The Calamian Islands (often referred to as Coron) consists of over 80 islands and islets in the north of Palawan province. The main settlement of Coron Town on Busuanga Island is a lively fishing community geared heavily towards dive tourism, from here you can explore the spectacular islands and reefs of Coron Bay. Hidden amongst the jagged limestone cliffs are secluded lagoons and coves.
South of Busuanga there are the two other major islands of the Calamian Group: Culion Island and Coron Island.
Approximately 70% of Coron Island is made up of steep, black limestone cliffs, some reaching several hundred metres above sea level. Along the coastline are white sand beaches, coves and lagoons. Behind the steep limestone cliffs hides eight brackish lakes with crystal clear water and three smaller lakes with underground connections to the ocean. Coron Island is known for having the cleanest inland body of water in the Philippines, called Kayangan Lake.
Coron is warm year-round. Although there are defined wet and dry seasons, there can be days in the wet season where it doesn’t rain at all.
Dry and cool: November – April, average 27°C
Wet and warm: May – October, average 29°C
Most divers come to Coron to visit one of the many WWII wrecks. These wrecks were sunk in the area during the air raid by 120 US aircraft on 24 September 1944. There are 14 wrecks which lie in the diveable depths between 5 – 40 metres deep. Most of the sunken wrecks in Coron Bay are between 100 to 200 metres in length. Most wrecks can be dived by beginners up to technical advanced wreck diver level.
History of the Coron Wrecks
At 6:00 am on 24 September 1944, 180 Grumman H6F Hellcat and Grumman SB2C Helldiver planes took off from carriers of vice-admiral William F. Halsey’s task force 38 and headed for Coron. At the time this was the longest-range air attack ever launched from aircraft carriers, 340 miles from target and airborne for more than 6 hours. Several planes were lost after running out of fuel on the return trip; some were shot down by the Japanese fleet in Coron Bay. At 9:00 am the planes reached Coron and located at least 18 large Japanese vessels and started their attacks. After a 40 minute attack, the planes left, leaving a scene of devastation. Eight out of twelve of the Japanese supply ships sunk in the attack lie in Coron Bay.
Apart from the wrecks, there are beautiful dives along the walls of Coron Island, in Gutob Bay on the reefs between Busuanga and Culion with a variety of hard and soft coral, big fans, different nudibranchs, lionfish, crocodile fish and anemone fish. You can also dive in the warm, geothermal lakes on Coron Island.
27ºC – 30ºC, 3mm wetsuit or rashie
Diving is conducted year-round, although July to October is the quiet season with more torrential rains and possible typhoons.
Start with a 15-minute challenging mountain climb in full scuba gear over sharp limestone cliffs. Likened to "diving on the moon", the water temperature varies between 28ºC - 38ºC in the lake with distinct thermal layers. The resident 1.5 metre long barracuda likes to guide you around his home. Max depth: 30 metres
This Japanese seaplane tender 118m long lies on her starboard side hit midship. The impressive crane that was lifting the seaplane in the water lies on a sandy bottom and attracts shoals of giant batfish and barracuda. Giant grouper, tuna and yellowfins also hang around. Max depth: 38 metres.
A Japanese refrigeration ship about 200 metres in length that is quite intact with a big wreck body. Grouper, tuna, yellowfin, lionfish and scorpionfish live around this wreck. Max depth: 40 metres.
A Japanese freighter about 140 metres long lying on her starboard side. Explore the large cargo holds where you will find construction materials, a cement mixer and a bulldozer. On the deck, anti-aircraft weapons can still be seen. On the port side, there are many corals and a variety of fish life. Max depth: 34 metres.
A Japanese freighter about 170 metres long, mostly intact and usually offers good visibility around 20 metres. In the cargo holds Japanese staff cars and trucks can be found. This is a beautiful wreck dive experience with ideal conditions. Max depth: 40 metres.
120-metre long Japanese freighter on her starboard side. Big groupers, sweetlips, and scorpionfish congregate around her, and sometimes turtles and sea snakes will visit. Hard corals cover the port side. The big cargo rooms and engine room are easy to penetrate.
A 200-metre long Japanese tanker, the largest and most popular wreck dive in Busuanga. The tanker is totally covered in corals, and the variety of marine life is astounding. There are many penetration possibilities on this wreck, a highlight being the propeller shaft and tank systems. Strong currents can often affect this site. Max depth: 26 metres.
There are so many natural wonders in Coron. Enjoy bird spotting in Kingfisher Park, a mangrove wildlife haven. Relax in the Maquinit natural hot springs. Snorkel at the Twin Lagoons or plunge into the crystal clear waters of Lake Kayangan. Or visit some of the areas most beautiful beaches; Banol Beach, Bulog Island and Banana Island.
Coron is known as a world-class sea-kayaking destination. Drift along sparkling blue waters framed by dramatic towering dark limestone cliffs and rock formations. Either hire a kayak and explore yourself or better yet, take a guided tour of the area with a local.
Start your Dive Adventure here!
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