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Coron Philippines Oct 2003: In October 03 the club conducted a dive trip to Coron, Palawan in the Philippines. Coron is often called the next best wreck dive site to Truk Lagoon. The town of Coron is located in the north of Palawan on the island of Busuanga and although the town is called Coron it's not actually on Coron island. We stayed and dived with Discovery Divers located on Discovery Island just off the coast from Coron town.

To get to Coron from Melbourne we first took an 11 hour Philippines Airlines flight to Manila and then a 1 hour domestic flight to Busuanga Island. From the airport, Coron is a 30 minute jeepney or FX ride along a dirt track. We were picked up by Melody from the dive resort in a Toyota FX and dropped of at the Discovery Divers dive shop and bar in Coron. From there it's a 10 minute boat ride to the resort. The resort is set into the side of the island amongst the tropical vegetation which makes the 6 bungalows blend into the surroundings. But don't expect a 5 star resort. The resort is very peaceful and laid back and caters for all a divers needs. The showers are unheated but due to the natural water temperature is actually quite warm compared to Melbourne's cold water. One thing I soon discovered is don't rely on the electricity supply, "brownouts" were almost a daily event and one day power was out for over 24 hours. If you need to charge camera batteries every night you could be in trouble. The power by the way, when it was on, is 60Hz 220 volt but all the plugs are USA 2 pin format. So take an adaptor plug with you. The food is excellent and the service at the resort and bar is some of the best I've seen anywhere. We were always greeted with a smile from Gigi who runs the bar and Edna and Otto who run the Discovery Bar in town. Discovery Divers is owned and managed by Gunter Bernert who provided us with excellent service and hospitality.

Discovery Island Discovery Jetty Dining Area Room View Resort Bar Grumman Albatross
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The whole area is surrounding with wonderful scenery which makes the diving experience all that much better. For a more detailed description of the dive sites its worth looking at Gunter's website or doing an Internet search on Coron, as there are quite a few websites with details of diving in Coron. The area has more diving than just wrecks. There are 12 known wrecks in the Coron area with most being within easy access of the resort. There's Barracuda Lake with it's lone Barracuda and and Cathedral and Crystal caves. There's also a small cave in Barracuda lake as well. When we dived in October the sea temperature was 28 to 29 degrees and for us cold water divers no wetsuit was required, just something to protect you from stings and bumps. Barracuda lake has thermoclines and gets to over 40 degrees below about 15 metres. The lake has a thick silt deposit on the bottom which is fun to swim into head first to see how far you can berry your self. Freaks the new divers out though!

Barracuda Lake Entrance Coron View Coron Island Skeleton Wreck Davit on Atkitsushima Port Hole
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If your not really into wrecks there's a lot more to look at than just rusty metal. Most of the wrecks are home to Lion Fish and Clown Fish. There are also many coral reefs to dive and snorkel on, however the best reef seems to be on the sea side of Coron Island or you can take Gunter's liveabourd trip to Apo Reef. After you've done your 2 dives for the day you can go horse riding, walk up the mountain, go to the hot springs, go souvenir shopping or to the Discovery Bar and drink SMB's at 25 Paso a beer (about 60c AUS). Watch out for Patsy the Monkey though she steals anything not secured and throws it in the sea.

Clown Fish Lion Fish Clam Coral Soft Coral Monkey
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I would recommend Coron and Discovery Divers to anyone looking for a good diving holiday. Once your there the Philippines is a very cheap place to dive and buy souvenirs. While I was there I bought 3 cultured pearls for PHP 3500 which was about $100 AUS at the time. The people are very friendly and the service was excellent.