Monday, February 17, 2014

Gas masks, skulls and bullets: Haunting underwater World War II artefacts from ship graveyard in Chuuk Lagoon captured by British photographer.

For 70 years, they have sheltered at the bottom of a clear blue lagoon... which happens to mask the largest ship graveyard in the world. 
Now, a photographer has captured the World War Two artefacts that lie beneath the surface of Chuuk Lagoon in the Central Pacific. 
The preserved items include gas masks, human skulls and metal bullets - as well as personal photographs belonging to wartime victims.
The lagoon was Japan's main base during the war, but in 1944, U.S. forces launched a fatal attack - sinking more than 60 Japanese warships and 250 planes. 
The body of water, formally known as Truk Lagoon, is now considered to be one of the top wreck diving destinations in the world.
Photographer Super Jolly, from Wraysbury, Berkshire, described the shoot as 'one of the scariest' dives she has ever done.
'The atmosphere was really spooky,' she said. 'Seeing the piles of bones and medicine bottles on the operating table filled me with fear and provided me with some hard hitting images of the war and the importance of this memorial to all those who perished.'
The 32-year-old added: 'I wasn't expecting the ships and artefacts to be so well preserved after being underwater for almost 70 years.'
Preserved: A photographer has captured the World War Two artefacts - including a gas mask, above - that lie beneath the surface of Chuuk Lagoon in the Central Pacific
Haunting: The items include human skulls, unexploded bombs and metal bullets - as well as personal photographs belonging to wartime victims, such as the one above
In the deep: The lagoon, now formally known as Truk Lagoon, masks the largest ship graveyard in the world. Above, a set of engine controls is pictured on the seabed  
Creepy: The body of water was Japan's main base during World War Two, but in 1944, U.S. forces launched an attack. Above, an operating table lies beneath the water
Artillery: The attack on February 17 resulted in the sinking of more than 60 Japanese warships and 250 planes. Above, a collection of metal bullets rests on the seabed
Masking a secret: The clear blue lagoon is pictured as it looks today. Seventy years after the attack, the Japanese still pay their respects at the watery graves each year
Location: Chuuk lagoon is a body of water in the central Pacific. About 1800km north-east of New Guinea, it is part of Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia
Spooky: Chuuk Lagoon is now considered to be one of the top wreck diving destinations in the world. Above, several Saki bottles are pictured on the ocean floor
Wreckage: Photographer Super Jolly, from Wraysbury, Berkshire, described the incredible shoot as 'one of the scariest' dives she has ever done. Above, a telegraph
Eerie: 'The atmosphere was really spooky,' she said. 'Seeing piles of bones and medicine bottles on the operating table filled me with fear.' Above, a set of engine tubes
Operations: Ms Jolly, 32, said the deep-sea dive provided her with some 'hard hitting images' of the war - including this haunting photo of the ship's machine room
Artefacts: The 32-year-old added: 'I wasn't expecting the artefacts to be so well preserved.' Above, a medicine box (left) and a steering column (right) lie on the sea floor
 Risks: Ms Jolly said breathing in compressed air at depth can lead to 'narcotic effects' - impairing divers' judgement and sensory perception. Above, a sunken truck
Remains: She added: 'Another nitrogen related danger is decompression sickness, caused by the bodies tissues absorb nitrogen under pressure.' Above, another truck
Deadly: If the pressure underwater is rapidly reduced then bubbles can form - leading to painful joints, tissue damage, paralysis and even death. Above, a stock of bullets
Urinals: 'When exploring wrecks, there is always the danger of getting lost inside a wreck or getting tangled on something,' said Ms Jolly. Above, the officers' washroom
Put out: A lantern is pictured at the bottom of the lagoon, which is the world's largest ship graveyard. It joins an array of other artefacts from the World War Two attack
Yet to perish: Wartime items, including a Japanese newspaper (left) and dozens of undetonated bombs (right) are captured on the sea floor during the photography shoot
Deceased: Chuuk Lagoon is part of the larger Caroline Islands group, comprising eleven major islands. Above, human bones - including part of a skull - lie on the seabed
Worn: These damaged shoes are among hundreds of artefacts to have been discovered in ship wrecks following the U.S. deadly airstrike on February 17, 1944
Left behind: Small blue fish surround a a pair of spanners that are resting atop a container - believed to be a tool box - beneath the surface of the tropical lagoon
Source: DailyMail