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Unmissable Micronesia Wrecks

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Micronesia scuba diving has everything a diver could wish for; from thriving reefs to coral-encrusted WWII wrecks, plenty of large marine life and tiny colourful critters. Palau and Truk Lagoon are the places to go if you’re a fan of wreck diving, with numerous wrecks on offer.

There are a variety of liveaboards to choose from at both destinations. The beautiful Palau Siren is an understandably popular choice with its luxurious accommodation. The SS Thorfinn is great for technical divers and has two special technical diving packages; the Rebreather Plan and Truk Tek Unlimited.

Truk lagoon can be dived all year, thanks to its sheltered nature, and Palau has three main diving seasons:

  • The high season from December to March, offering flat seas and dry weather
  • The shoulder months of April, July, August, October and November, when there is more wind and rainfall
  • The low months of May, June and September which offer fewer visitors and the lowest prices

Here is our pick of the top Micronesia wrecks to explore:

PALAU

 

Palau is one of Micronesia’s main dive destinations and there is something for all interests; with reef dives, drop-offs, drift dives, caves and multiple wrecks to explore. It is best to visit Palau as an advanced diver, with drift and wreck diving experience, to make the most of the dive sites.

IRO MARU

What is it?

This Japanese Navy oiler sank in 1944 and is 143 meters long, with the deck at 25 meters below the surface.

Why dive this wreck?

The Iro Maru is an impressive sight, still sitting upright and giving a complete view of the ship. The deck is covered with clams, oysters and critters and the ship is home to plentiful corals, including black coral trees. There are numerous fish and an array of WWII artifacts, including some live ammunition – so be sure not to touch anything on the wreck. There are two large guns; one on the stern and the other on the bow.

Who is this wreck suitable for?

The Iro Maru sits in an area with no currents, making it easily accessible, and it is within recreational dive limits. Wreck penetration is possible at this wreck.

AMATSU MARU

What is it?

This oil tanker came into service just 4 months before being sunk. She is the largest shipwreck in Palau, with a total length of 159 meters.

Why dive this wreck?

This huge shipwreck is also known as the Black Coral Wreck, as the hull is covered in black coral trees. This unique sight is great for photography. The interior still has electrical and radio equipment and you can see damage on the stern from the explosions that sunk it.

Who is this wreck suitable for?

The Amatsu Maru lies at 40 meters depth, with the deck at 30 meters, and is best suited to advanced divers. Wreck penetration is possible.

JAKE SEAPLANE

What is it?

The Jake Seaplane is one of the most well-known wrecks and was only discovered in 1994, by a fisherman who spotted it from the surface. It is a WWII Navy Seaplane and is 11 meters long.

Why dive this wreck?

The Jake Seaplane sits upright on a coral head and is mostly intact. The wreck is covered in corals, and there are plenty of coral species to spot on the wreck and in the surrounding area.

Who is this wreck suitable for?

Sitting upright at around 15 meters depth, the Jake Seaplane is easily accessible and suitable for less experienced divers.

TRUK

Truk Lagoon is known for having more than 48 wreck diving sites and waters up to 100 meters deep. It is one of the best places for wreck diving and offers great opportunities for recreational and technical diving amongst World War II wrecks.

FUJIKAWA MARU

What is it?

This cargo and passenger ship had been sent to Truk lagoon for repairs in 1944 when it was caught up in Operation Hailstone and sunk after being hit by a torpedo. It is one of the most popular wreck dives in the area and she is 133 meters long.

Why dive this wreck?

This is another impressive wreck, with the boat sitting upright, and the outside of the wreck covered in corals and sponges. There is a large bow gun and two fighter aircrafts, and the engine room and tool rooms are a must. You can find many artefacts on this wreck, including artillery. Keep your eyes open for large schools of jacks and barracuda, plus grey reef sharks, whilst you dive there.

Who is this wreck suitable for?

The depth range of 5 to 35 meters, with the deck at 18 meters, makes the Fujikawa Maru ideal for all dive experience levels.

SANKISAN MARU

What is it?

This 112-meter Japanese army cargo ship was strafed, leading to a fire and explosions that ripped the ship apart. There is a huge 152-meter diameter crater with large metal sections lying around.

Why dive this wreck?

This is a great open wreck where you can see holds filled with machine gun and rifle shells, plus truck frames, aircraft engines and propellers. The aft is missing but the stern sits upright 100 meters away from the rest of the ship. The mast rising to the surface is covered in corals and there is also plenty of coral cover on the deck. It offers some of the best soft coral cover in the lagoon.

Who is this wreck suitable for?

The average depth is 24 meters, with a maximum depth of 27 meters, making this wreck suitable for advanced divers.

SAN FRANCISCO MARU

What is it?

This passenger cargo ship is Truk’s most famous deep dive, lying at a depth of around 63 meters.

Why dive this wreck?

