Bob Hampton's Photo Album of

The Wrecks at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea


I had been on Kwajalein for a year and a half and I was overdue for another vacation.  So I decided to do some travelling, and to dive some different shipwrecks.  I wanted to go to Truk Lagoon (1000 miles west of Kwajalein, in the Caroline Islands) to dive some of the shipwrecks there.  During World War II, Truk had been the main Japanese fleet anchorage of the central Pacific.  The lagoon there now held an assortment of sunken Japanese ships that surpassed even the great fleet at Kwajalein.  But Truk had been fighting a cholera epidemic for several months, and was completely unsafe to visit.  The shipwrecks there would have to wait.

Just over 1500 miles southwest of Kwajalein there had been another major Japanese Naval stronghold.  Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, on the island of New Britain, had been to the south Pacific what Truk had been to the central Pacific, the main Japanese Naval Base and fleet anchorage.  Rabaul didn't have a vast sunken fleet like the one at Truk, but it did have enough accessable shipwrecks to be worth a visit.

And so, in July of 1983, I spent 9 days at the small, volcano ringed town of Rabaul, P.N.G.  I made 8 wreck dives on 3 ships and an airplane, and 6 dives on the incredible reefs near Rabaul.


The Wrecks at Rabaul

The Hakkai Maru

The Nonga Biplane


Peter Miller, of Rabaul Dive and Tour Services PTY. arranged all of my diving, and was my dive buddy on some of the dives.  I also dove with Kathy Allen, Sid and Monica Foster, Peter Ruxton, Craig Chase, Gino Tonchich, Marilyn Moore, two British guys from a copra freighter docked at Rabaul, and Debbie, Kim, and Charles, whose last names I never wrote down.


Back to my Shipwreck Page