the Third Tank

by Ed Robinson

Before the end of WWII the American military was preparing to invade Japan. Maui Island was the location of many practice beach landings using amphibious tracked vehicles that could move across the waters and then climb onto land. The coastline of South Maui is now strewn with many relics from this era including at least five (known) of these amphibious tractors or "Amtracs."

Know one knows exactly how or why these tracked vehicles ended up sinking over the reefs of Maui, but it is easy to speculate the harsh wind chop of afternoon tradewinds may have been involved. The benefit today is the numerous artificial reefs and the fish they attract.

3rd Tank

One of the most spectacular Amtrac wrecks is our dive site the "3rd Tank" which of course was misnamed by the author many years ago (Hey, I was a conscientious objector in the Army! Even though I was assigned as a medic to a tank company in Germany.) Anyway they are not tanks as was pointed out to me several years ago.

The 3rd Tank (dive site) is off Makena Beach and is surrounded by acres of sandy bottom so it has become the fish magnet of this area. Large schools of Yellow-tailed goatfish (Weke) and Blue-lined Snapper (Taape) surround the small wreck and create a spectacular tight school of flowing color.


On and around the wreck we always find local resident eels, leaf-scorpionfish, lobsters and the occasional octopus on eggs. A hundred feet from the wreck is also a bed of endemic Hawaiian Garden Eels.

This dive is a photographers dream of both wide-angle and macro photo subjects all compacted in a small area.

This dive site is available on our 3-tank Adventure and 2-tank Adventure-X dives (mainly.)

by Ed Robinson