The Rio de Janeiro Maru was built in 1930 as an eight deck ocean liner by O.S.K. Line (Osaka Shosen Kabushiki Kaisha) and between the World Wars she served as a ocean liner, doing four month turns around the globe. She was requisitioned for war in 1940 and served first as a submarine depot ship, and was later reassigned as a transport in 1943.
Arriving on the dive site by boat one can already see the change in water color. She is lying on her starboard beam and the huge side is covered in coral. Diving to the stern first the propeller and rudder come into view, being bigger than a diver. The words RIO DE J….. can be spotted on the stern and coming further around we were greeted by the massive stern gun.
In the aft cargo hold there are hundreds and hundreds of beer bottles some are still in their crates and some of the crates are still stacked above each other. The next hold is full of coal and and some disassembeld guns are partly burried by it.
Next comes the engine room with huge Mitsubishi Sulzer twin diesel engines and very nice walkways. We had to squeeze a little but once through the gangway there is a lot of space.
The bridge has crumbled down after the last typhoon in 2015 and is a mess. Next come the forward holds that still have some bottles lying around (beer?) and were full of ammunition which went off when the ship was hit by a strafing attack. Some of the ammunition pierced through the metal and Small Trigger Fish like to make those holes their home so have a look out for them. As we come round a small Grey Reef Shark gets scared by us and shoots off. Some Bluefin Travelley start hunting and are joined by a medium sized Tuna. This all makes the safety stop very entertaining and I hope the shark comes back round but it keeps out of sight.
I really like this wreck, first of all due to all the empty beer bottles and me being Bavarian! But also because it lies shallow with lots of time to explore everything and enjoy ourselves.