Over the New Year break a group of 16 Abyss divers traveled over to Truk Lagoon in Micronesia to dive one of the best Wreck diving destinations in the world!
During WWII Truk Lagoon was used as an anchorage for the Japanese Imperial fleet and on the 17th of February 1944 the American’s launched Operation Hailstone, what is often described as the Japanese equivalent of Pearl Harbor. This attack has left Truk one of the most popular and well renowned wreck diving hot spot’s in the world, offering something for every diver.
One of the first things everyone noticed upon landing, apart from the heat, was the miscellaneous parts of shipwrecks sticking up through the surface of the ocean. There is heaps of stuff to check out on land as well as in the water… We hired mopeds for a day and spend a few hours buzzing around the dirt roads!
After a bumpy bus ride we arrived at Blue Lagoon resort, where we would be staying for the trip… We had a few hours to chill out, then it was dive time!
The first wreck we dived, was probably one of the more famous wrecks of Truk, the Fujikawa Maru… Covered in everything a diver could want from soft and hard corals to the historic structures divers come to see in Truk such as historical artifacts and ammunitions!
There are loads of wrecks scuttled all over Truk Lagoon, unfortunately we didn’t have time to see them all… Some of the wrecks we dived, included: Fujikawa Maru, Gosei Maru, Heian Maru, I-169 Submarine, Nippo Maru, Rio DE Janeiro, Shinkoku Maru, Yamagiri Maru and also a few of the shallower plane wrecks.
The Yamagiri Maru
A large combined freighter/passenger liner, the Yamagiri is lying on her port side. The wreck is fairly intact with the superstructure and pilot house interesting and accessible. Hold No. 5 contains 35.6cm (14″) shells for second-line Japanese battleships, a steamroller and construction equipment
I have to say, my favourite wreck of the trip was the San Francisco Maru… This wreck is often referred to as the ‘Million Dollar Wreck’ as it sunk fully loaded with cargo… This wreck has it all, rucks & battle tanks, mines, torpedoes, bombs, artillery, anti-tank, & small arms munitions, aircraft engines & parts & oil/gasoline drums… Definitely a mind-blowing dive, and I think everyone else on the trip would agree!
This passenger/cargo ship sunk upright, fully loaded with cargo & thus is often called ‘The Million Dollar Wreck’. Deck cargo includes both trucks & battle tanks. Hold cargo includes mines, torpedoes, bombs, artillery, anti-tank, & small arms munitions, aircraft engines & parts & oil/gasoline drums. Many artifacts remain in the bridge area.
The food was great on the trip, typical of a tropical dive destination; there was plenty of fresh seafood… Sushi was seen on more than one person’s plate every day! … We were also lucky enough to be there over New Years Eve, where the locals through a bit of a party and cooked us up a huge feast under the ground!
The Shinkoku Maru
Another wreck with outstanding soft coral growth and anemone, the Shinkoku Maru is high on the list of wrecks to dive! The bow gun is loaded with soft & hard coral of every color imaginable. Tiny, brightly colored fish swarm over every inch of the ship.
We were all diving on New Years day so no body had a particularly late night for NYE, but we certainly made up for it the following night, which also happened to fall on and around a few of our birthday’s! For our last night, we organized the chef to cook us up a pig on a spit and invited a few of the other guests at the resort and the dive guides who had looked after us on the trip to join us for dinner and a drink. The cocktails were amazing!
This cargo ship served as a Naval Auxiliary Water Carrier & sank upright. Deck cargo consists of trucks, a battle tank and 4 light anti-tank guns. A full battery of 12 cm. guns rest in the aft hold. This has one of the most picturesque bridges in Truk. The helm & telegraph are both set well forward & provide an outstanding photo opportunity.
We were all definitely sad to say goodbye to Truk, but we still had one more stop before home… After leaving the tiny local airport at around 2am, a quick flight had us in Guam in the early hours of the morning, where we had all day to explore! A couple of people stayed in the air-conditioned comfort of their rooms, a few retreated to the hotel pool and/or beach, but most of us decided we were going to make the most of being at a US Army island and fire some big guns (under the supervision of a professional obviously)! We also visited the local aquarium, and did some duty free shopping while we were there.
The last leg of the journey from Guam to Cairns was an overnighter, departing early evening and landing in Cairns at around 3am… Most people had flights back to Sydney leaving early so hung around the airport… A few of us had a later flight, so said our goodbye’s to the rest of the group and made our way to our bed’s at an all night back packers.
Most people would complain about having to work over New Year, not me… I had a blast! Next year we are off to PNG.
Tufi is a remote, pristine region located at the tip of Cape Nelson in Oro Province. The resort perched on the slopes of Mt Trafalgar, is surrounded by lush, tropical rainforest and overlooking a picturesque fjord. Opportunity to experience amazing cultures and aquatic marine life. Our New Years trip 28 Dec 2011 – 04 Jan 2012