|American Wreck |
The American Wreck has a rich and tragic history, having been capsized during the WWII era with the loss of 9 lives.
Diving about The American Wreck fills divers with a sense of sadness at the devastation caused by the mine which literally blasted the US Navy mine sweeper out of the water and broke it in half on 8 June 1945.
The poignant feelings heighten when one comes across the plaque listing the names of the 9 servicemen who perished. The plaque designed by Dick and Wayne Shafer was placed on the wreck by members of the Brunei Sub Aqua Diving Club (BSADC) in 2007.
The journey back in time is complete with the sightings of bullet clips, depth chargers, wire bottles and canon artefacts still left intact at this tangled mass of a shipwreck.
The Australian Wreck provides a very atmospheric dive thanks to the combination of the less than 10-metre visibility, rich coral growth, the skeletal remains of the ship, her tragic end and reputation to be haunted.
Originally a Dutch cargo and passenger steamer built in 1890, it was scuttled by the Dutch during WWII to prevent the Japanese from using it. The enterprising Japanese, however, managed to salvage it, renamed it ‘Imbari Maru' and put it to service as a cargo vessel.
Fleeing Borneo towards Manila, she hit a mine and sunk 23km southwest of Labuan in 1944. Originally believed to be struck by a bomb from the Australian air force, the name stuck till today. 339 people lost their lives including many female prisoners (comfort women) as the Japanese took to the life boats.
Some divers believe the wreck to be haunted by the ghosts of these tortured souls. Who knows, sightings of a lady in flowing white robes weaving through the ship may very well be the resident marbled ray. Only one way to find out – dive and see for yourself!
Blue Water Wreck
The Blue Water Wreck (Mabini Padre) is a large Philippines fishing trawler, which caught fire and sank in 1981 with no loss of lives.
Named after the crystal clear blue waters she resides upon, the wreck does not suffer much from inshore murk - benefits from being the furthest from the coast.
On a good day, a 40-metre visibility is possible. The completely intact vessel with masts lies on its side and is further enhanced by an abundance of marine life – guaranteeing an interesting experience for wreck divers.
Of the four wrecks of Labuan, the Cement Wreck is the shallowest with its super structure rising to 19m and the way it sits makes it the easiest to pass through and great for wreck diving training for beginners.
Offering stunning underwater views with its top half covered by a coral garden and being home a wide variety of colourful marine creatures, the Cement Wreck also give rare whale shark sightings to lucky divers.
It received its peculiar name because it sank while transporting cement to Brunei for the construction of the Sultan's new palace. Fondly known as the perfect shipwreck for the upright way that it sits on the sea bed, the wreck is stunningly beautiful with its top half covered by a garden of soft and hard corals, sponges and ferns; and the schools of small barracudas and playful batfish hovering about the mast.