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Chuuk Marks 70th Anniversary of “Operation Hailstone”, WWII Battle That Left Legacy of Underwater Monuments Beneath the Lagoon



Last week, Chuuk State marked the 70th anniversary of a World War Two battle that put the Micronesian archipelago in the history books and left a legacy of underwater monuments that have attracted scuba divers from throughout the world.

70 years ago, on February 17 1944,  carrier based American fighters and bombers launched “Operation Hailstone”,  an attack on the Japanese fleet in what was then called the Truk Lagoon.

It was a major Japanese naval and supply base. After 2 days of bombings, Japan’s 4th Imperial Fleet was destroyed.   U.S. forces sank 12 Japanese warships and 32 merchant vessels,  as well as downing 275 Japanese aircraft.

In the process, they transformed Chuuk Lagoon into the biggest graveyard of ships in the world.

Last week, Chuuk State marked the anniversary of that battle, which is an often forgotten chapter in chronicles of the Pacific war.

Japan’s ambassador to the FSM, FSM President Manny Mori and the U.S. Ambassador to the FSM were on hand as “Wreath of Peace” was laid on the waters above the wreckage at the bottom of the Chuuk Lagoon.

Dianne Strong is a retired UOG professor and a writer, who is in Chuuk this week for the event.

“Truk is the forgotten battle of World War II,” said Strong explaining that “there was no amphibious followup. It was an aerial attack that lasted 2 days, February 17th and 18th 1944. You go to museums all around the world, take a look at the Pacific history, Truk is never mentioned.”

But she says, the people of Chuuk haven’t forgotten “because they have the underwater legacy of all those sunken ships.”

Roughly 29 Americans died during the battle, a negligible loss compared to bloody battles else where which claimed thousands of U.S. servicemen.

But Strong points out that it was a significant strategic victory, which paved the way for the invasions of Saipan, Tinian and Guam. The battle was an important “stepping stone on the way to Tokyo.”

Today, the lagoon is an underwater museum of historic ships and airplanes.

“Beautiful artificial reefs that are 70 years old”, said Strong. “The airplanes, the “Emily Bomber”, the “Betty Bomber”, ships, a destroyer,  just beautiful reefs. So I love, not just the history, but these beautiful artificial reefs. We call them ship reefs.”

Strong is the author of  “Witness to War”, a recently published book on the late Kimiuo Aisek who, as a 17 year old Chuukese youth watched the attack that sent the Japanese fleet to the bottom and later made it his life’s work to lead divers from around the world in the exploration of the wreckage of war at the bottom of the Chuuk Lagoon.

“From tragedy can come beauty”, says Strong.  And Kimiuo Aisek helped bring attention to the beauty left at the bottom of the Lagoon in the wake of the  battle.

Kimiuo’s legacy, says Strong,  is the opportunity he created for his people.

“The Truk Continental Hotel, which was purchased by him, is now the Blue Lagoon resort, the Blue Lagoon dive shop.  And his memorial museum which is going up .. more than 130 people are employed in these enterprises. They’re not going to Guam. They’re staying home, making minimum wage and living their lives in their home.”

“I hope people realize that there are Chuukese that can succeed wherever they are and that we should honor Chuukese.”

Kimiuo died in 2001 at the age of 73.




Murex Bangka Announce New Oceanfront Cottages & Beachfront Dining



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Located on a private, palm-fringed, white sand beach and surrounded by kaleidoscopic coral reefs that are bursting with colour and teeming with life, Murex Bangka Resort is a haven for scuba divers. A stay at Murex Bangka gives divers the opportunity to experience a virtually untouched, Indonesian tropical island paradise.

This stunning resort that harnesses solar power, is committed to sustainability and marine conservation – is now offering divers even more home comforts with the completion of its new Premium Oceanfront Cottages and a new restaurant offering exciting indoor and al fresco dining experiences.

NEW Premium Oceanfront Cottages

Murex Bangka Resort offers a duplex style and two detached Premium Oceanfront Cottages which are positioned close to the ocean and are just steps away from the beach.