The San Francisco Maru contains mines, bombs, tanks and trucks. She is a popular choice in the 40 to 60-meter (131 to 196 feet) depth range and the four cargo holds contain aircraft bombs, artillery shells, tanker trucks, a flatbed truck, and torpedo warheads.

Who is this wreck suitable for?

This wreck is a favourite among technical divers.

SHINKOKU MARU

What is it?

The Shinkoku Maru is around 152 meters long and was originally built as an oil tanker, later converted to a fleet oiler. She survived two days of attacks and two aerial torpedo strikes, until finally sinking.

Why dive this wreck?

This wreck is fantastic for night diving and has plentiful soft corals and hydroids that emerge after dark. This is one of the most colourful wrecks in Truk and truly comes alive at night. You can see into the engine room from the bridge and the galley still holds many utensils on the stove. The medical bay and huge engines are not to be missed.

Who is this wreck suitable for?

The depth range of 10 to 38 meters makes this wreck suitable for a variety of dive experience levels.

This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com

Photo Credits: SS Thorfinn Liveaboard


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The Rescue – available on Disney+ tomorrow (Watch Trailer)

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If you missed the recent cinema debut of The Rescue film, you can watch it on streaming channel Disney+ from tomorrow December 3rd.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo), The Rescue is the edge-of-your-seat account of the rescue of 12 Thai school boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in 2018.

The Rescue chronicles the dramatic rescue of the boys and their coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave. Academy Award®-winning directors and producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin reveal the perilous world of cave diving, the bravery of the rescuers, and the dedication of an entire community that made great sacrifices to save these young boys. An outing to explore a nearby system of caves after soccer practice transformed into a two-week saga of survival and a story that would capture the world’s attention. With exclusive access and never-before-seen footage from the rescue, the film tells the story of the imagination, determination and unprecedented teamwork displayed during this heroic edge-of-your-seat mission with life-or-death stakes.

Check back for our review of The Rescue soon!

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Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Guardian investigation finds endangered sharks for sale in Taiwan

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A field investigation into Taiwan’s shark fin industry was conducted by Shark Guardian between December 2020 and March 2021. The investigation obtained documentary evidence of fins from endangered shark species being openly offered for sale by over half of all shark fin traders surveyed in Taiwan’s southern fishing port of Kaohsiung.

Of the 13 shark fin processing and trading companies visited, more than half were found to be trading CITES- listed fins, and seven had shark fins from CITES Appendix II-listed species as part of their product range. One company saidthere was no difference in selling protected or unprotected species. Protected sharks’ products usually create a problem for international shipping only.”

The new report details how seven out of thirteen traders surveyed in Taiwan were found to be selling shark fins from silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, mako sharks, thresher sharks and great white sharks in broad daylight – in contravention of Taiwanese and international law.

Over a three-month period, Shark Guardian investigators witnessed multiple shipments of shark fins from endangered species being unloaded at Donggang fish market which is in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung.

Alex Hofford, Marine Wildlife Campaigner with Shark Guardian, said “To save sharks and the marine environment, Taiwanese authorities should implement an immediate crackdown on its cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade, and should tighten up local laws to ban the domestic sale of shark fin as well as better enforce its international obligations under CITES. It is also high time that the Taiwanese government should rein in its out-of-control distant water tuna fishing fleet, who are a major supplier shark fin to Chinese markets. Whilst Taiwan is a beacon of democratic and progressive values in Asia, it is allowing its unsustainable and often crime-ridden fisheries sector to rape and pillage our ocean with impunity. This must stop. Taiwan needs to show leadership in environmental protection and must quickly clean up its act as regards its sleazy shark fisheries and trade sectors.”

During our investigation, Shark Guardian also found evidence of Taiwan-based online retailers selling fins of endangered species of shark in contravention of local and international law.

According to WWF, a third of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, yet fishing and trading in unsustainable shark fin remains a highly profitable, but environmentally destructive, enterprise for Taiwanese companies operating out of Kaohsiung.

Brendon Sing, Co-Director of Shark Guardian said “Clearly more must be done to protect sharks globally. There are over 500 known shark species with only a handful of them listed under CITES. Even then, CITES listed sharks are still traded illegally where monitoring and enforcement lack any power and expose loopholes in the system. As long as this continues, there is no real protection for any shark species regardless of CITES listing or not. Taiwan must be responsible and take positive action in response to this report.”

Shark Guardian believes that excessively large profit margins are the main reason why Taiwan has never acted to rein in its shark fisheries and trade.

Shark Guardian hopes that Taiwan can apply its progressive values towards preserving the marine environment by imposing a comprehensive ban on the physical and online selling all species of shark fin in Taiwan. Such a ban would go above and beyond what is required under international law, and Taiwan’s domestic laws can be changed with public support.

For more information about Shark Guardian visit their website by clicking here.

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Competitions

Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

Price NOW from just £975 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from London Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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