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What’s So Special About Truk Lagoon?

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A rusty medical box, the embossed cross still visible on the front, sits atop the superstructure, now filled with a mismatched collection of bottles. We drop over the side and descend past the peeling layers of rust until we spot the inviting darkness of an open doorway. Gently cruising into the gloom, our torchlight catches on a rectangular frame.

On closer inspection, we realise we’ve found the sick bay. An autoclave full of silt rests in the corner and a precariously perched drawer contains glass syringes, now yellowed, broken and dusty. The operating table, topped with a neatly stacked pile of bones serves as a disturbing reminder of those that died when this ship went down. More disconcerting perhaps is the knowledge that the deaths occurred in another part of the ship and the bones have later been relocated for photographic purposes.

For most, Truk Lagoon is the ultimate wreck diving hotspot, a once in a lifetime destination and the pinnacle of their wreck diving aspirations. Truk virgins may assume that the diving will be something similar to Scapa, just with warm, clear water and more fish. They are at least partly correct. With temperatures around 28oC year round and viz ranging from 10 to 30 metres, it is very comfortable diving.

Some wrecks are so densely encrusted with coral that you can hardly make out the ship beneath and what features are visible may be obscured by clouds of fusiliers darting around in a blur of blue and gold. Jacks, barracuda and sharks also make frequent appearances, cruising around in the blue or buzzing past as you ascend the line.

There are however no battleships in Truk. In fact, there are only two diveable warships, both destroyers. The big draw, and what you will spend most of your time diving, is the cargo ships. With minimal salvage and strict ‘no take’ rules, the contents are largely intact and there are artefacts scattered everywhere. It’s this that makes Truk stand out as the premier wreck diving location and it’s the reason so many of us make the arduous pilgrimage to this remote cluster of islands, to see the wonder for ourselves.

As wartime wrecks, the first thing most divers expect to see are weapons. Two depth charges and their associated launchers perch on the port side of the destroyer, Fumitsuki, with shell casings lying on the sand below. Rail tracks wind around the deck, once used for moving torpedoes to the launchers. Further forward you’ll find one such launcher, a sizeable triple barrelled affair that fired the 9m Long Lance torpedoes that you’ll see elsewhere. On the cargo ships, you’ll see deck mounted machine guns, 6 inch bow guns and artillery guns. Some of these weapons, like the wheeled field cannon on the bow of the Seiko Maru, were already obsolete before the start of the war and were used primarily as a decoration to boost morale.

Vehicles are another popular target and the holds of these wrecks do not disappoint. The Hoki Maru carried a construction battalion, most likely destined for runway building. Drop down past the huge curved blade of the bulldozer and the tell tale cylindrical drum of the pavement roller and you’ll find a neat row of well preserved pick up trucks, ripe for exploration. On the Fujikawa Maru you’ll find numerous zero fighters. Among the mess of wings, engines, propellers and cockpits, there are a few aircraft still largely intact. Elsewhere you may see a tank or two or even some bicycles, clearly the war time chariots of choice.

Given the remote location, the Japanese had to import all of their food, water and equipment. You’ll see essentials such as water tanks, pressure cookers and mess kits, however a surprising amount of their limited space was dedicated to beer. Bottles can be found on most of the wrecks but some, like the Rio de Janeiro Maru, have whole cargo holds full of them, still neatly packed in the remains of their wooden crates.

Then there are the wrecks themselves. Several have intact superstructures so you may be able to explore the bridge to see the helm and telegraphs or penetrate the captain’s quarters. There are ballrooms with panoramic windows, the supporting columns for the ceiling now twisted and warped; dining rooms with the metal bases of tables sprouting from the floor; and even a galley complete with stove, extractor fan and pots scattered on the counter.

The anthropomorphic air compressor known as R2D2 can be found deep inside the machine shop of the Fujikawa Maru. Exploring further, you’ll find a perfectly preserved drill press and lathe along with cage light bulbs and fans neatly organised on the shelves of the adjacent store room.

The engine rooms are a firm favourite and with several levels of intact machinery, in depth penetrations are the norm. Enter the torpedo hole on the Shinkoku Maru and make your way past the uniform row of generators. Gradually work your way up the narrow metal stairs, around cylinder heads and along catwalks to the skylights above. Elsewhere, the gigantic spanners may make you wonder how many men it would take to successfully tighten a nut. One engineer even died at his station and you can still see his skull fused into the metal.

