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Rodney Pearce
Kavieng History & Explorations

I was running my vessel out of Kavieng and the reason for this was I was interested in the raid on Kavieng on the 15th February 1944 when four A/C's were lost. Friends of mine had informed me of a rumor of a plane in the water some 4 miles south west of Kavieng and this could be one of the aircraft involved.

Plans were made with Don Fettely and we arranged to see if we could find this particular aircraft. Alas it was not to be but did dive nine aircraft in all. The most interesting was the B-25 Stubborn Hellion. This was lost on the raid mentioned above. Stubborn Hellion is crashed some 8 miles from Kavieng just off the island of Mannie.

Facing NNW, she is lying on her starboard wing and her port wing was raised off the sand so you can swim underneath the wing.The fuselage is bent at the waist gunners position and is bent to port at a angle of 20 degrees. Both engines are missing and these are lying some 60 meters in front of the A/C. Also to note the cockpit is bent sideways and rests against the port engine mount, the top of the cockpit is missing and the nose section is yet to be found. All in all, it is in remarkable condition after all this time in the water. I believe the navigator never got out and was listed as a MIA. The other planes we dived were 3 Jakes, a PBY also a Kate and 2 Pete's all except the PBY and a Pete were in good condition.

The diving around Kavieng is spectacular even including the reef diving, however as I am more interested in wrecks this is what I will dwell on. There is a ship in Kavieng harbor itself off Nusa Island in about 60 feet and unfortunally I do not know what the name of this Japanese vessel is (and if there are any readers out there that know or may know the name I would love to know. I believe I have a photo of this ship being sunk by staffers).

West of Kavieng lies New Hanover and it is here that the B24's had a field day with the Japanese. Lying in 60 feet of water on her stb side is a Japanese ship and along side her lies a midget submarine. Also in the same area is a sub chaser and cargo vessel of 2,500 tones. Several planes are also in the area. The Kavieng area is best known for its big fish action and its clear water and is a must for the adventurous diver.

Some of the best fish action, I have seen in 35 years of active diving have been in this area. Big Fish Reef, Albatross Passage, Steffon Straight to name but a few of the local dive sites. These sites equal the Siassi Islands and the Milne Bay Islands for action diving.

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