A link to our Truk pictures is located at the botton of this page
LOGBOOK - TRUK LAGOON - 2001
- PACIFIC OCEAN
Yesterday was our
first dive day and Spence and I made 3 dives.
Two of these were at night.
Dive 1 -
Fujikawa Maru. This is the most
popular ship to dive on in Truk. It
has thousands of artillery shell casings and huge piles of small arms ammo.
Many airplanes are in the holds with replacement parts such as wing fuel
tanks. One spot has several machine
guns that divers have propped up against one another.
We did a deep penetration on this dive.
Our dive guide was very good and took us through the engine room and all
about several holds full of munitions and supplies.
You would not want to penetrate as far as we did without a good guide who
knows how to get out. Water temp 84
degrees. I am using the Light &
Motion Hi 8 Video housing and should get some great videos this trip. Max depth was 94í and the upper structures of the ship come
up to 5í from the surface. Total
dive time 53 min.
Dive 2 -
Hoyo Maru. This 470í long ship is
upside down. The hull has so much
coral growing on it that you canít tell it is a ship in some areas.
Spence spotted a flat worm or nudibranch that would fly thru the water
with its skin fluttering. I found
another of these during the dive and filmed both of them.
Beautiful soft corals with the night corals coming out.
69í, 51 min.
Went back to Thorfinn
and had our evening meal. Turkey
and dressing, apple pie for dessert.
Dive 3 -
8:30 pm - Suzuki small destroyer. We
are using our Nite Rider rechargeable lights.
10/ 20/ or 30 watt power lets us choose what we need. The dive boat we go on carries up to 6 divers.
The dive guide knows the wrecks so well he can actually stop the boat on
them in the dark. 40í, 38 min.
Spence and I check out a video tape to play in our cabin (each cabin has
a VCR player in it). I lay down on
my bed for just a minute when we turned on the video.
We didnít make it over 2 minutes before passing out.
I was up to watch the daybreak at 5:30 am.
Had a great
breakfast. The cooks make all the
bread and muffins. I waved at the
cooks and they thought I was holding up 4 fingers.
They brought me 4 sunnyside up eggs on homemade bread toast.
Damn good. The crew on the Thorfinn
is spoiling us.
Dive 4 -
8:00 am - Nippo Maru. This is a
great dive. The Nippo has several
large cannon on it. On the deck
were 3 small cannon that are anti tank guns on rubber wheels.
The bridge room still has controls in it like the engine telegraph.
A small tank is sitting upright on the deck and makes great photography.
There is also a big truck. Our
computers allow us to make long deep dives safely.
Captain Lance requires 3 safety stops for us to off-gas.
2 min. at 60í, 3 min. at 30í and 10 min. at 15í.
We do this even if the computers turn us loose.
This way we will be able to make 5 dives per day.
Our computers are what we live by on this trip and I am using the very
best made. My Suunto Cobra is
air-integrated and conservative to make it the safest computer available.
It has a big display so I can read it easily.
I also wear a Suunto Spyder computer watch on my arm as my redundant
computer just in case one fails. I
was 7 min. into deco on this dive. 141í,
Dive 5 -
11:00 am - Kiyozumi Maru. Excellent
penetration dive. Ship is 450í
long and lies on port side. Has
bicycles in hold #5. Saw 2 torpedo
launchers on deck. The most memorable sight on this dive was deep inside the
ship. Our dive guide showed us a
Japanese seamanís skull. Most
bones were removed back in the 80s and cremated by the Japanese at ceremonies to
remember their fallen. 85í, 52
Dive 6 -
Shinkoku Maru. Another penetration
dive. In the heads you see the
white urinals on the wall. 100í,
Dive 7 -
5:00 pm - Japanese Emily flying boat. This
4-engine big airplane is upside down. The
aluminum is holding up well underwater and I think the shot-down airplanes, of
which there were over 250 in Truk Lagoon, will last better than the iron ships
that are deteriorating fast. 49í,
Perry Massie arrives
and is ready to start diving. Perry
knows that I was once a serious seashell collector when I was stationed in
Hawaii in the 60s. When we were in
Palau a few years ago he saw me trying to buy a very rare shell.
