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phxazcraig

Truk / Chuuk Lagoon?

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I've just booked my first trip to Truk, for March 1, 2023.    Staying at a resort, and doing 2 boat dives per day.   Apparently deep and long dives.  Trip organized through Backscatter.  I have travel arrangements in place, including overnight in Guam on the way there and back.

I'm not a wreck diver, or at least have no certifications for it.   I don't do CCR.    What's Truk like for the 'average' diver?  What's there to shoot if you skip a boat dive and maybe shore dive?   I'll have Z9 with 14-30 and 105 macro.   Mostly stills, some video.

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Posted (edited)

The boat dives on the wrecks are all spectacular. You won't want to miss any of them. I don't know about shore diving.

You don't have to go crazy deep. Most of the wrecks are in a much less than 100ft of water, with superstructure sometime to the surface. Covered in soft corals. I would make sure to use nitrox on most dives unless you need a deeper MOD. Strongly consider bringing or renting a pony bottle.

You won't need a wreck certification as they are all clean and prepared for divers. You'll always likely have a guide if you are penetrating deeply into one of the wrecks. Some of them have incredible scenes like the engine rooms or cargo holds that are not to be missed. 

Have fun and take some great pictures! It's really an amazing dive location and you should have a blast.

Edited by davehicks
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How about water temps?  I get cold easily, and I have time to order a custom 5 mil wetsuit.  Just got my 3 mil yesterday and tried it in a pool.

This trip is organized by Backscatter, and I suspect includes mostly serious underwater photographers with a lot of experience.   Almost certainly more than me.

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I get cold easily as well. A coupe data points:

1. The last time I dove in Chuuk, I wore a 3mm and I was fine on all dives except a couple where we had extended run times (2 to 2.5 hours) with a lot of deco where you aren't moving much.

2. Palau has similar water temps and I wore a 3mm in March there and was fine but got a little cold only due to the surface conditions (it was cold and rainy a couple days).

3. I just got back from another trip in Palau and took my 5mm since I knew we would be doing a lot of 2+ hour runtime dives. Most other divers had 3mm (or less) and were fine.

Everybody is obviously different, but unless you are doing some long dives, you would probably be fine in a 3mm full suit and bring a hood. If you did get cold, you could probably borrow a shortie or something else to layer.

- brett

 

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11 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

How about water temps?  I get cold easily, and I have time to order a custom 5 mil wetsuit.  Just got my 3 mil yesterday and tried it in a pool.

This trip is organized by Backscatter, and I suspect includes mostly serious underwater photographers with a lot of experience.   Almost certainly more than me.

Craig, how about adding a 5mm hooded vest to your 3mm? Gives you a toasty option if you feel the need.

Water temperatures here in Sint Maarten are usually about 28C/82F. Loads of visitors are in shorties. Me, I feel the cold (and am used to 28C now!) and am always in at least a 3mm plus either a 2mm or 5mm hooded vest. Vests give you good options and are fairly travel friendly.

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13 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

How about water temps?  I get cold easily, and I have time to order a custom 5 mil wetsuit.  Just got my 3 mil yesterday and tried it in a pool.

This trip is organized by Backscatter, and I suspect includes mostly serious underwater photographers with a lot of experience.   Almost certainly more than me.

Just get a 5mm suit if you get cold. I don't get particularly cold but I have worn a 5mm suit on several trips to Indonesia and the south pacific. I am about to go to Fiji with water temps of 77-80f and will bring a new 5mm suit.

But if you only have a 3mm suit, get something like a Lavacore hooded vest. You can put it on under the wetsuit when you start getting cold.

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I do have a hooded vest - bought in Bonaire in June when I was freezing in 81F waters.   That's when I found out my 9- or 10-year-old 3 mil was worn out and not ... 3 mil anymore.

But there's no sense getting cold if I can easily prevent it, with a new 5 mil.  My 3 mil is custom-fitted, and it seems nice so far.  (And I even got a relief zipper!)  I will test it out soon in Roatan to see if there are any issues, but I'm planning on just getting a 5 mil and be done once I get back.

