Over 50 wrecks lie on the shallow bottom of Chuuk Lagoon overflowing with history and marine life. These are Japanese WWII wrecks and offer arguably the best wreck diving opportunities anywhere on Earth. If you like wrecks then you need to get to Chuuk Lagoon now.
During World War II, the Japanese used Truk Lagoon (as it was known then) as its main base in the South Pacific region where a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based. On February 17, 1944, the United States took the Japanese by surprise in a massive naval air and surface attack known as 'Operation Hailstone'. In two days of airstrikes, surface ship actions and submarine attacks, 13 Japanese warships, 2 submarine tenders, 32 merchant ships and 270 aircraft were destroyed and over a thousand lives lost culminating in one of the most important naval battles of the war of Truk.
Sixty-eight years later, the wrecks lie on the sandy bottom of Chuuk Lagoon and still retain much of their structure and history and have become home to an incredible amount of marine life. Chuuk Lagoon diving, quite simply, is the best wreck diving in the world.
The wrecks sit in between five and 60 metres of water and some of the larger vessels are up to 155m long. There is a huge amount of variety in terms of the types of vessels you can dive, from Fujikawa Maru, an aircraft transport ship where you can see airplane cockpits, gas masks and shells to San Francisco Maru, which was being used to carry military cargo and still has three tanks sitting on her deck. There is so much to see on each and every wreck and the thrill of weaving deep into the engine room of a vessel that cruised the surface over half a century ago is like no other.
Aside from the fascinating history, the marine life that inhabits these wrecks is stunning. The wrecks are drenched in hard and particularly soft corals of every colour and the fish life is excellent too. There is a chance of seeing turtles, sting and eagle rays as well as the sharks including the elusive leopard shark just to add a bit more excitement although the wrecks alone would keep you going for weeks.
In order to experience the wrecks of Chuuk lagoon at their best it is advisable to have a good number of dives under your belt and some wreck diving experience. This criteria, however, is not essential as embarking on this adventure with little experience can be extremely rewarding as long as you are willing to work on your buoyancy!