Scuba Diving Guam’s WW2 Shipwrecks and Reefs


Scuba Diving Guam’s WW2 Shipwrecks and Reefs

Diving into Guam’s vibrant underwater world is like unlocking a hidden treasure chest. As an avid scuba diver, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to explore the haunting remnants of World War II shipwrecks and the stunning beauty of the coral reefs. Join me on this unforgettable adventure as we delve into the history, planning, and must-visit sites of scuba diving in Guam. Get ready to immerse yourself in a world unlike any other.

Key Takeaways

  • Guam’s shipwrecks are remnants of the Pacific War and showcase the island’s involvement in World War II.
  • The coral reefs surrounding Guam are incredibly biodiverse and in need of conservation efforts to protect fragile ecosystems.
  • Marine protected areas and coral gardening are important conservation efforts to restore damaged reefs and enhance biodiversity.
  • When planning a scuba diving adventure in Guam, it is essential to research dive sites, check weather conditions, and ensure scuba diving gear is in good condition.

The History of Guam’s WW2 Shipwrecks

I’ve always been fascinated by the history of Guam’s WW2 shipwrecks. As a scuba diver, exploring these underwater relics and learning about their stories is a thrilling experience. Guam, a small island in the Pacific, played a significant role during the Pacific War, and its waters are now home to numerous sunken treasures.

During World War II, Guam was captured by the Japanese and held for two and a half years. The American forces eventually reclaimed the island in 1944, but not without intense fighting and heavy casualties. The remnants of this brutal conflict lie beneath the surface of the surrounding waters, waiting to be discovered by adventurous divers like myself.

The shipwrecks in Guam serve as poignant reminders of the Pacific War history. One notable wreck is the SMS Cormoran II, a German merchant vessel that was interned in Guam at the start of the war. When the Japanese invaded, the crew scuttled the ship to prevent its capture. Today, it rests in Apra Harbor, with its bow just beneath the surface, a haunting sight to behold.

Another famous wreck is the Tokai Maru, a Japanese freighter that was sunk during the Battle of Guam. It now rests in shallow waters, allowing divers to explore its cargo holds and witness firsthand the remnants of war.

As I descend into the depths and swim among these shipwrecks, I am filled with a sense of awe and reverence. Each vessel tells a unique story of sacrifice, bravery, and the devastating effects of war. Exploring Guam’s WW2 shipwrecks is not just a thrilling adventure but also an opportunity to honor the history and remember those who fought and lost their lives in the Pacific War.

Exploring the Coral Reefs of Guam

As I swam through the crystal-clear waters surrounding Guam, I was amazed by the incredible biodiversity of the coral reefs. The vibrant colors and intricate formations of the coral were a sight to behold. However, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of urgency to protect these fragile ecosystems, as conservation efforts are crucial to preserving the beauty and impact of Guam’s reefs for future generations.

Biodiversity in Guam’s Reefs

Exploring the coral reefs of Guam, I was amazed by the abundant marine biodiversity that thrives in these pristine underwater ecosystems. The reefs of Guam are teeming with life, showcasing the incredible diversity of marine species that call these waters home. Here are some fascinating facts about the biodiversity in Guam’s reefs:

  1. Rich Coral Species: Guam’s reefs boast a wide variety of coral species, including vibrant hard corals, soft corals, and colorful sea fans. These corals provide essential habitats for countless marine organisms.

  2. Colorful Fish: The reefs are populated by a kaleidoscope of fish species, ranging from tiny colorful gobies to majestic reef sharks. Diving among them is like swimming in a living aquarium.

  3. Unique Invertebrates: Guam’s reefs are also home to a plethora of unique invertebrates, such as delicate sea anemones, graceful sea stars, and fascinating nudibranchs. Their intricate forms and vibrant colors add to the reef’s beauty.

  4. Threatened by Coral Bleaching: However, these incredible ecosystems face the threat of coral bleaching due to rising sea temperatures. Marine conservation efforts are crucial to protect Guam’s reefs and preserve their biodiversity for future generations.

Exploring Guam’s reefs is a reminder of the importance of marine conservation and the urgent need to address the challenges of coral bleaching.

