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.
One of my favourite wrecks of the weeks diving in Truk was the Nippo Maru.
The wreck lies on an even keel with a port list with her bottom at 47m on the sand. She has some really fascinating internal structures and some great finds. We went through her engine room which was a maze of stairs and walkways, and I found that the list was very confusing for my brain to process as I was navigating myself through the smaller than average gaps with a twinset and stage. You can exit the inside of the wreck at the bottom of the engine room through a torpedo hole out onto the sand on the bottom.
On her deck she has a couple of light truck frames and a small tank. One of her holds contains large water containers and the other we found some gas masks. We found a large intact china plate lying on her deck which was fairly covered in silt, but which had a nice pattern once we brushed that off.
Her bridge house is fully intact and the top section with the wheel and gauges is easy as you can exit through any of the many windows and makes for a fun token photo of a diver at the controls of the ship. She is in a beautiful condition and like so many of the wrecks in Chuuk is covered in coral and fish life. The masts are both standing and as you reach the top of them you’ll find them heaving in fish life with hundreds of small fish swimming around the top 10 ft of the mast.
We stayed on her bow section and didn’t wander aft of the bridge house as this would have required a second dive, but towards her stern there are a collection of US Howitzers on the deck and gun and munitions in the aft holds. Her prop is stuck on the edge of a reef.
Having racked up a little deco (14 minutes using a 50% enriched mix) we left the deck and headed towards our 6m stop. While the group were sat at 6m off-gassing a school of 20 or so large Barracuda swam by which broke the monotony of the blue.
She is a wreck I would definitely recommend if you are diving Chuuk and one I would love to dive again if I get the chance to return.
We took down twin 11ls with an 11l stage with an enriched mix. I show a max dept of 46.7m and a total dive time (including my deco) of 46m. I was wearing a 2.5mm wetsuit and with the water being a balmy 29°C all the way to the bottom I stayed plenty warm enough for the duration of the dive.
On Tuesday I fly out to the Truk Lagoon, the location of America’s ‘Operation Hailstone‘ in the second world war, an operation targeting the Japanese navy’s pacific base. Three days of shelling saw all but the most precious of the Japanese’s fleet (the best ships had just about enough time to get out) sink to the bottom of a coral lagoon in the middle of the Pacific ocean. It is now a wreck diving mecca and attracts divers from all over the world to one of the globes top dive sites.
I’ll be based on the SS Thorfinn live aboard for a week for what will be my best diving experience to date. From the Thorfinn I will be posting about the dives and updating you on my experience.
It’ll take us just over 3 days to reach Chuuk island going through Abu Dhabi, Manila and Guam. We board the boat on Saturday and dive until we are dropped off the Saturday after for the backward leg, landing late Sunday in the UK again.
I’m in the process of creating a YouTube Channel. I’m going to create videos of some of my dives, I hope they are helpful if you are considering going to a dive site in providing an insight of what you may encounter (due to the nature of the world I can not guarantee you experience everything as I did). I hope you enjoy watching the videos and I welcome your feedback and requests.
Here is the link if you would like to have a look.
I found myself wanting to write a quick piece about UK club diving and the roles and responsibilities that club members have. I’m on the committee for my dive club. This came about as I found the club website lacking and knew that those on the committee already had their hands full. Running a scuba diving club with 2/3 people doing the work is practically a full time job in and of itself, who was I to demand they sort the website out in addition to their other tasks without offering a hand? I see time and again people demanding from clubs to do trips and to provide equipment or training without offering any help to make it happen. Every one can chip in. A newly qualified diver can organise accomodation for a dive trip and be helpful in taking kit and organisig the meal for an overnight stop. A trainee can help with transport to a training site and helping to find a date that members can do. All these tasks are required to make a dive club run smoothly and with a little help from everything so much more can be achieved.
I want to make the point that if you want something done you can help to get it done. We have a lot of kit as a club and we are lucky to do so. Our members want to be able to use this kit, so in return they need to help us keep the kit in service by returning it so it can be checked and sent off, they need to help us run audits to help us retain the kit and not let it go missing, so that they can use it when they require it in the future.
If you ever see me mention Calvert in any of my posts this is where I am talking about. It’s my local dive and is certainly more of a matter of convince than anything else. It’s an old flooded clay quarry which is very silty and the visibility turns off very easily. This does however make it a useful training ground, after all if you can complete your skills well in very poor visibility when you may need to employ them in crystal clear waters it becomes much easier. My diving club are lucky that we have a nice little arrangement with the sailing club who are the owners of the lake. We can dive for free if we rescue some of the items they lose over board.
Any how, there isn’t much to see underwater, the old offices which we refer to as the hous s are around 17m and offer something different from the continual silty wall and bottom. There is also a tunnel around 14m which feeds through under the road to the wildlife lake (or so I am told), a car (which little resembles one) and a variety of old household appliances which were dumped long ago, our training platform(s) and the lost bits of sailing equipment lost to the clay. There is a healthy population of crayfish in the lake and in summer, though the algae makes them difficult to spot there can be quite a few fish.
It’s a dive site we use for training and when we are going a bit land crazy and want to take a quick dip. I am very grateful for it, once you dive Calvert regularly EVERYWHERE else is good visibility.
I thought I would share the briefest of briefest over views of my diving career so far. I’m currently a BSAC Sports Diver and Assistant Diving Instructor. I’ve completed 96 dives to date, the majority of which have been in UK inland sites. I have been qualified for 4 and a half years, however it was only a year and a half a go that I caught the diving bug and really started diving. I’m close to finishing my Dive Leader, and at the end of this month I’ll be flying out to Truk Lagoon with 5 other memebrrs of my dive club for a trip of a life time.
I hope to build this blog up into a store of information for everyone to be able to use with information about dive sites, and as I build up my experience skills and equipment.
I hope that you all enjoy reading my blog as I post about my various forms of diving.