Swimming with the whale sharks was amazing, but it wasn’t even my favorite part of the trip! Next post I’ll talk about canyoneering, and how our family needed to be rescued after jumping off a cliff!
It’s been far too long, but I’ve finally got a bit of free time and no trips planned for a whole month. Back to June. Back to The Philippines. Back to diving.
The Philippines is known worldwide for its diving. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park to the biodiversity of Puerto Galera, its a diver’s heaven. Though I’ll never tire of swimming alongside colorful marine life and spotting exotic animals, there’s something a bit more thrilling about doing so in a shipwreck. And Coron Bay has many to choose from.
A little bit of History
On September 23, 1944, Combat Air Control reported enemy activity in the area. The aircraft carriers USS Lexington, USS Intrepid, and USS Cabot ordered 24 bombers and 96 fighters to cover a chart distance of 350 miles on the following day. What happened next became one of the longest bombing missions in the history of U.S. naval aviation: a three hour flight before the attack that led to the ten shipwrecks.
For a thorough history of how the wrecks came to be, head to Coron Bay Air Raid History.
Seventy years later, these wrecks have become artificial reefs and are teeming with wildlife. After receiving our diving certifications, it was time for Mark and I to scuba-suit up and see for ourselves.
Our first dive was through Olympia Maru. In the photo of the guidebook above, you can see that there are four openings at the top of the ship. From the second one from the right was where we entered, and we made our way through. We had to be very careful of our breathing to be sure not to become more buoyant and hit our heads on the roofs of the ship.
We could see many shipping containers with Japanese writing and cargo drums. It was amazing to see something so human, yet so foreign to the other world that we’ve found under the sea, where tropical fish and corals had claimed it as their own. The ship was so big, it was like a warehouse was just dropped into the ocean.
Not gonna lie, I was totally feeling some Little Mermaid vibes. Unfortunately, we hadn’t yet bought our GoPro, so here’s some low-quality printed photos of the site:
Next up was Morazan Maru.
This one had far more traces of human life, as it was a passenger ship. There was even a toilet! Through the years of deterioration, its turned more into a few large chunks of porcelain, but it was still neat. Because Morazan Maru sunk onto its side, it was more challenging to orient where was up and down and it was more difficult to make our way through the narrow passageways of the ship without disturbing the corals.
What was really cool about this dive was that because of it’s side orientation, there’s a big pocket of air within the walls of the base of the ship. So we were able to take off our regulators and breathe some [not at all] fresh air all the way unda da sea.
Last up was Teru Kaze Maru.
Diving along with us was a guide, as well as a young tourist from the UK. He opted out of this last dive, as he said he had been travelling throughout Australia and South Asia for the last four months and his resources were depleted.
When we got back on the boat, I didn’t want to break it to him that it was my favorite of the dives. This wreck was much closer to the surface, so light was abundant, the colors of sea life and coral were far more vibrant and the corals were less spread apart. It was also a very small ship, so from the outside I was more able to see the shape of the hull more clearly. While Olympia Maru felt like a warehouse and Morazan Maru was disorienting, this one was without a doubt a ship. Hah! Not like I was doubting the others were, ;).
That being said, I think that whichever shipwreck dive is my latest will likely be my favorite. Diving, for me, is not one of those “you’ve seen one and you’ve seen ’em all” kind of things. It’s a more colorful, more thrilling, underwater hiking. It’s always different, full of sights, full of energy, and stunning.
Until next time,
Featured image via: diveprice.com.
Here, here! I’ve been a busy one lately–to the other side of the world and back, even. I’ve been toying with where to start when I begin writing again, and then finally, I decided: I’m just going to dive right in. Continue reading
While we were in Puerto Rico, I was sure to knock off a bucket list item:
103. Zip line through the Jungle ✓
There are few zip line adventure companies that allow children along for the ride. In the San Juan area of Puerto Rico, we could only find one. Our son is seven and many require a minimum age of ten years old.
Tropical Adventures in Dorado, a short drive from San Juan, has an accessible course that allows anyone from “six years old, to healthy seventy year olds.”
The views of the Rainforest as we were zip lining were absolutely breathtaking.
Tobias is afraid of heights, so I was really worried about this excursion before the trip. Continue reading
I had a house guest all of last week, so I wasn’t able to make time to post. BUT! Last week, she and I decided on a girls’ trip for the summer and Mark and I began taking steps for one in the spring. I’m so excited to finally have not one but two international trips to plan for. After all, some find that the anticipation of travel is just as rewarding as the travel itself.
There are so many different types of travelers. Some prefer all inclusive, some like to wing it, some people would rather lie on a beach than do anything else on this earth. Not I. I’m a planner, through and through. Continue reading
During traditional tea ceremony and kaiseki, or traditional Japanese dinner, I was slamming down matcha like it was nobody’s business. I ended up wired & blogging about Cherry Blossoms, Kiyomizu-dera, bamboo forests and monkey parks until the sun nearly came up and I got very little sleep, so I was thankful that we had nothing but packing and heading for the airport planned for the day–which wasn’t until the evening. The one thing I hadn’t done that was crucial was some wandering.
Our second day in Kyoto, we again woke up far before the crack of dawn. After we ate and it was late enough for us to begin our day, we headed toward Arashiyama to see the bamboo groves and monkey park. Arashiyama is a ways away from downtown Kyoto, so we had to take a subway and a train.