For the long weekend I returned to my happy place Coron… a group of paradise islands found in Busuanga Palawan north of the Philippines. I originally planned this to be a personal retreat, do a few dives, and spend a quiet time by the ocean reading the fourth book of Thrones. What happened was the exact opposite and ended up celebrating Halloween with a blast!
There are fourteen Japanese WWII shipwrecks in close proximity found in Coron. Wreck diving is a challenge and always an adventure. Exploring the ship’s dark cabins and narrow passageways always give me an adrenaline rush. I did five dives for this trip. The first day was penetrating the wrecks of Kogyo Maru (29m), Tangat (30m), and Lake Barracuda (29m) with Danish Pasi and Dutch boys Ben van den Brink & Sebas. Day two was Irako (40m) and my favorite the Olymplia Maru (25m). This time the group was composed of Isaac the Spaniard, Daniel the noisy Swede, and the Belgians….I did only two because of the no diving before flying rule.
Lake Barracuda is called such because of a lonesome barracuda trapped inside the volcanic crater that has now become a blue lagoon. This is my third time to visit the lake and only
my first time to get a glimpse of the barracuda. It is always hiding so they say seeing the fish brings you LUCK. And that is exactly what happened….it became a very lucky trip for me!!!
My second day diving we went to Irako the deepest wreck. It is a 40 meter dive so at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. My favorite pinoy diver master Jaime always takes good care of me and told me I would be okay. He can sense my fear and knows how to give me a boost of confidence whenever needed underwater. So I did a line descent with a Belgian lady named Dora. I love maneuvering in the dark and confined passageways inside the wreck but my buddy was a little afraid. I was bit bummed that we had to go out of the ship while the rest of the group stayed inside.
Anyway Jaime was keeping a watchful eye on us girls when suddenly I saw a seven meter long whale shark slowly cruising by. I could not believe my eyes!!!! Jaime was looking at us and had his back turned. The huge creature was literally behind and dwarfing him. Jaime was oblivious to the whale shark’s presence and I was in shock!!! I was sooo excited that I swam, grabbed and shook him to turn around. He gasped upon seeing the animal !!! He immediately made an alarm by beating his tank with a stick. The other divers came out of the wreck and were astonished to see the creature. We chased the gentle giant and swam with it. The curious and friendly whale shark even circled us three times. What an experience!!!
Whale sharks are an extremely rare sighting in Palawan. So I was very fortunate it came my way!! It was such a moment that I almost cried. I wish the Dutch boys saw it too. It is not everyday that something amazing and unexpected like this can happen…Maybe the Barracuda really brings luck. I can not describe the euphoria but this is probably one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life. My best dive ever!