apo reef liveaboard diving trips

Apo Reef

Apo Reef

The 2nd largest coral reef in the world!

wreck diving coron philippines

Coron Bay

Coron Bay

The best Wreck Diving in SE Asia!

Apo Reef & Coron Liveaboard Diving Trips.

About Apo Reef

Besides Tubbataha Reef,  Apo Reef is one of the most famous dive sites in the Philippines and the one of the most popular coral reef dive sites in the world. It is the second largest coral reef in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef) and the largest in the Philippines. A scuba diver’s paradise, Apo Reef offers spectacular drop-offs and walls,  as well as some of the best visibility in the country.

Located 28 kms off the western coast of Mindoro Island, Apo Reef is the largest among three islands of the Apo Reef Nature park. The other two Islands are Apo Island and Pandan Island. Apo Reef is a protected sanctuary and was declared a National Park in 1996

If you like big fish action Apo Reef will not disappoint you, schools of trevally, tuna – and the photographers dream, barracudas – not to mention hammerheads, white and black tip reef sharks, manta, eagle and sting rays and turtles galore.

Getting to Apo Reef

We leave Puerto Galera, around 4pm at the afternoon and reach Apo Reef the next day at 7am. Now we will plan the next 3 days of dive sites and dives, from early morning dives to day dives, sunset to night dives.

Wreck Diving in Coron Bay

Coron Bay has the best wreck diving in Southeast Asia, all packed into one relatively small area. There is nothing quite like the feeling of standing on a jetty, knowing that you have at least half a dozen huge wartime vessels lying within a short boat ride.

Each wreck has its own special characteristics, but on the whole they are big, mostly intact, within reasonable diving depth and full of amazing artifacts.

On 24 September 1944, a squadron of 24 Helldiver bombers burst out  of the sky above Coron Bay in the Philippines, located the Japanese supply fleet hiding among the islands below, and proceeded to blow it apart. The dive bombers, escorted by 96 Hellcat fighters – some of which were also carrying bombs – had just 15 minutes to sink as many ships as possible before their fuel would get too low for them to complete the 340-mile return journey to their aircraft carrier. The attack was ruthlessly successful, and left a legacy that wouldn’t be discovered until recreational diving came to this remote part of the Philippines.

Next trip with places available: Apo Reef / Coron - October 12th 2019

6 nights / 5 diving days for $1650

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The Shipwrecks of Coron

Okikawa Maru

This oil tanker, which is the largest wreck on the square in terms of length and other dimensions, is about a 10-minute boat ride from Akitsushima in the north-east direction. It lies in perfectly upright position on keel in 25m depth. After failing to sink into the American attack on Sept. 24, 1944, the ship was damaged and no longer maneuverable on the water surface, until an American bomber, on the 14th of October, sent her the “gnome”. One of the bombs of this final attack caused a very violent explosion in the middle bow area (presumably a hit in one of the still full oil tanks), which tore the required part almost completely from the rest of the ship. Today, this impressive site on the wreck looks like a bizarre piece of art made of iron and steel, which still reveals the enormous impact and extent of the explosion.

This wreck is very popular among many divers, due to the abundance of small creatures, especially nudibranches, and probably has the most fish out of all the wrecks. The site is also very popular for wreck spoecialists who are interested in the inner life of this impressive wreck.

A surreal atmosphere awaits you in the huge oil tanks, the propeller with the massive 7m high rudder (the propeller is, of course, as with all other wrecks, salvaged), and crew accommodation Diving at the Okikawa Maru is always an exciting experience. The already mentioned nudibranches in various forms and colors are found in huge abundance, accompanied by magnificent, big batfish, snapper, sweet-lipped fish, massive suitcase fish, emperor fish, barracudas, and on the bow hides a 25kg rack.

Divers should be aware that there can sometimes be very strong currents at the site.

Length: 160m
Depth: 25m

I.J.N.S. Akitsushima

The IJN Akitsushima was a seaplane tender/carrier. The ship displaced 4724 tons, had a length of 118 metres and was 15.7 metres wide. The ship was powered by four diesel engines driving twin props, a total of 8000 shp, giving a maximum speed of 19 knots

Akitsushima was armed with 10 25 mm anti-aircraft guns, four five inch (50 cal) guns and carried one large Kanwanishi flying boat.

The Akitsushima is a very big warship laying on her port side. She was hit near the stern where the flying boat rested on the metal tracks and sank immediately. The ship was almost torn into two pieces. The flying boat disappeared. Only half of the metal on the starboard side and half of the metal on the bottom of the ship kept the stern from separating from the rest of the ship. The internal damage is impressive.

The crane used for lifting the seaplane out of the water is intact. The crane is lying on the sandy bottom and attracts schools of giant batfish and barracudas. One mounting of a 3-barreled AA (anti-aircraft) gun is still present at the front of the flying boat tracks. This is a fascinating dive where you can see giant groupers, schools of barracuda hiding under the bow, and yellow fin tuna.

Due to depth and metal hazards within, no swim throughs are allowed without wreck diver certification. Wreck divers can make an impressive penetration into the engine room to see the four engines. The gears and machinery for operating the crane are the main objects of interest for a penetration into the stern.

