Thursday, 16 May 2019 16:45

Dive Palau - the Wreck of Jake Seaplane

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Wreck of Jake Seaplane Palau Wreck of Jake Seaplane Palau Anatoly Beloshchin

Jake Seaplane in Palau is a very easy dive site, suitable as well for snorkelers - the plane is visible from the surface. It is one of the sites most scuba divers want to visit to take underwater photos with their dive buddies being underwater models around the wreck. In the following video, our photo & video Pro Udi will give you a short introduction to the dive site. To get more details please read our dive site description until the end. We have a booking link for you, concluding this blog, in case you wish to book one of our Palau Best Price Dive Packages and explore Jake Sea Plane Palau yourself :-)

History of Palau's Jake Seaplane

This slow-flying reconnaissance seaplane is one of a few JAKEs on Palau and it is very well preserved. It was spotted from the surface by a Palauan fisherman in 1994, he informed Mandy and Shallum Etpison, owners of Neco Marine dive shop. Together with Paul Tzimolis and Gerry Merphy from Skin Diver Magazine they were the first to dive and photograph it. The plane apparently crashed during takeoff or landing after the engines had stopped. Note that the propellers are straight if the airplane hit the water while the engine was running the props would have bent! On impact, the tail section, the engine and one of the pontoons broke away. The tail section and the missing pontoon can be found about 20 feet (6.1 meters) north of the plane. They are difficult to find because they are now covered with thick layers of coral and marine growth. 

Infographic of the wreck of jake seaplane in Palau Micronesia
From "Diving & Snorkeling Guide Palau" by Navot & Tova Bornovski

Jake Sea Plane Specifications 

Type: Aichi E13A-1 Japanese Navy Seaplane (Allied code name: JAKE)

Engine: Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 fourteen (14) cylinder air-cooled radial engine

Length: 37.875 feet (11.3 meters)

Wingspan: 47.6 feet (14.5 meters)

Crew: Three

Underwater photo of Jake Seaplane Palau
Jake Seaplane Palau by Anatoly Beloshchin

Before WWII, the Japanese built two (2) seaplane bases on Palau. The largest base serviced the Kawanishi flying boats (Allied code name: EMILY) and can still be seen today; the Palau Pacific Resort is built on the foundation of this old seaplane base. The SPLASH dive shop is erected on top of the taxiway. The metal tie-down rings still exist where those large seaplanes were moored on the southeast side of the hotel and under the lookout hut. Meyuns Sea Plane Ramp is the other seaplane base and was home to the JAKE seaplanes.

Underwater photo of Jake Seaplane Palau
Jake Seaplane Palau by Anatoly Beloshchin

Location &  Distance from Koror

The wreck is northwest of Palau Pacific Resort, 500 yards west of Meyuns Seaplane Ramp, a five (5) minute boat ride from most dive shops in Koror.

Visibility during Diving & Snorkeling

Usually 60-90 feet (20-30 m). It is highly recommended to dive this wreck during high tide for the best visibility.

This dive site is a suitable site for novice divers

Diving Depth Summary

The plane is resting in 45 feet (15 m) of water. The plane is upright, the starboard wing is bent downward at a 30-degree angle and the engine is broken off from the fuselage.

Currents: None.

Reef Formation at Jake Seaplane Wreck Palau

The plane is resting in about 45 feet (15 m) on a large coral head. The reef slopes up from 120 foot (40 m) sandy bottom. Corals found here include Staghorn, Lettuce, Brain, and Table as well as many varieties of soft corals. 

Underwater photo of Jake Seaplane Palau
Jake Seaplane Palau by Anatoly Beloshchin

Marine Life & Underwater Photography

After visiting the seaplane, time and air permitting, take the opportunity to explore the area. Octopus, Cuttlefish (Sepia sp.), Nudibranchs and colorful tropical fishes abound among the corals. Due to the shallow depth and clarity of the water, the seaplane is a photographers paradise. 

Diving the Wreck of Jake Seaplane Palau

Visibility is usually excellent. The wreck can be clearly seen from the surface. Many artifacts still exist inside and around this seaplane, such as radios, ammunition and a small bomb inside the cockpit to the right of the aft seat. Please do not take any artifacts. On this dive site, as well as with all ship and plane wrecks in Palau waters, live ammunition can be found. A word of caution: DO NOT PICK UP ANY AMMUNITION!!! Due to the age of the bullets, bombs, and mortars, etc. these pieces of history are very unstable and can explode. Jake Seaplane Palau is a very easy and popular site for night dives.

Conclusions of Diving Jake Sea Plane Palau

Jake Seaplane Palau is an easy site, suitable for all divers and for snorkelers. It is perfect for night dives and Fluo Diving. You can book your Palau dive adventure here with us - choose one of our Palau Best Price Dive Packages - click here for more information and booking.

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Tova Harel Bornovski

Tova Harel Bornovski is an icon in Palau’s business community. She is director of the 5* PADI IDC & Diving Center Fish ’n Fins and the Ocean Hunter Fleet. Tova is the president of the Micronesian Shark Foundation and a very dedicated force in environmental & shark conservation in Micronesia. She is a highly experienced diver and since 2013 a member of the Women Diver Hall of Fame. Connect with Tova on Facebook.

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