Wrecks Being Wrecks
The Fujikawa Maru
Text and Image by ©Mike Gerken
Date Taken: April 2007
Location: Truk Lagoon, Chuuk, FSM
Camera: Nikon D200
Shipwrecks get there name for a reason. They're wrecked. Ships sink to the bottom of the oceans, lakes and rivers and there they will stay to slowly deteriorate. Preservation efforts can slow the process but time always wins.
The Fujikawa Maru in Truk Lagoon is a wreck that is showing signs of age. Sunk on Feb 17, 1944 the Fuji has been deteriorating for 75 years. Being one of the most popular dives in Truk only sped up the effort due to increased diver traffic.
The photo highlighted here was taken in early 2007 and depicts the ghostly upper engine room prior to its collapse sometime around 2013 (but don't quote me on that year). This scene is no longer there and only photography was able to preserve it.
The Wrecks of Truk Lagoon have been getting press in recent years about their degradation and the tragedy of this occurrence. I agree that it is a shame that parts of some of the wrecks have collapsed but, they are doing what wrecks do; they fall apart. None of us should be shocked.
Don't get me wrong, I am an advocate for wreck preservation and believe in minimal impact diving. I touch the wrecks as little as possible and encourage others to do the same. In addition, in the 15 years I have been working here, I have never removed a single artifact. For me, it is about taking photos and leaving the wrecks as I found them. I do what I can to assist in maintaining this underwater museum for as long as possible however, my pragmatic side understands that nature is going to win. In the meantime, I will keep photographing and documenting shipwrecks for the purpose of posterity and enjoy myself while doing so. I think you should do the same.
Epilogue: The Fujikawa, like all the wrecks in Truk are still awing divers both repeat and first time visitors. They still have much to offer.
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