Conservation Efforts and Impact

What impact do conservation efforts have on the coral reefs of Guam as I explore the WW2 shipwrecks and reefs while scuba diving?

Conservation efforts play a crucial role in preserving the delicate ecosystem of Guam’s coral reefs. As I dive into the depths, I witness firsthand the positive effects of these efforts. The table below highlights some of the conservation initiatives and their environmental impact:

Conservation Efforts Environmental Impact
Marine protected areas Protecting coral reefs from overfishing and destructive practices
Coral gardening Restoring damaged coral reefs and promoting their growth
Education and awareness programs Encouraging responsible diving practices and reducing pollution
Water quality monitoring Ensuring the reefs are not affected by harmful pollutants
Restoration of native species Enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem resilience

Planning Your Scuba Diving Adventure

When I planned my scuba diving adventure in Guam, I made sure to research the best dive sites and check the weather conditions. Planning a scuba diving trip requires careful consideration to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some important planning considerations and scuba diving gear that you should keep in mind before embarking on your underwater adventure:

  1. Research dive sites: Guam offers a variety of dive sites, including World War II shipwrecks and colorful coral reefs. Each site has its own unique features and difficulty levels. Researching the dive sites beforehand will help you choose the ones that match your diving experience and interests.

  2. Check weather conditions: Weather conditions can greatly impact your scuba diving experience. Strong currents, rough seas, or poor visibility can make diving unsafe or less enjoyable. Check weather forecasts and consult local dive operators to ensure favorable conditions during your planned dive dates.

  3. Plan your dive itinerary: Create a dive itinerary based on the number of days you have available and the dive sites you want to explore. Consider factors such as surface intervals, dive depths, and transportation between dive sites. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure a well-organized diving adventure.

  4. Prepare your scuba diving gear: Before your trip, ensure that your scuba diving gear is in good working condition. Inspect your regulator, BCD, dive computer, and other equipment to ensure they are functioning properly. If you don’t own your own gear, research dive operators that provide rental equipment and ensure their gear meets your safety standards.

Best Time to Dive in Guam

After carefully planning my scuba diving adventure in Guam, I wanted to find out the best time to dive in order to ensure optimal conditions for exploring the World War II shipwrecks and vibrant coral reefs. Guam, located in the western Pacific Ocean, offers excellent diving opportunities throughout the year. However, there are certain months that are considered the best for diving.

The best months to dive in Guam are from December to April. During this time, the weather is generally dry and the water temperature is comfortable, ranging from 77 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 29 degrees Celsius). These conditions provide excellent visibility and make it ideal for exploring the popular dive sites in Guam.

One of the most popular dive sites in Guam is the SMS Cormoran II. This German shipwreck from World War II lies just off the coast of Apra Harbor and is home to a variety of marine life. Another popular dive site is the Blue Hole, a natural limestone sinkhole teeming with colorful coral and fish.

In addition to the shipwrecks, Guam boasts beautiful coral reefs that are worth exploring. The Tumon Bay Marine Preserve is a popular spot for divers, with its diverse marine ecosystem and crystal-clear waters. Other popular dive sites include Gab Gab Beach, Fish Eye Marine Park, and Agat Bay.

Must-Visit Shipwreck Sites in Guam

One popular shipwreck site in Guam that must be visited is the SMS Cormoran II. As an avid diver, I highly recommend exploring this fascinating piece of history. Here are four reasons why shipwreck diving in Guam is a must for any underwater exploration enthusiast:

  1. Rich World War II history: The SMS Cormoran II, a German naval ship scuttled in 1917, serves as a poignant reminder of Guam’s involvement in World War II. As you dive down to the wreck, you can witness firsthand the remnants of this historic event and gain a deeper understanding of the island’s past.

  2. Abundant marine life: The shipwrecks in Guam provide an artificial reef system that has become home to a plethora of marine creatures. From vibrant coral formations to tropical fish, you’ll be amazed by the biodiversity that thrives in these underwater habitats.

  3. Unique diving experience: Shipwreck diving offers a unique opportunity to explore the hidden depths and corridors of sunken vessels. As you navigate through the wreckage, you’ll feel a sense of adventure and discovery, making each dive an unforgettable experience.

