|Dive area / region : Philippines - Coron Palawan - See the map||
|Best diving season : January • February • March • April • May • November • December|
|Recommended number of days to stay : 5 to 7 days|
|Number of dive sites : 16 to 20 Dive Sites|
|Water temperature and wetsuit advice : 26C-… : Shorty or Thin Wetsuit|
|Average visibility : 16 - 20 meters|
|Average dives depth : 20 Meters|
|Type of currents : Zero or none relevant currents|
|Months when these currents are present : All year long. Ususally there is no current. However you can find some mild current sometimes forcing you to change your plan on a wreck.|
|General surface conditions : Generally flat surface|
|Wreck types : Recent world ships • War ships||
|Type of marine life : Anemone • Barracuda • Corals • Cuttlefish • Grouper • Jacks • Jelly fish • Moray Eels • Nudibranch • Octopus • Plants • Rays • Reef Fish • Sea snakes • Sea urchins • Seahorses • Shark - Whale shark • Shrimps • Softcoral • Sponge • Squid • Star fish • Turtles • Worms|
|Presence of caves / caverns : Yes - Semiclosed|
Scuba Diving the Coron wrecks
Written by Administrator June 09, 2012 Hits: 3723 0
Located about 300km southwest of Manila in Philippines, Coron Island is under the Palawan administration. This is the third-largest island in the Calamian Group of Islands in northern Palawan. The island is part of the ancestral domain of the indigenous Tagbanua people. Known as Calis among the Tagbanuas and Coronians, its tribal chieftain is Apo Rodolfo Aguilar.
How to get there:
You do not have direct access to Busuangua or Coron. You need to take boat or domestic flight to arrive at your final destination. So first, arrive to Cebu or Manila by plane. Then you have boats from Manila or Cebu but it takes one night. We recommend taking the plane from Cebu or Manila. You have 2 main companies operating such as Cebu air or Airphilexpress (subsidiary of Philippines Air Line- PAL). Be very careful and do not play with your luck. All these flights have more than 60% chance to be late. When we went there, we got 2 hours delay for coming and 1 hour delay for the return. So be cautious for the connecting flights when you book.
When to come:
June to October is not a good choice because it is the rainy season. Some dive shops are closed or run at the minimum of their capacity. April and May are considered low season and there is little wind but some patches of rain. November to March is good, however dives could be canceled because of strong winds.
Scuba Diving and Dive shops in Coron
I] Wreck diving in Coron As one of the most visited destinations for wreck diving in the Philippines, if you come to Coron for diving, for sure you come for the well-known Japanese shipwrecks of World War II. However if you are not comfortable with wreck diving you have snorkeling opportunities thanks to rock formations around the wrecks, with underwater visibility extending up to 25 m depending the season. The water is often calm except during windy season (Dec to March). Wreck dive sites are found in different depths: as shallow as 3 to 10 meters and as deep as 42 meters, but most of them are in the range from 15 to 25 meters which makes them accessible for the majority of divers. We recommend to do wreck diving around Coron in this order: Tangat gunboat wreck (the real name of the ship seems to be Terukaze Maru), Lusong Gunboat wreck, Olympia Maru wreck, Taiei Maru wreck, Irako wreck, Kogyo Maru wreck, Akitsushima wreck, Okikawa Maru wreck. We put in this order to avoid reverse profile and optimize your days.
If still you do not have enough then you can go further from Coron: Kyokuzan Maru wreck is located on the opposite side of Busuanga to Coron town so to reach it requires about an hour by truck followed by a 20 minutes boat journey. You have as well the Nanshin Maru wreck but it takes also 3 hours to get on the right side of the coast before getting the boat.
Usually you can dive 2 wrecks in one day and a reef for the third dive or alternatively for a night dive: basically you have the Lusong reef, twin peaks, 7 islands (group of 7 small emerging rocks) giving you several reef dives and CYC reef to cover the most interesting one.
But after that if you are not yet oversaturated you can have fun doing the Cathedral Cave. The name comes from the fact that at a certain time of the day, the sun illuminates inside through a hole in the cave ceiling. If you are ok doing apnea we know some guys for going through the short tunnel and surfacing in the cave, as the hole in the cave-ceiling allows fresh air to enter.
II] Barracuda Lake
Located at around 10mn from the small harbor where you can admire all the colorful traditionally-designed pots called bangas you will head to a small island to discover a nice equipped pontoon. Here the water is very clear in a green color and it is believed by Tagbanua people to have some magic power. You don your equipment then you have to walk through wooden stairs for 5 minutes. It is enough to make you breath like an elephant! Nevertheless, the reward is there. With 2 thermo clines this lake is not really with clear water but gently salted differently according to the layers of the water. It is probably the only time in your life that you will be obliged to leave you wetsuit on the boat because the water temperature is exceptionally high:
- first layer from 0 to around 5 meters => 29 degrees Celsius
- second layer from 5 to around 20 meters=> 39 degrees Celsius (yes you read 39, it means higher than your body temperature so be careful if you have heart issues).
- third layer from 20 to 30 meters => 32 degrees Celsius Actually the lake is deeper but starting at 30 meters the red/brown sulfuric layer stops you from continuing. We tried to go inside this layer for 2 minutes (not good for the corrosion on the equipment) but you are in total darkness. It is even impossible to see your computer with your torch! So you follow your bubbles to escape this inhospitable environment.
III] Dive shops in Coron
A bit like everywhere: you have the best and the worst. But it is important to know what you want. Prices often go with the number of people per group. It means the price per dive will be cheap but you will be in group of 4 to 6 and with different level. Usually if you are a good diver with low air consumption, you will be frustrated to end a dive after 40 minutes when you can stay up to 1 hour. So to be sure, ask the dive shop about their organization before booking anything. And don't be trapped by the apparent hassle-free vacation by booking a all-in-one solution (accommodation, dive, foods). It is often better to book separately accommodation and dives even tough it is a bit more expensive. Usually the Western own dive shops are more focused on small number of people per group and match the diver level but their prices are a bit higher (need more group so more guides). The Asian own dive shops are more focus on group dynamic even though the level is not consistent but prices are lower. You can choose your preferred one through the link Coron dive shops.
Accommodation, food and miscellaneous in Coron
* You have different kind of proposal according to your budget. Do not hesitate to ask if hot water is included in the room because most of the time you won't have it in standard proposal. We also strongly recommend asking for air cond if you are not used to high temperature with high humidity level.
* If you choose something out from the center be cautious to ask if there is a shuttle and at what price. Usually hotels or resorts out of the center propose a free return per day to the center town. For example if you want to have dinner after coming back from your dive then you will have to pay this extra transportation.
* As the town is quite poor you will have to be patient with regular electricity cut so if you are writing an email or under connection through wifi always bear in mind that you can be cut at any time…
* Bring cash in pesos, dollars or Euro but you have as well one cash machine in town. You can also pay in credit card but they can charge you up to 5% for the bank transaction.
* We recommend at least 2 restaurants for their food and menu: Kookie own by a Suisse, who is also a renowned anthropologist, is serving fresh sea food or curries from local or Thai recipe. And don't forget the true German beer! The other one is Bistrot own by a French who is serving different kind of western food such as an excellent pizza.
* For the honey lovers you will buy at the market the local honey from the forest
* If you are not fond of massage (with oil) go to the Maquinit Hot Springs to enjoy a relax time.
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