DIVE LOG inc Sportdiving Magazine

THE PLANES T HE Solomon Islands has some of the richest coral reefs in the world. Making up the eastern corner of the ‘Coral Triangle’ divers exploring the reefs of this island paradise will find coral gardens, walls and caves decorated with beautiful corals and a wonderful array of marine life. But for all is beauty, the coral reefs are not the major dive attraction in the Solomon Islands as this destination is a wreck divers paradise, a legacy of World War II. thousands of men, women and children killed, and countless planes and ships destroyed. Today many of these shipwrecks and plane wrecks can be explored by divers, making the Solomon Islands one of richest dive destinations in the world. During World War II the skies above the Solomon Islands were filled with Japanese and Allied fighter planes, dive bombers, float planes and flying fortresses, battling for control of the air, sea and land. Hundreds of planes were lost in fierce battles around the Solomon Islands, and while many of these planes disappeared in dense jungle or deep water, a number crashed in shallow water and today provide Text and photos by Nigel Marsh www.nigelmarshphotography.com WAR WRECKS OF THE SOLOMON ISLANDS

A view of the cockpit of the Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless Dive Bomber.

The Solomon Islands were a peaceful island paradise until dragged in World War II when the Japanese military armada hit the islands in May 1942. They planned to use the islands as a stepping stone to invade Vanuatu and Fiji in an attempt to isolate Australia and New Zealand from the USA. But things didn’t quite go to plan for the Japanese with the Allied forces striking back in August 1942. Over the next year dozens of battles took place on land, sea and air which pushed the Japanese out of the Solomon Islands. This was Japan’s first defeat of World War II and was seen as the turning point of the war in the Pacific. But it didn’t come without cost, with

Cockpit controls of the B17 Bomber found off Honiara.

A school of snapper swarm under the B17 Bomber.

| DIVE LOG Australasia inc. Sportdiving Magazine | JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 378 | www.divelog.net.au 24

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