Wreck Diving in Coron, Palawan

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Featured, Philippines | 0 comments

Wreck Diving in Coron, Palawan

After an hour flight from Manila we land on Busuanga Island, located in the north of the province of Palawan.

As we flew in over the tropical lush green mountains I was itching to get my feet on the ground.

We were attracted to Coron, a quiet town famous for nearby sunken WWII Japanese ship wrecks.

We checked into Balaibinda, a small and basic hotel with a nice breezy rooftop where we enjoyed our coffee each morning.

Our first day was spent on an island hopping boat tour visiting stunning Kanyang Lake, Twin Lagoon and some white sandy beaches.

 

Cliffs and water pano lower res

 

There are no beaches in Coron town itself, so boat tours are the main sight seeing method and the best way to check out the local beauty.

To go on a tour you can use one of the many travel desks in town to book set Tour A, B, C or D, or you can organise a trip directly with the boat guys down at the water.

We decided to pay a bit extra and go on a private tour, which meant we could choose which sights we wanted to see and how long we wanted to spend at each.

Before leaving we went to the local produce market at bought some pork, rice and vegetables that they cooked up for our lunch, which we enjoyed on a nice beach.

 

Buying food for lunch at the local market

Buying food for lunch at the local market

 

The following two days were the absolute highlight of our visit to Coron, diving five different shipwrecks.

We had previously dove the Liberty shipwreck in Bali, but this was our first time actually penetrating wrecks and swimming through internal rooms and corridors.

 

DCIM101GOPRO

 

It was unreal and like no other dive experience I’ve had.

The ships themselves were massive, looming 120 to 160m long cargo and warships.  Floating next to an enormous rudder I felt so small, and the scale of the vessels really hit home.

 

DCIM101GOPRO

 

DCIM101GOPRO

 

It was awesome to be able to identify rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, with things like a bathtub and toilet still intact.  We also saw war related items like guns and gas masks.

It was as though we were swimming through the skeletons of the ships, somewhat eery but also really interesting.

We dove with Corto Divers who were fantastic and I highly recommend.  Our guide Randy was really knowledgeable about the wrecks, and we felt completely comfortable with him leading the way as we headed into the darkness of the ships interiors.

 

DCIM101GOPRO

 

A very professional company but with a fun and relaxed vibe.  At the end of the day they would pass out cold San Miguel beers and everyone would stay for a chat on the comfy lounges in the dive shop.

Check out this clip from our trip to watch footage of us diving through the wrecks!

 

DCIM101GOPRO

 

After two days of diving it was Christmas, and we spent the day relaxing with massages, cocktails and afternoon naps.

I walked up 700+ stairs to the top of Mt Tapyas, which has great views and is a lovely spot to watch the sun go down.

 

Mt Tapyas pano lower res

Mt Tapyas, you can see the stairs on the right and Coron town down on the water.

 

On Boxing Day we went diving again, this time in Barracuda Lake, known for it’s dramatic thermoclines.  The lake has layers of fresh, salt and brackish water and with each comes a considerable temperature change.

My dive computer showed a maximum temperature of 41°C, which explains why you don’t need a wetsuit for diving the lake!

 

DCIM101GOPRO

 

At the end of each day our ritual was to sit and watch the truly epic sunsets while having a cold drink from seaside bars La Sirenetta or Sea Dive, both which are right on the water.

Admiring the show mother nature put on for us every day I was reminded of this quote from the film Wild:

There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty‘.

 

Wayne La Sirenetta

Sunset

 

We soon identified our favourite local dishes as Sisig (minced meat served on a sizzling hot plate with an egg cracked on top) and Adobo (meat cooked in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce and garlic).

Our favourite places to eat were:

  • Sinusabunga for fresh and tasty local cuisine with a laid back atmosphere.
  • Winnie’s for a mix of Asian cuisines including Thai, Indian and Filipino, and a specials board with fish sourced that day and other seasonal dishes.
  • The restaurant at Corto del Mar Hotel for good quality French cuisine and excellent service, the place to go if you’re sick of rice and meat or want a nice night out.

Before we knew it, it was time to leave Coron and make our way by boat south to El Nido!

 

boat side

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