Our first Truk Lagoon wreck diving trip has been simply two weeks of wreck diving heaven – with a few sharks, eagle rays and schooling tuna thrown in for good measure. Truk Lagoon in Micronesia is a diver’s paradise with 60 or so shipwrecks dotted around a handful of islands at depths ranging from 10 to 60 m.
This November, our mixed group of CCR and open circuit tech divers, spent two weeks on the island of Weno to explore as much of these wrecks as possible.
One word to describe the trip: AWESOME! Whilst Truk is often billed as a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip, it soon became clear that there is much more to explore than can be packed into two weeks – even if some of our CCR team racked up nearly 35 underwater hours over 11 diving days.
The good news is that there will be a next time: we’re heading back to Truk in November 2020, once again in the capable hands of Pete Mesley’s Lust4Rust.
Frozen in time – at a huge scale
So, what’s so awesome about Truk Lagoon wreck diving? Well, where do I start … on descending along the shotline one of the first things divers often see are parts of the wrecks’ superstructure like king posts, masts or the stack before the silghouette of the hull appears, giving the diver an idea of the sheer size of the wreck they are diving. Many of these merchant ships are over 100 metres long.
Ever since they were first dived in the 1960s and 70s, the wrecks here have been under the protection of the Micronesian government, which means they are full of artifacts.
Large cargo ranging from explosives to trucks and tanks sits next to crockery and medicine bottles. There is literally something to discover at every fin kick.
Galleys leave the impression the ship’s cook has just stepped out for a moment with large pots and pans still on the stove whilst bath tubs, toilets and urinals are left in place, but now covered in silt and rust.
Engine rooms to die for – and easy penetration opportunities
True wreck diving fans love taking a look into the ‘insides’ of a ship, and this often means the engine room.
On many of the Truk wrecks, the engine rooms are accessible for divers (some require tieing in and running a line) and – simply put – they are a treasure trove of gauges, switch panels, tools and actual engines often spread across several floors.
Expert dive guides know the easiest ways in and ensure divers find their way back out also.
Sounds too intense? Not to worry, there is plenty to be explored in the open cargo holds including airplane parts, rotary engines, spare propeller parts, Sake bottles and bicycles.
Steeped in World War II history
During the second World War, Truk Lagoon was used as a naval base by the Japanese. Not only did the Imperial Japanese Navy station its fleet here; Trukese children went to Japanese school and many locals worked for the Japanese, often for small money.
The lagoon was considered the Gibraltar of the Pacific but when US forces attacked in February 1944 they found the Japanese auxiliary fleet relatively unprotected and unprepared.
Within two days the majority of the merchant ships and two destroyers as well as a number of airplanes were on the bottom of the sea. Some of the wrecks bear witness to family tragedies and divers can still see evidence of that in places. Diving these shipwrecks is about more than exploring what’s there now, it’s about reliving a part of history.
Great diving conditions
Apart from the area’s history, there are other reasons to attract divers to this part of Micronesia. 30 degrees of clear blue water, no currents to speak of due to the protection of the lagoon’s outer reef and 15 to 30 minute transfers from mainland Weno all make this an exciting and (once you’ve flown there) accessible destination to dive.
Whilst there are liveaboards in the area, we chose to stay on land and enjoy the comfort and space of Blue Lagoon Resort.
Techies were well catered for by Lust4Rust who have their own oxygen generation plant here and managed to keep open circuit and CCR divers well supplied including various Nitrox and Trimixes, sorb and dive planning advice. More about this in our next Truk Lagoon blog post.
What’s more, groups and boats were divided up depending on qualification and planned dive runtime, accommodating both anyone from recreational divers to our CCR divers heading for 3 hour dives.
Want to join us?
With all of that said, we can’t wait to go back and see (more of) these wrecks in November 2020. Contact us for more information on what’s involved and how to join.
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