Return to Truk/Going deep on the San Francisco

July 01, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Last week I returned to Truk Lagoon for another adventure on the Truk Odyssey. I was treated to a private tour of the San Francisco Maru with Captain James as we explored cargo holds 1 and 2 as well as three Japanese tanks on the forward deck. It was just as exciting as my first dive there in 2007. This time we started at the bow and circled the 3 inch bow gun before entering hold #1. See the video frame below. The barrel of the gun was covered with colorfully encrusted coral.

​Cargo hold #1 was full of stacked hemispherical land mines as seen below. Their wooden dividers are visibly rotten making these explosives somewhat precarious. I would not want to knock them over.

As we moved forward, a dark passageway lead to hold #2.  At 180 feet deep multiple 800 kg bombs appeared in the darkness.  Their wooden boxes were quickly disintegrating on the silty bottom.

 We ascended to the first deck above to find 2 old Isuzu trucks facing forward in the darkness. The space around these vehicles was quite cramped and I needed to back against the wall to capture a wide angle image. 

Ascending out of hold #2 the first of three light Japanese type 95 tanks became visible on the port side.  Two more tanks were scattered on the starboard side precariously close to falling off the deck and down to the sand more than 220 feet below.

We circled the 2 starboard tanks before returning to the bow gun and then rose to the top of the king mast at 100 feet to perform a deep stop.  Overall, we spent 18 minutes at the bottom before ascending to 12 feet to complete our 22 minute decompression obligation. 50% oxygen helped speed our decompression at the bar beneath the Odyssey. The dive went very smoothly with ample time to explore the front section of the ship. My thanks to Captain James for a great dive!


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