On our 2nd day in Coron, I opted for scuba diving and Jill had a nice relaxing day by the pool. Coron is listed as one of the top dive spots in the world due to the many shipwrecks you can dive around here.
It's still under debate whether the Japanese fleet was spotted by an aerial photo reconnaissance or if Japanese radio transmissions were intercepted, but the Japanese fleet that was hiding in the bays of Coron after being bombed near Manila, was spotted. On September 24th, 1944, a US Navy strike force and dive bombers attacked 24 Japanese ships at anchor near Coron Bay and Busuanga Island. As many of 12 of those ships have been discovered today, which makes for some excellent wreck diving!
Luckily, Menno, who I had met at our hotel previously, was also diving today so I was able to hitch a ride with him to Neptune Divers that morning, who would take us out to dive 2 of the famous shipwrecks.
Our first dive was Olympia Maru, a cargo ship. I had only done 1 wreck dive previous to this and had never actually been in a ship. Lucky for us, that doesn't matter in the Philippines :) So we were actually able to go into the ships while we were diving, following our expert guide Rex #appropriatenameforthedives This provided us with an unforgettable experience.
Olympia Maru is a cargo ship or freighter, most likely built in Europe. It currently sits at an upright position, 15 degree listed to port. It's a great introduction to wreck diving because it has big cargo holds that have quick exits for unexperienced divers. The bridge section is almost completely collapsed due to the main bomb-hits on the boat. The engine is salvaged, with only 2 small boilers left inside the engine room. The marine life around the ship is also great with plenty of coral and fishes like Batfish, Lionfish, and Scorpionfish.
This ship also sits down at around 30 meters (98 feet). I previously had only been down to about 78 feet so it was a whole new depth for me! This was also my first dive without Nate since my certification, so I tried not to worry about it too much and just make sure I followed our trusted guide (Menno also only had 2 fun dives done since his certification a month before). We started our descending the mooring line. Visibility wasn't great, so following the line down into the depths of ocean was a bit crazy, with only the rope as the main thing you could see while you dove into the abyss. The ship finally came into a hazy view at around 75/80 feet, appearing in the shadows. I was pretty excited and at this point did not worry about diving the deepest I ever had :) We got to go in the ship and see some old relics left behind like oil barrels and rope. It was a fun first wreck dive for me where I actually got to go inside the ship! #score #professionalwreckdivernow After about a 50 minute dive, we surfaced to rest and eat some lunch.
Short video of first seeing the boat.
After lunch, we went down to dive our 2nd wreck of the day, the Morazan Maru. It was built in 1908 and used as a freighter and passenger liner in England, then sold to Central America where it was used as a route between Honduras and New Orleans for many years. After a while, it was sold to Southeast Asia and then captured by the Japanese Navy in Singapore in 1943, where they used it as an Auxillary Cargo Vessel.
The Morazán Maru is one of the most popular wrecks of Coron. The ship is currently lying on its starboard side at 25 meters (82 feet). There are 4 big cargo holds and an empty engine room with 2 boilers left inside. For this dive, we were in the wreck almost the whole time! (But now we were professionals after our last dive ;) ) Rex, took us through the eerie, dark ship, pointing out interesting things along the way, including some bricks with the manufacturer still written on them, and some coal still on the bottom of the floor.
Unfortunately, about 5 minutes into the dive, my GoPro memory was full and I couldn't take anymore pictures or video. Luckily, my diving bud Menno took some nice videos while we were diving. Check them out below
After our 2 wreck dives, we headed back towards Coron. One other guy on our boat did another dive, so the remaining 5 of us relaxed and snorkeled a bit, recapping the day and our dives.
Once I was back, Jill and I headed into town to grab some Italian food at a well reviewed restaurant, Altrove. We ended up enjoying the sunset while sipping on some Pina Coladas, and enjoying a delicious pizza. #roughlife
For our last day in Coron, we hopped on another island hopping tour to explore some of the beautiful beaches around the area. After an hour or so boat ride, our first stop was Bulog Dos Island. "Bulog" means small because the shape of the mound on the island looks like a bald head. It's a small island connected to a private island owned by the Two Seasons Resort. Bulog has a small stretch of beach and sand bar (during low tide) and has some great snorkeling in it's pristine, crystal clear water. Jill had a nice time relaxing in the shallow water, reading, while I went to go check out the coral and the aggressive fish that would swim right at your face #truestory #fishdodging
Snorkeling around the island.
After Bulog we took a 5-10 minute boat ride over the Banana Island (or officially named as Dicalabuan Island), named that way because the banana shape of the island. Here, we got to enjoy a big lunch of grilled fish, chicken adobo, cucumber salad, rice, bananas and watermelon.
After our yummy lunch, I went and laid out on one of the many hammocks around the island, finishing the rest of my book, while Jill took her turn trying to snorkel here. The island was beautiful, with bright green Bermuda grass around the hammocks, and tons of coconut trees. There was a small resort on the island as well which would be awesome to spend a night or two on. #nexttime
Our final stop for the day was my favorite, Malcapuya Island. It officially felt like we were in Paradise and this is the type of vacation beach I dream about :) #dreamsdocometrue After pulling up to what looked like just a rocky beach, we walked over a little hill and found a gorgeous beach. I was also able to buy a coconut water for around 50 cents to make my beach day complete #perfect #andbetheperfectpropforbeachpics I also headed out into the water to enjoy some more snorkeling for the day. I got to see a tiny little puffer fish and a white sting ray that blended in pretty easily with sand
Unfortunately, I've heard that Boracay Regency Resorts Group has purchased this island and will be transforming it into a luxery hotel property in the next few years - so visit while you can! #payforparadise
After our awesome day enjoying some of Coron's beautiful, picturesque beaches, we loaded back on the boat to head back to Coron. We were treated with some fried small bananas #delicious!
Once we were back at the hotel, I headed up to the rooftop bar to enjoy the rest of the sunset and a beer. #perfectwaytoendtheday
Once we got back into the room we discovered a thoughtful surprise by the hotel for Jill's birthday! The had decorated our room and beds wishing her a Happy Birthday! #socute #towelcake #awesomeservice And they even surprised her with the staff knocking on our door with a delicious chocolate cake to sing her "Happy Birthday" #nicelydone And on top of all that, they also brought us some brownie bites and bracelets for our last night in the hotel and wishing we had a pleasant stay. I definitely recommend this spot for anyone staying in Coron - it was wonderful.
After Jill's little birthday celebration, we hit the hay because we had to get up for our early flight back to Manila -> Cebu and then a ferry ride to Bohol the next day! Tune in next blog for the last part of our trip to the Philippines!
Follow in our Footsteps:
Neptune Dive Center
National Highway, Coron, 5316 Palawan, Philippines
+63 921 760 7492
Three Island Tour (lots of Tour companies on the dock and airport do this):
The Funny Lion Hotel (great spot, great service! Totally recommend)
Sitio Jolo, Poblacion 5, Coron, Palawan, Philippines
+63 2 856 1443
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!