Author of iconic shipwreck diving books such as Dive Scapa Flow and Dive Truk Lagoon – inspiring motivational speaker
On 17/18 February 1944, the nine fast carriers of U.S. Task Force 58 made a surprise 2-day air raid on the Japanese forward fortress of Truk Lagoon – far out into the Pacific. Operation Hailstone began with 72 USN Hellcat fighters launching in darkness for a dawn initial fighter sweep of the lagoon. After one of the largest dogfights of WWII, the Hellcats had cleared the skies of Japanese fighters – allowing successive waves of dive- and torpedo-bombers to sweep over the lagoon and attack the now vulnerable shipping below. More than 40 Japanese transport ships and destroyers were sunk – filled with their wartime cargoes of tanks, trucks, shells, munitions. Made famous by Cousteau in 1969, Truk Lagoon is without doubt the greatest wreck diving location in the world.
You can read more about Truk Lagoon and its amazing wrecks in these 2 books
Here are some videos of diving some of these famous wrecks:
The 4,793-ton transport ship Hanagawa Maru was anchored at the fuelling dock on Tol Island, Truk, offloading her volatile cargo of aviation gasoline in 55-gallon drums when she was attacked by four TBF torpedo bombers from the carrier Bunker Hill during Operation HAILSTONE by the 9-carriers of Task Force 58. One torpedo hit her on the starboard side of Hold No 2. The explosion ignited her dangerous cargo and blew a large hole in the side of the ship. She sank quickly, ablaze. Today the wreck of Hanagawa Maru sits upright in 30 metres of water.