Wrecklife – A Closer Look at the Stunning Life of the Wrecks of D’Pearl Bay Busuang Island

Content and Photography Provided by Peter Collings:

SHIPWRECKS; to many the word conjures up images of rusting hulks of metal on the seabed. A blot on the landscape. But for divers and marine life they are a true treasure in the sea.

Notwithstanding their fascinating and intriguing history, they are an oasis of life, man-made intruders turned into a celebration of nature.

When your armed with a 10.5 Nikon lens on a DLSR it’s easy to go for the “big stuff” panoramic views of engine rooms, bows, props and rudders, companionways and deck fittings. It’s easy to be forgiven for overlooking the intricate life that exists on most wrecks, and that is certainly true of the fabulous collection of WW2 Wrecks located around D’Pearl Bay Busuanga in the Philippines.

One of the best examples of this is the OKIKAWA MARU,5 minutes out from D’Divers operation.This house reef is a house wreck and is adorned in a microcism of of corals fishes and invertibrates.

Fabulous fan corals-gorgonia- black turns vivid red under the flash gun,are dressed with crinoids-featherstars,like decorations on a Christmas tree.

The deck, gunwhales and hatches support a large number of clown fish anemone combinations both of colour and species. Often the aqnemone will close revealing a pastel shadein contrast to the surroundings,cleaner shrimp can be seen running for cover as the underbelly wafts in the breeze.

EVERY PIECE OF WRECKAGE IS COVERED IN SPONGE,CORALS BRYAZONES, TUNICATES AND SEA SQUIRTS,OFFERING A COLOURFUL SPECTACLE FOR THE CLOSE UP LENS.Fish add their own interest hunters,like  the loinfish stalk the many glassy sweepers that hover in the coral bushes.

Looking even close the wreck boasts a huge variety of nudibranchs,sea slugs often found feeding on sea sqirts and in some cases unique to this wreck.

Lionfish themselves are great subject matter-often posing inquisitivly in front of the camera

The wreck of the OLYMPIA MARU is home to a family of critters on every bug hunters wish list. Ornate Ghost pipefish. Not easy to spot, masters of disguise they often hung upside down motionless.

The reef builders themselves can also put in spectacular appearance, Midday on the KOGYO Maru, full moon and nocturnal activities commence, the polyps come out to play in broad daylight.

Lying in its side, the wreck offers its hull as superb haven for large corals and sponges to live in harmony, and these in turn provide haven for thousands of juvenile fishes.

Almost hidden by coral growth, this triple antiaircraft gun lies on the seabed by the Akitsushima, complete with its resident family of batfish.

There are many examples of unique species and this nudibranch, is mostly found on one type of sponge, the contrasting colours making a superb photo subject.

Luxuriant golden coral bushes thrive in the nutrient rich waters and support many juvenile fishes and are a happy hunting ground for the ever present lionfish.

A spectacular sight-shrimp fishes close ranks as diver approaches, and hanging vertically upside down they sway back and forth as one  in and out of the whip corals which grow upwards from the side of the wreck.

Every wreck is unique its eco system influenced by depth, water movement, local geology and water temperature. Each is a splendid example of natures ability to adapt, colonise and transform these manmade structures into living vibrant reefs.

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