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Ocean Hunter III - Dive Sites - Jake Seaplane
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Location: Northwest of Palau Pacific Resort, 500 yards west of Meyuns Seaplane Ramp.
Distance from Koror: A five (5) minute boat ride from most dive shops in Koror.
Visibility: Usually 60-90 feet (20-30 m). It is highly recommended to dive this wreck during high tide for the best visibility.
Level of Diving Experience: Novice.
Diving Depth Summary: The plane is resting in 45 feet (15 m) of water. The plane is upright, the starboard wing is bent downward at a 30-degree angle and the engine is broken off from the fuselage.
Type: Aichi E13A-1 Japanese Navy Seaplane (Allied code name: JAKE).
Engine: Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 fourteen (14) cylinder air-cooled radial engine.
Length: 37.875 feet (11.3 meters).
Wingspan: 47.6 feet (14.5 meters).
This slow flying reconnaissance seaplane is one of a few JAKEs on Palau and it is very well preserved. It was spotted from the surface by a Palauan fisherman in 1994, he informed Mandy and Shallum Etpison, owners of Neco Marine dive shop. Together with Paul Tzimolis and Gerry Merphy from Skin Diver Magazine they were the first to dive and photograph it. The plane apparently crashed during takeoff or landing after the engines had stopped. Note that the propellers are straight, if the airplane hit the water while the engine was running the props would have bent! On impact the tail section, the engine and one of the pontoons broke away. The tail section and the missing pontoon can be found about 20 feet (6.1 meters) north of the plane. They are difficult to find because they are now covered with thick layers of coral and marine growth.
Reef Formation: The plane is resting in about 45 feet (15 m) on a large coral head. The reef slopes up from 120 foot (40 m) sandy bottom. Corals found here include Stag horn, Lettuce, Brain and Table as well as many varieties of soft corals.
Marine life: After visiting the seaplane, time and air permitting, take the opportunity to explore the area. Octopus, Cuttlefish (Sepia sp.), Nudibranchs and colorful tropical fishes abound among the corals. Due to the shallow depth and clarity of the water the seaplane is a photographers paradise.
Diving: Visibility is usually excellent. The wreck can be clearly seen from the surface. Many artifacts still exist inside and around this seaplane, such as: radios, ammunition and a small bomb inside the cockpit to the right of the aft seat. Please do not take any artifacts. On this dive site, as well as with all ship and plane wrecks in Palau waters, live ammunition can be found. A word of caution: DO NOT PICK UP ANY AMMUNITION!!! Due to the age of the bullets, bombs and mortars, etc. these pieces of history are very unstable and can explode. Night diving: This is a very easy and popular night dive.
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Fascinating Facts: Before WWII, the Japanese built two (2) seaplane bases on Palau. The largest base serviced the Kawanishi flying boats (Allied code name: EMILY) and can still be seen today; the Palau Pacific Resort is built on the foundation of this old seaplane base. The SPLASH dive shop is erected on top of the taxiway. The metal tie-down rings still exist where those large seaplanes were moored on the southeast side of the hotel and under the lookout hut. Meyuns Sea Plane Ramp is the other seaplane base and was home to the JAKE seaplanes.
Tiefe: 12 m. Intaktes Wasserflugzeug (bombe, Funk etc. sind erhalten). Japanische Aichi E13A Navy Typ 0 Kampfwasserflugzeug.
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To explore Ocean Hunter III, see the menus at top and left. For small group diving in comfort, Ocean Hunter I can be found here. Or to explore Palau see the links below.