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The Okikawa Maru or Taiei Maru was a huge oil tanker nowadays a haven for marine species and corals.
|Name Dive Site:||Okikawa Maru, Taiei Maru, Tai Ei Maru|
|Depth: ||15-25m (49-82ft)|
|Inserted/Added by: ||funkydivers|
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IJN Okikawa Maru has seemingly been misidentified as the IJN Taiei Maru - in fact some dive operators continue to identify her as such! Some of this confusion can be explained in that a quite modern civilian tanker of 9,929 tonnes named Taiei Maru and very similar to the Okikawa Maru did exist. However she had been torpedoed already on 21 August 1944 by the submarine USS Haddo and was thought to have sank soon after.
Okikawa was in Manila Bay during an earlier US air attack. The ship was strafed but was only slightly damaged. On 22 September she was ordered to move to Coron Bay and set sail at 1500. The vessel arrived in Coron Bay on 23 September 1800 and dropped anchor near Concepcion. At 0855 on 24 September the ship was attacked by 70 dive bombers. The first two or more groups just strafed her then continued to head for the seaplane tender Akitsushima which anchored a few cables to the West.
By 0910 the bombers had scored numerous hits and the vessel began to sink. Three gunners and 5-6 sailors were dead. The rest of the crew abandoned the ship. However Okikawa Maru did not sink at once. The forecastle remained afloat and burned until 9 October when another U.S. Air group appeared and in a final strike sent her to the bottom.
In length, width, and volume this is the largest of the Coron wrecks. She lies upright and the deck is between 10m and 16m and is good for wreck dive beginners. She is completely covered with beautiful corals and offers a large variety of marine-life. There are many penetration possibilities for advanced wreck divers including penetrating up the propeller shaft from the outside of the ship all the way into the engine room. Strong tidal currents often affect this wreck. Diving in strong currents lets you see the most fish. At the bow you can see a school of snappers and huge bat fish holding position into a slight current. Large fish shelter out of the current behind crumpled metal and inside of the deck houses.
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The oil tanker Okikawa Maru or Taiei Maru, from her size the most massive and impressive wreck on the place, is resting in 26 meters of water in a perfect upright position at only 15 minutes north-east of Akitsushima. Heavily damaged and burning after the air raid, Okikawa Maru was floating for nearly 3 weeks in the area; finally, another air strike of the US-Air-Force caused a huge explosion at the bow-section and sent her down. The bow is nearly completely ripped off the rest of the ship, facing now to port.
The top of this 160 meter long superstructure is the most shallow part, nicely covered with hard and soft-corals and under good conditions sometimes even visible from the surface. An extraordinary rich and diversified fish life and plenty of macro-stuff, particularly along both hull-sides, makes this dive phenomenal for underwater-photography and naturalists. There are also amazing penetrations through the thrilling propeller-shaft, the former accommodations and the oil-tanks offering wreck-diver-specialists unforgettable dives. Like on the other specified wrecks, the conditions of visibility varies, but especially exceedingly fierce currents on Okikawa Maru sometimes might present you quite challenging diving. Therefore, best to check the conditions first and sometimes it is not a bad idea to cancel this dive, especially for beginners, and wait for better conditions on another day.
The Okikawa Maru is a Japanese oil tanker that has it all. With a maximum depth of 26 meters and the main deck level at 18 meters, you can expect a longer bottom time than the other wrecks. There are lots of corals growing on this sunken giant. The Okikawa also has a large concentration of macro critters. The area is prone to strong currents. But, the current brings in the fish. It is an awesome sight to see big schools of fish hiding from the current behind her huge rudder. Penetrations include a swim through the propeller shaft, and swimming through the oil holds.
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