Kavieng was an important Japanese base during World War II. As a result it was the target of numerous Allied attacks which have resulted in a wide range of fascinating ship and plane wrecks located in and around Kavieng – some of which were discovered by the Scuba Kavieng team!
“Aircraft wrecks taken on certain unique spirit, the water giving the diver the freedom to pitch and yawl, to roll and dive as an enemy fighter would have. You can float above the plane in the silent formation of a wingman, only the deafening roar of the throttled piston engines is an imaginary one. Water and time soothing the fever of battle, instruments of war now home to colorful reef fish.” Marc Montocchio
Japanese Aichi E13A “ Jake” Seaplane
The “Jake” is a twin float, single engine, 3 seater Naval Reconnaissance Seaplane. There are three in Kavieng that can be dived, each one offers something unique.
In addition to the well known shallow Jake located near Nusa Island, there are two others that Scuba Ventures have located. One is upright and in such good condition that the “Rising Sun” insignia is still visible and crew equipment and weapons still located on the site.
The other Jake is upside-down, exposing the bomb-bay where an unexploded bomb can be seen. Despite being inverted, the propeller and engine are in perfect condition.
“Dorian motioned me over to a wing tip where he gently waved off the thin layer of sand. Beneath it, perfectly preserved was the Hinomaru, the rising sun, as vivid as the day it was painted. As carefully as he revealed it Dorian covered the red sun up again”
Mitsubishi F1M Type-Zero “Pete” Biplane
The “Pete” was a widely used biplane seaplane. Two are found in the harbour on a silty bottom; one is completely intact and the other broken by anchor damage. Both are home to many lionfish, nudibranchs and small fish.
The other is the famous “Deep Pete”, discovered by Scuba Ventures forty metres down in crystal clear water. It is the only feature in the vicinity and is covered with large schools of friendly batfish accompany divers, resident snappers, sweet lips and schooling barracuda and trevally are often found here.
This Plane wreck is a fantastic photo opportunity; it was featured in Mirko Zanni’s ” Lost Squadron” DVD presentation at the recent 2004 Antibes underwater film festival which won him the silver medal.
The B25 American Mitchell Bomber the “Stubborn Hellion”
Badly damaged after bombing Kavieng, “Stubborn Hellion” is a B-25 medium bomber that plane crash landed in the water about ten miles from Kavieng. The damaged plane lies in 12m of water on a silty bottom. The Turret guns and flexible mounted tail gun are still in Place.
A large flying boat that crashed in 1941, this plane wreck is easily recognised by its distinctive propellers and engines. In addition to the plane wreck, large amounts of Japanese ammunition and equipment were dumped in this area after the war, making this dive a must-do for any historian.
Japanese Ship Wrecks
The first Japanese wreck was heavily damaged in Allied attacks that scattered pieces of ammunition and equipment around it; depth charges, field artillery shells, winch drums, buckets, coal stores, fire hose fittings, light fittings. In addition, haunting personal effects such as boot soles, plates, kettles, lunch boxes and water canteens reminds us that this haunting dive was once a ship where men served.
Also home to interesting marine life; shoals of Barracuda, Big eye trevally, Lion fish, Bat fish ,Twin spot gobies, Nudibranchs , Black coral trees and Big Gorgonian Fans makes this an interesting dive of possible discovery.
The second wreck is about 50m long and almost completely covered by coarse sand making it difficult to identify. A case of artillery shells close to a gun turret and the amount of coral growth definitely places it as a World War II wreck.
Parts of the superstructure that are above the sand are covered in anenomes and many different species of Anenome Fish, big black coral trees, whip corals and Gorgonian fans. Cowrie shells and Nudibranchs are often found here as well as Turtles, Groupers and Nurse Sharks.