In the central Pacific, 1800km north-east of Papua New Guinea, lies a sheltered body of water within the Federated States of Micronesia, known as Truk Lagoon. Also known as Chuuk Lagoon, this atoll hosts many wrecks that are steeped in history, making it a wreck diver’s paradise. In February 1944, US forces conducted Operation Hailstone that destroyed the entire Japanese fleet stationed at Truk leaving many vessels, planes and tanks at the bottom of the lagoon. Virtually intact, these ghostly remains lie on the floor of the lagoon just as they did when first sunk in 1944.
Diving into the water and being surrounded by wrecks gives you a tangible sense of history. Coral makes a home for itself on the “Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon” along with other vibrant marine life, creating a dramatic contrast to the deadly past that lurks beneath the clear waters. One of the most fascinating wrecks to explore is the I-169 Shinohara, a submarine that played a part in the attacks on Pearl Harbour in 1941. Whilst exploring the sunken history, one can also enjoy the sightings of turtles, sharks and manta rays. Truk Lagoon is a natural harbour and as a result it does not have an ocean current. This makes for perfect diving conditions as one can easily swim across the decks while admiring the gas masks and assortment of other military equipment that lie scattered across them. When penetrating the eerie vessels the panic that ensued on those fateful days is almost palpable and the human remains are a dark reminder of this tortured period of history.
Although wreck diving is for more experienced divers, there are fifteen wrecks and planes that are accessible to snorkelers who wish to submerge themselves into this underwater museum. In addition to the spectacular wreck diving opportunities, Truk Lagoon is also home to Shark Island. Here you can enjoy the thrill of close encounters with dozens of sharks in their natural habitat.
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