Today we dove the Heian Maru, she was built in 1930 by the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and used to be a Passenger/Cargo Liner between Yokohama and Seattle. She was requisitioned by the Japanese government and assigned to the 6th Submarine fleet. Being first located in Kwajalein the 6th submarine fleet was assigned to Truk in 1944.
She got hit in the air attack on Truk on the first day and had a fire on board. Several torpedoes and bombs missed her that day. She wasn’t so lucky the next day being hit by one or two torpedoes and sank on the 18th of February 1944 at 15:08 o’clock taking 14 men with her.
Today it was overcast so the change in watercolour, that indicates we reached out dive side was not notable. We are here and well excited. Diving the Heian is very interesting as there is a lot to see. We swim from the stern towards the bow. The port anchor chain can be seen and the links of the chain are as big as my forearm. I had to look twice though to identify the overgrown structure as the anchor chain though. In hold No 2. old torpedoes can be seen with their pair of propeller blades stick out.
We continue further and come to the engine room. I squeeze past the gangways being tilted at a 90 degree angle since she lies on the port side and get to see all the gauges and wheels and parts and things that make a engine. The size is amazing and my dive torch illuminates more and more details as it wonders up and down. A partial skull is to be discovered here. If crew or engineer no one can say. Further on we swim trying to make the most out of our bottom time. Rico leads us in another hold and up on one of the beams is a beautiful doctors case. Two syringes and some medicine bottles can still be seen. They were part of the medical supplies on board.
We ascend to the starboard side and make our way back. Swimming all that distance makes me realize how big the wreck really is. We pass by the companion way and get to see the periscopes that were stored here. I nearly despair since it is hard to take a decent picture.
One of our last views is the ships name “Heian Maru” before we have to surface. Thank you very much Heian Maru it was a great dive.