  4. Perfect for all skill levels: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, Guam’s shipwreck sites cater to divers of all skill levels. There are wrecks at varying depths, allowing novice divers to explore shallower parts while advanced divers can venture deeper into the wreckage.

Discovering Marine Life in Guam’s Waters

I encountered a diverse array of marine life while exploring Guam’s waters. The vibrant underwater world teemed with colorful fish, stunning coral formations, and fascinating creatures. It was a mesmerizing experience that left me in awe of the beauty and biodiversity of this unique ecosystem.

During my dives, I had the opportunity to observe and document the marine life using underwater photography techniques. Capturing the essence of these underwater wonders was both challenging and rewarding. I learned how to adjust my camera settings to capture the vibrant colors and intricate details of the coral reefs and the marine creatures that called them home.

In my encounters, I witnessed the importance of marine conservation in preserving these fragile ecosystems. Guam’s waters are home to various endangered species, such as sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins. It is crucial to protect their habitats and ensure their survival for future generations.

To give you a glimpse of the marine life I encountered, here is a table showcasing some of the fascinating creatures I came across:

Marine Life Description
Clownfish Vibrant orange fish with white stripes, often found hiding among anemones.
Giant Clams Massive bivalve mollusks that can reach impressive sizes and display stunning colors.
Moray Eels Long, slender fish with sharp teeth and a snakelike appearance. They often hide in crevices.
Parrotfish Colorful fish with beak-like mouths that graze on coral reefs, helping to keep them healthy.
Seahorses Small, delicate creatures with horse-like heads and curled tails. They are excellent at camouflage.

Exploring Guam’s waters allowed me to appreciate the incredible diversity of marine life and the importance of preserving their habitats through responsible scuba diving practices and marine conservation efforts.

Safety Tips for Scuba Diving in Guam

When it comes to scuba diving in Guam, safety should always be the top priority. One of the most important safety tips is effective communication with your dive buddy. Maintaining clear and constant communication underwater can help prevent accidents and ensure a smooth and enjoyable dive. Another crucial aspect of safety is regularly checking and maintaining your diving equipment. A thorough equipment maintenance checklist should be followed before every dive to ensure that everything is in proper working order.

Dive Buddy Communication

Effective communication with your dive buddy is crucial for ensuring safety while scuba diving in Guam. Underwater, verbal communication is not possible, so divers rely on a system of hand signals to communicate with each other. Here are four important underwater hand signals to remember:

  1. OK Sign: Form a circle with your thumb and index finger and extend the other three fingers. This signal indicates that you are okay and ready to continue the dive.

  2. Stop Sign: Hold your hand up with the palm facing outwards. This signal means to stop and wait for the buddy to catch up or address an issue.

  3. Ascend/Descend Sign: Point your index finger upward or downward to indicate the need to ascend or descend.

  4. Out of Air Sign: Tap the top of your head with your open palm. This signal alerts your buddy that you are out of air and need assistance.

Equipment Maintenance Checklist

To ensure a safe scuba diving experience in Guam, it is essential to regularly check and maintain your scuba diving equipment. Proper equipment maintenance is crucial for the longevity and reliability of your gear, as well as your safety underwater. Start by inspecting your gear before each dive, ensuring that all components are in good working condition. Check the tank for any leaks or damage, and ensure the valve is secure. Examine the regulator for any signs of wear or malfunction, and test the air flow. Inspect the BCD for any tears or leaks, and test the inflator and dump valves. Lastly, check your mask, fins, and snorkel for any damage or wear. By following this equipment maintenance checklist and practicing regular scuba gear care, you can dive confidently and enjoy the stunning underwater world of Guam.

Equipment Needed for Guam Diving

During my dives in Guam, I rely on essential scuba diving equipment to explore the WW2 shipwrecks and vibrant reefs. Having the right gear not only ensures my safety but also enhances my experience underwater. Here are four items of diving gear that are crucial for diving in Guam:

  1. Mask and Snorkel: A good quality mask with a comfortable fit is essential for clear vision underwater. It should have a tight seal to prevent water from entering. A snorkel allows me to conserve air while on the surface, making it easier to observe marine life and take in the stunning views.

  2. Regulator: This device allows me to breathe underwater by converting the high-pressure air in my tank into breathable air. It is important to have a reliable and well-maintained regulator that provides a smooth and consistent flow of air.