I was unable to get one, but Perry stopped in Majuro on his way to Truk
and found this rare shell. Perry
gave me a beautiful Golden Cowry. Iíve
wanted one of these for 35 years and now I have one.
I also am blessed with some of the best friends in the world.
Iíll put this shell in the dive store so others can see it.
Our dinner was quite special. The
crew was able to buy some Mangrove crabs for us to pig out on.
These are large crabs and excellent eating.
Dive 8 -
8:30 pm - Kansho Maru. Very dark
night, no moon, just stars. We did
another penetration dive and too be honest, I donít like penetration dives at
night. I want to see sunlight
shining in whenever I can. We held
very close to our guide to follow him out.
I can see how easy it would be to get turned around in these ships and
not find your way out. I donít
really want any divers in these ships who canít control their buoyancy or stir
up too much silt with their fins. We
are doing well in them and staying together inside pretty well so far.
I worry when I canít count all the heads I want too.
There is nothing I like less than a low-time diver who doesnít know his
own limitations and we constantly have to find him.
I say ďhimĒ because it is always a guy who gives this kind of
problem. Girls stay tight usually.
79í, 42 min.
Dive 9 -
8:00 am - Destroyer Fumizuki. 338í
long, sitting upright. Many
anemones growing on deck. 2 large
deck guns and 3 torpedo launchers. This
is a sleek looking ship and was capable of high speeds over 30 knots.
I had 13 minutes indicated on my Cobra for ascent time (deco time). It
took all of this before turning me loose to come on out.
120í, 50 min.
Back on the Thorfinn,
Perry, Spence and myself toured the engine room. The engine is a steam engine powered by oil burning boilers
three decks in height. This engine
is like the one in the Steve McQueen movie Sand Pebbles. Capt. Lance Higgs knows this ship in every detail.
The Thorfinn is by far the most interesting liveaboard in
Dive 10 -
11:00 am - Yamagiri Maru. This ship
is 436í long, 58í wide, laying on port side.
She was a freighter and carried supplies for the huge battleships.
One hold has 18Ē diameter artillery shells, each weighing 3800 lbs.
These were the largest shells used by any ship in WWII.
We swam thru a huge hole blown in the ship by bombs in the attack.
Saw a red anemone. These are pretty rare and are bright red.
99í, 51 min.
Dive 11 -
Heian Maru. This is the largest
ship in Truk lagoon and is a great dive. It
has propellers that are about 20í across.
This ship was part freighter and part passenger liner.
We did deep penetration and saw artillery shells, torpedoes and one area
had stacks of dinnerware. She was
used as a sub tender and has many spare periscopes on her.
84í, 53 min.
Dive 12 -
Betty Bomber. This airplane is
scattered and the dive is just a break from the deeper dives. 62í, 54 min.
Dive 13 -
8:15 pm - Hoyo Maru again. Night
dive. Iíve been here for 2 and a
half days and have made 13 dives so far. We
donít go far inside on this dive but the guide does show us more human
remains. I saw a turbin seashell
that has a cats eye operculum. These
are used to make beautiful cats eye jewelry.
62í, 49 min.
The rest of our group
arrived about 11:00 pm. Barry
Hocutt, Terry Banks, Rick Dennis, Charles OíQuinn and Billy Ashcraft.
Brings us to 8 for Southernís group.
The Thorfinn now has about 20 divers on her.
We will be using 2 boats for our group.
No more than 6 divers on a boat.
Dive 14 -
8:00 am - Hoki Maru. One hold on
this ship has a bulldozer and about 6 trucks.
450í long and 58í wide. She
rests upright in 160í water. She
was sunk by a torpedo bomber from the aircraft carrier Bunker Hill.
135í, 43 min.
Dive 15 -
Kansho Maru again. Swam thru
several rooms, saw big deck gun with ammo.
95í, 51 min.
Dive 16 -
Sankisan Maru. This is one of my
favorites. Clearer water in this
area and has the best soft corals growing all over it.
