This is one of the best and most popular dives in the Lagoon. She was built in 1919 as a medium-large sized freighter. Having loaded semi spherical land mines in the bow and ammunition in the stern, she was bombed in the only place that did not erupt her out of the water.
A bomb hit her aft of the bridge where the coal used to be stored and sank her.
And that song : “If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair ” kept me company through the whole dive.
Today is the second time we are diving this amazing wreck and since she lies very deep I hope to get to dive her more often. Our bottom time is 10 minutes so we need to make the best out of the time we are having. Descending through the blue water the anchor line is the only indication, that we will find something in the great blue we are dropping into. Slowly the bridge and midship materialize and we immediately swim towards the foreship to make the most of our time. Three military tanks (Light Type 95 HA Go- Tanks) are to be found here. On the starboard side one tank seems to be mounting the other and the third sits on the port side. The hatch of the mounting tank is open and even though it is silty inside I can see the position the gunner had and the triggers. The murk half covers what appears to be a glass and I wonder what it was for.
In hold No 2 there are a lot of trucks which appear to be designed to hold either water or fuel and are in very good condition. The tween deck is still intact and I can see more trucks further down looking pristine. But I am the only one interested at the moment and checking my computer we only have 4 minutes left. I have a quick glance at the third tank and make my way to Hold No 1 which holds all the mines and some other debris. I see aerial bombs as well and taking my time I can see the remains of the wood that used to separate everything. Captain Lance told us that the hold used to be filled all the way to the top but dynamite fishers have taken them out to do their ugly business with it.
Again I get conscious of the ticking clock and ascend to have a look at the bow gun that is beautifully overgrown but still recogniseable. And than we ascend ascend ascend. On the safety stops I marvel at everything I have seen. Sometimes it is hard to not get mixed up between the wreck and how it used to be and the beauty of the marine life that takes the focus away from the fact that this reef is not entirely naturally grown.
Remember it is a long slow ascent from this wonderful deep dive.