  3. BCD (Buoyancy Control Device): The BCD helps me control my buoyancy and stay at the desired depth. It also provides a place to attach other equipment, such as an underwater camera for capturing breathtaking moments while exploring Guam’s underwater wonders.

  4. Dive Computer: A dive computer is an essential piece of equipment that tracks important information such as depth, time, and decompression limits. It helps me plan and monitor my dives, ensuring that I stay within safe limits and avoid decompression sickness.

In addition to these essential items, underwater photography enthusiasts like me also need specialized equipment such as underwater cameras, strobes, and lenses to capture the beauty of Guam’s marine life. These tools allow me to document my dives and share the incredible underwater world with others.

Scuba Diving Certification Requirements

For divers exploring Guam’s WW2 shipwrecks and vibrant reefs, possessing a scuba diving certification is a crucial requirement. Scuba diving training and the certification process are essential to ensure the safety and competence of divers in this exhilarating underwater adventure.

To obtain a scuba diving certification, aspiring divers must first enroll in a scuba diving training course. These courses are offered by certified scuba diving agencies, such as PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) or SSI (Scuba Schools International). The courses typically consist of theoretical knowledge development, confined water training, and open water dives. During the theoretical portion, divers learn about dive planning, equipment use and maintenance, diving physics, and decompression sickness. The confined water training allows divers to practice essential skills in a controlled environment, while the open water dives provide the opportunity to apply these skills in real diving scenarios.

Once the training is complete, divers must pass a final examination and meet the performance requirements set by the certifying agency. These requirements may differ slightly between agencies, but they all aim to ensure that divers possess the necessary knowledge and skills to dive safely.

After successfully completing the training and passing the examination, divers are awarded a scuba diving certification. This certification is recognized worldwide and allows divers to rent scuba equipment, join guided dives, and explore the underwater wonders of Guam’s shipwrecks and reefs.

Guided Vs. Independent Diving in Guam

When diving in Guam, there are distinct advantages to choosing guided dives over diving independently. As someone who has experienced both types of diving in Guam, I can confidently say that guided dives offer a more rewarding and safe experience. Here are four reasons why guided dives are the way to go:

  1. Expert Knowledge: When you opt for a guided dive, you benefit from the expertise of experienced dive professionals who are familiar with the local dive sites. They have extensive knowledge of the underwater landscape, including the best spots to explore and the marine life you can expect to encounter. This knowledge enhances your diving experience and ensures that you don’t miss out on any hidden gems.

  2. Safety and Support: Guided dives provide an added layer of safety. The dive guides are trained to handle emergencies and can provide assistance if any issues arise during the dive. They also offer a sense of security, especially for less experienced divers, as they can rely on the guidance and support of the dive professionals throughout the dive.

  3. Access to Exclusive Sites: Some of the best dive sites in Guam are only accessible through guided dives. These exclusive sites often have unique features, such as World War II shipwrecks, that can’t be explored independently. By choosing a guided dive, you gain access to these extraordinary underwater wonders and get to witness the rich history and vibrant marine life that they hold.

  4. Convenience and Equipment: Guided dives often include the rental of diving equipment, saving you the hassle of bringing your own gear or having to rent it separately. Additionally, the dive operators take care of logistical details, such as transportation to and from the dive sites, allowing you to focus solely on enjoying your dive.

While independent diving may have its advantages, such as the freedom to explore at your own pace, the benefits of guided dives in Guam outweigh them. With expert knowledge, safety and support, access to exclusive sites, and added convenience, guided dives offer an unparalleled diving experience in Guam.

Photography and Videography Tips for Underwater Exploration

When it comes to capturing stunning underwater images, mastering lighting techniques is crucial. Finding the right balance of natural and artificial light can make all the difference in your photographs. Additionally, understanding ideal camera settings for underwater photography will help you capture sharp and vibrant images. Lastly, choosing the right equipment, such as a camera with a wide-angle lens and a sturdy underwater housing, will ensure you have the tools necessary to capture the beauty of Guam’s shipwrecks and reefs.