Many machine guns and hundreds of wooden cases of ammunition and fuses
for shells. Thousands of bottles
and several trucks on deck. 75í,
Dive 17 -
Dai-Na Hino Maru. This ship is only
about 5í underwater and is the one shown on lots of advertising for Truk
Lagoon. Our dive guide showed me 2
large lionfish and I took some good videos.
Lots of seashells. 54í, 55
Dive 18 -
Sankisan Maru again. Night dive.
Lots more color at night on soft corals.
Spence got to digging for seashells and found quite a few nice cowries
and several cats eye operculums. There
are cone shells here that can spear you with their barb.
Some cone shells are deadly. Some
people have in the past put a little cone shell in their wetsuit so as not to
lose it. This can be a real
Dive 19 -
Amagisan Maru. Deep dive.
Ship lies on side. Has big gun. This
is one of the deep dives you do to
be macho. It does not have as much
coral or allow much time to explore. The
shallow dives are better. 151í,
Dive 20 -
Gosei Maru. Easy dive.
One of the best. Swim down to and thru a hole blown in ship.
Saw big bombs with yellow paint and many torpedoes in hold.
Played with an octopus. Saw
a torpedo laying out in sand. This
ship lies on slope and comes up to 15í from surface.
Most of the ship is surrounded by hard corals in endless varieties.
114í, 54 min.
Dive 21 -
Rio de Janeiro Maru. Converted
passenger liner with huge engine room. Easy
to penetrate and still see way out. Lays
on starboard side. Has 2 large deck
guns. 96í, 50 min.
Dive 22 -
Small ship was subchaser. Lays
upside down. Surrounded by lots of
hard corals. 44í, 68 min.
Dive 23 -
San Francisco Maru. This is the
deep one. This one will narc you or
bend you if you let it. Great dive
with 3 tanks on the decks and rows of mines in 1 hold.
She sits upright in 210í of water.
171í, 37 min.
Dive 24 -
Sankisan Maru yet again. This is a
real favorite. Perry, Barry, Spence
and I trying to find seashells. They
have found many cats eye operculums now to make jewelry. 77í, 51 min.
Dive 25 -
Yubae Maru. Lies on side.
Has bottles, china and even phonograph records.
112í, 49 min. On each dive
today we must off-gas a long time at 15í because of the deep dives made
before, especially the San Francisco Maru.
We canceled our
afternoon dive so we could go to Eten Island on a land tour and see the bombed
out Japanese building. We carried 2
bags of candy for the kids on the island. That
was barely enough. The kids are
plentiful, beautiful and wonderful. Thereís
not a lot to do for the locals on these little islands. Having children seems to be a very popular pastime.
Dive 26 -
8:30 pm - Dai-Na Hino Maru again. Night
dive. Only Spence, Perry and myself
make this dive. Much better coral
colors at night. We dug around ship
for shells and operculums. Perry
and Spence are getting good at this. 50í,
Dive 27 -
Seiko Maru. Torpedoes in one of the
holds. 2 nice engine telegraphs and
lots of personal items. 141í, 45
Dive 28 -
Kansho Maru again. Went all thru
engine room and personal quarters. 86
degrees. 84í, 38 min.
Lunch on Thorfinn.
Fried rice on egg with spicy shrimp and salad.
Ice cream on pear. We eat
real good here and the crew is super nice and constantly working.
They treat us much better than we deserve.
Dives 29, 30,
31 - Iíve entered a diving stupor mode.
So many dives so fast are running together.
Dive 29: 84 degrees, 88í,
52 min. Dive 30: 62í, 60 min. Dive
31: 46í, 63 min.
Pancakes, eggs, bacon
and sausage for breakfast.
- Fujikawa Maru. This is another
dive that canít be beat. All
ships here are great, but several such as Fujikawa Maru, Gosei Maru, Sankisan
Maru, Nippo Maru and San Francisco Maru are my favorites.
One hold on this ship has at least 4 complete Zero fighter planes in it.
Big bow gun is the best looking gun Iíve seen.
90í, 58 min.
- Yamagiri Maru again. Lies on port
side. This is the one with the huge
3800 lb. artillery projectiles. We
went thru a hole and down deep into the engine room.
