Apra Harbour in Guam, a US island territory in the north Pacific ocean, holds many shipwrecks in its depths – the most famous of which are neighbouring “twin wrecks” from the two world wars. German merchant ship SMS Cormoran sunk in 1917 lies alongside Japanese passenger-cargo ship Tokai Maru, destroyed in 1943. The sunken warships are only part of Apra Harbour’s intrigue. There’s even a sunken Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and an American tanker, flag and all, that has turned into an artificial reef.
I have been diving for close to 11 years around the world, from the Maldives to most of the east-Asian belt and the Andaman islands, and I have never seen an ocean as deep, scary and beautiful as the Pacific. During our dives, the visibility of the ocean even with the bad weather, was fantastic. From deep to shallow dives, the blue was stunning to dive in. However, due to overfishing, the sea life has deteriorated. One of the dive staff told me about the large numbers of sharks and rays in the Blue Hole, Guam’s signature natural feature dive, but I saw no fish. I got to a point where I was photographing abstract bubble patterns out of sheer frustration.
The coral life is stunning and if fishing is controlled for a few years, Guam will regain some of its marine life; people are fighting to protect the coast. Let’s hope for the best.
Shot on the Tokai Maru, a Japanese ship from World War II. The kind of Coca-Cola bottle pictured here isn’t manufactured anymore. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
A glass fish swims out of the coral. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
The Blue Hole is one of Guam’s most popular dive sites. About seven years ago, this hole would have been filled with shark and manta ray. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
The cockpit and wing of a Japanese “Val” Bomber, the kind of plane that was used to bomb Pearl Harbour during World War II. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
Bubbles exhaled by a fellow diver. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
Divers encounter a number of bulldozers like this one, that have been dumped off the coast. It’s interesting to see how the ocean makes everything its own, covering manmade objects with algae, coral and other aquamarine life. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
Fascinated by the variety of coral shapes, such as these phallic forms. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
Photo: Rohan Shrestha
I was diving with Anees Adenwala, founder of the Orca Dive Club in Mumbai and one of India’s best scubadivers, who has helped me with my underwater photography. Photo: Rohan Shrestha
is a professional photographer based in Mumbai. He is also a professional scuba diver and a passionate conservationist and travel enthusiast.
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