I see people diving in shorties in 80F, and I wonder how in the world?   But maybe it's because I've lived in Phoenix for 42 years, and I don't have a lot of fat on me.  I just get cold easily.  I always dive with a hood, just not a hooded vest.

I'm wondering about upgrading the wide angle optics already though.  I'd like actually good corners if I'm going to the trouble to transport a 230mm dome.

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Everybody's different, in 28-30°C water I dive in frogskins - super comfy and easy to get in and out of.  They are 1 mil neoprene with a lining.  Not suggesting you use them of course.  But they can be used a layer over you suit as well.

If you get cold there's probably some value in making sure whatever suit you have if lined with a material that doesn't feel too cold when getting into it.  The fleece lining on the frogskins and probe i-dry suits is excellent for this - it may be psychological bit it's nice not to have to squeeze into a cold wet wetsuit.

If you want a more flexible solution - take your 3mm and layer a rented shorty over it - as long as you pick one which is a decent fit it will provide a lot of extra warmth.

 

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I'm a big fan of the lavacore hooded vests as they don't change your buoyancy. They are not neoprene but a synthetic with fleece material inside. They add a lot of warmth and are very comfortable. It folds and packs very small as well.

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I read some trip reviews about deco diving in Truk and water temps.  I was surprised to hear that the temps were generally 82F or more.  I'll be fine in my 3-mil with hood (hooded vest as an option) I think.  I'll be diving single tank recreationally, except that if I need to do deco stops in the range of 'less than 30 minutes total' I'm fine.   Done a lot of minor deco diving in Roatan, although I'm still needing to understand how my newer Suunto D5 shows deco times.

I'm considering taking a wreck dive course over the winter, if I can find one in Phoenix.   I doubt I'll be taking a tech diving course, ever, but I wouldn't rule out taking ANY course, if available to me in Phoenix.   I love learning new stuff with the help of an instructor.   It's so much more efficient than learning on your own.

So now I'm starting to think about photography at Truk.  Pretty much screams wide angle there, eh?    For wide angle I have these options, none of which I'm extremely thrilled with.  I'm planning on taking my Z9 in Nauticam housing.

1. 16-35 + FTZ adaptor +  Sea and Sea Internal Corrections lens, 90mm extension behind a 230mm dome port

2. 14-30 + Sea and Sea Internal Corrections lens, 50mm extension behind a 230mm dome.

3. Something else I have not yet purchased - perhaps the WACP-1 with ?? zoom lens?

I am not opposed to getting the WACP-1, though I have a very limited knowledge of it and how it is used.  But I saw them in use in Bonaire in June, and there are two things that super appeal to me - the smaller-than-230mm size, and much improved corners.

What lenses does one use (on a Z9) with the WACP-1?  

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There is a dedicated port chart for the WACP-1 found here:

WACP-1.pdf - Google Drive

The lens of choice seems to be the Sony 28-70 with adapter as it's the only one giving fullzoom range with Nikon Z mount.  The F mount lens can't be used as it is a screw drive lens.

There is also the more newly announced compact lighter and cheaper WACP-C, which is the subject of an extensive thread here at Wetpixel.  Chart is here:

WACP-C_20220803.pdf - Google Drive

 

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I was thinking of the Nikon 24-70, either version.  (Z mount).  I have the F2.8s but could easily get the F4 version.  Almost trivial compared to cost of WACP-1.

But frankly, I'd happily pay the cost of the WACP to not have to cart around the 230mm dome.

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4 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

I was thinking of the Nikon 24-70, either version.  (Z mount).  I have the F2.8s but could easily get the F4 version.  Almost trivial compared to cost of WACP-1.

But frankly, I'd happily pay the cost of the WACP to not have to cart around the 230mm dome.

the f4 version is one option, but it only works between 28 and 32mm.  It would vignette below 28mm and I expect the lens bumps into the back of the port when zooming in.  The kit type lenses seem to work better as the WACP-1 has restrictions on the entrance pupil and it's position in relation to the port, which is probably why the 24-70f2.8 is not an option.  Using the kit lenses does not seem to hurt optical performance.  