These tastefully appointed and spacious air-conditioned rooms offer comfortable indoor living and large verandas with outdoor seating. Double and twin bed sleeping configurations are available and all Premium Oceanfront Cottages feature large ensuite bathrooms with twin basins.

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As well as the detached cottages, the duplex option offers two more individual premium living spaces. For families and groups of friends, the two adjoining duplex cottages and the shared adjoining common living room area may be opened up – making this an ideal and generously proportioned for option for families and groups who prefer to stay closer together.

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  • Large verandas with ceiling fans
  • Ensuite ocean view bathrooms with hot water rainfall showers
  • AC throughout the night
  • Minibar
  • Dressing table/desk area
  • Ample storage
  • King size or twin beds with mosquito nets
  • Complimentary drinking water
  • Floor to ceiling windows
  • Ample wall sockets for charging accessories
  • Comfortable indoor and outdoor seating
  • Shared common/living area (Duplex Cottages)

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New Beachfront Dining

After a day of diving, guests can now kick-back, relax and enjoy flavours from around the world in Murex Bangka’s new beachfront restaurant. As well as serving a la carte dishes from the inspiring menu, diners can enjoy both buffet and family-style offerings.

Dishes combine the freshest of local ingredients and include options for a range of dietary preferences and restrictions. Bangka’s new menu has been carefully curated with the assistance of an internationally renowned food and beverage consultant and there is a focus on combining traditional classics with more contemporary international plates.

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The new and impressive free standing main restaurant allows guests to dine just meters from the shore while enjoying beautiful beach and sea views. Three meals a day are on offer as well as an enticing selection of specialty coffees, teas, mocktails and cocktails. A wine menu is also available and a cold beer (or beverage of your choosing) makes for a perfect way to end the day while watching the sunset over the ocean.

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Book Your Stay

If you would like to find out more about Murex Bangka or to make a reservation, contact: or take a look at the Murex Resorts website:

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Gear News

Oceanic+ Dive Housing Awarded the Red Dot Product Design Award 2024




Oceanic, a pioneer in scuba diving technology for over 50 years, announces that its Oceanic+ Dive Housing has been honored with the prestigious 2024 Red Dot Design Award. This esteemed recognition underscores Oceanic’s commitment to innovation and excellence in product design.

The Red Dot Award is an internationally renowned accolade, celebrating exceptional design quality and innovation across various industries. Each year, thousands of products from around the globe undergo rigorous evaluation by an expert panel of judges, with only the most outstanding designs receiving this esteemed award.

The Oceanic+ Dive Housing impressed the jury with its sleek and functional design, seamlessly integrating with both Apple Watch Ultra and iPhone devices to transform them into fully functional dive computers. This innovative product not only enhances the diving experience but also exemplifies Oceanic’s dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions for divers worldwide.

“We are thrilled to receive the 2024 Red Dot Product Design Award for the Oceanic+ Dive Housing,” says Mike Huish, CEO of Huish Outdoors. “This accolade is a testament to our relentless pursuit of excellence in design and technology in the dive industry. We are immensely proud of our team’s hard work and commitment to innovation.”

The Oceanic+ Dive Housing joins the ranks of previous Red Dot Award winners, reaffirming Oceanic’s position as a leader in the dive industry. This prestigious recognition further solidifies Oceanic’s reputation for delivering exceptional quality and performance in its products.

About Oceanic

Founded in 1972 by industry-pioneer Bob Hollis, Oceanic is a global dive leader committed to providing innovative, reliable, accessible and easy-to-use dive equipment to recreational divers so they can focus on what matters most: exploring the underwater world and appreciating the wonders of marine life. For over 50 years this philosophy has been woven into everything Oceanic does and is the foremost reason the company is considered a best-in-class, recreational dive brand. Oceanic is one of Huish Outdoors’ premier dive brands. To learn more, please visit

Sea & Sea is the home of Oceanic and other leading diving brands in the UK. 

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