The Tufi wharf was originally established by the Australian New Guinea Administration based at Tufi prior to WW2 and was expanded and began operations as an advance US navy PT Boat base in December 1942.Conducting operations as far north as the Huon Gulf harassing Japanese shipping supply lines.for several months eventually notching up many successful missions. Soon after the front line became too distant and the base relocated to the Huon Gulf and the base resorted to being a rear support base for the allied forces.
There is a large amount of wreckage and debris from the destruction of two PT Boats (PT67 and PT119)and a small Australian freighter on the sea bed just if the wharf. All three vessels exploded during a refueling mishap during the war. Several 50 calibre anti-aircraft machine guns and ammunition scatter the sea floor.
One of the highlights of this dive is a perfectly good ol’ Landrover … The secret of how it got to be ‘parked’ there so neatly will be revealed after you complete this dive!
This is a decompression dive with max depth 45m. Deco stops are compulsory and a surface interval of 4 hours is mandatory before the second dive.
Assigned into 35th FG September 17, 1942. The 17th Provisional Pursuit Squadron was re-formed (the original 17PS served in the Philippines) by General Kenney at Amberley in November 1942.
On the 8th of January 1943 this aircraft was one of 12 conducting raids on shipping in the Lae area when 5 Japanese Zeros intercepted them. Pistoff ‘s right engine was hit badly and damaged but her pilot 1st L Lett managed to escape from the attacking Zeros and head soui
Rather than attempting the treacherous climb over the Owen Stanley ranges to Port Moresby with a damaged aircraft Lett determined a ditching near Wanigela was a better option. The aircraft ditched safely with only one minor injury. All the crew were rescued by a the local villagers and later evacuated to Port Moresby.'
The aircraft is in good condition considering with most things still intact. Weather conditions make this dive difficult at times but worth the effort when conditions prevail.
The WWII US “B17 Bomber, nicknamed “Black Jack”, was built in Seattle on July 23, 1942 at a cost of US$314,109. Originally assigned to Capt. Kenneth McCullar who nick named the bomber Black Jack because the aircraft serial number ended in “21”, The right-hand side of the nose had two playing cards painted on it: Jack and Ace making 21 in Blackjack poker. The aircraft ditched into the sea on July 11 1943 after conducting a raid over Rabaul, on its return it was caught in a violent storm and with two malfunctioning engines it veered from course, was lost and eventually ran out of fuel.
Discovered on December 27, 1986 near Boga Boga of Cape Vogel, Black Jack’s nose was torn and crumpled when it impacted the bottom. The rest of the bomber is in excellent condition. The waist guns and radio transmitters were jettisoned prior to the crash but all other weapons and gear are present.
After descending down a submerged mooring buoy, the diver is immediately greeted by a large school of very big batfish. Because this wreck is seldom dived they are not afraid of divers and come within touching distance. Below them are large schools of pelagic and various varieties of sharks.
The Bomber is in 45m depth on a white sandy bottom luckily and not far from deep water that would most likely resulted in the wreckage never being discovered. Bottom time is brief whilst diving and a special dive profile with compulsory safety stops is required, followed by a minimum surface interval of 4 hrs. Because of its location and long distance from base there is an extra cost involved in diving this wreck.
Only experienced divers with appropriate certification should attempt this dive.