these amazing sites which are encrusted with corals and swarming with colorful marine life. 

Amazing shipwrecks in Coron

 

Akitsushima

  • Type of vessel: Seaplane Tender
  • Length: 115 meters
  • Maximum depth: 38 meters
  • Visibility: 15 meters

akitsushima wreck dive

On the fateful day of 24 September 1944, the serene atmosphere of Coron Bay was shattered when American dive bombers and fighter escorts broke out of the sky to attack a Japanese supply fleet camouflaged among the islands. A squadron of Curtiss Helldivers aimed for the anchored ships including the Akitsushima.

The giant seaplane didn’t go down without a fight. She opened fire with a vengeance until a bomb hit the hull at the port side. The devastating explosion and fire brought down Akitsushima somewhere between Culion and Busungaga Islands, near Manglet Island. 

She currently lies on her starboard side and some of her distinctive features include a huge crane that used to lift planes, anti-aircraft guns, and shell-loading conveyors. You can penetrate through a hole in the hull to see the machinery that operated the crane. Keep your eyes open for scattered ammunition lying around. The badly deformed metals attest to the severe effects of the bombing. You can navigate through the engine room which features two big engines and there’s a control room just below it. 

Some of the common marine creature sightings in this wreck include giant groupers, barracuda, stingrays, turtles, and shoals of batfish.

Olympia Maru 

  • Type of vessel: Supply ship
  • Length: 130 meters
  • Maximum depth: 30 meters
  • Visibility: 15 meters

This Japanese supply ship was another casualty of the US Air Attack on Coron Bay on 24 September 1944. The wreck lies upright at a depth of 30 meters in Coron Bay near Busuanga Island. Its main deck is around 18 meters to 24 meters deep which is a relatively shallow and smooth dive. It’s not difficult to navigate around the main deck where you’ll see several masts and open cargo bays that provide easy entry especially for divers who are new in wreck diving. Experienced divers looking for more challenge can swim through the propeller shaft. Several tight swim-throughs will lead you to piles of barrels and into a deckhouse. 

There’s plenty of marine life to see during your dive including hard and soft corals, crimson sponges, batfish, scorpionfish, lionfish, and pufferfish. 

Irako Maru

  • Type of vessel: Refrigeration ship
  • Length: 147 meters
  • Maximum depth: 40 meters
  • Visibility: 15 meters

A great adventure awaits you when you explore this huge wreck measuring 147 meters long and 19 meters wide. It sits almost upright in the sea bed at 43 meters and its deck is around 30 meters deep.

A single dive is not enough to appreciate the mystifying beauty of this shipwreck. You can begin your journey through the wheelhouse that leads to a big hold. All the pipes that you encounter throughout the holds were part of the refrigeration mechanism. Expect to see an exciting labyrinth of corridors and walkways. There are several doorways to choose from, each one leading to a different route that’s why you won’t get bored exploring this wreck multiple times. If you come across the galley via a hole in the hull at 40 meters, notice that it still contains big rice boilers, food mixers, and kitchen utensils. Another interesting room is the machine shop where you’ll find equipment like bench drill, old-style metal lathe, and other metal production machinery. 

Shoals of jacks are known to visit this wreck. Get a chance to see yellowfin tuna, lionfish, and scorpionfish. 

Sangat Wreck

  • Type of vessel: Sub-chaster
  • Length: 35 meters
  • Maximum depth: 18 meters
  • Visibility: 15 meters

The Sangat Wreck, located on the eastern-side of Sangat Island is well-suited for beginners because of its overall depth of just 3 to 18 meters. If it’s your first time to go wreck diving, this is a good place to start before venturing to deeper wreck sites. With its bow just barely 3 meters below the surface, its a quick and easy dive for newbies and even snorkelers.

Plan your wreck dive

Join Discovery Fleet Philippines on our next liveaboard diving and we’ll take you to Coron to experience the best wreck diving in the Philippines

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