Diving Adventures in Truk Lagoon

Author: Sam Bean

Underwater photographer Sam Bean shares her passion for the wrecks of the world famous Truk Lagoon, and celebrates the opportunities afforded to photographers, technical divers and those seeking simply spectacular diving.

Truk lagoon is the diving Mecca and a once in a lifetime must for any diver who appreciates a high quality wreck dive. A wide variety of wrecks are present ranging from freighters, to destroyers, Betty bombers and Zero fighters. Not only are the wrecks in Truk lagoon incredibly intact, they are still packed full of amazing war time artefacts, guns, ammunition, equipment, trucks, planes and tanks. Exploration of the wrecks reveals an abundance of ships’ brass such as telegraphs, compass binnacles and lanterns that most divers would have been lucky to have seen still in their original positions. Inside the wrecks you will find pots still present on the stove and an assortment of crockery, beer and saki bottles and various personal effects.

The wrecks of Truk are more than just great wreck dives they are now the most amazing artificial reefs you could wish to dive on. Sitting high and proud from the sea bed the gentle currents wash the wrecks with nutrients encouraging soft coral growth that leaves some wrecks literally dripping with coral and full of different fish species and critters. Some wrecks also attract larger visitors such as sharks and rays.

Probably the most popular shipwreck dive at Truk is the Fujikawa Maru. This fantastic wreck is one of the more shallow wrecks. It is covered in fish and corals and it boasts all the essential items such as impressive bow and stern guns, telegraph, large and easily accessible engine room with its famous air compressor, often called R2D2. There is a very easy to explore superstructure with galley, intact Japanese bathroom and pilot house. The holds contain a Japanese fighter plane and parts, guns, ammunition and other war time artefacts and it is possible to swim down through one hold to where the torpedo penetrated the ship and left its extensive and dramatic entry hole.

Other highlights at Truk include the fabulous Betty bomber which is virtually intact and is sitting upright in about 15m of water just off Eten Island. It is possible to explore inside the plane which is home to a large shoal of glassfish.

Another must do dive at Truk is the shark cleaning station at Shark Island. A large rocky pinnacle covered in swirling shoals of glassfish and home to a vast number of cleaner species is sat on a sandy patch in just 16m of water. The cleaners eagerly attend to the constant stream of visiting fish and the white tip reef sharks and grey reef sharks. This dive allows a very close, calm and safe encounter to watch natural shark behaviour. The sharks are not fed to encourage a highly charged dive. It is not uncommon to have 3 or 4 sharks being simultaneously cleaned and many more will be circling the pinnacle waiting their turn.

There is diving for all at Truk lagoon and many wrecks can be enjoyed in 25-35m of water. Also a number of shipwrecks have masts that extend to within a few meters of the surface to provide an easy ascent and descent route and an attractive safety or decompression stop. Truk lagoon is a fantastic destination for the technical diver and mixed gas diving and rebreathers are well supported. All divers to Truk must be careful to dive within their training and experience limits as the clear water and exciting wrecks easily distract divers to go deeper than they have planned and some of the shipwrecks sit in 60-70m of water!

Zero Fighter

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