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Hmm.   Seems odd the 24-70 would only work in such a narrow range?   What are my options for using the WACP-1 to basically replace what I have been shooting behind the 230mm dome?   I have 16-35 on DSLR and 14-30 on ML.   14mm is plenty wide for me - and so is 16mm most of the time. (I've been leaning toward wider when I shoot video).

What I want from the WACP-1 is a wide-to-normal zoom range, or a very wide to wide zoom.   Basically the 16-35 or close.

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Posted (edited)

Been there 3 times did some serious deco dives in the 80s and 90s when I was a young dive master

Went with a navy seal photographer on two of the trips

Maybe spent 3-664 weeks there overall .

3mm works for most folks as it hot water

take a wide angle setup for sure-macro as well.

You can night dive from shore with the 105

You will most likely do two boat dives a day if they are deep. Or 3 shallow

We had our own guide  and boat with Blue lagoon back in the day

Some of the wrecks now have collapsed but are  are still great-get some books and read up before going

Dove the pass for deep shark encounters as well.  Did some stupid shark feeding as well. Lucky we did not get bit .This was all back in the day-shot some skulls in the wrecks and back then it was all velvia 50 slide film

 

At one time I was nuts over that place and could not get enough.

 

Edited by onokai

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On 8/21/2022 at 11:19 AM, phxazcraig said:

I read some trip reviews about deco diving in Truk and water temps.  I was surprised to hear that the temps were generally 82F or more.  I'll be fine in my 3-mil with hood (hooded vest as an option) I think.  I'll be diving single tank recreationally, except that if I need to do deco stops in the range of 'less than 30 minutes total' I'm fine.   Done a lot of minor deco diving in Roatan, although I'm still needing to understand how my newer Suunto D5 shows deco times.

I'm considering taking a wreck dive course over the winter, if I can find one in Phoenix.   I doubt I'll be taking a tech diving course, ever, but I wouldn't rule out taking ANY course, if available to me in Phoenix.   I love learning new stuff with the help of an instructor.   It's so much more efficient than learning on your own.

So now I'm starting to think about photography at Truk.  Pretty much screams wide angle there, eh?    For wide angle I have these options, none of which I'm extremely thrilled with.  I'm planning on taking my Z9 in Nauticam housing.

1. 16-35 + FTZ adaptor +  Sea and Sea Internal Corrections lens, 90mm extension behind a 230mm dome port

2. 14-30 + Sea and Sea Internal Corrections lens, 50mm extension behind a 230mm dome.

3. Something else I have not yet purchased - perhaps the WACP-1 with ?? zoom lens?

I am not opposed to getting the WACP-1, though I have a very limited knowledge of it and how it is used.  But I saw them in use in Bonaire in June, and there are two things that super appeal to me - the smaller-than-230mm size, and much improved corners.

What lenses does one use (on a Z9) with the WACP-1?  

Have you considered the WWL-1B?

- brett

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At this point, I'm considering almost anything.  -The WACP-2 is out though!  Ideally I would not have something as large as the 230mm dome to pack.   Also, it has to be available between October and February, in case there are supply chain issues.

 

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6 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

At this point, I'm considering almost anything.  -The WACP-2 is out though!  Ideally I would not have something as large as the 230mm dome to pack.   Also, it has to be available between October and February, in case there are supply chain issues.

 

I have a Sony a7rIV and I would prefer the 16-35 + 230mm dome combo (I shoot a lot of wrecks and prefer rectilinear) but I have the same issue: I don't want to travel with a 230mm dome (along with a rebreather, drysuit, camera gear, dive gear, etc.). 

At the time, the WACP-C was not available and I didn't want to spend the $$ on the WACP-1 so I went with the WWL-1B. 

I just checked the port chart for the WWL-1B and I don't see any Nikon full frame lenses listed so you might need the WACP-1 (or the new WACP-C).

I don't know the Nikon system, but If I'm reading the WACP-1 port chart correctly It looks like with the 28-70mm Nikon lens you get a FOV of 130 to 59 degrees which seems like a pretty good range.

Regards,

- brett

Screen Shot 2022-08-24 at 7.48.34 AM.png

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