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Scuba Diving in Coron, Palawan, the Philippines
Dive Site: Taiei Maru
Location: Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Description: 10,000 ton fleet oiler
Depth: 25 metres (82 feet)
Visibility: 15 metres (30 feet)
This is my favourite wreck in Coron. It is covered in life from the moment you hit the wreck and even the inside of the wreck is home to fish and crustaceans. The large size of the wreck means you need to go at quite a pace to cover it all in one dive. It is possible to swim through nearly the entire length of the wreck in the vast open holds. They don't have a lot in them but the sense of space is a good experience. At various points along the wreck there are holes in the deck by which you can leave the holds. It is also possible to swim through the wreck at a higher level where there are a few portholes still in place and the corridors are a bit narrower. The deck is lovely with shoals of damselfish and fusiliers constantly passing. There are also big barrel sponges and some very photogenic superstructure that is also covered in coral. I actually saw some larger fish on this wreck - the only place in Coron where the grouper seem to have reached a decent size.
This is another exceptional wreck. A standard fleet oiler of some 10,000 tons she offers numerous different routes in and about her. Our first visit was somewhat surprising because our guide took us through so many holes and hatches that we rapidly became very disorientated! There can be a significant current running and at times swimming against it is hard work but due to her relatively shallow depth we were down on her for a very long time, especially as we were using twin sets.
The biggest confidence test came when we entered an area towards the stern and dropped through a rent in the floor in a virtual "brown out" but the guide knew exactly what he was doing and we emerged into clear water inside a huge open room within a few metres with little more than a racing heart beat! Apparently we had swum between the ends of the oil tanks. The superstructure is a virtual coral garden and the home of many different species of fish and a quite exceptional number of nudibranchs and flat worms. In total we dived her three times and we were all of the opinion that she is a superb dive due to the sheer variety of routes we had taken and the variety and density of life upon her decks.
Martin Frankcom, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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