Wrecks of Palau | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up! Jonathan visits the wrecks of Palau—and
it’s not just ships! Welcome to Jonathan Bird’s Blue World! The Republic of Palau is an island nation
consisting of more than 500 beautiful, unspoiled islands in the Pacific. This blue water paradise is a top destination
for scuba divers from around the world. Located 500 miles east of the Philippines
in the middle of the Pacific Ocean—Palau is not easy to reach. Julia and I traveled all the way here to spend
a week diving on the Rock Islands Aggressor, a luxury liveaboard dive yacht. We have already done some incredible dives. We have visited massive coral caverns, filmed
some shark action, seen colorful coral, huge schools of fish and dove in strong currents
with reef hooks. It might seem like we have seen it all. But there’s more. Today we are diving a Japanese shipwreck called
the Iro. Follow the mooring line down… Palau is notorious for being the site of the
bloodiest battle of the Pacific during World War II. Here, the United States and Japan fought for
control of this tiny nation in a battle that took over 2 months. 13,000 men lost their lives. Remnants of the battle are everywhere, both
above and below the water. It’s a cloudy morning as we head out to
the wreck of the Iro. But we soon forget the weather as we roll
into the warm ocean. The Iro definitely has the shape of ship but
there’s something odd about it. This ship grew a beard. Closer inspection reveals that every square
inch of the wreck is covered in a thick growth of healthy coral. Swimming across the deck at 25 meters, I pass
through superstructure that barely resembles its man-made origins. The ladder is the only giveaway. Sponges add a splash of red. Sinking into one of the cargo holds, the visibility
drops significantly due to the deterioration of the cargo, and a lack of water movement. We don’t touch anything down here because
there is a lot of live ammunition that could explode even after all this time. Good buoyancy is important. A layer of who-knows-what is suspended like
clouds near the ceiling. There are cases of sake bottles. Coil springs, and ammunition. The wood has rotted out of these barrels, leaving
just the metal hoops. There is even rope, almost 80 years old and
still intact. The Iro was a Japanese warship, 470 feet long,
that survived a sub attack and an aerial attack before finally being sunk by a 1,000 pound
bomb that hit the engine room in March of 1944. Seventy five years later, marine life has
replaced this ship’s violent past with a peaceful and benevolent existence. On the upper deck, a field of lettuce coral,
the weight of which will eventually cause the deck to collapse as it rusts away underneath. Schools of fish find safety within the protection
of a large stand of staghorn coral. You need to back up to realize this is not
a natural reef but more like a beautiful terraced garden. Soon with our air running low, we head back
to the boat. Wow! Just amazing! I mean the amount of marine life that grows
on the wrecks around here. It’s a whole different way of wreck diving….it’s
kind of like, yeah okay the wreck is pretty cool, but look at all the coral! Wow! Our dive on the Iro gave us a taste of Palau’s
wide range of wrecks, leaving us wanting more. So, at the end of our week diving with Aggressor,
we decide to stay a few more days and see a couple more wrecks. We head over to Sam’s Tours where we meet
up with local wreck expert Matt Boyle. All of Sam’s Tours’ boats are named after
sharks, and today we’re on the Silvertip. Captain Ford Castillo knows these waters like
the back of his hand. We get our gear ready. And then its time to head out. You don’t even need to go diving to enjoy
the beautiful scenery of Palau. Driving the boat between the islands is a
blast…and so picturesque. We have arrived at the wreck of the Teshio
Maru. As we head down the algae-covered mooring
line, soon the wreck comes into view. At only 24 meters maximum depth, this is one
of the shallowest wrecks in Palau, and it has pretty good visibility too. The twisted wreckage of the Teshio Maru is
fun to swim through. Matt leads the way on a tour of the wreck. Like the Iro, it has a ton of marine growth,
but the bow still looks like a ship. As I round the corner of the bow, there is
an opening in the hull that is probably a result of an explosion. Matt and I head inside. Bulkheads have rusted through, providing a
way to sneak between holds safely. We can always see the way out. In the engine room we find some kind of catwalk
and some electrical boxes. It’s difficult to determine what a lot of
this stuff was after 75 years in the ocean. We turn and head back towards the light, making
our way through the twisted remains of the hull plates. The Teshio Maru was actually washed up on
shore after the attack, but slipped into the water following a storm, tumbling, twisting
and breaking on its way down the slope to its final resting place. This is one of the things I love about wreck
diving: crawling through tight restrictions! Of course it means you get rust stains on
your wetsuit. On the end of a mast, I examine a small reef
community, complete with sponges, fish and coral, a microcosm of the Palau marine ecosystem. After a decompression stop on the mooring
line, I reluctantly head back up to the surface. We switch our gear over to fresh scuba tanks,
because we have one more wreck to explore. But first, Ford wants to show us something
cool. A cave. But this is no ordinary cave. So this was a secret Japanese seaplane base
where they would refuel their seaplanes in a cave. There’s a fuel pump over there, and a whole
bunch of barrels. And the American’s bombed it with a skip
bomb which skipped across the water and came in here and lit the whole place on fire, so
the whole thing is all burned out. Exploring this cave is a perfect surface interval
between dives. Then it’s off to our last wreck. And it’s not a ship. This is a Japanese seaplane, one of the planes
that would have refueled in the secret cave gas station. The seaplane is an Aichi E13A Japanese Navy
reconnaissance plane, powered by a 14 cylinder radial Mitsubishi engine. At only 38 feet long, it was not a large plane,
which made it perfect for spy missions. And the pontoons meant it could land and hide
anywhere in the maze of Palau’s islands. Today, the pontoons are deteriorating but
they are still easily recognizable. Because the prop is not bent, the engine was
likely not running when the plane sunk and because the canopy is open, the pilot most
likely escaped. Over time, the heavy Mitsubishi engine fell
off exposing the internals…but there isn’t much to see since marine growth has covered
everything over. There is some kind of electrical box on the
bottom next to the wreck. Swimming behind the plane, I can see that
the tail section is missing, allowing a look up inside the back of the cockpit. And I can also get a pilot’s eye view out
the windscreen. On the right wing, some kind of container,
possibly for oil. Nearby, we find the tail section, completely
overgrown in coral. Seems to me this would make a great place
for fish to hang out. A fish hanger! It’s not a very big wreck, but it’s really
cool because you can see the whole thing at once. Marine life doesn’t seem to grow on the
aluminum skin of a plane as much as it does on the steel of a shipwreck, so the plane
still looks almost ready to fly! Plane wrecks are cool, and it’s hard to
believe that that one is 70 years old. It’s so intact, the metal is still shiny. Wreck diving is one of the most exciting ways
to revisit history. The wrecks of Palau afford a unique and interesting
glimpse into one of the most significant battles of World War II. But even for divers who are more interested
in marine life, there is plenty of that on the wrecks. The ocean has an effect on all of us, but
perhaps none so significant as it does on sunken ships. It’s amazing how these weapons of war have
been transformed by the Blue World. Hey everyone! If you love Blue World and would like to help
keep this great content coming, please consider making a donation to Oceanic Research Group’s
GoFundMe campaign. We could really use your help, and every donation
makes a difference!

