Honiara

Honiara is now the Capital of the Solomon Islands and has been since just after the end of World War II. 

One can see Savo, Tulagi and the Ngella island group from Honiara across Iron Bottom Sound, so named due to the number of ships that were sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal and Battle of Savo.   The Sound was originally named Sealark Channel before the war.

Some of the wrecks we dive on sank very close to land and we dive them from shore; these include the Hirokawu Maru, Kinugawa Maru, I-1 Submarine and the B17 bomber.

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Sasako Maru

Sasako Maru

The Sasako is also close to shore but is best dived from a boat. She lies on her port side, the side is in 58m of water to the gunnels the bottom in 85m. The bow and the stern sections rest on independent pieces of rock and it is possible to swim under the middle section of the ship, which is at 80 odd metres depth.

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USS Serpens

USS Serpens

Late in the evening of 29 January 1945 USS Serpens was anchored off Lunga Beach. The Commanding Officer and seven others (an officer and six enlisted men), were ashore. The remaining 198 members of Serpens' crew and 57 members of an Army stevedore unit were onboard the ship, loading aerial depth charges into her holds.

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Azumasan Maru

Azumasan Maru

The Azumasan lies about 150m from shore but is best dived from a boat. She sits upright in 39-50m at bow and 80m plus at the stern, and has lots of colour and soft corals and good photo opportunities (check the bow looking back to the wreck from the sand).

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Kyusyu Maru

Kyusyu Maru

The evening of the 14-15th October 1942 saw a major bombardment of Henderson Field by the navy cruisers Chokai and Kinugasa. While the bombardment was happening the Kyusyu, Azumasan and Sasako Marus slipped in un-noticed to off-load troops and supplies.

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USS John Penn

USS John Penn

Japanese forces had long been evacuated off Guadalcanal but air raids were still conducted on a regular basis. On the 13thAugust 1943 three “Kate” torpedo bombers arrived at Lunga Point just on dusk and, cunningly, turned on their navigation lights and joined a returning American formation lining up to land.

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Hirokawa Maru

Hirokawa Maru

On the night of the 15-16th November 1942 one of the major naval battles of the Solomons was being conducted near Savo Island known as the “Barroom Brawl”. The Japanese Navy was to provide cover for a transport convoy of some 7,000 troops. While the capital ships were involved in the melee off Savo, the transports slipped by un-noticed and commenced unloading troops and supplies.

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Kinugawa Maru

Kinugawa Maru

On the evening of the 15-16th November 1942 one the major naval battles of the Solomons was being conducted near Savo Island known as the “Barroom Brawl”. The Japanese Navy was to provide cover for a Transport convoy of some 7,000 troops. While the capital ships were involved in the melee off Savo, the transports slipped by un-noticed and commenced unloading troops and supplies.

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I-1 Submarine

I-1 Submarine

From the 14th January to the 7th February 1943, Japanese forces conducted Operation Ke for the evacuation of their troops from Guadalcanal. At this time the I-1 was on station in the area of Cape Esperance, where she was detected by the New Zealand ships RNZN Kiwi and Moa.

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B17 Bomber

B17 Bomber

B17E 'Bessy The Jap Basher'. On the 24th September 1942 this aircraft, along with three others, conducted a bombing raid in the Shortland Islands, the far western end of the Solomon Islands chain.  The bombers met strong opposition from Japanese Zeros.  Two of the bombers are believed lost at that location and  'Bessy" heavily damaged. Still managing to drop her bomb load and damaging a Japanese vessel, 'Bessy' turned and headed back to Henderson Airfield (Honiara). 

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USS Atlanta

USS Atlanta

This is the deepest and most challenging wreck that is dived in the Solomons and is the only divable wreck sunk form the naval engagement know as “The Barroom Brawl”.

On the 12th November a Japanese surface force, made up of two battleships, one cruiser and six destroyers, was detected steaming south toward Guadalcanal to shell Henderson Field.

 Admiral Callaghan's support group (including the Atlanta) was to "cover retiring transports and cargo vessels against enemy attack." They departed Lunga Point at about 1800 and steamed eastward through Sealark Channel, covering the withdrawal of the transports. An hour before midnight, Callaghan's ships reversed course and headed westward.

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