February 11, 1943: A U.S. Army intelligence team catches a ride out to the site of the wrecked Japanese submarine I-1, sunk the previous week by a couple of small New Zealand Navy corvettes, HMNZS Kiwi (T-102) and HMNZS Moa (T-233). This is the first opportunity for the Americans to examine the wreck, and the first for the Americans to examine a fleet Japanese submarine up close during WWII. The ride is the 77-foot Elco Motor Torpedo Boat PT-65. The last Japanese had evacuated the island but four days previously. The submarine was driven ashore inside of Mary Shoal and stranded off Veuru Village at Cape Esperance (Vuvunga). [NARA 111-SC-166454].
January 12, 1999: Low cloud obscures the top of Cape Esperance at the Western end of Guadalcanal. The bow of the submarine now begins 25 feet below the surface and the wreck has been severely damaged by salvage operators. Australian Cyril Ashton, employing diver Wally Gibbins, began salvage in 1967. A series of explosive charges shattered the submarine and opened it up to access the non-ferrous metals. Salvage ended in the early 1970’s. A sad fate for the only accessible and very intact Imperial Navy submarine in the South Pacific.