100 thoughts on “Wrecks of Palau | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. i gotta go to Palau, finishing essential skills course for top trim and buoyancy. I wanna dive with you guys, tag along in the trip, looks great

  2. Great episode sir it is amazing how instruments of war and destruction are now harbingers such a diversity of life. I'd read about those ships being sunk and it's interesting to see them now and what time has made of them

  3. Darn! This is art! Watching this is better than Mozart and Shakespeare. Disaster and Hope in all dimension. The tiny fish hiding in Ww2 wrecks to avoid predators. Final resting places. People who are friends going wohoo!! Exploring things like a child. Researching like professional scientists. Breathtaking. Huge thanks!

  4. A little question, wen you get oxigen, did you need to old the tube to your mouth or there is something holding it, I ask this because i want to become a scuba diver but holding the regulator( I hope that's the name of the thing that you put in your mouth to breathe) sounds kinda difficult to me.
    Plz, someone answer my question.

  5. Good vid Johnathan. From the very beginning of Blue World TV you seemed a little more like you weren't as Happy and Excited. Now in these Newer seasons you seem to be enjoying every minute of your time Diving. I love these vids, do not quit!!

  6. Hi Jonathan and the amazing BlueWorld crew!

    I am just an amateur in underwater cinematography and photography and am always amazed with the great quality of your videos (the lighting, colour, the composition, and, of course, the marine life!). I am a big fan!

    I have noticed however that lighting seems to be very challenging when we want to emphasise some subjects nearby and others far away at the same time. This seems to be because we cannot compensate for the reduction in the red colour (and other colours as you go deeper) on the subject under natural light without "messing up" the white balance for the subject illuminated with the video lights. Does it make sense? So I believe we cannot avoid one of the two situations: Either our video lights are gonna look a bit red, or the subject under natural light is gonna look a bit blue.

