On Holiday and Diving in the Philippines

Coron Bay

 

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Coron, Busuanga Island

Coron is very different from Borocay. No beach, and virtually no tourists. Pretty much the only tourists in Coron are divers, attracted as we were by the prospect of some of the best diving in the Philippines, or indeed the world.

Oddy dropped us off in the boat, right at the door of Sea Dive. Sea Dive has a wealthy owner, and offers perhaps the best accomodation in Coron. Nevertheless, I wouldn't recommend going to the communal toilet after dark - there were bigger, nastier and more numerous cockroaches in there than in Men in Black! Sea Dive is built actually on the water, on stilts, and the views from the roof terrace are stunning.

 

Transport in Coron, as in Manilla, mostly consists of bizarre and wonderful Jeep-based creations. Unlike Borocay the town does not really cater for tourists, although since I was last there I understand that an internet cafe has sprung up.

The Coron Bay Wrecks

This is based on the official US Navy chronology of the second world war published by the US Government Printing Office in 1955:

24 September 1944, Sun. -- As Japanese shipping shifts south from Luzon in the wake of the heavy attacks there over the previous days, TF 38 follows, its planes hitting targets ranging from the Calamian group to the Visayas. Aircraft from three task groups (TG 38.1, TG 38.2, and TG 38.3) from TF 38 (Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher) participate. Off Calamian Island in Coron Bay, TF 38 planes sink flying boat support ship Akitsushima, cargo ship Kyokusan Maru and army cargo ship Okikawa Maru, and damage ammunition ship Kogyo Maru, army cargo ship Olympia Maru, cargo ships Ekkai Maru and Kasagisan Maru, supply ship Irako, oiler Kamoi and small cargo ship No.11 Shonan Maru, 1159'N, 12002'E...

Wreck Safari onboard M/Y Maribeth

Whilst staying at Sea Dive, we met a diver who said the best diving he'd ever done had been on a dive safari to nearby Apo Reef. Unfortunately none of Coron's dive schools was able to take us to Apo, but instead we were able to go for a live-aboard wreck safari with ABC Dive, onboard the Maribeth.

As the Navy chronology would suggest, the wrecks are scattered around Coron Bay.

I had never dived a wreck before we went to Coron, and I wasn't prepared for quite what an awesome and surreal experience it is. On any dive, and even to an extent with snorkelling, you leave our world and enter another. In a slow-motion world with no smell, and virtually no sound, vision is everything. The sights which greet your eyes are both strange and fascinating, yet in a world where disbelief is suspended, as in a dream, even the strangest thing can be accepted as perfectly normal. So you have to remind yourself, as you follow an angel fish along the deck of the Irako, that you're floating weightless a few feet above what used to be a 10,000 tonne Japanese refrigeration ship (pictured above in the days when it used to float!)

 

PAGE 3- APO REEF DIVE SAFARI

 

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