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Nuno A

Advice and tips on trip to Chuuk Lagoon

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Hi.

 

In a couple of weeks will be going for one week to Chuuk Lagoon.

 

I´m looking for advice or tips not only on diving but also on things like clothes, money, drugs i should take with me, etc,etc.

 

Let´s say that i'm looking for all kind of advice on the matter that can be considerer important or relevant from people that has already been there.

 

Thank to you all in advance!!!

Edited by Nuno A

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Be in for a shock, I had no idea what to expect when I went, but its a poor poor place, roads are bad and there really isn't any infrastructure or economy that I could see, very sad to see, that a place which is a mecca for divers isn't more developed - but its lack of political will and the way things 'are done' :(

The only building work that was going on - at all! was a brand spanking new church for the later day saints, which looked so odd as everything around it was a mess.

I really wouldn't venture out alone, umemployment is high and with that crime from what I understand. I would make sure you have VERY sufficient travel insurance, as healthcare on the island isn't the best, so you will need to be flown out if needed.

 

Where are you staying land based or live aboard? I've stayed at Blue Lagoon and all the staff were very friendly, food was good and the rooms clean and tidy - alas it seemed like a world away from the town down the road. The following week we were on ThorFinn and again all the staff were good etc

 

It was an odd feeling, I mean all the staff were friendly and the food great, but it did feel like you weren't really welcome.

 

Money is USD, prices are okay (if anything, there are similar to anywhere else in the world) - from what I remember there was a 50% tax on alcoholic drinks, and all the prices with plus this, plus that.

 

Its hot - and humid, Shorts and T-shirt is way enough. Water was 28-30'c - really warm.

 

Obviously keep away from drinking the water and if you aren't used to the heat, some water additives (for salt and mineral recovery) are a must. Only drugs we needed on the trip was some decongestions, as after 8 days of diving peoples ears were starting to play up not equalising etc.

 

Going back in November! (As the diving was so great!)

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Thank you, very valuable advice!! One further question should I Take some American dollars or there are cash machines ?

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Only saw one bank on the island, so I would take cash

 

Blue Lagoon and ThorFinn take VISA/Mastercard payments (I think there was a 3% charge)

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Here is a report from another diving board:

http://www.thediveforum.com/showthread.php?15429-Update-from-Truk&p=229410&viewfull=1#post229410

 

 

My wife and I are currently in Chu'uk, having arrived on Good Friday five days after the typhoon hit. There has been a lot of damage with 6 vessels blown on to shore, including two liveaboards, Truk Siren and Odyssey. Truk Siren has been heavily looted and vandalised and is possibly a write-off. Odyssey looks to be repairable but will have to be moved elsewhere for repairs because there are no facilities in Chu'uk. The land based diving operations are still operating (we are at the Truk Stop Hotel) as is the Thorfinn 'liveaboard' although this is in fact more a floating hotel which simply anchors in the area of most of the wrecks and diving is from skiffs.

I have photos of both Siren and Odyssey in their sorry state but internet access has only just been restored but with reduced bandwith so I can't upload photos.
There has been some damage to some of the shallower wrecks but nothing too significant. The main impact has been on visibility which normally is excellent at this time of year but is down to 12-15M on most of the wrecks. It was better on some of the deeper wrecks which we did yesterday.
Chu'uk is a very sad place. LOts of people wandering around doing very little. There is very little in terms of economic activity and the only significant employer is the government. The place effectively runs on US aid money. It is difficult to decide what is damage caused by the typhoon and what was due to general neglect. The only tourism is from divers and in a good year they will only get around 2500. Most of the people are friendly and welcoming but when we went for a walk around lunchtime the other day, we were pushed into a large puddle in the road several inches deep by two surly young men. We wouldn't feel safe walking around after dark.
The diving is not particularly well developed and could be made much more attractive. However, the dilema is that it could never be developed as resort diving - it is serious Rec/Tec stuff. We have hit deco on all but two dives so far, even using nitrox. They have a policy of safety stops of 2mins at 60 feet, 3 minuutes at 30 feet and 10 minutes at 15 feet with slow ascents between stops (not sure about the wisdom of veryy slow ascents from the deep stop though). Diving on air, this would barely have cleared our deco obligations and yesterday, one pair diving on air, ran up over 20 minutes of stops in addition to this.
The wrecks are starting to deteriorate and you are left wondering what the future for this community will be in a couple of decades time when they don't even have the wrecks to attract visitors.

 

 

 

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Re above, just got back from Yap and heard all about it, storm just missed us. May want to contact your opp to see what the score is, might be a place you want to avoid at the moment...

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We got back last weekend. The land-based dive operations are OK after the typhoon but I would be worried/looking for other options if booked on a liveaboard. Most seem to be aground or damaged. I would advise taking at least some USD, even if relying on credit cards.

 

As stated above, the viz was less than expected, particularly on the shallower wrecks (my first trip there, so no reference as to what it should be). The dilapidated state of the country and its infrastructure is certainly sobering.

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