Taking on Truk: The Fujikawa Maru (Watch Video)


In the first 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 Fujikawa Maru.

The Fujikawa Maru is readily accessible to divers, and one of the more shallow wrecks in Truk Lagoon. You’ll find the top of her superstructure a few metres under the surface, with her 133m long structure sitting upright in only 35m of water.

The Fujikawa was used as an aircraft supply freighter throughout the war efforts, and had in fact just unloaded 30 Jill torpedo bombers onto Eten Island airfield when she was struck by a single torpedo during the attack of ‘Operation Hailstone’. She was still carrying four Zero fighters, and a host of aircraft parts.

You really are spoilt diving the wreck of the Fujikawa – best covered over two dives to uncover the treasures this impressive wreck has to offer, as taking your time is a must!

The guts of the wreck reveal a series of gantrys that house huge walls of switches and valves, along with gauges, a telephone and the all too famous ‘R2-D2’ compressor – affectionately named after the Star Wars robot due to the two dials on the face of the machine that resemble two popping robotic eyes.

The vast holds hide an array of aeroplane parts that MacGyver would have a field day with, and in amongst the dozens of spare propellers, plane fuselages, and wheels you are rewarded with four Japanese fighter planes – the remnants of paint still visible but fully intact, and a perfect insight into the cockpit displaying the dials and levers, with the frame of the seat still in place.

The assortment of items resemble a military garage sale, and you can get lost on the number of ammunition shells and bullets strewn around, but most impressive must be an entire cargo hold full of beer bottles – thousands and thousands of them!

However, it’s up on deck that you become really impressed by the creative work of Mother Nature. The decks and masts are awash with corals and giant table anemones, and the two old English Vickers Armstrong 6 inch guns that sit on the deck are generously decorated with so many options of colours and types of coral that you forget you are looking at a ‘thing of war’.

The crossbar to the impressive king-posts is a marine micro city for a myriad of marine creatures, and if you time the dive right to complete your safety stop as day is turning to dusk, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful scene of soft coral bathing in the low sunlight that will be hard to beat!

Most certainly one of our favourite wrecks of the trip, and in all honesty the two dives and 160 mins spent underwater just didn’t seem enough – we really could have dived her all week and never been bored…

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

Richard Stevens

Richard Stevens

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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