The wreckage of a World War II American amphibious plane lies scattered on the bottom of a lagoon in these remote, Indian Ocean islands, 27 specks of paradise between Western Australia and Sri Lanka that are better known for shark diving. The plane's most intact pieces are her two propellers, which stand straight up on the sandy bottom in crystal-blue water. After more than 60 years in only 15 feet of water, the props are completely overgrown with hard corals, making for an ideal shallow dive.
These amphibious planes were frequently used in World War II in both search and rescue and combat missions. This plane crashed in 1945 after her pilot severely miscalculated the wind speed on final approach to a nearby base. Only five of the 14 passengers survived the crash.
|In these waters, off Indonesia's back porch, you'll find a few wrecks, more than 100 species of hard and soft corals, dolphins, mantas, the endemic pygmy angelfish and even hybrids of parrotfish, wrasse and surgeonfish. To get here, prepare for a (very) long haul, mate. Perth (PER) is the sole major gateway to Cocos (CCK). Qantas flies to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane nonstop from Los Angeles; nonstop to Sydney from San Francisco and one-stop to Sydney from New York's JFK International, before connecting flights to Perth. The airline's round-trip fares to Perth begin at $1,584 from Los Angeles, $1,635 from San Francisco and about $1,800 from JFK. Australian carrier National Jet offers service between Perth and Cocos in either direction on Mondays and Fridays. Perth to Cocos flights stop first in Learmonth, Western Australia, and Christmas Island. Round-trip fares are $1,072. Because of the infrequent flights to Cocos, book your flights well in advance. For more details, visit cocos-tourism.cc.|