Truk/Chuuk Lagoon Trip Report.
On the 31st March 2011 seven divers from Sydney made a trip to Chuuk Lagoon located in the Federated States of Micronesia
February 17th and 18th 1944, the US navy conducted operation Hailstorm a coordinated and concentrated attack on the Imperial Japanese Navy. What was then a battle zone is now a world renowned location for the best diving in the world
Members of the team were due to arrive in Cairns via varies airlines, so it was decided we would meet up and relax in the pool bar of the Colonial Hotel until the midnight flight to Guam. Once the team had arrived pizza and beer were enjoyed and the discussion of what to dive was a hot topic of conversation. A big thanks to Gary who made a detailed book of the numerous wrecks and the dive sites that were on offer once we arrived in Chuuk.
Departure time arrived and it was a good job we had booked a mini-bus! One thing 7 divers do not do it travel light. Check in was a rather uncomplicated process until Rob L decided to try and explain what a re-breather was to the check in girl. From memory he was the last one to get a boarding card!
The flight was uneventful, and we arrived in Guam at about 04.30. A couple of members of the team splashed out and enjoyed the lounge but most just set up camp in a corner of the airport and went to sleep.The Guam to Chuuk flight was only 1.30hrs and we successfully arrived in Chuuk on the morning of the 1st April.
We were met by the dive master and the employees of Blue Lagoon Dive Centre and loaded on to bus, the road to the resort was filled with very large pot holes it took 45mins to travel 3km, Ben commented it was like this last time! We safely arrived at the Blue Lagoon resort which was going to be our base for the next 8 days. The adventure had started.
The first dive of many was the Fujikawa. What a site, and well worth the time it took to get to Chuuk.If this was the starting wreck then it could only get better.
The next 7 days were spent diving the most fantastic wrecks I have ever seen. It would take hours to write about them all, but to name a few of the most favourite wrecks in the group would be the Aikoko Maru, Nippo Maru, San Fancisco Maru, Rio De Janeiro. The diving in Chuuk is all about wrecks. There is some coral and fish life but not much, visability is good mostly 20mts - 30mts, water temp is a constant 29degs c (even at 50mts I have the photos to prove it!) with little or no currents. It seems every wreck has an engine room, sake bottles, shoes and a gun somewhere (bow,stern or both) . The dive guides were also able to bring out a few bones and skull, it brought home the destruction and loss of life that happened in this lagoon.
The dive guides and boat men were great. How they found the wrecks without any navigation devices was excellent. I must mention their gas blender, how he managed to mix the correct amount and the correct % on that device was nothing short of a miracle.
The deeper the wrecks the better, in my opinion. My notable favourite were the San Francisco and the Aikoko Maru. Great dives, great visibility and some really interesting things to see. Couple that with warm water, cold beer and great company it was a great trip!
I could go on about the other dives and the hotel, however the best advice I can give is to take some holiday and go there you will not regret it. The place and the diving is just fantastic!
The team was comprised of the following members.
Gary - I must remember to remove my hat when I am indoors and safety gas is not to be used to remember where you come from!
Ben - The only bloke that can get away looking like the silver surfer and chief camera man. What weight was your hand luggage?
Mike - His wetsuit needs to come with a goverment health warning or radioactive stickers and it's a good job he had some engineers on the trip!
Rob L - Showed his femimine side by having a pink dive bag and gloves! and always early for everything! He also had the smallest gas bill for the week.
Stanley - The gentleman of the group, but swims like a fish, and was small enough to fit in the ships bath tubs. Photos to prove it.
Sam - Was always there with his video camera when you did not want to be (We are yet to see the footage)
Jonathan - Who put the group together, and could not stop eating the tuna sushi. It was a great team and I would do it again tomorrow. Thanks for coming along!
Thanks to all the team for making the trip a memorable one! and the closing comment must go to Mike.....................Chuuk Lagoon is like Disney Land for divers
PS If anyone is interested................Chuuk part 2...............April 2013