atest Report:- Shipwreck ‘Akela’ found.
Discovered:- 29 April 2008
We’ve just returned from two US charters organized by Richie and Carrie Kohler.
Our first crew were from New Jersey – used to diving cold water and strong currents so Thailand was going be easy for them.
We started with a wreck we knew, the Nanmei No5 Maru and then moved on to a mark we hoped was going to be the Araosan Maru. We found a large freighter sitting upright but she was a bit too new to be a WW2 Maru.
Dan Bartone, skipper of Independence II, an Atlantic wreck diving boat, lifted the telegraph made in a Dutch yard in the 1950’s. Evan , Deep Sea Detective cameraman, found the bell marked ‘Akela’ – his first. According to the NJ divers it’s tradition to kiss the captain’s arse if you want to keep a bell – a tradition which MV Trident will try and preserve.
After 4 dives on the Akela ,pictured above, we moved on to one of our favorite wrecks , the Tottori Maru for 4 more dives and one more telegraph, and then back overnight to Samui.
Two days later we picked up our second charter, a group of divers mostly from the Great Lakes, and Alberto- all the way from Mexico.
After an overnight steam we arrived at our newly found Seacrest wreck, and tied into the moon pool at 50m an easy entry in to the wreck. After only one dive on a ‘nearly virgin ‘ wreck, the group decided to gamble and try a new mark 50nm further east – a ‘real virgin’, but a good chance of missing a lot of dives if it turned out to be nothing.
This mark was nearer to the Hardhead’s position of Araosan Maru, the farthest we’ve been east and the first time into Cambodian waters.
We arrived at 8pm and after a brief search hit a large target on the sounder. First thing in the morning we tied onto a huge upright freighter, wheelhouse amidships, five levels of accommodation, telegraph, helm all in place – but again, post war. We have no ID for this one so we’re going to call her SS Carrie, after Carrie Kohler . Yet another telegraph told us this was an Asian vessel, I think made in Japan, operated by Taiwan or Hong Kong.
After two days here we dropped into see the Tottori Maru again and had some great dives. Richie and Evan made a positive ID of the Tottori by finding the name on the bow. On the last day we were visited by a very friendly whale shark to help break up the deco – a first for the Great Lakes lads.
In total we completed 260 deco dives, all 70m plus, mostly CCR. We steamed 560nmiles, breathed 90,000L of Helium, 120,000L of Oxygen, used 200K of sodasorb and drank 40 cases of Heineken.
On the last day we picked up two new marks for the Araosan, one of them only a few miles from Hardhead’s mark, next time we’ll get her, I’m sure.