Japanese Wrecks of Coron Bay

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.

Jeepney for Neptune Dive Center in Coron Philippines

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.

Japanese wrecks of Coron Bay Philippines

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.

Mark and Kelsie O in scuba suits

The Dives

Olympia Maru Japanese Cargo shipwreck from world war II Coron Philippines

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:Olympia Maru Japanese Cargo Shipwreck from WWII Philippines

Next up was Morazan Maru.

Morazan Maru Passenger Cargo Vessel Shipwreck in Coron Philippines

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.Teru Kaze Maru Sunken anti-submarine vessel in Coron Philippines

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, ;).

Teru Kaze Maru Sunken anti-submarine vessel in Coron Philippines (2)

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,

Post-dive San Miguel beer in Coron Philippines

Cheers!
Featured image via: diveprice.com.

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PADI Scuba Diving Certification in Coron, Philippines

“…Either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading.” -Thomas Fuller

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

a little bit of… What I’m Lovin’

Loving List Tiny Kelsie

Tie Dye Double Hammock with Carabiners Aluminum Travel Tripod in PINK | Gourmet Loose Leaf Tea Blends | Penguin Drop Caps Series | Silicone Tea Infusers | Hand Lettered Mugs 

a little bit of… is my new list series: a quick snapshot of curated must-haves, can’t-stands, and don’t-want-to-live with-outs.

  1. Though I already own an ENO Hammock that works like a charm, the one I have featured by Grand Trunk is SO PRETTY. And, it’s got room for twoHeart-eyes-emoji, so I might need to pass the old one down to the boy so I can hammock snuggle in the wilderness with the man.
  2. I’m really needing a tripod now that I’m learning more about photography. thewirecutter.com, the site M goes to get educated before making any big purchase, said that this model is the best travel tripod for most. It comes in a variety of colors, but I’m torn between the pink and the gold one.
  3. I met Lisa, the founder of Chambre de Sucre, at Monarch Workshop. She’s a real joy to be around, and I soon found that her tea is stellar! After checking her website out, I learned that she offers a variety of products, including sugars that look like confetti and some that look like itsy bitsy petit fours. I go gaga over tiny things! I’m expecting some more of her products in the mail shortly, so stay tuned for another post on those!
  4. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but Penguin grabbed up some of the best books of all time, partnered with famous letterer Jessica Hische, and made the best looking series of books, ever. The whole set is quite pricey, so I started with The Secret Life of Bees and it quickly became one of my favorite fiction books.
  5. Now that I’m drinking more loose leaf tea, I have to use a kitschy tea infuser. I bought Mister Tea, though I had no idea that there was a Missus that could come with! Now I’ll have to head over before I can have loose leaf tea for two.
  6. I’m absolutely loving the Dream Warrior mug we received in our swag bag from Monarch Workshop, from Etsy seller GlitterandBold. Also, her Creative Juices mug. ADMIT IT, for the creative juices to get flowing, you sometimes have to have a little something in your cup (coffee, tea, wine–no one’s judging!)

What are you loving right now?

SoCal Takeover: Anaheim/Disneyland

After our brief stint in Los Angeles, we stayed a night in Anaheim and prepped for the following days that we’d be at Disneyland. Originally, we had booked a room at the Sheraton Anaheim, but Mark looked at reviews last minute and it had a terrible reputation. We instead stayed at Sheraton Park Anaheim, which was just on the other side of the park from the first one.

The rooms had balconies that overlooked the back end of Disneyland Adventure, which allowed us to watch fireworks from our balconies each night rather than dealing with the crowds in the park. Sweet! We arrived at the park a short while before it opened, but I was surprised how quick it was for us to get in. Pro tip I found through my research prior: go to the entry lines at the far left. Everyone goes for the first lines that they see.

Aurora's castle photo

We were so happy when we arrived and found that we had come to Disneyland California during the FIRST WEEK of Christmas decorations!

Continue reading