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Wrecked in Palau

Wrecked in Palau

09 - 17 November 2018

Explore a little-known wreck destination.

Join this very special liveaboard cruise through the stunning archipelago of Palau in Micronesia, a dive destination well-known for its wildlife and deep walls. But not many people know that below the surface lies a World War II wreck diving paradise.

A Wreck Diving Paradise

  • 36 Japanese vessels, plus aircraft
  • Wreck diving workshop with Michael Wolhardt
  • Steep walls with abundant fish life
  • Manta Rays and Reef Sharks
  • Stunning archipelago
  • Luxury stay on Palau Siren

Wrecked in Palau

During World War II Truk Lagoon was the Empire of Japan’s main base in the Pacific theatre. However, what is less known is that before and during ‘Operation Hailstone’ in February 1944, which resulted in the wreck diving mecca that is now Truk, some 200 plus vessels were evacuated to Palau.

Only six weeks later the American Navy launched ‘Operation Desecrate One’ on Palau, to destroy as much of the remaining Japanese fleet as possible. Over 2 days in March, more than 36 vessels, along with several aircraft, were sent to the watery depths of the lagoon, and now you have the chance to see them as part of this special itinerary.

During this adventure, we will explore many of these wrecks and whilst on 10-night trips you will also explore the deeper walls of the outer lagoon.

The majority of shipwrecks and regular dives within this itinerary are deemed suitable for recreational divers and offer varying depths for multi-level profiles. Some sites do however lie beyond, or have interesting features deeper than the recognized recreational diving depth limit of 40m (130ft). As such they maybe more suited to divers with deep diver or technical diving qualifications.

The Republic of Palau is Micronesia's western most island chain. The tightly clustered Palau archipelago consists of over 200 islands covering a distance of around 200 km. Palau is the home to one of the world's unique phenomena, the Rock Islands.

With over 20 years of diving experience, 15 of which have been focused on advanced diving on wrecks. Michael has spent his professional career introducing divers to wreck and technical diving and in 2003, founded the niche training agency SwedTech in order to develop safer diving practices. Needless to say, he has lots to share. Joining Michael on a wreck diving trip adds flavor to the experience and a new dimension to the wreck diving. “My goal is for everyone to appreciate and understand what a fantastic trip through time wreck diving offers with the right tools and knowledge.”

As well as sharing his knowledge of the wrecks and the history of the site, Michael will also run a wreck diving workshop during the trip, developing the following techniques:

  • Proper use of line handling and reeling
  • Manoeuvring and swim techniques
  • Equipment configuration
  • How to navigate and find the “good” parts of the wreck
  • Dive planning

Liveaboard Vessel - Palau Siren

The S/Y Palau Siren is a luxury liveaboard which was launched in July 2012. Surprisingly spacious, she has everything that divers need for diving in remote destinations. Purpose designed, she has designated areas for charging and preparation of your camera and video equipment, making the Palau Siren the pros choice for underwater photography and videography, to comfortable cabins and communal areas for chilling after a day of diving. Built by divers for divers, this liveaboard welcomes just 16 guests, ensuring abundant space for all, regardless of equipment.











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Dive sites on your Palau wreck safari

Amatsu Maru One of the largest wrecks in Micronesia, the Amatsu sits perfectly upright in 40m of water with the deck at 23m - 30m. A huge wreck of a tanker with many places to penetrate for those experienced and qualified to do so. This wreck deserves at least 2 visits if diving within recreational limits and, for Tec divers, a 3 hour dive only just begins to cover all the highlights such as the pump house, the main super structure and the engine room, though this received heavy damage from the American bombers.

Bichu Maru This wreck lays close to the Rock Islands and as such the visibility can often be challenging, however, the penetration on this wreck can be extensive. It’s possible to swim through the empty cargo holds and to the engine room area which received heavy damage during the bombing. After the engine room the old funnel lays broken in the sandy bottom at around 24m, with more cargo holds leading to the stern where the deck gun points skyward, still ready to repel attackers. After covering the length of wreck, which lays on it’s side, you can move up to the starboard side and explore the lovely marine growth. 

