By David Stone
Coron / Philippines: The Philippines has over 7,000 islands, of which Coron is the one with such a large amount of wrecks, thus ranking it as one of the finest wreck diving locations in the world.
The wrecks are there as a result of an air attack by fighters and bombers, from a distant US Navy aircraft carrier, back in September 1944. There was a fleet of 24 Japanese supply ships at anchor around Coron.
Some of the wrecks are huge, up to 160 metres in length. All the big wrecks are either upright or on their sides, none are upside down.
For divers, Coron’s history started on 24 September 1944 when a US Navy strike force of fighters and dive bombers attacked a Japanese supply fleet of up to 24 ships, at anchor, in Coron Bay and around Busuanga Island. At 0900 the strike force reached Busuanga Island, Palawan and found 12 large enemy ships anchored in Coron Bay and around Busuanga Island. After a 15 minute attack they left behind a carnage of burning and sinking ships. Located about 170 nautical miles southwest of Manila, Coron Bay was a supposedly safe assembly area for Japanese shipping. The cargo ship Kyokuzan Maru and two others were anchored in a small bay on the northeast coast of Busuanga. Akitsushima went down in the passage between Lajo and Manglet Island. Fully laden with fuel oil, Okikawa Maru was fatally bombed and caught fire. However, she remained afloat and slowly began to drift to the north, she was finally sank on by a second air attack on 9 October. The final casualty of the morning-long slugfest was the Kyokuzan Maru, which had erroneously felt secure on her natural anchorage far to the northeast. She and two other ships were attacked by planes from the USS Lexington. Damage and a fire was reported on one of the ships. The Kyokuzan Maru was scuttled by the Japanese.
Coron Bay one of the Islands of Palawan, Philipines is regarded as “the other Truk Lagoon”. In 1944 task force 38, part of the US 3rd fleet, and under the command of Admiral William Hasley attacked 20 enemy ships. First aerial reconnaissance had revealed only islands; however, subsequent photo’s revealed these “islands” had moved. The Japanese had placed trees on the decks of the ships in order to disguise them. 45 minutes into the attack 18 vessels were sinking. The raid set a new record for long distance raids 350 miles. The result was, like Truk Lagoon, a legacy of shipwrecks that would later amaze the diving community
More details on http://www.argo-nautic.com/
Add comment September 26th, 2007