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Wreck Dive at Kyokuzan Maru in Northern Coron

Docking at the northern part of Coron wasn’t originally part of the plan. For some reason, a part of our boat got broken while in transit to Quiminatin Island in Cuyo. It was fortunate though that we had an emergency stop at Coron for half of the fun of the whole dive trip happened there.

Coron - Club Paradise Resort

When we woke up that morning, we found ourselves docked in front of Club Paradise resort. And since it will take some time for the boat to get fixed, the only option left for us was to maximize our stay in Northern Coron. This was also the only time, after we left Manila Yacht Club, that we were able to get cellular reception and go online.

Northern Coron is home of the endangered sea cow or dugong. Although we did a little research online on where to find the dugongs, we were only able to get its approximate location.

The second option that we had was to go for a wreck dive on Kyokuzan Maru, a wrecked Japanese cargo ship, which is located a few hundred meters from where our boat was anchored. I got excited with the thought. You see, wreck diving is on top among my favorite diving activities. I already had experienced diving in some of Coron’s famous Japanese ship wrecks last year and so far those were among the best.

A shot of Kyokuzan Maru's bow.

For our first dive, we went into the water before lunch. It was spectacular. The underwater current was almost zero and the visibility was the best on wreck dive standards. From afar, one can still see half of the ships body considering that we were looking at a ship that’s 152m in length. Most of the Kyokuzan Maru’s structure remains intact and a good number of coral species, including different kinds of fishes and marine life-forms, thrive on the ship’s deck. Due to lack of proper equipment and knowledge about the ship’s interiors, our dive masters didn’t allow us to penetrate it and the best we had was to enjoy the upper and middle exterior sections of the ship.

Kyokuzan Maru

After our Japanese lunch on Oceana Maria, the group decided to go again for another dive on the same wreck. This time, we brought torches so we can peek into the open interiors of the ship. I also tried going down into the silt bottom of the ship but I didn’t stay long in the fears of beating the no-decompression time. Just like the earlier dive, it was easily among the best wreck dives that I had.

Kyokuzan Maru
We finished at around three and the group had no plans of doing another dive since it was almost getting late. Unfortunately, one of our dive friends accidentally dropped his dive computer towards the end of the dive. Since there was virtually no current in the area, the more experienced grouped decided to go for a search and retrieval dive for the lost dive computer in the late afternoon (yay!!).

We did the last dive just before sunset. It was one of the deepest dives I did in my entire dive life. We went back to the area where we thought the dive computer must have fallen. We did a direct descend into the area, in the hopes that the computer was directly beneath where we thought we lost it. We only had six minutes at 140ft before we will hit the threshold for a decompression stop. Before the set time, Penn, one of our dive masters found the watch lying on the silt bottom below the wreck. Whew!

It only took us twenty-five minutes to complete the entire retrieval dive but it was an unforgettable experience. My friend’s dive computer kept on beeping while we were ascending back to the surface.

It was already dark when we reached our boat. We didn’t wait long before the boat started sailing for Tubbataha in Sulu Sea.

[box icon=”http://www.travelblog.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/camera_black-e1364642191560.png”]Photo Credits: Jun V Lao (Professional Underwater Photographer). Visit him at www.paparazsea.com.[/box]

[box type=”note” icon=”http://www.travelblog.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/seaturtle16.png”]This post is part of my transition trip to Tubbataha on board The Oceana Maria. Follow the rest of my other related posts through this link.[/box]