Our guide took us thru a small hatch to where bones from a Japanese
seaman are. He was killed in an
explosion. You can tell this
because his skull is embedded in the bulkhead several inches. These wrecks hold visible proof of the deadly battle fought
here. The wrecks have also claimed
many divers who didnít find their way out.
Penetration dives are very dangerous just like diving in caves. Everyone needs to stay with the guide on these dives.
We donít want any independent macho divers here.
Also, if you are claustrophobic, donít go in these wrecks.
102í, 54 min.
- Shinkoku Maru again. Best soft
corals of any wreck in lagoon. Bridge
has 3 engine telegraphs, compass stand and intercom tube.
Saw operating table and spotted eagle ray. 75í, 55 min.
- Tug boat. Near shore.
Lots of silt. Not too good vis on this dive.
56í, 56 min.
- 8:30 pm - Fujikawa Maru again. Stayed
in upper parts of wreck this time and looked for shells. Saw live cowries and cone shells. Cone shells are the spearfishing shells and can sting you if
you put these in your wetsuit. They
have caused deaths. 68í, 46 min.
9 - Saturday, March 31
- 8:00 am - Shotan Maru. Sits
upright. Saw cases of artillery
shells. Quick dive because of
depth. Not much coral on deep
wrecks, but relics in better shape. 161í,
- 11:00 am - Gosei Maru again. We
wanted to go back to the Gosei and look for seashells.
Perry found a bunch this time and Bedowin, our guide, gave me several
that he found. We are taking only
dead shells with no animal or crab in them.
We donít take any relics from the ships. Dig around, find stuff, handle everything, just leave relics
there when you leave. 56í, 75
- 2:00 pm - Shinkoku Maru again. Saw
large turtle on this dive and a shark. This
500í long tanker was used to refuel the fleet that was attacking Pearl Harbor.
100í, 56 min.
- Hoyo Maru again. Last evening
dive from Thorfinn. The Hoyo
is upside down and has big hard corals all over its hull.
Iím pretty tired now from all the gorilla diving.
Iíve never made so many dives so fast, but that was my choice.
Most divers have made about 20 to 30 dives on this trip, which is a hell
of a lot. Iím trying to get in
shape for Alaska coming up in 2 months. 72í,
My face is broke out
in small welts from jellyfish stings. I
react more to these than most divers. Over
the years Iíve become more sensitive to these stings. We all wear full suits, fleece or thin neoprene with booties
and gloves so the only place exposed is our face.
Saturday night BBQ on Thorfinn.
Ribs, chicken and fish on the barbee.
Some of the girls in the crew did some local dances for us.
- 8:00 am - Nippo Maru again. Last
dive from Thorfinn. The
Nippo was our choice for last dive. This
is a good looking ship. It sank
just right. Has a tank on deck.
129í, 30 min.
Take boat into Moen
where Billy and Charles check into Truk Stop Hotel.
They go home in the morning. The
six remaining divers take boat with Bedowin and Narita and go to small private
island for a few more dives and 2 nights. This
was a special add-on I arranged that is not normally available.
This island has one family living here as caretaker.
They have a good life. No
electricity or any other things that we consider basic.
Fresh water is rainwater caught in cisterns.
We brought 2 scuba tanks each from Thorfinn along with much
provisions and 4 cases of beer.
I have made 3 more
dives here bringing my total to 44 dives on this trip.
Spence also has 44 or 45 dives. The
beer is about gone now. Spence and
Perry are making a last dive. They are looking for a Japanese 2-man suicide torpedo that
was stationed here. We saw some
rails that were used by the torpedoes. 2
torpedoes and 4 men were stationed on this island.
We have dived all around this island now and seen perfect underwater
fields of staghorn coral. Sharks
are plentiful here, we have had up to 6 at one time circling us.
These are not tame sharks that are accustomed to divers.
I doubt any scuba divers have been here within at least a year.
We saw giant clams, a sea snake, lionfish and of course the beautiful
blue starfish. We did the learning
experience of dragging ourselves in full gear over the reef when the tide was
out and water was 6 inches deep. This
was quite painful and lucky for us we all had on gloves and full thin suits.
