I love wreck diving. But I love reef diving too. I have had the amazing opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time diving the WWII wrecks of Truk Lagoon (Chuuk, Micronesia), where everyone goes to just dive the wrecks. One would be silly not to since there are over 40 ships as well as airplanes and even a submarine that are mostly accessible to recreational divers. Making the wrecks even more of a divers dream (and underwater photographers dream) is that the wrecks were mostly not salvaged and much of what was on the ships when they sank is still on them. In my mind they have become an underwater museum of artefacts from almost 75 years ago. Beyond artillery, tanks, and ammunition of every shape and size; you find the soles of shoes, trumpets, the remains of a bicycle, and many other personal affects that remind you of the vast sacrifices of those in WWII. The ocean has decorated the wrecks with wreaths of soft coral, colorful sponges, and schools of glittering fish.
The diveable wrecks are all within the lagoon and I always wondered about the barrier reef of about 140 miles that surrounds the lagoon. The nearby islands of Palau and Yap are known for their amazing marine life, and I always thought Chuuk must have amazing reefs too. Recently I was lucky to be a part on a trip exploring the outer reef on the Truk Odyssey. We dived walls and passes that are rarely, if ever, visited by scuba divers. There were sea fans and black corals, carpet anemones, large patches of hard corals…and sharks. Lots and lots of sharks. Inside one pass we found a manta feeding and on another dive an eagle ray swam right over us. A week wasn’t long enough and we didn’t even make it half way around the barrier reef. So much more to explore….
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