The F6F Hellcat was a crucial aircraft in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Sadly, more than 300 of these aircraft found a final resting place in the Hawaiian archipelago. Today, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and its partners -- like XL Catlin Seaview Survey -- are able to survey and document these historic wrecks, many of which now act as artificial reefs. Learn more about a recent survey in our video. #EarthIsBlue Naval History & Heritage Command
During the Second World War, the F6F Hellcat was responsible for over 75% of air victories in the Pacific Theater for the US Navy. Over 300 of these aircraft would find a final resting place in the Hawaiian Island archipelago.
Today, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and its partners are surveying sites with cutting edge technology in an effort to document the historic resting places for these aircraft and other casualties of the past. We’re here in the sanctuary today, here in Mā'alaea Bay on the Island of Maui to do some dives to document a historic plane wreck.
A lot of these wreck sites end up becoming their own artificial reefs, attracting a whole host of fish and coral recruitment. We took a lot of photographs using a camera from a partner of ours – XL Catlin SeaView. We took these photos that are going to be 360-degree photos, several of them around the plane so we could create an underwater virtual tour of this heritage wreck site.
These wreck sites are important to share with the public because they’re one of the most under appreciated treasures of the sanctuary here in Maui. So check our website for this information or any other projects we’re working on: sanctuaries.noaa.gov or hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.