WWII Wreck Week (7 Nights)
7 Nights / 22 Dives. Explore WWII History through wrecks and battlefield tours.
2017 is the 75th anniversary of WWII and we are honouring this event with the introduction of a very special itinerary - a 7 night WWII Wreck Week to help keep history alive.
We start our cruise in the Florida Islands, focusing on the island of Tulaghi. This was one of the most significant bases for the Japanese during the war and the scene of several major battles. As part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, these battles are considered the turning point of WWII in the South Pacific. Here we will dive both Japanese and American seaplanes, cargo Ships, minesweepers and heavy cruisers. In addition, we will explore the town of Tulaghi to see some of the battlegrounds.
We will travel eastward towards the Russell Islands to explore White Beach, a key American re-provisioning area during WWII. When the US Military left, they dumped much of the machinery and equipment here making this a treasure hunt dive where you can find trucks, jeeps and discarded ammunition.
Finally, we will return to Honiara, the capital city of Solomon Islands. Here we will explore cargo ships, planes and submarine as well exploring above water with a tour of one of the most interesting outdoor museums full of machinery and remnants from the war..
Many of the wrecks in the Solomon Islands are considered deep dives. In fact, a number of them are far below recreational limits. Wrecks on this trip are all within recreational limits. Divers must have an Advanced Open Water certificate or higher. Deep and wreck diving training or experience is strongly recommended. Penetration diving will be limited to those with appropriate certifications.
We want to ensure you experience the best diving available in Solomon Islands. As such, we customize our itinerary each week to ensure you experience the best visibility, water conditions, wildlife, dive sites and weather available. As many of the wrecks are deeper, we may limit bottom times or even participation in some dives for some guests. Below is a sample of what you might expect on a WWII Wreck Trip. Specific dive sites are always chosen with conditions, visibility and guest safety in mind. If you have specific dive site/local requests - be sure to let us know and we will do our utmost to include them.
Air travelers can reach Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands, via Fiji or Australia. Once we have your flight details, we will organize a pick up from the airport or the hotel of your choice.
As the sun sets, you’ll board Taka to begin your epic diving adventure. Meet the crew, mingle with guests and settle into your cabin as you cruise overnight to the Florida Islands, the first stop on your dive odyssey.
Ghavutu is an old wharf site and was home to the Japanese force at the beginning of the campaign. Dive a landing barge along with aircraft wings, landing gear, and a variety of other war detritus.
Only a five minute tender ride away lies another great site. Before the landing of the Marines on the 7th of August 1942, an air strike was conducted by the US Navy to eliminate the flight boats of the Imperial Japanese Army. As a result, several Kawanishi Mavis Seaplanes were sunk. The two main sites lie in 30 metres of water and wrecks are big enough to keep you occupied for an entire non-decompression dive.
As we continue our exploration of the Florida Islands - we will visit the Heavy Cruiser, USS Minneapolis. This ship was struck by two torpedoes forward of the number one mounts. The Minneapolis was towed back to Tulagi Harbour where the damaged bow section was removed and a temporary bow constructed so that she could be sailed back to Pearl Harbour and the Naval Yards for a complete repair. The bow section lies at the back-end of the bay in 14 to 24 metres of water. It was badly damaged by the explosions, but a very interesting dive with lots of junk to explore.
We also often take a land tour of Tulaghi Island visiting Quonset huts, Japanese caves and WWII bunkers.
The area around Tulagi is so rich with history, we will spend a third day here exploring. On the agenda today are both the RNZN Moa and the Kanawha.
The Moa’s role was minesweeper and submarine chaser, and she played a pivotal role in the sinking of the Japanese submarine the I-1 which lies in shallow water off Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal.
USS Kanawha, like the RNZN Moa, was sunk on the 7th of April 1943. She stayed on station to complete refuelling duties and was at the exit of Tulagi harbour when the air raid struck. The Kanawha was hit in both the forward fuel hold and rear mechanical spaces.
We spend a day diving at the Russell Islands, often starting at White Beach, home to a major American supply base during WWII. At the end of the war, an artificial reef was created by dumping trucks, jeeps, tractors, bulldozers and large amounts of ammunition.
This is also a good day to take a break from history and see some of the beautiful reefs that are on display in the Solomon Islands.
No trip to Solomon Islands would be complete without exploring the wreck diving around Honiara. So we will spend our final morning diving exploring some of the harder to reach wrecks.
The I-1 Submarine played a role in Pearl Harbour before being moved to the South Pacific. She was damaged and forced into the reef by the RNZN Moa in Feburary of 1943. Code books were recovered from this wreck that helped complete the code and end the Battle of Midway.
A short, but fun dive, is on the Flying Fortress - a B17 plane. It's a tiny wreck but very much in tact making it an interesting site.
We travel closer to Honiara to explore Bonegi I, II and III - each named after the beach they are on. Hirokawa Maru (Bonegi I) is a anti-aircraft vessel, Kinugawa Maru (Bonegi II) is a cargo ship, and Kyusyu Maru (Bonegi III) is a transport.
We often spend our last afternoon at the Vilu War Museum. As well as artillery, shells, helmets, rifles and other war relics, the outdoor museum has the remains of many famous Allied aircraft including a Grumman F4F Wildcat, a Lockheed P-38F Lightning and one of the greatest combat aircraft ever, the Chance Vought V-166B F4U Corsair.
After a light breakfast, we will take you back into Honiara in time for your flights or to continue on the rest of your journey.
We'll miss you on board Taka but we know you will already be planning your next visit back to us!