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Wake, Wilkes and Peale Island are three small coral atolls unfortunately prohibited for diving tourism by the Americans since 2008.

Name Dive Site:Wake Island
Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel
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Rated 3.0, 4 votes

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Wake Island or Wake Atoll is a series of three small atolls administered and under full control by the United States. It was renamed from San Francisco to its present name by the British discoverer Samuel Wake in 1796. The two other islands Wilkes and Peale Island are smaller and separated by a narrow channel. These were named in 1840 by an American exploration expedition under command of Titian Peale and Charles Wilkes. Its strategic location just north of the Marshall Islands and in between Guam and Midway have made it an US airbase that served for many purposes. It was used as a refueling station, emergency landing airport and as a temporary home for Vietnamese refugees in 1975 and Philippines evacuees after the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991. Wake Island was fully evacuated during the typhoon Ioke in August 2007 and has never been opened to tourists ever since.

Sights worth a visit on Wake Island are the remains of Japanese fortifications and a memorial named 98 Rock. It was placed in memory of the 98 United States POW that were forced by the Japanese to rebuild the destroyed airstrip during WWII. There used to be a 48-room hotel on Peale Island, built by Pan American Airways. They used Peale Islands in 1935 as a refueling station on its new China Clipper passenger and mail route in between San Francisco and Hongkong. Its dock and hotel are in ruins now.

Many divers and historics will know Wake Island because of the wreck of the Libelle. This German vessel named the Libelle of Bremen was en route from San Francisco to Hongkong in the year 1866 when it struck the reef. On board were several popular opera singers such as Anna Bishop and Martin Schultz which became famous as a diamond merchant. They stranded on Wake Island and together with their captain Tobias, they decided to sail to Guam were they made international fame. Wake Island is also known as it was taken by the Japanese on the same day as Pearl Harbor but fortunately with much less casualties.

Its rich, crowded and colorful underwater world, its shallow reefs and its blue lagoon makes one of the best diving locations in the world. We all have to wait when it opens again for tourism, giving Mother Nature time to improve these already fantastic coral barrier reefs.



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