PALAU, TRUK & YAP
The ultimate in wreck diving
Season: Year-round diving
Water Temperature: 28-30°C/82-86°F
Diving: World War II wrecks, reefs
Nitrox (Truk Siren, Odyssey and Thorfinn)
Re-breather friendly (Odyssey and Thorfinn)
Deco-diving (Thorfinn only)
Willing to share option on liveaboards
Can be combined with Palau and Yap
Seven degrees north of the equator lies the famous Truk (or Chuuk) Lagoon. Truk has long been acknowledged as ‘the world’s ultimate wreck site’ for, amazing as it seems, almost 70 charted wrecks lie inside the lagoon! The calm waters hold the remains of the Japanese fleet that was targeted by Operation Hailstone in February 1944 during World War II. The resulting battles led to the numerous wrecks now found within the lagoon. Some 275 Japanese planes were downed and over 60 ships were sunk! These amazing wrecks, which have been protected from plunder and still contain the remains of those who died in them, are now enrobed in coral. Truk is most certainly a grim reminder of the violence of war but also a tribute to nature’s ability to turn horror and death into beauty and life. Famous wrecks include the 7,000 tons Fujikawa Maru, a large freighter that was transporting aircraft and ammunition, and the 4,800 tons Sankisan Maru with its cargo of lorries and machine guns, but these are just a small sample of the fabulous experiences to be had in this wreck-diver’s paradise.
The beautiful Fujikawa Maru is often one of the first wrecks to be explored by divers visiting Truk. Today, only one of its masts pokes out of the water, but below the water the bow and forecastle are still well preserved, as are the bow and stern guns. The bow is heavy with soft corals and seafans while the bow gun is a cleaning station and a home to some large Napoleon Wrasse. The superstructure lies at 15 metres and four Japanese fighter planes can be found in hold No. 2 by swimming through two deck levels. Staggeringly, the control columns and certain other controls are still moveable! It is even possible to climb into the cockpit of some of the planes if great care is taken. This No. 2 hold goes down to a depth of 27 metres. A total of six holds contain a variety of debris and relics, including some live ammunition. No. 4 hold is where a torpedo struck the boat and it is possible to swim through the gaping hole in the vessel’s side.
At 42 metes to the bridge, the San Francisco Maru is a very deep dive, but for some divers well worth it. This has been named as one of the best wrecks in Truk in terms of the contents of its holds and the war relics on its deck. No. 1 hold is almost full of live hemispherical beach mines. The spectacular contents of hold No. 2 include three Japanese Ha-Go light tanks, a high velocity anti-aircraft gun and a staff car. Other holds contain torpedoes, the remains of some lorries, and much ammunition. The ship’s propeller and rudder have not been explored due to their excessive depth.
At the Sankisan Maru it is 24 metres to the seabed and consequently well within sport divers’ limits. This medium-sized freighter now rests upright on a slope. As one descends the shot line to the deck, the cargo immediately appears, for the remains of Toyota and Isuzu trucks lie exposed. The contents of hold No. 1 are a diminishing collection of small arms, some in wooden crates and boxes and some scattered loose. Coral growth all over the deck makes this a very pretty wreck. At 3 metres the foremast and its crosstree make a fascinating safety stop with oysters, sea squirts, tube sponges and lots of damselfish to examine.
These are just three of the very best. There are so many fantastic wreck dives at Truk Lagoon that we could fill pages and pages with descriptions. The best thing is to see them for yourself.
Although best known for its wreck diving, Truk has some spectacular reef diving, particularly on the outer walls of the lagoon. The passes and drop-offs in particular boast prolific fish life and some sites have such clear water that it is essential to monitor depth to make sure that you do not descend too far!
STOP-OVERS: These are available in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Honolulu or Los Angeles, depending on flight routing.
COMBINATIONS: If you are going all the way to Truk, why not take in Yap with its incredible Manta Rays or Palau’s strange and beautiful ‘Rock Islands’ with their amazing diving? You will have paid for most of the airfare already! Talk to us about the possibilities.