Located in between the islands of Lajo and Manglet south of Concepcion village on Busuanga Island, lies the Akitsushima Wreck. One of the few real warships among the Coron wrecks. The Akitsushima was sunk by the Americans in 1944. The wreck is 148m (485ft) long, had 4.650 G.R.T. and lies on port side in a depth of 38m (125ft). The starboard side of the ship body is in 20m (66ft). The arm of the stern crane lies broken off on its port side in 34m (112ft).
Undoubted the most famous wreck of Coron Bay is the seaplane-tender Akitsushima, because she is the one and only discovered navy-ship of this fleet (until now), which makes her special interesting to explore. After a disastrous torpedo-hit into the fuel-storage-tanks of the seaplane, caused a huge crack in the stern section, she sunk in between minutes and is lying now on her portside in 35m depth on sandy bottom.
This absolutely impressive dive-site outside as well while penetrating this wreck, offers you many points of interest. The huge crane, used to lift the unfortunately missing seaplane “Emily” on and out the water, is still in place. A couple of 25mm AA-machine-guns you can see nearby the crane and beside the funnels. Of the two 12.7cm twin-guns there is only the turret left (the guns, as well any other valuable materials of all these specified wrecks, e.g. steam–engines and propellers, became already salvaged more than 40 years ago). The bridge-section is more or less collapsed, but the impressive radio-tower is still intact. Underneath the collapsed compartments of the bridge, down on the bottom, is a huge pile of debris, where you can see some gas-masks sticking out this mess…unless a ruthless diver took it already for his private treasure-hunting-collection. Inside, Akitsushima offers you a couple of very exciting routes through 3 different deck levels; at the elevator-system for the 12.7cm-guns in the 2nd and 3rd level are still alive ammunition to find. The gears of the crane inside the stern–section and, above all, the gorgeous engine-room, which contains 4 big diesels in place together with the commando-room, are one of the highlights. Though Akitsushima is not one of the bigger WWII-wrecks you can dive (114.8m in length), at least she is an absolutely beauty.
Although there are not that many corals to see on her body, supposedly caused by a special coating for navy-ships (there are some soft-corals on the hull and on the superstructure), the fish-life around this wreck is amazing. Underneath the stern is a common spot for a school of barracudas in reasonable sizes (up to 1m), batfish sweet lips, lion fish and the omnipresent scorpion fish. This wreck is sometimes also good for big rays and turtles.
Occasionally strong currents, poor visibility (can drop down to 3m, max. viz up to 15m) and the depth makes this wreck to an advanced dive, and is not recommended for inexperienced divers. The penetrations are calling for a wreck-specialty certification.
Recommended certification level: Advanced Open Water with experience, Wreck Diver
Recommended EAN-Nitrox Mix: 28%-32%
Akitsushima Machine Gun and Bomb, Coron Palawan by Emmanuel Buenviaje Jr