shipwreck: (c) Iain Crampton welcome to truk: (c) Iain Crampton

Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon - Micronesia, July 2017

A lifetime ambition in diving achieved!

Two weeks of utterly amazing diving in the tropical waters of Truk Lagoon. Situated in the Feredated States of Micronesia and taking 4 flights and two days to get there from the UK, Truk is a wreck diver's paradise. Today, truk is a sleepy coral lagoon, dotted with palm covered islands, but during WW2, Truk was major Japanese naval base. Beneath the now tranquil waters, scores of shipwrecks wait to be explored.

We based ourselves at the Blue Lagoon dive centre on Weno. A very relaxed diver's hotel, with good rooms, good food (especially the japanese stuff), a very chilled out beach bar and most important a big dive centre on site. One of only two on the Island, although there are also several live-aboard dive boats moored up in the lagoon.

We did 18 dives in total, diving from small boats and with no more than 6 divers at any time, plus guide, often less. The guides located the shipwrecks with pure pilotage, no GPS, sounders or even radios on board. They have been diving the wrecks for years and know them backwards. There are so many wrecks that if another dive boat was over our chosen wreck, we'd simply move to the next one and come back later. We could do twice as many dives again and still not have dived them all.

Every single dive was excellent and with rebreathers and technical skills we were able to do long dives and visit some of the less often visited, deeper wrecks as well as those in more usual sport diving depths. You don't need a load of kit though, there were single tank divers too, enjoying the more accessible sites.

What is the diving like? It is brilliant. 70+ years of coral growth in the warm, tropical waters has encrusted the wrecks making spectacular artificial reefs. They teem with aquatic life including great shoals of large fish which is nice to see in our over-fished, coral bleaching world. The water was 29C at the surface and still 28C all the way down at 60m. Visibility varied from acceptable to excellent.

The wrecks themselves are mainly cargo ships, but they vary greatly in size, type and contents, some almost empty, whilst others are packed with the machinery of war: tanks, trucks, artillery shells and mines, aeroplanes (whole and in parts) and more. There is an oil tanker, a distillery ship packed with beer and sake bottles, a submarine tender with torpedoes and spare periscopes and others. But that is not even the most interesting part. Though they were violently sunk many of the ships still display features that are rare and wonderful to a British diver -> rows up on row of brass portholes, many still with glass intact. Ships telegraphs and helm standing on the bridge. Some even still able to move (presumably thanks to the constant use and polishing by divers) and with the face showing "FULL AHEAD" or "ALL STOP".

Truk is an amazing place and I very much hope to visit again!

See the gallery for more photos.

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