The USS Emmons
|Level:||No less than 30 dives|
|Meeting time:||8am at Piranha Divers in Onna Village|
|Trip duration:||2 dives – approximately 7 hours (includes a lunch break)|
|Main attractions:||The wreck of the USS Emmons|
|Location:||Kouri Island, northern Okinawa|
An exceptional wreck dive to a virtually intact WWII warship and a reminder of the brutal battle of Okinawa that signaled the end game of the Pacific War.
A little history…
The USS Emmons (DD-457/DMS-22) started life as a Gleaves-class destroyer in the summer of 1941, but was converted in 1944 to serve as a minesweeper and tasked with clearing Okinawa's coastal waters of sea mines.
It was during this ill-fated mission that it was attacked and hit by 5 kamikaze planes within a two-minute span and suffered crippling damage that prevented it from being manoeuvred. With fires blazing and ammunition exploding the ship had to be abandoned, suffering a loss of 60 crew members as well as 77 wounded, and sunk by its own navy to prevent it falling into the Japanese military’s hands.
And this is where the story ended on April 7th, 1945, until its rediscovery in 2001.
The resting place…
The USS Emmons rests 45m/150ft down off the coast of Kouri Island and is a 15-minute boat ride that gives you a fantastic view of Okinawa’s beautiful north, known as Yanbaru in Okinawan, all the way up to Cape Hedo.
Doing the diving…
The trip includes 2 dives each to a depth of 40m/130ft and a shore break in between to have lunch, eat ice cream, and relax in the sun.
During the dives you’ll swim the ship’s entire length of 106m/348ft from the outside. And you’ll also get to see a nearby engine block from a Japanese kamikaze plane as well as other war wreckage scattered around.
We do single tank diving with a safety tank hanging from the boat at 5–8m/15-20ft of depth. We also always carry an emergency O2 cylinder on the boat and the nearest decompression chamber is located in Nago.