Coron is best known for island-hopping on cute tricycle-looking boats that glide across its shimmery blue water. But if you’re a diver, you’ll want to go deeper than that. In 1944, a squadron of Helldiver bombers annihilated a fleet of Japanese supply ships, leaving behind an underwater playground. There WWII wrecks vary in depth, but most are beyond 30 meters - which means even Advanced Open Water divers will be pushing their limits. Plus, some of the wrecks have small squeezes and very tight maneuvering. In the dark. Translation: unless you’re an experienced diver, stick to the shallower wrecks.
If you’re a seasoned diver looking for exciting but challenging dives, the Coron wrecks will be your paradise. I’ve been diving since I was 16, and these were some of the best dives of my life.
Sea Dive Coron
Upon recommendation from the owner of our favorite dive shop, we went straight to Sea Dive Resort. The hotel is directly on the water, with the dive shop just downstairs. The boats leave from just outside the restaurant every morning - it doesn’t get more convenient!
The dive instructors are extremely professional and fun. We did 3 dives per day for 3 days, and they were flexible with scheduling trips to all the sites we wanted to go to! Our kits were clean and well taken care of, ready for us on the boat each morning.
Our first day, we had their small boat all to ourselves! The following days, we were on their big boat with around 20 other divers - but all the groups remained small and organized by skill, so it didn’t change our experience! Most importantly, lunch is filling and absolutely delicious. And to top it off, they use refillable glass bottles for your free Coke! #SayNoToPlastic
At the end, we spent $350 for 5 nights in the hotel and 3 days of diving for two people. Each day of diving works out to be around $30 per person - some of the cheapest diving I’ve ever done! Just don’t forget to tip your dive leader (well)!!
What To Expect
Be prepared for an other-worldly experience. Wandering through overturned war vessels is spooky and exhilarating. The darkness is all encompassing in a way that doesn’t exist unless you’re 40 meters underwater in a metal container. Every passageway and porthole will fill you with new excitement.
The descent is long. Just spread eagle and get on down there. Once you get close, the gigantic wreck will fade into view seemingly out of nowhere, like a ghost ship emerging from stormy fog. You’ll start by penetrating the wreck at its deepest point, and slowly work your way through the bowels.
It’s important to listen to your guide carefully and follow briskly behind them. The dives are very deep, through complicated passageways, and in near darkness - save for a few flashlights. Considering how deep the dives are (sometimes nearly 40 meters), the instructors may have to be quick to get you back up to shallower depths for your safety. Just be diligent in following your leader.
Each wreck has a unique aspect to it. Some are overturned sideways, one has an exit hole through the back turbine axel, one of them has oil congealed to the roof, one of them has prisoner cells you can go into, and most of them have spooky engine rooms. All of them are exciting to explore. For more information on the wrecks, check out the Palawan Tourism website.
After you reach your no-decompression limit, you’ll start to ascend. Typically that’s when you’ll get to see the outside of the wreck and all the beautiful corals and fishes that have adopted the ship. Hold onto the ascent line or be drifted away to the next Filipino island - the current is strong. Go slow, as always. Watch your dive leader for guidance on your ascent.
Once you’re back on board, try to keep your gear organized. Everyone comes up around the same time, and it’s annoying when people leave their stuff in the way. Set your kit up for the next time, and then go to the top deck where you can’t get in the way of surfacing divers. Enjoy the sunshine! Grab a soda! Make new friends! If it’s lunchtime, tuck in!
Barracuda (Luluyuan) Lake
Barracuda Lake is not a wreck dive, but should not be excluded from the list of epic sites in Coron.
The lake is a world-famous dive site because of its unique thermocline environment! It’s a fresh water lake slightly separated from the sea by limestone cliffs. After waddling up the wooden stairs and over the cliffs, Barracuda Lake lays out in front of you ready for adventure. Descending into the hot lower layer is like entering a sauna, but wet.
Wandering around the edges of the lake is one of the best parts. The underwater cliffs look beautiful towering over your scuba guide. Once you get back to the shallow parts, look for the little shrimpy friends crawling around the rocks!