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Scuba Diving in Coron, Palawan, the Philippines
Dive Site: Irako Maru
Location: Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Description: Refrigeration ship
Depth: 12 - 40 metres (40 - 130 feet)
Visibility: 5 - 15 metres (15 - 50 feet)
The Irako is a bit deeper than most of the other wrecks around Coron so unless you have twins, time on the wreck will be limited. The 'goal post' mast that the shot is attached to reaches up to about 12m so you can easily spend some time around here on the way back up. There's a lot of straight forward swim throughs around the deck area and the boow area is nice to visit. You'll notice all the pipes throughout the holds which were part of the refrigeration mechanism. There's not a massive amount of life on the main part of the wreck, but the masts are home to some small fish life.
The Irako was a refrigeration ship which carried food supplies for the Imperial Japanese army. She is one of the deepest wrecks and is not for the inexperienced. Our penetration dive took us into areas of the ship completely devoid of natural light at depths down to 40 metres so narcosis was quite pronounced. It follows that proper equipment and deep penetration techniques must be employed - backup of key equipment such as your torch is absolutely essential.
In addition to the below decks penetration it is also possible to get in to the bridge area as well. Irako carried raw food in vast fridges but was also a floating kitchen and we were able to see huge rice boilers and food mixers which have more in common with concrete mixers than Kenwood Chefs! The viz within the wreck is not bad below decks but care should be taken to avoid brown outs, especially in the areas where natural light cannot penetrate. Penetration should not be attempted without a guide.
Martin Frankcom, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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