Pity for anyone trying this with a shorty or just dive skins on.
I learned alot about diving reefs in the years I was stationed in Hawaii.
I look on yesterday as a refresher course.
We have been pigging out on BBQ chicken and pork chops that Narita and
Nancita have cooked for us. Spencer
found the biggest shell: it was a
dead turtle shell about 3 feet long. We
have to leave it here of course. They
would arrest us in Hawaii if we brought it back.
Spence just threw it back in the sea.
Thatís a good law because divers would kill too many turtles and claim
to have found them dead. Turtles
are abundant now at most sites I go, but that wasnít true 35 years ago.
Then, divers were killing everything they saw and turtles were rare.
Donít get me wrong, Iím not in favor of ďknow it allsĒ who really
donít know, telling the rest of us how to make the world perfect according to
them. Thank God there are none of
these types out here. I think they
mostly work in the Bahamas and Caribbean. I
wish we could send all of them to one spot so they could share their brilliance
with one another and give daily commendations and awards to one another.
That way they would get what they want and be happy and we would be happy
just to never see their sorry a**es again.
that we used on this trip is what enabled us to dive as deep and often as
Almost all of us had
2 computers on each dive. One of
these was a Suunto Spyder or Stinger computer watch and the other a Suunto
Cobra, Vyper or Favor computer. Some
of us still have the older Matrix computers.
We had some computers quit because of low batteries and I saw an old
Skinny Dipper totally fail and a US Divers Monitor give it up.
Two computers are really needed on this intensive trip.
Most divers on the
ship had 1 or 2 cameras and we put them to a real test.
I had a Light & Motion video housing that worked good except for one
of the lights has a broken wire in the cord so I could only use 1 light.
These cords are fragile and this is the 3rd time one has failed for me.
The housing worked great and didnít leak at all.
There are 2 teeny batteries in the backplate that are not mentioned in
the operatorís manual. These went
dead twice and made it so I could not turn the camera on and off underwater.
I carry lots of spare batteries for this now.
Perry had his new Ikelite housing with a 3 chip video camera and Ikelite
lights. This package worked much
better than the Light & Motion as far as the video results turned out.
He had no leaking problem. The
Ikelite housing has manual controls instead of electronic switches. I like the manual controls better because they are much less
likely to fail. I donít like the
latches on Ikelites because they could be accidentally opened with rough
treatment on dives. I think they
should have a safety lock to prevent opening.
We also had several of the small Sea Life cameras on this trip.
They are very inexpensive and now have 3 extra lenses and a strobe.
None of these cameras failed or gave any trouble.
Iím anxious to see what kind of quality the prints are.
Four Sea & Sea cameras were on this trip.
Three failed. Spence was the
only one to not have his Sea & Sea camera fail on the trip.
I advise anyone who has a Sea & Sea camera to protect their
investment by buying insurance that covers flooding.
Sea & Sea is not good about warranty work. Usually when I send one in for repair, it is a total loss and
as cheap to replace as repair. One
of the cameras on this trip did not flood, it broke an internal plastic part
that Sea & Sea had just replaced before this trip.
They will probably warranty this problem again but that is little
consolation to a diver who spent $4000 and flew 20,000 miles on a trip.
All of our Aqua-Lung
life support equipment, regulators and BCs, worked good except for Spence had an
inflator valve stick on and he had to disconnect the inflator hose on a deep
dive. He reconnected and had no
further problems. A gram of sand in
the wrong place can cause this problem. Divers
should practice disconnecting inflator hoses while under pressure to be familiar
with this safety procedure. We all
had Aqua-Lung regulators and none had any problems.
Our new thin neoprene Xcel wetsuits held up to the abrasions of the
wrecks and reefs real well. I havenít had any come unsewn yet as I have with other
suits we have sold.
Thanks for Swim Ear
used after each dive, we had no ear problems at all.
Sea Gold anit-fog gel kept masks clear for entire dives, instead of 5
minutes that using spit gives you.
COME BY THE SCUBA SCHOOL
AND SEE THE NEW VIDEO AND PRINTS FROM THIS FANTASTIC TRIP.
