Camperspoint Philippines

Palawan

Thursday 27 January 2005, by Mounir Chaouche

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Palawan beach

Among the beauteous sights and abundant natural environment of Palawan, Coron Bay is considered the best wreck diving destination in the region. Here, the wrecks are massive and may require several dives to explore thoroughly. The most impressive site of all is“Akitisushima”, a 200m flying boat, lying on its side in 26-38m of water. The wreck itself has ample varieties of inhabitants ranging from snappers, sweetlips, batfish and lapu-lapu and, school of barracuda sometimes hangs around the fringe of the site. Another interesting wreck is called the Iraku, a refrigeration ship. Unlike Akitisushima, this massive 200m wreck is straightly intact on the seabed. Big garoupa, school of tuna and yellowfins are its common residents. The most known wreck in the shallower water is the Tae Maru, a 10,000 oil tanker that has main decks carpeted with anemones and corals. Though it may appear safe, it is still not advisable to penetrate the wrecks as there are tendencies for the hanging rusty metals to fall off. If you really like to try penetration dive, Olympia Maru is the safest site.It has open holds and engine rooms accessible to pass through and there are plenty of fascinating passage and compartments to explore.

Apart from the rich bay of Coron, discovering the lakes of the island is a commendable dive activity. The most interesting is the mysterious freshwater Barracuda Lake located in between towering limestones and with a halocline at around 14m that can be only accessed by hiking with all your gears for 5-10mins along tricky limestone path. Its name came from a solitary toothy barracuda that can be encountered during a dive, greeting divers with a friendly company. During the dive you may come across some crayfish, rabbit fish, garoupa and catfish that are presumably finding their way into this unusual lagoon from having been drawn in from the adjoining ocean through cracks in the lake’s wall. Dugong or sea cow can be seen occasionally, nibbling the sea grass on murky water close to the sea. Its presence is common throughout the Calamian Group but the famous Club Paradise is reputed to be the probable area where to encounter this good-natured mammal.

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El Nido

El Nido is another excellent destination for diving. Its main pride is the magnificent array of limestone islands scattered around the bay of Bacuit. Beneath those towering limestones are colorful assembly of superb walls, coral gardens and sea creatures. These walls possessing a wide assortment of marine life are the Banayan Point on the southwest point of Matinloc Island, and Inbogal Point. Sheltered from all the worst of seasonal storms and is blessed with calm and clear water, El Nido is accessible anytime of the year.

Another interesting diving destination is Port Barton. It is located further down the west coast of Palawan Island from El Nido. The area comprises 12 sites that are mainly coral reefs and sunken islands. Sharks are occasionally seen around Shark Point, a large rock pierced with little caves and garlanded with all kinds of corals.

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