A Trukking Good Time
Blog by Becks Henze
I was offered the amazing opportunity to travel to Truk Lagoon and dive the WWII wrecks. I would have been crazy to say no so I said “yes” and flew out to Chuuk at the end of April. Before I went I read a bit about Truk Lagoon so I thought I knew what to expect but the articles and photos don’t do it justice. It was an amazing trip and the wrecks were stunning! I would be so bold as to say the best wrecks I have ever dived and the also the best diving I have done.
I flew out on Friday 28th April and we arrived on Sunday 30th April. The flights taken took me through Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, Guam and finally Chuuk. The connections between each flight were simple and I had plenty of time between each flight so there was no worrying about missing connections (which nobody wants when travelling). There were 10 other divers also on the trip (mainly dive centre owners) so between connections, we met up and got to know each other. The Cruise Director picked us up from Chuuk airport and we were introduced to the Captain once we boarded the boat. While eating pizza (which had been laid on for us, a nice touch) we were shown to our cabins (of which my buddy and I had the most spacious), taken through what we would be doing the following day, completed documentation (handing in passports, showing cert cards etc) and finally we set up our kit for the following day before heading to bed. I did have a look at a couple of the other cabins and although they were smaller than the one I was in they were still nice and I would have been very happy in any one of them.
In addition to the comfortable cabins, the food was marvellous. For breakfast there was a nice selection of hot and cold food (cereal, fruit, toast, bacon, sausages, eggs – cooked to order), lunch was always a good choice of three or four things and we had a snack in the afternoon along with a three-course dinner. The three main meals were served as a buffet and having few choices meant that mealtimes were never boring and always something for everyone. The snack was served and left in the dining room for us to devour. I think I came away from the trip heavier than when I went!
On the Monday morning following the safety drills, we were split into 2 diving groups, Portside and Starboard side. There were two great guides on board who between them had over 10 years experience of diving the wrecks in the lagoon, each was assigned to a group.
The dives were briefed by the Cruise Director or the Captain The dive briefings were very good, they included a diagram of the wreck, a bit of history about the wreck and points of interest (of which the guides can easily direct you to and point out). The captain was also incredibly knowledgeable and could provide any extra information (if needed/requested).
Each night the plan for the following day was written up so we could see beforehand what we would be doing the following day. I found this helpful especially as there were books on board so I could read about the wrecks we would be diving the following day.
Diving 4 dives a day on some of the best wrecks in the world over 6 days in 29/30 degree water with great visibility was a tough task but someone had to do it and I’m very glad that someone was me! There was little to no current which was brilliant as it made the diving easy and allowed me to really take in what I was seeing. Saying that there is still so much more to see. Over the 6 days we had we had diving we dived a total of 14 wrecks and each wreck was better than the last (yes, I know it sounds like a cliche!). Out of the 14 wrecks, we dived the highlight for me was the Shinkoku Maru. Standing at just over 130m long and weighing just over 10,000 tonnes it was the second biggest wreck in the lagoon. It wasn’t just the size of it which was impressive, it was a really beautiful wreck. Luckily it was still upright and so much of it was still intact (obviously covered in coral). Along with the wreck itself being amazing, there were also plates, teacups, bottles and other such items to see which was incredible.
Some of the other things to see on other wrecks included tanks, telephones, boots, bullets, guns, gas masks and so many glass beer bottles.
Obviously, you go to Truk Lagoon for the amazing diving, but what I didn’t realise was how beautiful it was going to be. Sailing around the lagoon in the sunshine (don’t forget your suntan lotion!), the lovely blue lagoon and beautiful Islands was a very nice way to spend the time when not underwater
What also makes Truk Master a great boat and Truk Lagoon a great destination is that it caters to all types of divers. If you’re a tec, recreational or CCR diver there is something for you. The dives were organised so that the tec and CCR divers could do longer dives, they just had fewer dives on that wreck.
Another good point was that my buddy and I were offered an alternative wreck to dive the day we were due to dive the San Francisco Maru (of which you needed to be prepared to do a 50m dive). We were taken to another shallower wreck which was great as it meant we didn’t get to miss out on a dive.
When it came to the last day I was genuinely sad to be packing up my kit, I would have loved to have stayed longer. There is just so much to see and you’re in a beautiful part of the world, what’s not to love! Diving these wrecks is something I’ll never forget and would highly recommend anyone to dive them at least once. Truk Lagoon still remains on my list as I want to go back. I would be happy to dive the same wrecks again but there are also more wrecks out in the lagoon to be explored!
Photos courtesy of Soren Wiesauer and Martin Cridge