I canít sleep. My head is full of thoughts of the head of a Japanese
seaman. In Truk Lagoon several of
our divers were escorted by our guide deep into the bowels of one of the sunk
ships. We let the sunlight behind
and passed thru the hatches of several areas of the ship.
It is extremely dark here except for our dive lights and cameras.
We left the beautiful corals and fish behind and went into the brown,
silt covered, rusty metal. In one
area that is part of the engine room a Japanese seaman died.
Of course millions of people die in wars, but this one person is in my
mind right now. He was serving his
country by working in the engine room on this ship.
When our airmen attacked, he stayed at his station and tried to do his
duty and keep the engines at maximum speed to try to avoid the enemy.
The heat in an engine room is intense and seaman wear only shorts and
sweat profusely. The boilers are
heated by huge flames from the oil burners.
Itís like working in a giant sauna or steam bath.
That heat was nothing compared to when the torpedo came. The explosion
that sank the ship, came into the area the seaman was in.
He was blown upwards into the bulkhead with such force that his skull is
embedded in the metal overhead. The
heat of the explosion vaporized his flesh and left black burns on his skull.
His empty eyes look down on his pitch-black duty station that he will
never leave. The rest of his bones
lie on the deck under his skull. I
visited this manís tomb not with an arrogant nature, but with a compassionate
heart. He died before I was born
and I donít apologize for our having killed him.
That would insult our own young men who fought this war.
It was necessary. But I am sorry that he did not get to go home and see his
mother again. He had loved ones at
home. Whether he was Japanese,
German, American, or whatever, he had people who cared.
His life and all lives are too precious to be thrown away in war.
He didnít start the war or want to be in it. He wasnít one of the
politicians who start wars but donít fight them.
He wasnít a high mukkety mukk officer who gets the glory.
He was just one of the little people, just like you and me.
He was somebodyís son. Iíve
got pictures of his skull, but I donít need the pictures to remind me of him.
I have him in my head now and I wonít forget him.
He will once again remind me of the costs of war and that the price is
We need to never be too trusting of governments because all the huge
atrocities ever committed were done by governments that we allowed to be in
BARRY'S WRITE-UP ON THE TRIP
American pilots flew 1,250 sorties during the two-day raid and dropped 400 tons of bombs on ships and another 94 tons on airfields and shore installations. Nearly 200 aircraft were totally destroyed and another 200 or so severely damaged in the raid. Japanese shipping suffered greatly as well with 32 transports sunk & 10 naval vessels sent to the bottom (two cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels). In all, 41 ships totaling 200,000 tons were sunk and another 13 damaged. Japanese ground installations and supplies also suffered in the raid. Three large oil tankers with a combined capacity of 17,000 tons were demolished along with 2,000 tons of provisions.
The US fighters & bombers made 30 strikes in all, each stronger than either of the two Japanese strikes on Pearl Harbor. The US task force only lost 17 aircraft in the raids and 40 men were killed in action. In addition, only one of the U.S. carriers was damaged, the Intrepid was disabled by a Japanese torpedo and had to be towed back to the West Coast for repairs. Ok....enough history, but look at those numbers! A huge, huge loss for the Japanese....and a bonanza for the Scuba diver!
We started diving the morning following our arrival & made almost 40 dives over the next 7 days. 5 dives a day starting at 8:00 each morning & lasting until well after dark each night. It was almost like work, but what a great job it was! I literally saw history come alive as we dove on the various supply & military vessels & inspected their cargoes. Words cannot adequately describe the scene as we dove into the hulls of these ships to see intact military supplies including whole tanks, intact Zero fighters, 18 inch artillery shells weighing 3800 lbs each, torpedoes, bombs, mines, machine guns, medical supplies, foodstuffs, thousands of Sake bottles, millions of rounds of small-arms ammunition still in the cases, spare parts like periscopes, massive propellers, engines, aircraft wings......literally everything that you could think of. I actually got to manipulate the stick in the cockpit of a complete Zero fighter! Of course, there were also the remains of many, many Japanese sailors & merchantmen.....that was a little spooky. Once we rounded a corner below decks on the Nippo Maru only to enter a room with skulls littering the floor, and another ship where the engine room suffered the effects of a 1,000 lb aerial bomb and the ship's engineer had literally been blown into the ship where his skull & skeleton became fused into the bulkhead. His skull is still there, a part of the ship now, and screaming as it has been for the last 60 years.....very intense stuff.
