Morotai is one of Indonesia’s northern most islands that located in the border within the Pacific Ocean and the Philippines. Morotai’s waters can be considered as a Historical Underwater Site. The story goes back to the World War II where in July 1944, General Douglas MacArthur, the commander of the South West Pacific Area, selected the undeveloped island as the location for air bases and naval facilities needed to support the liberation of Mindanao. The island was soon facing a rapid development into a major military base as the pre-invasion plans called for the construction of three large airstrips within forty five days, accommodation and supply facilities for 60,000 air force and army personnel, a 1,900-bed hospital, bulk fuel storage and handling installations and ship docking facilities.
Being the base for the Pacific War, Morotai is now left with war remnants around the island, such as caves, runway, as well as war artifacts like aircrafts, tanks, soldiers’ knick knack, and even Coca Cola bottles from the 40s. The island blessed with a strategic location indeed, if the US used Morotai as base of leap frog strategy to attack Japanese troops in the Philippines, while Indonesia in Trikora operation used it to attack Dutch colonial troops in Biak Island, West Papua Province.
Morotai can be reached through Ternate, where you have two options to continue your journey. By Land, you can start from Ternate to Sofifi, and then continue to Tobelo before arriving in Morotai. If you opt to fly, there is direct flight from Ternate to Morotai, but at time of this writing the flight schedule has not been properly set. The World War II remnants nestled on the seabed are the main attraction for divers. Lapangan Pante is a dive site located in front of ex-World War II airport nearby Wama Village on the south Morotai. The dive site is such an ‘underwater World War II museum’ where divers can explore aircrafts, trucks, and tanks.
The truck wreck is laying on 30m deep, meanwhile the aircraft wreck sits on 40m deep. Around the aircraft wreck, assumed as a Bristol Beaufort type, an Australian made fighter aircraft used by the Royal Australian Air Force during the WW II, there are trucks and other dispersed scraps.
On the shallow water, around 15m deep, there are attractive fringing reefs where the marine biotas live. Morotai’s underwater is a combination of the nature prolonged life cycle and the history of mankind. Around Morotai there are several islands boast its white sand beaches collide with turquoise blue water, which is slowly turns dark blue as the sea goes deeper.