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Kevin V. Denlay
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Kevin V. Denlay
About / Bio
Kevin has been passionately involved in deep shipwreck exploration since his 1995 participation in the very first scuba dive on the USS Atlanta, a light cruiser sunk in 1942 in 130 metres of water off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. In 1996, 97 and 98 he lead or co-lead yearly expeditions of ever increasing duration to the wreck site, extensively video surveying the wreck in detail with a team of like minded divers. (See the following re the 97 expedition-

Kevin has also been actively engaged in diving and exploring countless shipwrecks around the world in such diverse locations and environments as Australia, Bikini Atoll, Baltic Sea, Guam, Java Sea, Malacca Strait, Papua New Guinea, Red Sea, Solomon Islands, South China Sea and the USA. Kevin is also an experienced cave diver and has dived caves in Finland, Fiji, Mexico, Solomon Islands and the USA. Closer to his home in Australia, during 2000, he was involved in the discovery of and first dives on the wreck of the SS Keilawarra, sunk in controversial circumstances in the late 1800's north of Coffs Harbour, NSW. In October 2005 he also participated in the discovery of a mid 19th century copper sheathed wooden sailing vessel off the south east Queensland coast thought to be the brig Missie.

Since 2002 Kevin’s focus though has been WWII shipwrecks in Asian waters - particularly in the Java Sea – aboard the dive vessel MV Empress during which time he has been involved in numerous ‘virgin’ shipwreck discoveries and the very first dives on such historically significant WWII warships as Hr Ms De Ruyter (Flagship of the Combined Allied Striking Force), Hr Ms Java, Hr Ms Kortenaer, HMS Electra (all lost during the Battle of the Java Sea, Feb. 27th, 1942), USS Perch (lost Java Sea March 3rd 1942), HIJMS Itsukushima (lost Java Sea 1944), HIJMS Kuma (lost Malacca Strait 1944) and numerous cargo ships and/or Japanese ‘marus’ from that same turbulent period in several of the above locations. Kevin was also involved in the 2003 discovery of the Japanese heavy cruiser HIJMS Haguro - sunk in the Malacca Strait in the last major ship to ship engagement of WWII - and made a point to extensively explore and document the wreck, making several return visits during 2004 and 2005 (and again in 2010 when he carried Explorers Club Flag #52).

In February 2007, after five years of persistent searching, he was involved in the discovery and very first dives on the famous British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (and also her consort HMS Encounter, both lost in the Java Sea during the Battle Off Bawean Island – aka the Battle South of Borneo, March 1st 1942), lauded world-wide for her heroic actions during the Battle of the River Plate in 1939. In May 2007 (carrying Explorers Club Flag #118), he participated in what is considered to date to be the most extensive and revealing torpedo damage survey (Expedition ‘Job 74’) conducted on the hulls of the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser HMS Repulse, both sunk off the east coast of Malaysia by Japanese aircraft on December 10th 1941. [See the following two web pages for the expedition report and a follow up evaluation of the expedition’s findings. Note; no 'hot link', you must copy and paste address.] (See 'Death of a Battleship, 2012 Update' at bottom of page.)

Kevin first embraced so-called ‘technical diving’ in 1991 after taking part in what was then only the second Nitrox Diver course taught recreationally in Australia, and in 1993 - after extensive training in the USA with such technical diving pioneers as Tom Mount, Bret Gilliam and Hal Watts - became the first Trimix Diver Instructor in Australia. He later trained on rebreathers with Rob Palmer and and Jeff Bozanic and went on to become a Closed Circuit Rebreather and Mixed Gas Instructor Trainer with both the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers and Technical Diving International. No longer instructing, Kevin now concentrates solely on shipwreck exploration, documenting them with both still photography and videography.

Kevin has had his photos published in books, magazines and on various web sites world wide and also writes articles for several international magazines on the wrecks he has dived/explored/discovered. He also shares his images, video footage, survey data and other relevant information with marine archaeologists, naval historians, WWII naval veterans and, whenever possible, with the few remaining survivors from the ships he has dived. Since February 1999, when diving, he has exclusively used a modernised Biomarime Mk 15.5 closed circuit rebreather and currently lives near the Gold Coast in Australia. Besides being a Fellow International in The Explorers Club, Kevin is also a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers’ Marine Forensics Committee and a founding member of the Ganges River Dolphin Eco-system Conservation Group (Nepal).
Member Type
International Fellow