The Kiyosumi Maru was a requisitioned passenger cargo ship. At the time of Operation Hailstone she was in the repair anchorage having sustained three torpedo hits from the Balao. She was bombed by aircraft from the USS Yorktown and the USS Enterprise. She lies resting on her port side on the sand at 30-36m with her deck starting at 12m. She is famous for still having some of her fuel leaking from her tanks.
We descended from our boat onto her starboard side which was covered in a reasonable amount of coral growth and fish life. It was not long until we came across a large bomb hole in her starboard side with lead us right through to the deck. With a hole as large as the one we swam through which all 10 of our group swam through at once it’s hard to imagine she stood much of a chance of survival.
There was a fair amount of silt around the wreck which did have a noticeable impact upon the visibility (though it was still a reasonable 5-7m). There were a number of poignant points of this dive. For me the most memorable was coming across a femur lying on a doormat on the side of some of the deck structure by where we penetrated the wreck to visit the engine room, close by there are a number of bottles. It was a strange collection of items, which had obviously been staged for a photograph. Seeing the human remains among the wreck really hit home for me about the human cost behind the attach (and all war for that matter).
The engine room was a really wind, which all credit must go to Eric the Thorfinn’s dive guide as he excellently navigated himself and nine other through the maze it was intriguing, and somewhat confusing, attempting to distinguish parts of the engine room on their side. Getting through some of these gaps was a real test of skill with kit which I was still relatively unfamiliar with. I can confidently say that a week of getting myself and a twinset with a stage through some of those spaces has made me a significantly better diver.
We swam the majority of the length of the deck swimming through many parts of the superstructure. Enjoying the company of a large amount of marine life (there were lots of butterfly fish joining us in parts).
We spent a total of 53 minutes underwater with a max depth of 28.4m, a 2 minute deco stop at 12m and a 3 minute safety stop. It was an enjoyable dive which was a highlight of the trip. I took down a twin set of 11l aluminium’s on my back with an 11l stage of rich mix, I didn’t use the stage and used 100 bar out my back gas.