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Meanwhile in the Philippines….
Getting wrecked in Coron wasn’t that difficult. Coron is home to 12 wreck dive sites that were all casualties from the Japanese forces during WW2. We were going to have a day with Sito Ugarte of Fun Sun Dive Travel and check out three wrecks.
The Olympia was a ship converted for battle maybe for it’s sheer size. It’s 122 metres long and almost 17 metres wide. We saw the jail room, fire banks (where they place the charcoal) and coils of cable wire. The penetration path is the simplest amongst the three wrecks which belies the skill needed to penetrate shipwrecks. The Olympia was made picturesque by schools of medium sized batfish, crocodile fish and schools of small fish.
Our second wreck dive was Kogyu Maru. The ship was 6353 tons, 129 mts long, and 18 mts wide. It carried materials and equipment to build a runway for the Japanese war effort in the Pacific. It has several holds you can swim through almost like a fun but potentially deadly divers playground. When you see the incline of cement sacks that would mean you’re near the mini bulldozer and tractor.
It’s a weird feeling to see these huge equipment underwater seemingly suspended on their sides, rendered useless underwater. Our DM made sure we saw the tractor as we got engrossed in the crusty rubber tracks of the bulldozer. In one hold a wall of cyclone wire and the huge cooking pot that was about 2 meters in diameter was probably meant to cook rice. (ma’m that thing can probably cook rice for 30pax).
Morazan Maru was the most dramatic wreck dive amongst the three and the most beautiful. The symmetrical steam engines with the boilders shaped like the number 8, terracota bricks which were used to keep the charcoal warm and ship going with portholes allowing sunlight to penetrate the inside of the ship giving us theatrical follow lights was visually delightful and also challenging.
The ships were covered with patches of lush soft colorful coral. Schools of fish would play around the deck area like baby barracuda, catfish, groupers, snappers and fish of silver, blues, blacks and some multicolored ones give you colorful company.
Wreck diving gives a variety of texture, color and challenges. I haven’t met a wreck that bored me.
NOTE: Wreckdiving is a skill based dive practice. If you haven’t got the skill or the mindset for it, please stay on the perimeter of the wreck. The nice thing about the Coron wrecks, the perimeter will also give you a lot to experience.
See you on the next giant stride!!!