Conflict in the Pacific - The Aftermath with Michael Pitts

During October we were pleased to host our first meeting in the Baptist Church Hall since before Covid lockdown (that’s 2.5 years!).  The speaker was one of our favourites, and it was his third visit. The talk was unusual in that he outlined several key incidents/battles of WWII, in the Pacific, so it was more a history lesson at times!

Michael took us on a tour of the Coral Seas, Midway Island, the Solomon Islands and Northern Borneo, all of which experienced some of the fiercest fighting between Japanese, US and local soldiers. All the ship and aircraft wrecks were in relatively shallow water, so Michael and his colleagues were able to dive and film them inside and out. The theme was the same for all the wrecks: nature has reclaimed and colonised the victims of the war.


Squirrel fish, Midway Islands
Giant clam, Palau
Pink Anemone Fish, Chuuck Lagoon

Wrecks were festooned with many species of coral, forming artificial reefs, supporting a wealth of marine life, including crab-eyed gobies, moray eels, groupers, 6-barred coral trout, banner fish, sponge crabs, and pink anemone fish.

Photo: Moorish Idol at the wreck of the Nippo Maru, Chuuk Lagoon

He also managed to film an extremely rare event - coral mass spawning - which happens only once per year. Multiple species of coral synchronise the release of vast quantities of egg and sperm over a few days following the full moon.

Photo: Spearfisherman on wreck of Japanese WWII ship 'Kasi Maru' sunk in 1944, Shortland Is. Solomon Islands
We felt very privileged that Michael could share his experiences with us, not least because he was flying to Nepal early the following morning, for Himalayan trekking and filming!
Dave Sage
All photos:  Copyright Michael Pitts and
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