Type 97 light tank, Nippo Maru, Chuuk lagoon (Truk) [144K]

This Type 97 light tank rests at a depth of 120 feet on the deck of the Nippo Maru, one of nearly 50 famed World War II Japanese shipwrecks at Truk lagoon, part of Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia. The Nippo was sunk on February 17, 1944 during a surprise attack by the American Task Force 58 entitled "Operation Hailstorm".

Wreck diving is an entirely separate dive discipline, with a different type of appeal. A good reef dive may involve diving to only 60 feet to see the majority of the corals and animal life. Wrecks may be over 80 feet tall, at depths so great they cannot be seen from 50 feet below the surface. Generally the colors are bland because of the light filtration with depth and the fact that only the outer structure accommodates soft corals and other reef life; the inside of a wreck almost certainly has no current and the water is so clear it's as though it were air. Combining the experience of pitch darkness inside a wreck, pierced only by your light beam, with the unfamiliar surroundings, and the absolutely eerie, deep rumbling sound of your bubbles echoing off the metal walls is an unforgettable experience.

Truk is considered to be the world's premier wreck diving location. The pristine condition of the wrecks,  the fact that many were only recently discovered, and the protection they are offered by the government of Chuuk State are all factors that contribute to the exceptional quality of the diving there.

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