We’re 42 meters below a no longer visible surface, having followed the shot line through the murky water and about to enter a 66 year old wreck through the propeller shaft; a meter square clearance surrounded by jagged rusty metal. My heart is racing but I’m willing myself to relax to slow down my air consumption so my paltry 12 litre tank of nitrox will last to the end of the dive.
We arrived in Coron a few days ago and straight away went up to the Rock Steady dive centre and had a few beers with the owners Karin and Gerd. My buddy tried to convince the guide that we should go for the more advanced wreck straight away, but my lack of wreck experience decided that we would start with the slightly less hairy ones, which was ok with me!
Our first dive was on the Kogyo Maru, a Japanese auxiliary supply ship, we entered through the rearmost cargo hold and straight away found some bullets and even a 50 caliber artillery shell! Slowly navigating through the wreck, trying as hard as possible to not kick up silt in the face of my buddy behind me but apparently failing quite miserably on that account… One highpoint of the dive is advancing on the bulldozer that is still strapped into it’s final transportation spot.
After a nice long surface interval we slipped into the water again, this time our target was the Morazan Maru, an auxiliary cargo ship, one of the most popular wrecks in Coron due to it’s rich marine life and relatively easy level. We did some pretty impressive acrobatics to enter the shower rooms, still perfectly tiled up, and our guide told us after the dive that he used this wreck as a test to see if we were ready to go out on the one we were really looking forward to; the Irako, a refrigeration ship to transport food.
The Irako is probably the most interesting wreck in the area, dubbed by a very experienced Divemaster to Triple-D; deep, dark and dangerous. And we are just about to enter through one of the more advanced entrances. After following my buddy through the propeller shaft we end up in the transmission room and then weaving our way between the massive gear cogs still left in place. We then move into the Bottle Room while our guide waits outside due to very heavy silt and an easily confused exit route.
Throughout all the dives we keep disturbing great big shoals of trevally that create big silvery walls that move and reflect our torchlight, for every breath we exhale there is a very unnerving creaking noise from the bubbles escaping over the rusty metal and our guide having a loudly humming exhalation sound just adds to the great ominous feelings you get from these deep and dark wrecks.
The second dive on the Irako we go through an extremely confusing labyrinth of corridors and storage rooms and my admiration for our guide grows by every silted out meter we travel through. At least now I know that I have no issues with wreckdiving; I can take the narrow compartments quite well and my finning technique is getting better for each dive (the finning will need some serious improvement still though!), the only real issue is to improve my breathing consumption to make the dives last a bit longer…
Four very very cool dives on the wrecks of Coron complete!