Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Three intrepid divers, Chris, Laura and Fiona from RSAC joined a large group of 49 divers to go to Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia in November 2016. The target was to dive the Japanese fleet which was sunk in Operation Hailstone February 16 to 17th in 1944. It was a very long journey involving 3 flights and some long stopovers but so worth it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Hailstone
We had twelve planned days of diving wrecks from 60 plus metres to shallower with stunning visibility and 29°C water temperature. We had 8 small boats taking us to many wrecks each day so at any one time there were only about 6 people plus the dive guide on each wreck. Unlike so many destinations, the wrecks are unspoiled and contain amazing cargo such as mini tracked tanks, a zero airplane, munitions galore, guns, rifles, trucks, earth moving equipment…the list goes on! The ships themselves have unspoiled engine rooms which provide amazing photo opportunities with telegraphs, gauges, spare parts, racks of spanners and maintenance machines to see.
I did 23 dives in all taking one morning off and did 7 dives deeper than 40 metres with the deepest two being the Nagano Maru and the Oite Maru at 63 metres but my favourite for the amount of ‘toys’ on it was the San Francisco Maru at 56 metres which stands upright. As Pete Mesley, who runs Lust for Rust, the company who organised the trip says “They don’t call this the million dollar wreck for nothing. Nothing short of one of the most impressive sights around. When you drop down a narrow vertical opening and all you see to the left and right of you is mines! There are bombs everywhere you look. Piles of detonators on the deck. You name it. Vehicles, bowsers tanks on deck, impressive bow gun. This really is a must do dive - See more at: http://www.petemesley.com/lust4rust/wreck-trips/truk-lagoon/wrecks/san-francisco-maru.php#sthash.bPNOO2pl.dpuf
This great video on the SanFrancisco Maru was taken by Bob Kinsman one of the non RSAC divers, on his semi-professional camera with me featuring in it which is a great memory of the trip, thanks for permission to use your Bob! I have the black scap on:
For those who didn’t want to or weren’t certified to do deeper than 40 metres there are an equally impressive amount of wrecks such as the Kensho Maru with it’s awesome engine room at 37 metres, thanks to Marcus Blatchford for permission to use the following photo:
and the Yamagiri Maru with another massive engine room at 32 metres which has the skull of one of the unfortunate sailors embedded in the top. A signature sight and reminder of the grim results of war too.
This was a ‘once in a lifetime trip’ but just maybe…….2018?