Truk Lagoon has the best wreck diving in the world – the density of WWII wrecks is unmatched. Truk Lagoon is known as ‘biggest graveyard of ships in the world’ and diving Truk Lagoon, divers get to dive on over 45 ships, including armed cargo ships, huge tankers, small destroyers and a submarine. The wrecks of several planes also litter the ocean floor of Truk Lagoon, with all wrecks scattered across an area covering 77 square miles. Despite its reputation as a mecca for Tech diving some of the dive sites in Truk Lagoon lie at 15 to 40m and are accessible to recreational divers.
In the decades since the 1944 Operation Hailstone (which lasted for three days), many of the decks and hulls of the wrecks have been transformed into vibrant coral reefs. The lagoon itself is large enough that strong and constant currents carry the nutrients required for healthy fish life from the scattered islands through the large channels and out to sea. Many of the wrecks were sunk in or near these channels resulting in a wide variety of marine life thriving around the wrecks, so consequently, over 300 varieties of hard and soft corals are also to be found in Truk Lagoon.
Truk Lagoon is truly special and it is probably the easiest tropical WWII wreck diving in the world. Even those who are not so fond of wrecks will enjoy the soft coral growth and critter life on the wrecks turned reefs.
(Photos on this page courtesy of Andrew Marriott).
Truk (or Chuuk) is part of the Federated States of Micronesia in the North Pacific. It can be reached via Guam on United Airlines.
Some of the best wreck dive sites include the Fujikawa Maru, Shinkoku Maru, Sansikan Maru and Yamagiri Maru, but often overlooked are the outer reefs where a great variety of fish, both pelagic and reef-dwelling, venture near cascading coral walls that stretch into the blue abyss of the Pacific Ocean.
The Fujikawa Maru: Whether your interest is in artifacts or marine life this wreck has it. Abundant growth of soft and hard corals, anemones and crinoids make the ship very photogenic, particularly the bow and stern guns. All the holds contain cargo but a unique attraction lays in Hold #2. There you will find five relatively untouched and intact Zero fighters. The engine room is very interesting but requires special diving skills to visit. Depth is 9-34m / 30-112ft.
Shinkoku Maru: Lots of soft corals adorn this wreck. The engine room is accessible through the torpedo hole on the Port Side. Both bow and stern guns are intact and heavily encrusted with life. Inside the superstructure is a sick bay with an operating table. Elsewhere bottles, loading hoses and the telegraphs remain in the bridge. A must for a night dive. Depth is 28m / 90ft. Upright.
Sankisan Maru: The Sankisan’s aft had a huge amount of damage but the stern is upright and sits 200m away from the rest of the ship. In the forward holds are thousands of bullets, a variety of truck chassis, machine guns, aircraft engines, and propellers. Depth is 22m / 72ft. Upright
Yamagiri Maru: This wreck is famous for the huge 14in shells in the aft hold. Also inside is a steamroller, construction material and ship’s propeller. The engine room is well worth a visit but is silty. The bridge and pilothouse make for a nice penetration. Depth is 30m / 100ft. and the wreck lies on her port side.