SS Mauna Loa and USAT Meigs
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Current weather nearby
- Broken clouds
- Temperature: 25 °C
- Wind: Northeast, 14.8 km/h
- Pressure: 1007 hPa
- Rel. Humidity: 89 %
- Visibility: 10 km
10.7 km North-Northeast
Wed, 11/07/2012 - 17:30
It’d be hard to talk about the S.S. Mauna Lao and the Army Transport Meigs in Darwin Harbor, Australia without a little background. Don’t look for some huge United States Navy ships docked at Darwin Harbor, because they’re actually under the water.
The Mauna Loa and the Meigs were one of eight ships that were sunk on February 19, 1942 in the bombing of Darwin (so named after Charles Darwin). Thankfully, none of its 37 crew and seven passengers were injured in the Japanese air raid.
Long before the Mauna Loa was a dive site off the Australian coast, it was originally the SS West Conob when it commissioned back in 1919; and then the SS Golden Eagle in 1928. It took its current name from a Hawaiian volcano in 1934, serving as supply ship to the Philippines before the Second World War.
Now, the only way you’re able to see the SS Mauna Lao and the Meigs is to dive, but beware. This stretch of water in Australia’s Northern Territory is subjected to box jellyfish from October through May; and Saltwater Crocs are known to haunt these waters all year long. But, the risk might be worth the reward as these old Navy vessels make an amazing artificial reef.
Between dives check out the East Point Military Museum which highlights the history of the Japanese raids. You could also get in some fishing, as Darwin Harbor is a fisherman’s paradise.
Then there’s always a good party going on, like the Beer-can Regatta with racing boats made entirely of beer cans. Or, the Darwin Cup; a horse racing event on the 1st Monday of August.
Because Australia is known for monsoons from October to April, most visitors come when the weather’s a bit drier (and cooler) from April to September. At best, you’ll avoid the jellyfish; get to watch a beer can race, and see the regal SS Mauna Loa and Meigs--so long as you’re willing to dive for it.