Lighting Techniques for Underwater Photography

To capture stunning underwater photographs, I rely on effective lighting techniques. Here are some underwater lighting techniques and photography tips that I use to enhance the quality of my underwater images:

  1. Use strobes or underwater flash: Strobes help to illuminate the subject and bring out its colors, even in low light conditions. They also help to reduce backscatter and create a more balanced exposure.

  2. Position your strobes correctly: To avoid harsh shadows and create a more natural look, position your strobes at different angles. This will help to create depth and dimension in your images.

  3. Experiment with different types of lighting: Play around with ambient light, artificial light sources, and even natural light rays to create unique and visually appealing effects.

  4. Consider the color temperature: Underwater lighting can affect the color temperature of your images. Use color correction filters or adjust the white balance settings on your camera to maintain accurate and vibrant colors.

Ideal Camera Settings

Continuing from my previous discussion on lighting techniques for underwater photography, I now delve into the ideal camera settings and provide photography and videography tips for underwater exploration. When it comes to capturing the beauty of the underwater world, having the right camera settings is crucial. First and foremost, make sure to set your camera to its highest resolution and shoot in RAW format to capture the finest details. Adjusting the white balance to match the water conditions will help maintain accurate colors in your images. Additionally, using a fast shutter speed will freeze the motion of the marine life, allowing you to capture sharp and vibrant images. Experiment with different aperture settings to achieve the desired depth of field and focus on capturing unique angles that showcase the marine life in their natural habitat. Remember, the ideal camera settings will vary depending on the specific conditions and subjects you encounter underwater.

Choosing the Right Equipment

For underwater exploration, it is essential to choose the right equipment for photography and videography. To ensure a successful and enjoyable experience, here are some tips for equipment maintenance and scuba gear selection:

  1. Invest in a reliable underwater camera or video system that suits your needs and skill level. Consider factors like image quality, ease of use, and durability.
  2. Regularly clean and inspect your equipment to prevent damage and maintain optimum performance. Rinse your gear with fresh water after each dive and store it in a dry, cool place.
  3. Don’t forget to carry spare batteries, memory cards, and other essential accessories to avoid running out of power or storage space during your dives.
  4. Lastly, consult with experienced divers or professionals to get recommendations and advice on the best equipment options for underwater photography and videography.

Finding Accommodations Near Dive Sites

Where can I find accommodations near the dive sites in Guam? When planning a scuba diving trip to Guam, it is essential to find the right accommodations that are conveniently located near the dive sites. Luckily, there are several accommodation options available that cater to divers and provide easy access to the underwater wonders of Guam. Here is a table highlighting some of the popular accommodation options and their proximity to the dive sites:

Accommodation Location Distance to Dive Sites
Tumon Bay Resorts Tumon Bay 5-10 minutes
Agana Hotels Agana 15-20 minutes
Tamuning Apartments Tamuning 10-15 minutes
Yona Beach Villas Yona 20-25 minutes

Tumon Bay Resorts, located in the heart of Guam’s tourist district, offers a range of luxurious hotels and resorts just a short 5-10 minute drive from the dive sites. Agana Hotels, situated in the capital city of Agana, provide a convenient 15-20 minute commute to the dive sites. For those seeking a more affordable option, Tamuning Apartments offer comfortable accommodations within a 10-15 minute drive. Lastly, Yona Beach Villas, located in the tranquil village of Yona, provide a peaceful retreat with a 20-25 minute commute to the dive sites.

In terms of transportation options, most accommodations provide shuttle services or can assist in arranging transportation to the dive sites. Additionally, rental car services are readily available on the island, allowing divers the flexibility to explore Guam’s dive sites at their own pace.

Local Cuisine and Cultural Experiences in Guam

When it comes to exploring Guam’s local cuisine and cultural experiences, there are a few key points to consider. First, traditional Chamorro dishes offer a unique and delicious taste of the island’s heritage, with favorites like kelaguen and red rice. Additionally, Guam is known for its vibrant cultural festivals and events, which provide an opportunity to immerse oneself in the island’s rich traditions and customs.

Traditional Chamorro Dishes

I love indulging in the rich flavors of traditional Chamorro dishes, experiencing the local cuisine and cultural traditions of Guam firsthand. Chamorro cooking techniques are deeply rooted in the island’s history and heritage. Here are some traditional ingredients used in Chamorro dishes:

  1. Red rice: Made by cooking rice with achote seeds, giving it a vibrant red color and a slightly nutty flavor.

  2. Chicken kelaguen: A popular dish made with grilled chicken, lemon juice, onions, and hot peppers, all finely chopped and mixed together.