Kesebeku Buoy No. 7 wreck Not the biggest wreck in Palau, believed to be an auxiliary submarine chaser, this wreck needs to be dived on slack currents as it lays perfectly upright in a channel close to Malakal. When the tides are just right, however, the life on the wreck in magnificent. 

Chuyo Maru This wreck is close to the Amatsu and, whilst smaller, is the perfect example of a wreck dive!! Laying perfectly upright and in great condition there are many opportunities to penetrate throughout this wreck. Ideal wreck for both Tec and Recreational divers alike. 

Iro This is most likely the most dived wreck in Palau. Lying in 40m of water, with the bow at 18m and the Stern at 30m there is something for every level of diver on this wreck. With abundant marine life and many places to penetrate, this wreck should be dived a couple of times to ensure you cover all the highlights such as the bow and stern guns, hold with many artefacts still inside and a huge engine room with easy access. 

Kamikaze Maru Close to the Bichu Maru, the Kamikaze often suffers from poor visibility but for the adventurous diver the rewards can be worth it as this is the only wreck in Palau where you can see the advanced weaponry the Japanese used against shipping throughout the Pacific, the Long Lance Torpedo. Many still litter the holds and even the deck, but heavy bomb damage means the wreck has significant damage and it is a miracle that the torpedoes did not explode!! 

Kibi Maru The Kibi was part of a convoy trying to escape the relentless American bombers by leaving the Lagoon and heading out to open ocean, but she never made it. She was heavily damaged in the attack and was grounded on the reef for a number of years before falling down the steep channel to lie in about 36m upside down. The life on the keel is fantastic and, for the adventurous, the option to slip underneath her starboard side and into the cavernous empty holds is a great adventure dive. 

Nagisan Maru With below average visibility and heavily damaged, this can be a challenging dive for the less experienced but an adventure for the true wreck explorer. 34m to the sea bed, long dive times can be undertaken for those qualified. 

Raizan Maru Another of the convoy that tried desperately to escape Palau but failed. She lays in 38m of water but was heavily salvaged after the war, though the fish life abounds and the local name of the 'Fish Locker' is well justified!! 

Ryuko Maru Laying in around 34m of water this is a wonderful wreck for all levels of divers. Artefacts still remain on the bridge and visibility can be great so this is a real favourite for photographers. The deck is shallow, at 20m, so long dives can be achieved for both recreational and Tec divers alike.

Sata Maru The Sata may be lying upside down but she is an amazing 'real' tec wreck dive. The sister ship of the Iro, laying a little over a mile away, the Sata is a Tec divers dream. With a maximum depth 38m there are amazing penetration opportunities for the qualified and adventurous. From the engine to the super structure and the bomb damaged holds, this wreck can draw you back again and again for what can be a challenging but amazing dive. 

Wrecked in Palau Expedition day by day

Friday Nov 9

If you are arriving through Manila, we recommend you arrive in Manila on this date and make a stopover for the night. Please book a hotel room in Manila for 1-2 nights depending on the flight schedule. Please contact us before booking you flight to get the correct dates and times.

Saturday Nov 10

Leave Manila and fly to Palau. When you arrive you will get transfer to the liveaboard. The safari starts and finish in Koror.

Sunday Nov 11 - Friday Nov 16

These six days are your diving days! How much you will be able to dive is weather dependent, but usually your day will be like this. You wake up and have a light breakfast followed by your first dive. You will eat a full breakfast, relax and then do the second dive. You will have lunch, relax and then do your third dive. You will then have a delicious dinner and do either a sunset or night dive. Last day you will do maybe two dives or less dives, depending on when your flight leaves.

Saturday Nov 17

Check out from the boat and get transfer to the Palau airport. Flight back to Manila. Most likely you will land the same day. We recommend that you stay 1 night in a hotel in Manila, before you leave to fly back home.

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