Unusual Wrecks

Posted by Jeffrey Milisen on Sunday, April 29, 2012

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) resting on the fantail of the YO-257
  A century of maritime history, military occupation and artificial reefing has left Oahu's sea floor generously sprinkled with metallic relics from the past.  I don't pretend to know much about these submerged artifacts, but if you dive Oahu enough, you're bound to stumble across some form of interesting man-made litter.  For whatever reason (aligned stars, voodoo, or just dumb luck) this past month has been especially rich with missions to "discover" submerged treasures.

The YO-257 Conning Tower
Mid-Pacific Air YS-11- We on Oahu have trampled/polluted/molested/dredged much of our natural reefs away, so in their place we have created a rather extensive network of artificial reefs.  The result is a spattering of sites such as the YO-257 that have put Oahu on the international dive map.  However, after the twentieth visit or so, even quintessential wrecks such as the YO can become as predictable as a wardrobe malfunction in a strip club.  For a change of scenery, follow the cinder block road leading away from the stern to find the wreck of Mid Pacific Airway's YS-11.  It is only missing the fuselage, motors, props, cockpit and in short everything but the wings, but it is something a little different.

The Mid Pacific Airlines YS-11
Navy Tug Nashua- There have been rumors floating around that salvage divers sank a Navy tugboat in the area of Pearl Harbor for training purposes.  There is just something about the mental image of a sunken tug that inappropriately touches my creative centers.  We've been trying to get down to the wreck for some time now, but there always seems to be a Naval warship in the vicinity.  My 15 foot inflatable boat and hamster-wheel powered outboard isn't terribly tough by any standards, so we've always bravely run away from such encounters before causing a stir.  Two weeks ago we found ourselves in the area sans the U.S. destroyer.  We dropped in on some points I had gotten from a friend and found nothing but sand and reef.  After about 15 minutes of searching, we were back on the boat and about to give up when I noticed a huge black shadow under the surface maybe 200 yards away.  Since the bottom was only 60 feet below us and the top of the wreck was only 30 feet above that, we jumped in for a quick free-dive.  
The Naval Tug Nashua
P-40- This was a real treat.  Last weekend I got a call from a friend of mine who had stumbled across some airplane parts offshore.  To protect the historic nature of the site, I won't say where it was, but I assue you that it was deeper than most of you reading this blog are willing to go.  It turns out the pieces belong to a P-40 Warhawk judging from a peculiar gear at the top of the landing strut.  The fuselage and wings are missing, but the prop, one wheel and engine block are there.  

P-40 Warhawk wreckage


Tags: yo-257 ys-11 wrecks wreck oahu diving scuba diver artificial reef reefs ship plane planes 

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