In January 1944 the San Francisco Maru was berthed at Yokosuka loading military hardware, destined to Truk Lagoon for fortification against an anticipated land assault by the Allies. She carried a cargo of small Type 95 Ha-Go tanks, trucks, bulldozers, hemispherical beach mines, ammunition, aircraft bombs, aircraft engines and Long Lance torpedoes. Arriving at Truk on 5th February 1944, she remained at anchor south east of Dublon Island while her other convoy vessels departed on the 12th. On 17th February, a number of Allied aircraft attacked the San Francisco Maru and was hit by a number of 500lbs bombs on 18th from Essex Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers and was set on fire amidships. One bomb hit her starboard side hull close to hold 5, leaving a large gash from her water level, causing the aft section of decking to collapse. Another bomb hit port side of hold 4, deforming the shell and bringing down the mast. With such catastrophic damage, water flooded into these aft holds to drag her down by the stern to settle at 63 metres to the seabed of the lagoon.

Two skiffs left the Blue Lagoon this morning to the Million Dollar Wreck, also known as the San Francisco Maru. My buddies today were Mick, Ossie and Dave under supervision of dive guide Rio. It was a loose knit affair, being Ossie and Dave were on single ali 11’s with a rich Nitrox mix, while Mick and I were on a lower mix.

As we descended the shot, Ossie and Dave had to hang around the 40m mark as they simply were unable to dive any deeper as their gas was not filled correctly. That left Rio, Mick and me. Again Rio and Mick on singles, with Rio carrying a bailout. I was on twin ali 11’s with 22% and a 7 stage of 78%. Probably not the best dive planning, but hey ho!

Rio, Mick and I hit the deck around 45m there was a Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go tank, just there! A few snaps for me please. We then headed towards the bow and could see divers from the other boat swimming between the holds, with “I want to be with them” thoughts spinning in my mind. At the bow, it was a u-turn and back to the shot for the ascent. Time now was a mere 10m20s, but then and probably pretty narked, I saw one of the spherical mines just below. It was a short duck dive a few more metres and ‘snap’ another photo for the archive.

As we ascended, there were no real stops per se as Rio was already on his way and Mick was close behind. With just a few of minutes of deco, I switched to my 78% at 10m and made the new gas selection on my Shearwater. However, not the Suunto for some strange reason.

And then I noticed it, a huge red ERROR warning. Not that I was worried at the time as the Shearwater was the primary. But here’s the rub and what has bothered me. Not withstanding my failure to gas switch or maybe I didn’t make the appropriate deep stop that the Suunto may have flagged, why would a dive computer simply fail with an error while still in the dive?

Back on the surface, the Suunto penalised me with a “no dive” notification for 24 hours.

This San Francisco Maru was my deepest dive to date at 50m. Would certainly welcome the opportunity to dive her again and next time, a little more prepared with a planned buddy team.