San Francisco Maru 3D Wreck Tour - From the Depths of Truk Lagoon
Often Called "the million dollar wreck" the San Francisco Maru sank in 63m, after being hit by a 500lbs bomb whilst at the Eten Anchorage in Truk Lagoon. Its cargo consists of hundreds of ariel bombs and mines, as well as trucks and tanks.
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San Francisco Maru Photo-Map
San Francisco Maru Video
san francisco maru continued:
Built in 1919 by the Kawasaki Dockyard, The S.S. San Francisco Maru was a medium freighter for the Yamashista Kisen Line. Sunk on Febuary 18th 1944, it was hit by a 500lb bomb whilst at the Eten Anchorage, during the first day of the Operation Hailstorm airstrikes. The wreck was discovered in 1969 by Cousteau but not dived again until it was re-dicovered by Sam Redford in 1973 when the ships bell was recovered and the identity was confirmed.
Diving the Wreck
This truly impressive wreck sits in 63m/206ft of water, with the deck at 50m/164ft and the superstructure at 45m/147ft. Most dives start towards the bow of the wreck where you'll find a relatively intact 3 inch gun encrusted with colourful marine growth. Beyond this you'll find the first of the 4 main cargo holds, this hold contains aircraft bombs, crated artillery shells, smaller munitions, mines, spools of cable and mine detonators.
Heading towards midships you reach hold No2 which contains 2 tanker trucks, a flatbed truck and aircraft wheel assemblies at the rear, this hold is ideal for getting those infamous 'truk' photos. Sitting on the deck at the back of the hold are the remains of 3 Japanese Type-95 "Ha-Go" light tanks, 1 on the port side and 2 on the starboard. The Type-95 tank was built by Mitsubishi and was manned by a crew of three. It possessed ½ inch armor weighed in at 7.5 tons and carried one 37 MM main gun and 2-7MM machine guns. It was powered by a six cylinder diesel engine which could propel the tank up to 30 mph. Again this is a very photogenic area of the wreck and worth spending time exploring.
Reaching midships you'll find the skeleton structure of the bridge wing which once stood 3 stories high above the deck, passed this lies the collapsed funnel amongst the crater where the 500lb bomb hit the SFM. The aft superstructure is fairly complete with deck beams spanning both sides, with access to various compartments below. In the centre open skylights/hatches offer a tantalising window into the engine room.
Depending what kit you're using this may be as far as you can go for one dive, however, a second dive on the stern section is well worth it. Heading aft you'll reach hold No3 which has another truck toward the rear, but hold No4 is possibly more interesting as it contains torpedo warheads and bodies, as well as depth charges, mines and crates of ammunition. There are also more torpedos on the port side of the deck, along with hatch-cover beams.
The stern has 2 small deckhouses, the port side one is pretty much collapsed but the starboard one is more intact and was used for lantern storage. The stern has has a further recess/hold with deck beams and catwalks above with access to the steering apparatus below deck.