Ohhh there is a great story here. I have to go a little further to get it all in. There were some ships in Rabaul that needed repairing and being constantly attacked the officers asked to take them to Truk Lagoon for that purpose.
One of the admirals (Vice admiral) made his way down there in the Emily Flying boat (which the Americans nicknamed the flying porcupine) to assess the situation himself. The Americans had the code hacked though and knew he was coming. This chance was too big to let up and when the General returned to Truk, they attacked the Emily as she took off the runway in Rabaul.
9 fighter planes closed in on her and that seemed to be the end. But the flying porcupine did not get its name for nothing. The crew shot down some of the fighter planes. The pilot must have been a bit crazy but when the fighters came out of their dive he had taken the Emily right with them and was sitting on top of them. The crew shot down some more of the fighter planes (maybe 7-8). The Co Pilot got shot dead in the encounter. The pilot himself was wounded but he took her in the cloud cover and escaped. Miraculously none of his VIP guests was injured.
The Emily was in bad condition though and making it back to Truk was the last thing she did. The pilot managed to emergency water her in the water strip between Eten and Tonowas were she than sank. He got a well-deserved medal for his bravery and we got a great wreck to dive on.
The Emily was the most heavily armed and armored flying boat in the second world war. Descending in the 18 m of water she lies in, one can make out her size. She broke apart though and turned upside down. The 4 propellers and engines are still roughly in place and start to have some coral. The brushed aluminum is surprisingly still visible in big parts. Coral does not seem to find it easy to cling to.
One can dive to the cabin and stick its head in or make their way through part of the broken of aft. It is narrow though and I have to remind myself, that the Japanese were 4 feet tall at that time and fitted better than me and my dive gear. Artifacts like the old radio, a machine gun, the airplane toilet and other parts are strewn around in the sand.
It is a great little dive and there is a United pilot in my group. His enthusiasm for the plane is catching and he points out a lot of small details that he later explains to me.
What a great afternoon dive.