John Douglas February 2003 Wreck Diary
Kairiru and Muschu Islands
This month I was in Wewak for two weeks [and two weekends] working for a client who is building a Tuna Loining Plant. I get to dive on coral reefs [for a fee];taking water samples,photos and other measurements. The weekends I went exploring for World War 2 relics.
The first weekend I went out to Kairiru and Muschu Islands, Immediately offshore from Wewak. travel is by dingy or "Banana Boat." Kairiru Island was occupied mainly by Japanese Navy Forces at the end of the war, when they surrendered It was never invaded. Muschu Island next door was occupied by Japanese Army forces until the end of the war, when it was turned into a.
POW compound for the surrendering Japanese forces in the Wewak region.
At the western end of Kairiru Is is Victoria Bay, which is interesting for its wrecks. I dived on two of them, one a small barge and the second a 2-3000 tonne freighter.in 30 metres of water. An excellent wreck, if you are looking for corals and the explosive effects of aerial bombs. There is a Japanese Destroyer in 60 metres which I didn't dive on this trip, and rumours of a Mavis as well also in deep water. The next day I dived on a Pete [could be a Dave] in 16 metres, upside down.Its intact, except for the float. Visibility was poor [about 2 metres]. I took some poor quality photos. Later that day I snorkeled on a Tony on the southside of Muschu Island [2metres] / This wreck is basically an engine and a few frames only. There are several other ship and plane wrecks [perhaps 8-10] in the waters around these two islands, known to local divers, and many more to be found as well according to combat records . I've motivated my local dive crew and expect to do some more diving in the waters around these and other islands on my next trip, later this year.
The next weekend, I spent a day walking around a part of Kairiru Is. I started at St Johns, at one end of the road, where there are the remnants of a Dave in the local sago swamp. This plane is slowly disintegrating as the decades pass. I feel that it is a good static restoration candidate, due to its rareness [any sponsors?]
The road lead past several Japanese tunnels,some still fitted with fuel drums full of stones laid out in defensive patterns;waiting for the invasion that never came.There was also a large generator, a wrecked truck and a wrecked Imperial Japanese Navy fire engine, that I suspect was used to pump water to troops stationed nearby.More wrecked trucks and a Motorcycle [copy of a 1934 Harley Davidson] were spotted, to round out the days trip.I didn't visit two large naval guns high in the hills, as I ran out of time. Two years ago Justin and I saw similar guns on Muschu island; so there's another visit looming as well. Sunday I visited and explored Wewak; but that's another story.
John Douglas writes WWII wreck related new briefs for Pacific Wreck Database from his home in Port Moresby. Learn how to help Douglas' efforts and Wreck 'Tec network, donate your old 35mm camera, video equipment or financial help - support this effort!
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