There are plenty of fish on the wreck, such as thick groupers and snappers, emperor fish, bat fish, the ubiquitous scorpion and lionfish, and often a larger school of barracudas can be observed at the bow.

Length: 118m
Width: 16m
Max Depth: 38m

Recommended certification level: Advanced Open water Diver. For penetration: PADI/SDI Wreck Diver specialty.

Black Island Wreck ( Nashin Maru )

This coastal ship is over 45m long and upright. Its deck construction houses a variety of fish. The trunk is covered with sponges and nettles. Besides the wreck is a natural reef that can be easily visited.

The island is called “Black Island” because of its black rocks. The rock formations are very impressive. In addition, the white beach and various caves make this a great destination for divers and non-divers alike. The island and the reef are traditionally used by the Tagbanua, a tribal group in Palawan, and belong to what is called “ancestral land”.

Irako Maru

The engines were two steam powered geared turbines (8300 shp) driving twin props. The steam came from 6 Kampon boilers; the engines provided a maximum speed of 17.5 knots.

Probably the best wreck dive in the Philippines. The Irako is quite intact because of the depth. Big groupers, schools of tuna and yellow fin, lion fish and scorpion fish live around this wreck.

The visibility is between 3m and 20m, and sometimes you can expect a very respectable current.

Length: 147m
Depth: 42m

Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water Diver, Deep Diver Specialty, Wreck Diver Specialty.

East Tangat Boat

Close to the east-shore of Tangat Island you can dive a small 35m long Japanese anti-submarine-chaser and Tug-boat in shallow water of min. 3m down to max 19m. A perfect dive for beginners or a 3rd dive of the day and of course for underwater-photographers. Her original Japanese name is Terukaze.

The Crew of this boat most likely scuttled it after the air-raid because it is so close to the shore and there was no severe damage. Together with Lusong-Gunboat it was one of the easiest wrecks of this fleet for locals as well for the commercial salvage-company (and later on for divers) to salvage all valuable items out and off.

However, this wreck is still a lovely dive, most of the time under very calm condition; the visibility varies from 5-15m. There are plenty of fish around the wreck, with groupers, batfish, crocodile-fish, the common coral-fishes and, especially on cloudy days or in the late afternoon you can spot out the rare spacey-colored Mandarin-fish, hovering somewhere in the corals of the reef beside the wreck. With only a few options to penetrate, it is pretty easy to navigate this wreck, and for the more experienced divers it is possible to explore and play around in a buddy-team without needing a guide.

Olympia Maru

The Japanese cargo ship, abandoned in 1927, was used as a supply vessel for the Imperial Japanese War Navy during the war period, and thus became one of the unfortunate sea graves of the devastating air attack of the American Airforce on 24 Sept. 1944.

The Olympia Maru was 122 metres long and almost 17 metres wide, displacing 5612 tons. The ship was originally powered by a steam engine but during 2 June to 2 August 1930, an oil two stroke six cylinder engine producing 582hp was installed. The ship was built for Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha Ltd and was owned by them right up till it sank. It was requisitioned by the Japanese Defence Forces during the War but was still owned by Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha Ltd.

A very good dive spot with a variety of marine life. Large shoals of banana fish, giant bat fish and giant puffer fish, especially around the mast, bow and stern. There are also specimen crocodile fish and scorpion fish so be careful where you put your hands. Easy penetration at the cargo rooms. It offers a good opportunity to discover wreck diving.

There are also a lot of “small things” for the trained eye, such as seahorses and snails. On both sides, but mostly around the bow and stern, you’ll find many soft corals. Unfortunately the cannons were dismantled in the course of the rescue operation in the 1960s, as with all other wrecks in Coron Bay.

The average visibility is between 8-15m, Slight to moderate currents, mostly calm.

Length: 127m
Depth: 30 – 31m

Recommended certification level: Open Water, Wreck Diver (for deeper penetration)

Kogyo Maru

After she had survived TF 38`s air attacks on Japanese shipping in Manila Bay and Harbor on 21 Sep 1944 she received sailing orders to transfer to Coron Bay, and weighed anchor at 1730 the same day. She arrived in Coron Bay on 23 Sep 1540 and dropped anchor in position 11°58`54″N / 120°02`15″E (GPS). The night was spent in trying to camouflage bridge and main deck. In the morning of 24 Sep at 0900 she was attacked by U.S. dive bombers. After she had received several bomb hits the vessel sank with 39 men.

The freighter lies on her starboard side with the bow pointing to 230° at a depth of 34 m. The portside hull is is at 22m. This is also the best area to spot the abundant marine life and check out the coral growth. In the cargo holds you can see lots of construction materials, rock solid cement bags, rolls of wires, barrels, a cement mixer and even a bulldozer.

This wreck would be relatively easy to dive, if it wasn’t quite so deep, so nitrox is the way to go. Even wreck novices can have a good look around in the cargo holds, without getting lost anywhere. Deeper penetrations into the hull are possible, but should be left to the qualified and well equipped divers.

Length: 129m
Width: 18m
Max Depth: 34m

Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water Diver, Wreck Diver Specialty.

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Scheduled Apo Reef / Coron Liveaboard Diving Trips

Apo Reef Marine Park fee: Php3000 per person

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Apo Reef & Coron Locations

apo reef coron diving map philippines

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