Scuba Diving the Chuuk Lagoon
The 50 by 30 mile Chuuk Lagoon is among the largest lagoons in the world. Due to its geographical placement, enormous size with suitable conditions, it was chosen by Japan to house its main Pacific naval base leading into World War II. By early 1944, US military forces had gradually pushed Japan from many Pacific strongholds, and then raided Truk with a huge naval armada termed as Operation Hailstone sinking high volumes of warships and auxiliary vessels while destroying hundreds of aircraft based at six separate airfields. .
The great battles and tragedy of that era are now witnessed by scuba divers at one of the greatest concentrations of shipwrecks on earth. There are nearly 70 wrecks within the lagoon alone.
While the shipwrecks excel as main attractions there are great layers of marine life gathered around them within the lagoon’s perimeters and navigable passageways. Wide varieties of aquatic life include every tropic species of reef and pelagic fish including sharks, rays, porpoises, jacks, and much more.
DIVING FROM THE SS THORFINN
Scuba Diving Chuuk (Truk)
Truk Lagoon is centered within Chuuk State of the Fed States of Micronesia and is famous for its giant oceanic lake surrounded by a huge barrier reef and islands. The lagoon is the final resting place for more than 100 ships, planes and submarines – the legacy of a fierce World War II battle between the Imperial Japanese Fleet and Allied carrier planes. Most of its sunken contents remain in their original form after sinking, and are now ruled as an underwater museum with a total ban on artifact removals.
The Allied ‘Operation Hailstone’ in February 1944, and two more attacks of April and June ‘44 left the lagoon floor littered with Japanese cargo and armed military ships. Decades later, they have become natural reefs, draped with corals and serving as fish havens, with most wartime artifacts still aboard. They are fascinating sites to visit and many are accessible to any experience levels of divers. Shallower ships have become overgrown reefs hosting species of over 700 fish and nearly 400 corals, plus numerous invertebrates.
This location is unsurpassed for quantity of dive accessible wreckage in close proximity, situated in shallow clear waters. Many wrecks are visible while snorkeling, and various on-shore ruins can be viewed as relics of the past conflict. .
Most shipwrecks lie adjacent to the high islands of DubIon, Eten, Fefan and Uman, and represent the largest naval loss in history. Their cargoes of tanks, trucks, airplanes, mines, bombs, machine gun bullets and thousands of other artifacts including beautiful china are there still to be explored.
The islands of this big atoll are rich with natural beauty, and a 180 mile encircling barrier reef is full of sand spits with overhanging coconut palms. Various mid-lagoon high islands have emerald peaks rising to blue skies.
A slow paced life in Chuuk often permits time to enjoy its natural features with lush islands as home to beautiful migratory birds, with occasional bird watchers viewing them at higher locations.
Divers are amazed in viewing preserved shipwrecks still in pristine condition following 70 years of submerging into warm, tropic waters. Truk is undisputedly the world’s finest shipwreck diving destination. Wide assortments of hard and soft corals in brilliant colors delight both day and night divers, and vast selections of in-place artifacts testify to its historic preservation by local authorities.
Historic items among encroaching jungles include a Japanese lighthouse, perched atop a high island, reached by hiking or driving. Old runways, command centers, gun emplacements, cave networks, hospitals and libraries can be located when utilizing a knowing guide.
The most suitable method to explore Chuuk is from aboard a liveaboard dive vessel. Often overlooked outer reefs have wide varieties of pelagic and reef fish along cascading coral walls stretching down into a blue abyss below. Windsurfing and sailing are popular during NE tradewind periods from Dec to late April.
Highlighted Dive Areas
Chuuk is a true year round diving destination at equatorial mid-Pacific, with warm sun often interspersed by short sharp tropic showers, reverting back to warm sunshine. A rainy 10 minutes, one hour, or occasional day, bring an annual average rainfall of 85-95 inches, spread unpredictably year round after long years of recorded measure. .
Lagoon visibility runs from 30 ft (10m) up to 100 ft (32m).in differing locations and times.
Open ocean viz outside lagoon reefs average 150-180ft (60m)
Within lagoon is 84-87F (29-30C) at most all lagoon depths.
Daytime temps from 80-90F (30-34C) Night temps about 80F (27C) Slightly drier and cooler during NE trade breezes from December through April. Humidity increases through May to November calms (doldrums). An occasional storm may start from intense ocean evaporations at this ITCZ zone, with a wet humid day gradually intensifying as a system moves westward. There are no predictable Typhoon seasons here.
All skill levels of certified divers are welcomed, and their limits will be drawn from observing in-water skills as viewed by our professional dive team. Good breathing control and ability to stay within safe boundaries of their chosen dive system will govern access to certain attractions below.
What To Expect to See:
Coral encrusted ship wrecks from WWII plus wide versions of Indo-Pacific aquatic life with sharks and massive schools of tropic fish.and invertebrates
SOME OF THE MORE POPULAR DIVE SITES
SAMPLE OF PHOTOS FROM PAST TRIPS
PACKAGES TO SUIT ALL DIVERS
The SS Thorfinn is pleased to offer an exciting range of new all-inclusive packages for divers seeking the broadest site selections at Truk Lagoon.
View top attractions of wrecks, reefs, and emerald islands at this huge dive emporium, via non-stop 7 value-packed diving days on Saturday itineraries from the longest established and most experienced live aboard cruiser in Micronesia.
Full Ship Charter
A great bargain for a group of 12 or more divers and up to a full ship of 20 passengers.
BUILT TO OPERATE SAFELY IN ALL WEATHER CONDITIONS
MEET THE CREW
AN EXPERIENCED AND PROFESSIONAL TEAM
SS Thorfinn is one of the world’s best equipped live aboard dive cruisers, having cruised / explored Micronesian waters since 1982.
From operating base at Truk Lagoon, continuous non-stop diving is conducted 7 days per week, with up to 5 dives per day, on 5 differing sites – giving opportunity to view 30+ wrecks during a one week visit. Thorfinn’s structures and safety gear comply with IMO (International Maritime Organization) standards.
More Wrecks. More Daily Dives
Operating as Eco-Friendly, this ship utilizes island power plant waste lubes for its primary heating fuel under boilers driving it’s steam propulsion system. (pls note.. a ‘green ship’ )
18-20 island staff provide cheerful personalized service on a 1:1 crew to guest ratio. They range from individually assigned dive crews attending each diver’s needs, to full time hostesses, deck maintenance staff, large machinery staff, and 2 chefs preparing varieties of tasty international cuisine. Special dietary requests are catered as available food supplies permit.
All diving is conducted from well designed, ‘state of art’ covered 30ft tenders with each craft diving separate sites to avoid crowding over a single mooring. Diving in small groups, experienced local guides will show the very best attractions at each site. Many have been with Thorfinn for more than 15 years.
We’re accustomed to working with technical and rebreather divers by supplying banded double cylinders, 3-4 ltr pony bottles, and special rebreather bottles as may be requested. Both SodaSorb or Sofnolime are freely supplied, Optional Helium should be advance requested to ensure sufficient on-hand quantities. Partial pressure blending via an efficient series of electric and air driven gas boosters produce various mixes of Enriched Air Nitrox and Trimix to meet individual requests. Aboard Thorfinn, you’ll receive rewarding experiences in technical diving with ability to extend diving at many deeper sites