Liveaboard Diving in Iro Maru Wreck
What to expect on an Iro Maru Wreck Liveaboard
Liveaboards to the Iro Maru wreck means exploring probably the most famous wreck in Palau. It is 143m (470ft) long and the deck lies at 25m (85ft) below the surface. This Japanese navy oiler sank back in 1944 right next to one of its sister ships after an attack while it was on its way from Micronesia to the Philippines. It is located at Urukthapel Anchorage, 15 minutes south east off the coast of Koror. When liveaboard diving at the Iro Maru Wreck you'll notice the visibility can vary a lot, at its best it will be around 30m (100ft) and at its worst 10m (30ft). The visibility is very much dependent on the amount of divers because there is a lot of thick sediment under, around on and on the wreck, which if disturbed, will decrease the visibility. There are luckily no currents in this area to stir up the sediment making an Iro Maru Wreck liveaboard the perfect addition to your Palau itinerary.
It is very important to be a confident diver to dive here, there are a lot of dangers involved with diving in a wreck, so confidence is key. If you want to penetrate the wreck, then you do need to have a wreck diver certification. Most liveaboards which go around Palau, will visit Iro Maru. As it is close to the coast it is generally one of the first, or one of the last sites the liveaboard will visit.
What You Can see
Firstly, what makes this wreck impressive is that it is still standing upright, so you get a complete view of the ship. Over the many years of this ship being underwater, it has created its own, very remarkable little ecosystem. The deck is filled with zig zag clams, oysters, invertebrates of many species but especially Nudibranchs. There are numerous amounts of corals which have grown on and around the ship such as Mushroom Corals, Staghorn Corals, Brain Corals and Lettuce Corals. There is also an impressive collection of Black Coral Trees growing here.
You will encounter many schools of colourful fish, but some of the most colourful marine life here are the anemones which are all around, inhabited by the charming tomato clownfish. Apart from marine life, there are still a lot of WWII artefacts, including some live ammunition, so it is VERY important to not touch anything in this wreck. There are also still two large guns, one located on the stern and the other on the bow.
Getting to Iro Maru Wreck
To get to this site, or to get to any Micronesia liveaboards which will be visiting this area, you will need to make your way to Koror, which is the largest city in Palau. The airport is located on the island of Babeldaob which is connected by a bridge to Koror. The airport is called The Roman Tmetuchl International Airport. There are only five destinations which have outgoing flights to Palau, so you would have to fly to one of these first; Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Guam. Once in Palau, all Iro Maru Wreck liveaboards will depart from the Malakal Harbour in Koror.