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Taking on Truk: The Betty Bomber (Watch Video)

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In the second of three videos from their recent trip to Truk Lagoon, Richard and Hayley from Black Manta Photography share this incredible footage of the wreck of the Betty Bomber.

To this day, it is not known how or when this plane came to rest in 14m of water during the aerial attack on Truk Lagoon. It was apparently flying in from the North to land on the runway at Eten Island when it crashed into the sea, just 135m from the shore. The damage to the nose section and cockpit are evident of a heavy impact with the sea – so heavy in fact, that both of the wing-mounted engines were torn clean off. The force of the impact, combined with the pulling power of the still rotating propellers, incredibly resulted in the engines coming to rest 100m away from the main body of the wreckage.

The most famous of the aircraft wrecks available to dive in Truk Lagoon, the ‘Betty Bomber’ was a Japanese Mitsubishi G4M long range bomber, and was used throughout the Pacific during the Second World War.

It was the Allied Forces that named it Betty, although it also carries the moniker of the ‘Flying Cigar’, partly because of the uniform cigar shape of the fuselage, but also because the aircraft had unprotected fuel tanks, which were regularly hit and set on fire.

The main body of the wreckage shows damage to the wings where the engines were torn free, but the rest of aluminum aircraft skin appears to be damage free, except for the obvious abrupt stop it suffered when it hit the water.

Another significant observation is the fact the wreck is largely devoid of any coral colonisation due to the aluminium oxide being unsuitable for coral growth and reproduction (iron is biologically active and harmful to corals). This means that, despite the 74 years of rust, the wreckage looks in remarkably good shape.

With the front of the plane missing, it is easy for divers to gain access and swim the entire length of the fuselage to a small exit hole at the rear. The large oval shaped gun ports on either side of the wreck provide plenty of light into the wreck, and also additional means of access.

The pilot’s cockpit area is badly damaged, although some of the instrumentation is still recognisable, and scattered around the seafloor are seat frames and general plane parts.

The visibility in the area is known to be worse than the rest of the Lagoon. I suspect this is due to shallow waters and light currents heading round the edge of the island, so photography on this particular wreck is a little more difficult than some of the larger and deeper shipwrecks that can be found. However, despite this,the Betty Bomber is a must dive to tick off on your trip to Truk, and with most dives being deeper, it was a lovely change to have a little ‘bimble’ without huge consideration to dive time or depth.

For more from Richard and Hayley visit www.blackmantaphotography.com.

Richard Stevens is a keen underwater videographer and half of the team at Black Manta Photography with his partner Hayley. He is a qualified TEC50 and sidemount diver who has been diving for nearly 15 years with hundreds of dives in varied locations around the world. A keen marine conservationist, with a passion for large pelagic marine animals, Richard has studied marine biology and spent time studying the ecology of sharks. Richard also has a huge ‘lust for rust’ and a burning desire to delve into the world of cave diving. Armed with his camera, his aim is to inspire others to witness the marvels in our beautiful oceans for themselves.

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Ultimate Diving Maldives Offer

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7 nights at the Bandos Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives – From £2555 per person

Bandos Island Resort & Spa has already welcomed its first guests to the Maldives since March, with more divers heading off this December trying to escape the chilly UK weather. The Maldives is a dream destination, it offers a range of blue lagoons, deserted islands, a true sense of romance and tranquillity but above all amazing diving.

This destination should be on every diver’s bucket list, especially those with a non-diving partner because there is enough going on to ensure everyone will have a great time. The Maldives are the ultimate island paradise with each one offering dazzling white sandy beaches topped with coconut palm trees and turquoise blue lagoons.

Bandos Island is fully encircled by pearly white beaches, turquoise waters and a never-ending blue sky blessed with abundant sunshine. The house reef at Bandos is considered one of the best in North Male Atoll and the convenient location of Bandos allows divers to choose from over 40 impressive dive sites.

Book 7 nights from £2555. Price includes flights from London, speedboat transfers, 7 nights’ accommodation on an all-inclusive basis and 10 shore dives per person. Single supplement applies.

To enquire or book, visit www.ultimatediving.co.uk or give the team a call on 0208 655 6458  and they can give you the lowdown on the destination and diving.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Fit filters in washing machines and slow the tide of ocean plastic

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The Marine Conservation Society’s Stop Ocean Threads campaign, which is calling for all new washing machines to be fitted with microfibre filters, by law, by 2024, aims to stop plastic pollution at source by filtering microscopic plastics from washing machine waste water.

To date the charity’s petition has been signed by over 12,000 people. The petition calls on government to introduce legislation which requires all new washing machines to be fitted with microfibre filters by law. Now, the charity is taking direct action and encouraging supporters to tweet washing machine manufacturers, putting pressure on them to fit filters on all new washing machines and slow the tide of microfibres entering the ocean.

Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Marine Conservation Society revealed that most (81%) adults surveyed supported legislative change and a quarter (26%) of those said that they would be willing to pay an additional £50 or more for a washing machine fitted with a microfibre filter. Not only is there is clear public support for legislation to Stop Ocean Threads, but consumers are willing to pay extra for their washing machines to have ocean-friendly credentials.

It’s increasingly important to put this issue top of the agenda for washing machine manufacturers who can take action now helping to address the microplastic issue, rather than waiting for legislation to be put in place.

Dr Laura Foster, Marine Conservation Society’s Head of Clean Seas says: “Our research has found that the public is largely supportive of our call for legislation, and consumers are willing to pay a little more to reduce the flow of microplastics into the ocean.

“It’s fantastic to see the support our petition has received so far, but now we need the public to show their support and join our action to engage with manufacturers directly. If we can show manufacturers that the public wants these filters fitted as soon as possible, we hope to speed up the legislative process and get filters fitted in the near future.”

Members of the public are encouraged by the Marine Conservation Society to go direct to washing machine manufacturers, and get involved in the charity’s tweet action.

“Hey @Miele_GB @BekoUK @Hoover_UK @BoschUK @SamsungUK @WhirlpoolCorp  We want washing machine manufacturers to commit to fitting microfibre filters before 2024. Will you do this and help us #StopOceanThreads? Please retweet and share far and wide”

To sign the charity’s Stop Ocean Threads petition, visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website. Find out more on how to get involved in the direct action here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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