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Diving Barracuda Lake and Kogyo MaruJan 4, 2012
Coron, Palawan

Diving Barracuda Lake and Kogyo Maru

Gutsy Tuason's Top 10 Dive Spots
On the flight to Coron, I read on the inFlight Magazine, award-winning photographer Gutsy Tuason's top 10 dive spots in the Philippines. I distinctly remember one in Coron - the Kogyo Maru wreck for its abundant marine life and clear visibility. I penciled that in my mind and made it a point not to leave Coron without going down there.

Best Dive in Coron
Having a limited budget to do all the diving I wanted to do in Coron, I asked a few divers, "If you only have to do one dive in Coron, what will it be?" Coron being the default wreck dive site in the Philippines, I thought the answer would be one of the wrecks. Of the 3 divers I asked, they all gave me the same surprising answer - Lake Barracuda! No, it's not because of the meter length barracuda that inhabits the lake. As one french lady puts it, reef dives are reef dives anywhere in the world; wreck dives are wreck dives on any ocean; but Barracuda Lake is a unique category all its own - there's nothing on the planet like it!

Double Header
As I was doing my rounds in Coron's dive shops, I chanced on a scheduled dive for both the Kogyo Maru and Barracuda Lake! I was in...definitely in!

The Dive Posse
The following day saw a good mix of joiners for the dive - Polish, Americans, Fil-Am, Italians, buddies, couples, etc. We geled well and got into engaging conversations. It's interesting what some of them do for a living. Equally fascinating are their stories. Like most instant travelling buddies, we bonded knowing we'll never see each other after Coron - c'est la vie.

Kogyo Maru Kogyo Maru     Irako Maru Irako Maru     Barracuda Lake Barracuda Lake

Barracuda Lake Barracuda Lake
It's a short hop-over across the limestone wall to get to the lake. Indeed, Barracuda Lake is so unique. The limestone wall of the cliff extends down beneath the clear water giving the diver this surreal 'Lord of the Rings' feel - just out of this world. As if that wasn't enough, there was a strong and visible thermocline a few meters down. Suddenly, the visibility is distorted where the water is hot. Go a little higher where the hot and cold water separates, and you see clearly again - as if there was a line between clear and blurred - trippy! Going deeper, the water turns cold again! At a certain spot, below the 2nd layer of cold water is layer of suspended sediments accumulated in a a funnel-like depth. We didn't dive down, but I was told the sediment exists only a few meters and the water clears again....but dark due to blocked sunlight. Eerie! We didn't do this, but it's possible to go 30m inside a cave at a depth of 33m - but best to leave that to the advanced divers. This is truly a spectacular dive and should not be missed! Non-diver? Don't despair. You can still see what's underneath by watching this YouTube video.

Irako Maru Irako Maru
Next stop was a wreck dive to Irako Maru. At 40m, they call it DDD - deep, dark and dangerous. Even our divemaster admitted that the most seasoned divers take this wreck seriously. At this depth, there's only enough time to reach the bottom before going back up...unless you dive on nitrox. It's also a long ship that makes it hard to explore from bow to stern on one dive although there are a few entry options. I bailed on this one - too advanced for me.

Kogyo Maru Kogyo Maru
Being my first wreck dive, everything was new to me. I learned that there's a particular way of finning so as not to disturb the sediment. Bouyancy control is also essential specially when navigating through a narrow passage with jagged edges, or hovering inside a cargo hold. The wreck is a freighter that carried construction materials and equipment. I still saw the stack of cement. The cargo holds are spacious allowing for a swim through. The outer hull was covered with corals and marine life was everywhere.

Ending Thoughts
These 2 dives are a first for me - first wreck dive, first lake dive...and they are the best of the lot given my skill level. What a treat! It was fascinating being there. I felt like a member of an exclusive club seeing something very few people get to experience. I'm not sure if there will be another lake dive like Barracuda, but it certainly is not my last wreck dive.

--- TheLoneRider

Not in the story: Morazan Maru Morazan Maru, Olympia Maru Olympia Maru, East Tangat East Tangat, Kayangan Lake Kayangan Lake

01predive 02boatman 03barracuda_lake 04gearing_up
05boatcrew 06divemaster 07skindiving 08scubadiver
09boatbow 10wreckdivers 11cherry 12postdive

Rocksteady Dive Center

Rocksteady Dive Center

We're Not The Cheapest, But You Get What You Pay For

Company:Rocksteady Dive Center
Contact:Gerd and Karin
Location:Barangay 5, National Highway, Coron 5316, Palawan, Philippines
Mobile:+(63)919.624.0034 / +(63)918.695.0608
Coconut Insider Site: Rocksteady Dive Center

Google Map Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines

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  • Tribal Adventures Tours Tribal Adventures Tours - multi-day kayak expedition, day tours, island tours, mountain biking, snorkeling, hiking
    +63 998.999.3049 |
  • Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours - island tours, community based ecotourism experience
    +639193054363 / +639202546553 / +63 9152543246 / 02 984 7795 |

Great Things Going for Busuanga

  • beaches, islands, snorkeling, scuba diving, wreck diving
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