Enough of that, the sealife was also very intense. I've been diving now for 13 years & have visited quite a few different locales around the world, but there is nothing to compare to this site. Aside from the military stuff, the life around (and attached to) these ships is unbelievable. It was like the hand of God hand touched Truk & dumped Vita-Grow in the water or something. In every direction the sea was alive whether it was with fish, turtles, dolphins and sharks, or with beautiful soft corals, anemones, clams, and the like. There wasn't enough time in the day to see everything that you wanted, and every dive brought another adventure & something that you'd never seen before. I saw my first Lionfish, graceful & deadly, a sea snake, acres & acres of every type coral imaginable, seashells like never before, and anemones as big as I was. Again, words aren't enough to describe the underwater seascapes here that were a cross between a Walt Disney cartoon fantasy and a History Channel documentary.
Above the water, the land was gorgeous. Mostly jungle now, you have to go ashore & explore before you find the massive Japanese installations, shore batteries with their guns pointing to now nonexistent enemy planes, buildings with massive bomb craters in the center & hundreds of small caves with relics still lying about. The people of Truk (Trukese) are very traditional Polynesian with very little western influences other than some clothing (and I did unfortunately hear some rap music). They are a beautiful people and very kind, with the women & girls the more traditional wearing the gorgeous flowered dresses & usually wearing flowers in their hair & leis around their necks. They speak their own native language that was a joy to listen to only occasionally interrupted with a little English. I can only describe it best as something that sounds like birds twittering & it put a smile on your face just to listen to it. The dive guides, (by Trukese law, you must dive with a guide & they must be native) knew enough English to communicate a little about the dive site before you went in the water. Another amazing thing was the way they located the various dive sites by dead-reckoning. There usually was no buoy or anything visible there on the open water & they would use landmarks to get themselves positioned & either drop the anchor right on the ship, or dive in a take a look first......it was amazing.
The last few days we spent on a deserted island about 75 yards wide & 1/4 mile long doing some fantastic shore dives (including a couple of up close & personal shark encounters), eating barbeque that the locals fixed for us, and drinking some weird beer from the Philippines. No electricity, no nothing much at all except the palm and coconut tree covered island & a roof over your head at night while sleeping on your cot listening to the waves crash as a warm tropical breeze blew throughout the room.......it was very nice, and very relaxing.
As the trip wrapped up, we did spend a night at a real hotel in Moen City (on Moen, the largest island) & got to take a warm shower before flying out on the "Island Hopper" It was a Continental jet that stopped 5 times (Kwajalien, Majoru and Ponepae were my favorites) before finally getting into Honolulu 11 hours later....that was a monster flight too! We spent our last vacation day touring Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial, The USS Missouri and the surrounding area. The Arizona was a very moving site, and many of the visitors became emotional....yours included. Sorry...I'm like that sometimes at certain places. Ask my friend Bill about our trip to Gettysburg that time & my visit to the "Confederate High-Water Mark"....another story. Many long hours by air brought the trip to a close & left me with a massive dose of jet lag, a sunburn and a sore body from so much diving. I'm also left with the fresh memories of the most interesting & beautiful things that I've ever seen, and the most amazing vacation trip that I've ever taken.
Don't ever miss this opportunity should it ever present itself......especially if you are a Scuba diver. It really is an understatement when I say that you have no idea what you'll be missing... Many, many pictures are available & video is forthcoming, some of which you may see later on The Outdoor Channel. I'll post some of this year's pictures as time allows. In the meantime, here are some shots from the trip 2 years ago......
PLACES AND FACES OF TRUK LAGOON
1999 TRIP REPORT & PICTURES
2001 TRIP REPORT & PICTURES
2003 TRIP REPORT & PICTURES
2005 TRIP REPORT & PICTURES
A True Diving Pioneer Passes - Bill Tant - "Cap'n Scuba"
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