Back in Shanghai in January I met a very charming French man, who told me about a magical place where I could dive deep into the depths of the sea and explore not one or two but eleven(!) different Japanese ship wrecks, all in one place. He told me fantastical stories of gliding through old kitchens, glitzy ballrooms, passing by monumentally big machine guns and even seeing an unfortunate human’s skull down there on one of his visits (might be true…might just have been his French flair) but regardless, I naturally packed my bags and went.
How did these shipwrecks come to be?
Transport yourself back to 1944 during World War II…Hiding originally from an attack from the US Navy in Manila Bay 3 days ago, these Japanese war ships decided to sail off and shelter in Coron Bay. With swift naval navigation however, they were quickly tracked down, attacked and sunk. Finito.
Whoa! What do the shipwrecks look like now?
I’d love to be able to show you but when I went down there I was a baby diver: I was pretty much focusing on breathing and staying alive and completing my Advanced Open Water course. In fact, being such a water baby, I wasn’t able to penetrate the wrecks this time but NEXT time (yes I am totally going back because I’m determined to see that glitzy ballroom) I will see what I can do!
So if I’m a baby diver like you, should I still go?
For sure! The beauty of these wrecks is that many are close to the surface, possible to be savoured even by snorkeling in some cases. Teacake got to see the Lusong Gunboat, East Tangat Gunboa, Okikawa Maru and Akitsushima and I was over the moon.
So it’s worth it?
Don’t hesitate. If you can go, go. For the whole of February I was transported into another dimension and learnt some invaluable lessons, having actually never dived before in my life. I was amazed by how close I could be to a totally different historical time and place, slowly overtaken and smothered by nature itself. Mind blowing.
Who did you dive with?
Rocksteady Dive Center. Possibly the nicest people ever ever ever. I was recommended to dive with them before I even hit the island and once I was there, the care they gave me was just 100% love and happiness.