Report on a Classic Destination:

Carl's 25th

year revisit

to Truk Lagoon!

Truk Lagoon Photo Gallery

The first time I had the good fortune to dive Truk Lagoon was in 1973, the heyday of the legendary Kimiuo Aisek and the very beginning of divers experiencing the wonders of Truk's colossal Japanese wrecks.Carpeted covered wrecks

In those halcyon days, the wrecks were carpeted with astonishingly rich coral reefs--huge cannons were adorned with stony and soft corals which blurred their stark lines, while six-foot streamers of blazingly rain bowed soft coral hung from masts, superstructure and rigging everywhere. It was dazzling, undersea experience totally unlike any other I'd ever seen.

Twenty-five years later, it is only fair to say that I felt some trepidation in flying in to Truk (now called by its original name, Chuuk). After all, I had just dived Palau's reefs, widely affected by coral bleaching. Also, over the years I had seen some evidence of diver damage, a gradual lessening of the corals due to wear and tear.
In what seems a perverse zero-sum game, the more Chuuk attracted greater numbers of divers the more the growth on its wrecks--the very thing that made them unique in the world-- had seemed to decline. Ornately covered wrecks
It was a sunny day over Chuuk when I arrived and was promptly whisked to a spacious air-conditioned stateroom aboard Thorfinn. This massive ship has now spent fifteen years welcoming divers to Chuuk and has a very polished operation. It was only fitting that she host my 25th anniversary dives.

That coral covers a bow gun!

I arrived aboard in midmorning, quickly assembled my gear and cameras, and leaped into an 11:00 A.M. skiff headed for the Fujikawa Maru wreck. It is one of Chuuk's enduring classics, and an acid test for my worries about the corals.
Imagine my surprise when this oft-dived wreck looked every inch her royal self--soft corals everywhere, lots of fish, all displayed in gorgeous visibility. I high fived Beautifully covered wrecksmyself for my wisdom in deciding to spend a few days in Chuuk, and reveled in what I was seeing.

It was much the same on my next dive on the Seiko Maru that afternoon, on the Kyozumi Maru, Unkai Maru, the Hoki Maru and--incandescently--on the finale, the Shinkoku Maru. This latter wreck was so carpeted with life that it seemed blessed with some fountain of youth. I was thrilled and happy to be here, to be enjoying this sublime moment of Nature's triumph.

Alas, my three days in Chuuk were over all too soon, but I left Lance and Narinta of Thorfinn and their lovable, competent crew for their warm hospitality. Sometimes everything just works, and I'll remember how good these days were for many years to come. I'll highly recommend this diving to anyone!

Truk Lagoon, new name or old, lives again to exhilarate another generation of divers!!!

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