Dive Site: Catalina Wreck, Tulagi, Solomon Islands

Whole corals have had time to grow since 1943 at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

Site Overview

Site Type: Aeroplane Wreck
Depth: Top: 20MMedian: 22MBottom: 34M
Location: About 1 km south of Tulagi Island, Solomon Islands

Description

The American Catalina went down in 1943, apparently after hitting a small boat in the surface in the bay, not far from Tulagi. She sits on the bottom at about 34m the right way up, as if someone had just (badly) parked her there. Though a deepish dive, it can be done on the same trip with Tulagi Dive, as Tulagi’s Twin Tunnels. A long surface interval at the Raiders Hotel would be recommended.

The cockpit and wing with the engine mounts at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

The beauty of the wreck is that she was only discovered 3 years ago, (by the Royal Navy of New Zealand), so she’s not been stripped bare, like many other wrecks around the world (and in the Solomons).

A shot along the top of the wing at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

What you see, is pretty much what she has looked like all these years.

Photographer checking they got that shot of the propellor at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

The port engine has fallen from the wing, the cockpit appears to have snapped off the fuselage, and the tail fins are a little lopsided, but she looks like a Catalina!

Looking from the tail along the fuselage at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

The ends of both wings have fallen off, just beyond the two pontoons – the boat shaped floats that support each wing – on each side. The fuselage door is open, so you can have a look inside.

The cockpit has snapped like a broken neck at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

Likewise, because the cockpit has ‘snapped off’ (like a broken neck), you can see inside the cockpit – all in reasonable safety according to the guidelines about wreck penetration.

You can have a good look inside at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

Necessarily a shortish dive, we got 25 minutes bottom time on air, redlining within a minute of deco through the last minutes of the dive; but if you’re prepared for a short deco stop, you could stay longer.

Traversing back along the rear of the port wing at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit

25 minutes is just long enough to explore from the tail to the nose and to each wing tip; but I’d have easily stayed another 15 minutes had the deco been available.

Looks like its time to go at Catalina Wreck diving Tulagi in the Solomon Islands by Diveplanit