The Akibasan Maru is a large freighter, 375 ft. long, with two cargo holds forward of the superstructure and three holds aft. It was sunk by a bomb or torpedo which split the hull at one of the aft cargo holds. The ship settled upright on the bottom, 160 feet down, resting atop two small coralheads. Divers can swim under the hull amidships, at a depth of 160 ft. The main deck is at a depth of 100 ft.
The Akibasan Maru seemed to be the most popular of the shipwrecks in Kwajalein Lagoon, partially because it was the closest major wreck to the small boat marina on Kwajalein Island. But it was also the most beautiful of the Kwajalein shipwrecks. It had become more of an artificial reef than any of the other wrecks, and large schools of fish were a common sight above her decks.
The ship's superstructure appeared to have been gutted by fire, and the wooden, upper decks had long ago collapsed. This left some of the inner areas open from above and easily accessable. These rooms and compartments were illuminated from above with deep blue sunlight, filtered through 100 ft. of lagoon water.
The upper part of the engine room was spacious and well lit by the skylights above, but a dark and disorienting realm awaits those who would venture below the engine room gratings...
The cargo holds were always worth exploring. The #5 hold, shown here, was empty.
One of the forward holds contained an assortment of airplane parts, including pontoons with legible Kanzi characters on them.
The ship's large stern castle was a great place to explore. The large gears and mechanisms for steering the ship made the area seem more confining than it really was.
Click here to read my story Phosphor 1 about a night dive on the Akibasan Maru.
Text and Photos © 1999 by Bob Hampton All Rights Reserved