    I have seen an apparent solution to this "mixed light" problem using blue filters in the video lights themselves. KELDAN has such filters and call them Ambient Light filters. https://keldanlights.com/products/filters/filters-for-video-lights/filters-for-video-lights.html

    I would love to know your opinion on those? You think they have any drawbacks? Do you think it may help improve BlueWorld Videos even more?

    Thank you! all the best!

  7. One of the coolest video ever. Not just it entertains you but also educate you. Thank you for keep making videos like this, god bless to the whole team ??

  8. Fascinating!! Thanks for taking us along on such an interesting historical dive. What are the chances that you could get permission to dive the Titanic???

  9. Wow i love your video so much.beautiful images,good comments.
    I d love to do this but don t have money ..
    Anyway could you tell me what is the octopus that i ve filmed in my Channel ?
    It seems to be an O.vulgaris..but i m not sure
    Thanks

  10. Yeyheah!???
    I missed your video and your voice Sir Jonathan Bird's ?
    Huge thanks for another great and awesome adventure under the deep blue sea ? keep safe always!

  11. I'd think the bloodiest battle of the Pacific would be the Battle of Okinawa. Over 122,000 military dead plus 100,000 civilians dead

  12. Great videos as usual however, the Battle of Okinawa was the most bloody battle of the Pacific War. Palau while important, wasn’t even close. With that said, it is good video. Truk next?

  13. Dude I remember I used to watch you like 4 years ago then I lost your channel and I’ve been looking for your channel for such a long time and I just found your channel and I’m really happy. Keep up the great work

  14. Love the video but I think that Battle of Okinawa was the bloodiest battle in the Pacific during WW2. 100,000 Japanese soldiers alone were killed, around 8000 US soldiers with 30,000 + injured. If you count the people who actually lived on the island, then add another 100,000 men, women & children. I would like to see this guy go do some diving on the old island of Truk and another dive in the waters off of Rabul. 2 major bases during WW2 for the Japanese and heavily bombed and rendered useless as the war went on. There is a lot of history under the waves in those 2 locations. 🙂

  15. I so very much wish that your yt channel would reach 1M subscribers and beyond in a very near future coz you truly deserve it. So we would get to see more of these awesome vdo more often.

  16. Always beautiful footage and amazing dives! Once again, I can't wait till my next dive. Until then, I'll enjoy more of yours! Thank you!

  17. this is an awesome episode, Palau is number one on our diving places list. Thanks for reminding us by making this really nice video, keep them coming!

  18. Hey Jonathan have you ever wonder who would win between a great white shark and a saltwater crocodile, well there was this documentary about it the shark won but it is very confusing were the shark look like it was going to lose but in the end it won so I think the shark would always win what would you think?

  19. We dived the Great Barrier Reef last week and it was amazing! Thank you for inspiring me so much! I love all your videos and can’t wait to watch your next one! ❤️❤️❤️

  20. Hi Jonathon. Another absolutely stunning video….the underwater photography is beautiful to say the least!
    I ? Love the way you inter-twine the marine life with the wrecks, and show all that has come to pass over the years.
    I find it amazing that these evil machines of war have, in the end, benefitted the oceans as a spawning habitat for both plants and animals.
    ? BRAVO to you and your team for a job very well done….✌?

  21. the E13A "Jake" wasn't really used for spy missions. It was mainly used for recon and search and rescue operations, and it's typially launched from larger ships like cruisers and battleships so that is really what makes finding one here interesting. My est guess is that it was doing recon in the area during the Pelilieu landings when it was caught in the fray of battle. Probably shot down by F6F Hellcat fighters. (Ok so I just watched more of the video and the entire thing with the engine likely not running, it was probably shot down but the pilot managed to land the plane on the water and before it sank he and the gunner would've gotten their survival equipment and gotten away on a life raft) the electrical box looks to be actually a radio. tThe tail looks to have evidence of .50 caliber damage (guns of the F6F) and likely was shot off from a fighter. Yep .50 cal damage to the engine likely the cause of downing. Great video, Thanks and hello from Raleigh North Carolina

  22. I really miss this channel! <3
    And it is very relaxing. When i am sad and worried, i watch this channel!
    And i live in the philppines by the way! ^w^

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