June 26-July 5, 2015 (plus travel days): Truk Lagoon, also known as Chuuk, is a sheltered body of water in the central Pacific. The atoll consists of 140 miles of protective reef, enclosing a natural harbor 50 miles long by 30 miles wide. Its eleven major islands are home to less than 50,000 people.
During World War II, Truk Lagoon served as the forward anchorage for the Japanese Imperial Fleet. Five airstrips, seaplane bases, a torpedo boat station, submarine repair shops, a communications center and a radar station were constructed during the war.
Protecting these various facilities were coastal defense guns and mortar emplacements. At anchor in the lagoon were the Imperial Japanese Navy’s giant battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, tankers, cargo ships, tugboats, gunboats, minesweepers, landing craft and submarines. Some have described it as Japan’s equivalent of the Americans’ Pearl Harbor.
Once the American forces captured the Marshall Islands, they used it as a base from which they launched an early morning attack on February 17, 1944, against Truk Lagoon. The Japanese withdrew most of their heavy units. Operation Hailstone lasted for three days, with an American bombardment of the Japanese wiping out almost anything of value. Sixty ships and 275 airplanes were sent to the bottom.
In 1969, Jacques Cousteau and his team explored Truk Lagoon. Following Cousteau’s 1971 television documentary about the lagoon and its ghostly remains, the place became a scuba diving paradise, drawing wreck diving enthusiasts from around the world to see its numerous, virtually intact sunken ships. Scattered mainly around the Dublon, Eten, Fefan and Uman islands within the Truk group, a number of the shipwrecks lie in crystal clear waters less than 50 feet below the surface (the average dive depth for Truk is 65 feet).
In waters devoid of normal ocean currents, divers can easily swim across decks littered with gas masks and depth charges and below deck can be found numerous human remains. In the massive ships’ holds are row upon row of fighter aircraft, tanks, bulldozers, railroad cars, motorcycles, torpedoes, mines, bombs, boxes of munitions, radios, plus thousands of other weapons, spare parts and other artifacts. Of special interest is the wreck of the submarine I-169 Shinohara which was lost when diving to avoid the bombing. The sub had been part of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The coral encrusted wrecks attract a diverse array of marine life, including manta-rays, turtles, sharks and corals. In 2007, 266 species of reef fish were recorded by an Earthwatch team and in 2006 the rare coral Acropora pichoni was identified.
Superb buoyancy skills are a must when gliding through the interiors of these WWII wrecks. See unopened bottles of Sake, bands of ammunition, torpedoes, spare ship propellers, trucks, cars, planes, bicycles and more. And the soft corals are magnificent in every color and hue you can imagine.
Our base of operations for this phase of the trip will be the 132-foot luxury liveaboard Truk Odyssey. Among the most highly regarded liveaboard dive vessels on the globe, the Odyssey is booked years in advance. We were fortunate enough to reserve space for its maximum capacity of 16 divers for June, 2015. (Yes, you really have to book it that far in advance.)
Who is This Trip Ideal For?
This may be the perfect trip if you:
- Want to make certain you do not miss these “once in a lifetime” dive opportunities.
- Want to see an absolutely incredible assortment of coral and marine life.
- Want to experience the ultimate in wreck diving.
- Want to immerse yourself in history.
When Does It Take Place?
Our travel schedule is as follows:
- Boat departs Friday, June 26, from Chuuk.
- We return to port on Sunday, July 5.
You need to allow travel time on both sides of this schedule. Remember you will be crossing the International Date Line each way. Air travel arrangements TBA.
How Much Does it Cost?
Trip Pricing: Pricing for this trip is as follows:
- Base price, per diver (approximate): $4,900*
- For payment in full by cash/check: -$200
Price does not include hotel, travel and other items listed below. It is subject to change, depending on a variety of factors. We should be able to price air fare soon.
Deposit and Balance Due: Requirements are as follows:
- $500 due at sign up
- Balance due January 15, 2015
- Additional installments may be due prior to final Balance Due date
- Be aware there are no refunds after the Balance Due date unless we find someone else to take your spot. Contact store for more specific cancellation policies.
What’s Included: The basic trip price includes the following (if applicable):
- Airport transfers at destination
- Accommodations on board
- Taxes and service charges
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board
- Use of tanks and weights
Not Included: Travelers are responsible for the following (if applicable):
- Round-trip air fare from New Orleans
- Trip insurance
- Meals while in transit
- Crew gratuity
- UA$30/person dive permit
- Chuuk departure tax (about US $20)
- Optional land tour last day
- Dinner ashore last day
Additional Requirements: Travelers must supply:
- Valid passport with six months left past date of return and two blank pages
- Diver and/or Nitrox certification cards
- Dive insurance
- Signed waiver and Statement of Understanding
- Personal dive gear
- Audible and visual surface signals, reel or spool
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