Subic Bay is known to have the best wreck diving sites in Asia with most of the wrecks being results of the war between the U.S. and Spain as well as Japanese vessels that sank in the area during World War II. Many wreck divers from around the world consider Subic Bay shipwrecks among the best in the world as Subic continues to become a favorite diving exploration destination for underwater adventurers.
Here are but some of the most frequently-visited wrecks by both novice and experienced divers:
USS New York Sea Wreck – This dive site has a depth of 27 meters with a nearly nonexistent current. The vessel was a World War I vintage battle cruiser during the Philippine-American War, the Chinese Revolution and World War I. It still has its cannons intact and is a perfect wreck for underwater photography. Divers should beware though, as the wreck is deemed dangerous and has taken the lives of many divers.
LST (Landing Ship, Tank) Dive Site – Located about 32 meters below surface, this was a vessel wreck of a landing aircraft that still sits upright with its door open. It is situated much deeper than the other wrecks found in Subic but is deemed as a safe diving site with its small currents.
El Capitan – With a depth of 5 to 18 meters with no current, the El Capitan wreck site is a good shallow dive. The wreck was a freighter of almost 3000 tons and is about 130 meters long. Exotic and abundant marine life can be seen around the wreckage with a variety of tropical fish, wrasses, gobies, lobsters, crabs and clownfish around.
Seian Maru – The Seian Maru is a Japanese cargo ship that was sunk by the U.S. Navy back in 1945. With a depth of 18-24 meters and a current that is negligible, the shipwreck is easily accessible and features encounters with coral trout, spotted sweet lips and other species.
Japanese Patrol Boat – Downed in late 1944, this Japanese Patrol Boat is still relatively intact, which makes it a difficult spot to go into for inexperienced divers. Not much information is known about the vessel that rests 25 meters from the surface.
San Quentin– The San Quentin dive site has a depth of 12 meters with a weak current. The ship is about 50-60 meters long and rests in 12 meters of water. Most of the wreckage has decayed but marine life is still rich and diverse.
Oryoku Maru – With a depth of 18 meters and a weak current, Oryoku Maru is situated 400 meters off the Alava Pier. The passenger ship was carrying families as well as 1600 American prisoners of war when it was attacked by an American aircraft. With the heavy bombardment of the American fighters, the ship eventually sank and is now a mess of iron playing home to a colorful array of marine life.
The best time to view the Subic Bay shipwrecks would be during the dry season of the months of January to June. As one of the areas with the highest concentration of diving wrecks in the Philippines, Subic Bay offers a spectacular treat to all those who dare to see the world under water.