  3. Kadon pika: A spicy stew made with meat, usually pork or chicken, cooked with coconut milk, onions, garlic, and a variety of local spices.

  4. Titiyas: These are corn or rice flour tortillas, often served with Chamorro barbecue or as a side dish with other main courses.

Exploring the local cuisine of Guam allows you to not only taste the delicious flavors but also connect with the island’s cultural heritage.

Cultural Festivals and Events

One of my favorite cultural festivals in Guam is the annual Chamorro Village Night Market, where locals and tourists gather to indulge in delicious local cuisine and experience traditional Chamorro dances and music. This vibrant event showcases the rich cultural traditions of the Chamorro people and offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Guam’s indigenous heritage. As I explore the bustling market, I am captivated by the vibrant colors and intricate designs of the indigenous crafts on display. From handmade jewelry to woven baskets, these exquisite creations reflect the skill and creativity of the local artisans. The festival not only provides a platform for showcasing Guam’s diverse culinary delights but also serves as a celebration of the island’s artistic talents, creating an unforgettable cultural experience for all who attend.

Other Watersports and Activities in Guam

During my recent visit to Guam, I enjoyed engaging in various watersports and activities beyond scuba diving, such as snorkeling and jet skiing. Guam offers a plethora of exciting water adventures and beach activities that cater to every thrill-seeking individual. Here are four thrilling activities you can indulge in during your visit to this beautiful island:

  1. Parasailing: Soar high above the sparkling blue waters of Guam while being towed by a speedboat. Feel the adrenaline rush as you take in breathtaking views of the island’s stunning coastline and vibrant marine life below.

  2. Stand-up Paddleboarding: Grab a paddle and navigate the calm waters while standing on a sturdy board. Explore the hidden coves and pristine beaches at your own pace and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the ocean.

  3. Kayaking: Hop into a kayak and paddle your way through Guam’s crystal-clear lagoons. Discover hidden caves, secluded beaches, and vibrant coral reefs as you immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty.

  4. Banana Boat Rides: Gather your friends or family and hop on a banana boat for a thrilling ride across the waves. Hold on tight and enjoy the laughter and excitement as the boat bounces and twists, creating unforgettable memories.

Whether you prefer the tranquility of paddleboarding or the exhilaration of parasailing, Guam offers a wide range of water-based activities that will leave you with lasting memories. So, make sure to add these thrilling adventures to your itinerary and make the most of your time in this tropical paradise.

Preserving Guam’s Underwater Heritage

Continuing the exploration of Guam’s watersports and activities, I now turn to the important topic of preserving the underwater heritage of this remarkable island. Guam’s rich history and diverse marine ecosystems make it a prime location for underwater archaeology and the protection of its marine resources through designated marine protected areas.

Underwater archaeology plays a crucial role in uncovering Guam’s past. The island’s waters are home to numerous World War II shipwrecks, which provide valuable insights into the events that took place during the war. These wrecks serve as reminders of Guam’s significant historical contributions and deserve our utmost respect and preservation. By conducting careful research and documentation, underwater archaeologists can piece together the stories behind these wrecks, shedding light on the island’s history and honoring the sacrifices made by those who served.

In addition to the preservation of historical artifacts, Guam’s marine protected areas are essential for safeguarding its underwater ecosystems. These designated areas are established to conserve and protect marine life, allowing them to thrive undisturbed. By restricting certain activities like fishing or anchoring, these areas ensure the long-term sustainability of Guam’s marine resources. They also create opportunities for sustainable tourism and education, allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty and importance of Guam’s underwater world while minimizing any negative impact on the environment.

Preserving Guam’s underwater heritage is not only a responsibility but also a way to ensure the island’s future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from its rich history and diverse marine ecosystems. Through underwater archaeology and the establishment of marine protected areas, we can protect Guam’s underwater heritage for years to come, while promoting sustainable practices and responsible tourism. Let us cherish and preserve this remarkable island’s underwater treasures.

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