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 a submarine – the legacy of a fierce World War II battle between Imperial Japanese forces and Allied carrier planes. Most sunken contents remain close to original form after sinking due weather protection, and declaration as an underwater museum, totally banning 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 sparkling corals, serving as fish havens, with most wartime artifacts still aboard. They are fascinating to visit and accessible to most reasonably experienced divers with vast arrays of tropic fish and invertebrates,
This location is unsurpassed for quantities of sport dive accessible wreckage closely adjacent to high islands with warm relatively clear waters for snorkeling and swimming. Various onshore ruins are still visible as relics of the past conflict, being one of greatest losses in naval history. Ship cargoes of tanks, trucks, airplanes, mines, torpedoes, bombs, machine gun bullets and thousands of other artifacts are combined with beautifully decorated china dishware.
180 miles of encircling barrier reef is full of sand spits with overhanging coconut palms. Various mid-lagoon high islands with emerald peaks rising skyward, have tiny villages tucked along their shorelines. Slow paced life in Chuuk permits time to enjoy its natural features with lush islands as home to beautiful migratory birds attracting occasional bird watchers viewing them at higher locations.
Divers are amazed viewing preserved shipwrecks still in pristine condition following 80 years of submergence in warm, tropic waters. Truk is undisputed 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 experience 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.