Spotting at 100 Feet (30 metres) BELOW Sea Level

For the past few days I have been scuba diving the Japanese shipwrecks from world war 2 around the islands of Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia. However, it is not all ships, there is plenty of aircraft as well! So I thought I might share some of the pictures I got of these aircraft with you!


This is the cockpit of a Mitsubishi A6M fighter. The aircraft was nicknamed the “Zero Fighter” or simply “The Zero”. It was flown by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940-1945 and was classed as a long range carrier-based aircraft. This specific cockpit was being transported to be assembled on the Fujikawa Maru, however before the ship reached port for the aircraft to be assembled it was sank on the 17th of February 1944 in Chuuk Lagoon during Operation Hailstone carried out by the U.S.


This is another Zero Fighter that was yet to be put together that sank on the Fujikawa Maru. This one is slightly more put together as it included the wing.



These two pictures are engines I found for Zero Fighters that went down on the Sankisan Maru also went down on the 17th of February 1944 during Operation Hailstone while moored up by one of the islands.


These next few pictures are all from the same dive where we were looking at an iconic aircraft the Mitsubishi G4M3, also known as The Betty Bomber. This specific Betty Bomber was shot and tried to glide back to base after the engines blew off, however went down just 200 feet from the runway.


This is one of the engines that blew off the bomber, the other was placed face down into to the sand is hard to identify by the picture I took so will be skipped.


The cockpit latches flew open before the crash landing in the water after the pilot pulled the ejector seat just before impact.


This is the ejector seat I spoke about in the previous picture, landing nearby to the wreckage. Someone has leaned a window up against it I presume for photos.


In the first picture you can see the tail was ripped off the fuselage on impact with the water, but is resting a few metres behind the plane. In the second photo I have gotten a little closer to have a further look at the tail.

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Thought you were gonna be spotting at Amsterdam from the title 😂. Really cool photos though

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That was the whole thought process behind the title, but I did highlight “below” to try and emphasise haha. And thank you!

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Those photos are fantastic!! Sorry if I missed it but how deep are these wrecks?

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Thank you! Still learning to use my camera properly but I am slowly getting there! So the Betty Bomber was around 16-18 metres deep, the Sankisan Maru was around 28-30 metres deep and the Fujikawa Maru was around 30-36 metres deep. But I have been doing deeper with my deepest this trip around 40 metres.

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amazing pictures! pretty unique spotting topic.

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Thank you! Thought since we are diving some planes and we have a whole community who love planes, match made in heaven!

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I was thinking of New Orleans not going to lie!

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Also a very possible airport!

this is unique and creative . nice photos 🙂

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Thank you so much!

WOW, that’s cool @BP-Aviation, I like it

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Thank you! Thought I would try and incorporate my two passions, diving and aviation!

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Pretty cool way you combined these two - I’ve also suffered from both diving and aviation addictions!

But I never did a wreck dive, let alone aircraft wreckage! Nice photos!

Any challenges with the dive sites, either due to depth or anything else? I can only imagine seeing this with your own eyes.

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This is probably the most unique spotting topic on the IFC!

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Firstly, thank you, lovely to meet a fellow diver!

Well for difficulties, the location is so difficult to get to, there is only 2 flights a week at the time I booked to Chuuk/Truk and you have to go via Guam or via Honolulu (this means you have to stop at like 4-5 islands along the island hopper route if you go from Honolulu). But some of the wrecks are not too bad, some would probably experience trouble with the wrecks due to the depth but because I am diving Nitrox usually at a mix of 30-31% for shallower wrecks and 25-29% for deeper wrecks I get a longer bottom time and because I am diving twin tanks I have enough air to finish off any deco if I need. The only troubles I personally have had is the tight spaces I have sometimes had to crawl through (and nearly get stuck in) as I enter the wrecks as some of the rooms have collapsed or are just filled with hand railings and stuff like that. But I do it for the pictures and videos haha. I think for this trip the likelihood is the entire video I put together will be of the exploration inside of wrecks and very little fish haha.

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Why thank you! I was not specifically aiming for that but I do appreciate that haha!

Now that is an awesome Spotting topic follow-up! Both the challenging flying to get there (there’s an IF challenge in there somewhere, I think) and the Nitrox logistics, which I haven’t experienced but will definitely look up further, as I’d always been kind of intrigued by the prospect of actually doing it. My dive instructor was a work college and he used to describe some amazing decompression dives to deep wrecks he had done. Your tight spaces experiences is definitely something I need to tell (not tell?) my wife about (we learned to dive together years ago).

Better visibility than Hong Kong I’d imagine(?).

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Visibility in Hong Kong is dreadful, I would consider 5 metres of visibility a good day. I did my advanced, rescue, nitrox and dry suit in Hong Kong and let me tell you, none of them were fun! I did the navigation for my advanced and rescue in visibility so poor I could not see further than my elbow, so rest assured I can do navigation anywhere haha. My dry suit I did in the summer and since it was 34-36 degrees Celsius I was hoping for a flood at the point, with all the wooly winter gear underneath I was cooking like a roast chicken. Came out sweating like I had been in a sauna. But good preparation for what I was training for I suppose! But for Chuuk if you do go for diving maybe best not to tell your wife about the Betty bomber then as we swam through it and out the little hole in the tail and we physically had to dig a hole into the sand so we were able to exit out the other side because otherwise we would have had to take off our tanks and pass them through and then squeeze through after. Doing side mount? Sure that would have been an option, but on twins with all the harnesses, no chance.

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Probably shouldn’t have, but I did (as we used to dive together). She got the chills.

That’s what I was wondering. I spent a lot of time there as my dad lived there for many years. But it was before I learned to dive.

I think it’s too easy to underestimate how much prep work you had to go through to get these spotting photos! Again, just exceptional.

Somehow the engine ones are my favorites, maybe the contrasting impression of power and silence, but also the passage of time.

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