It was nearly midday and after our coffee with surface interval we were ready for the next dive . It was first time for me and other in our 3 person buddy team to dive this site ! We had no idea what to expect . I heard about the place , but have never seen any photos . Not even the ones from the ship while it was still afloat.
We started our descend. Anchor line seemed slack and I was sure that side should be only about 20 m deep , but after dropping to 15 and still no sight of anything except anchor line I realised I was very much wrong.
This is gonna be an adrenaline filled dive...
Yamato Maru is a 4395 ton cargo ship that sank in April 18, 1943.
At about 25 m I could see some sort of outline of something ship like, but it was massive . So big I could not see from one end to another. I could see many poles rising from ghostly ship and all covered with heavy coral growth .
We had arrived . Arrived at Yamato Maru , Also know as “Yamamato ” , “No 2 wreck” and also “ Steering Wheel Wreck . Judging from little information found anywhere this is definitely not a common dive site around here.
“According to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Map it is identified as the "No.2 Yamato Maru". The “No 2“ probably refers to the fact that this was the second Yamato Maru to be built for Nippon Yusen Kaisha. It was apparently a cargo carrier of some 4,359 tons. There is little information on the attack and sinking of the Yamato Maru. History books are more interested in the air attack that resulted in the death of Admiral Yamatomo which occurred on the same date, 18th April 1943.”
From Book – Rabaul`s Forgotten Fleet
My computer started to beep as it was a second dive today and also second deep dive . I started to ascend little and looked over the mid line crack of the ship . It is unclear what have happened to this wreck exactly .
“It is obvious that the ship contained a cargo of trucks when it sunk. Information received on a nearby Japanese shipwreck , the Yamayuti Maru , states that it was loaded with about 50 trucks when attacked , however there are none on it now. Either the Yamayuri was unloaded before it sunk or perhaps the identity of the two ships have been mistaken. Both are similar old-fashioned design, built in the early part of the century according to the Japanese Ship Recognition Manual. For the sake of order the "Steering Wheel" wreck is still referred to as No 2 Yamato Maru”. From Book–Rabaul`s forgotten fleet
My computer showed 33 m my maximum depth for this dive . And no deco time was at 4 minutes left for me at this depth. It was time to "climb" up . I was hanging around aright by highest pole at about 25 m and looked down trying to make sense of wrecks outline . Where it starts and end to exact. Seems that since eruption at the Tavurvur vulcano , the parts of the wreck are covered with dense layer of ash .
I heard a rattle sound and looked over to my 2 buddies. They pointed towards stern of the wreck and suggested we have a look . I was sure that its simply going to get deeper there, but went with the flow at my 23 m for last few minutes. Just as my computer started to warn me again about 5 minutes left for this particular depth , I could see outline of wheelhouse a lot higher above main part of the ship . I went up another 5 m and could swim right above. What an unexpected treat it was !
I quickly swim towards it and made few snaps just before my computer suggested again that its time to ascend.
We slowly started to rise to surface. I could see wheelhouse disappear from my sight . This giant ship is still full of mystery and surely an exciting dive site to explore ! We will be back !!!
Papua New Guinea