Thursday 26 September 2013

Diving Truk Lagoon's Wrecks

Shinkoku Maru

Fujikawa Maru

Kansho Maru

Inverted Zero

Betty Bomber

Seeing as the last time either of us had really SCUBA dived was over a decade ago, going straight into the deep wreck diving in Truk might seem a bit ambitious.  Sure, we felt okay having done a thorough refresher "dive" in a pool back in Hawaii - but this was the real thing!

Indeed, our very first dive on the Shinkoku Maru involved penetrating the innards of the silent ship - entering into dark, narrow spaces through collapsing superstructures and rusted doors leading to a ghostly sick bay operating room.  Sure, there were plenty of interesting things to see in there - but taking pictures was NOT high on my priority list! I was quite happy to see the light of an exit hole...

Nevertheless, a few dives later we were both feeling way more confident dropping into cargo holds full of fighter planes and torpedoes, slipping through skylights into engine rooms or swimming through fractured aircraft fuselages.  The dive guides were excellent and professional, and it feels great to be diving again.

Diving into the deep, dark depths of the lagoon was indeed pretty daunting at first. The visibility under water was much less than I had anticipated or been used to on previous reef dives abroad, and the structure of the ship massive and ominous. Hundreds of mini jellyfish were swimming around towards the surface and stinging us. Don't worry they weren't the deadly types! However, the dive leader Brian led us straight into the ship through a small entrance and we followed entering into the sick bay. This didn't seem too bad at the time, but we were both happy to also get out pretty pronto! He also pointed out a big medicine chest with bottles and some gas masks, adding to the eerie feeling of the whole dive. 

On the Fujikawa Maru there was a bit more light, and I could see different coral and marine life. Brian spotted a really interesting nudibranch (you can see in the photo above) and a Hawksbill turtle. He also showed us some relics like chopsticks in a case and some crockery. We went down into the hold. Ty climbed into a bomber inside, but unfortunately I didn't see him! I enjoyed this dive a lot more.  

After a day chilling out, we went back out again. This time the weather was calmer and we felt more confident. The first dive was the Kensho Maru. Again, this was eerie and the visibility not great. I decided I didn't want to penetrate this ship and was more than happy swimming around looking at the corals etc. This was an ok dive, but nothing in particular stood out. 

The final dive was the Betty Bomber. Ty had been excited about seeing a plane. The conditions were good and there were lots of pretty fish- moorish idols, butterfly fish etc. We both climbed into the bomber, on separate occasions, and swam through the fuselage which was fun as there were lots of dark fish obscuring the entrance and many small fish hiding inside the wreck. This was the best dive by far and we both felt happy to have experienced four wrecks out of the scores that are in Truk Lagoon.

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