As the curators of this underwater museum, the dive guides polish algal growth from plaques and painstakingly reassemble broken ceramics and pieces of gas masks. They guide visitors through the complex maze of machinery and wreckage pointing out the stacks of periscopes, jumbled heaps of torpedoes and the particular features that make each wreck unique. These ships and their cargo give visitors an unparalleled insight into Japanese Naval life. By preserving these exhibits, the local dive operators ensure that rust hunting pilgrims from around the world will be enthralled for years to come.

For more from Chris and Maddy visit www.adventureoclock.com

Discover more about DiveQuest diving holidays at www.divequest-diving-holidays.co.uk

Chris and Maddy have lived in several countries where they enjoyed exploring both above and below the water. They currently work for Divequest, organising world class diving holidays to destinations that they'd love to visit themselves. When they do get to indulge, they share their stories on www.adventureoclock.com.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Ana Filipa Sobral, Founder of The Manta Catalog Project in the Azores (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Ana Filipa Sobral, Founder and Project Leader of The Manta Catalog Project in the Azores.

Ana Filipa Sobral is a marine biologist and conservationist based in the Azores Islands. She moved to the Azores in 2011 and once there, realised that this was one of the few places in the world where Sicklefin Devil Rays (Mobula tarapacana) gather in large groups, making it a strategic place to study them. She started the The Manta Catalog Project and through this project, collects photo ID and occurrence data on Mobulid Rays, with the precious help of divers and dive operators as citizen scientists.

Ana is also finishing her PhD which focuses on population genetics and connectivity of migratory elasmobranchs in oceanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The main goal fueling my research has been to help fill the knowledge gaps on elasmobranch biology and ecology to ultimately assist in the design of effective conservation and management plans aimed at protecting their populations in this remote region of the North Atlantic Ocean.

You can find out more about Ana’s important work at: https://mantacatalogazores.wixsite.com/mobulaid/project.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Dive Holiday Deals from Diverse Travel

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Planning your next dive holiday? Check out the latest special offers from UK-based Tour Operator Diverse Travel and get yourself a great dive holiday deal!

INDONESIA | MY Emperor Harmoni | Bali, Sumbawa & Komodo | 15 – 23 September 2022

Save up to 1/3 off a trip to Indonesia!

Your chance to dive Bali, Komodo and Raja Ampat aboard the NEW luxury MY Emperor Harmoni for less!

Launching in September 2022. Emperor Harmoni is Emperor Divers Indonesia’s brand new liveaboard.

Built of Sulawesi Ironwood and offering a truly new experience to liveaboard holidays, experience a true sense of sailing the Indonesian seas in freedom, style, comfort and confidence with her two engines. Enjoy spacious diving and relaxation areas or relax with a massage on deck.

Example price based on Bali departure to Komodo

WAS £2900 / NOW from just £1995* per person based on sharing a twin luxury cabin including:

  • 1 night in Bali before the boat departure with airport transfers
  • One way flight from Labuan Bajo to Bali after the liveaboard with 20kgs baggage
  • 7 nights onboard MY Emperor Harmoni with 3 meals a day, afternoon snacks, unlimited drinking water, tea & coffee
  • All diving with guide, cylinders & weights, Marine Park & Port Fees
  • Free Nitrox
  • 1 cocktail party on a local island (weather allowing)
  • Return airport transfers

* Price excludes international flights, these can be quoted at the time of reservation

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Other Dates available – book before 30 September!


MALTA | Dolmen Hotel | 28 September – 05 October 2022

With easily accessible dive sites offering great visibility, caves, overhangs and swim-throughs, with few currents, Malta is an ideal diving holiday location.

A modern hotel, with spacious, comfortable guest rooms and a choice of restaurants with delicious international and national cuisine. Several wonderfully relaxing bars, outdoor and indoor pools, plus a casino and several function rooms.

Price from just £975 per person and includes:

  • Flights from Gatwick to Malta with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in twin room
  • Bed & Breakfast meal plan
  • 5 day / 10 dives diving with guide, tanks & weights

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – alternative dates available


MALDIVES | Emperor Atoll | Best of Maldives | 10 – 18 September  2022

This popular liveaboard and her crew give a personalised welcome to small groups of no more than 12 guests.

Built to high, comfortable standards she measures 26 metres and accommodates guests in 6 twin-berth cabins, all with air-conditioning and private bathrooms.

From just £1925 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from London to Male with 30kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, afternoon snacks, unlimited drinking water, tea & coffee
  • 6 days’ diving – total of 17 dives (incl. 1 night dive), guide, cylinders & weights
  • Free Nitrox
  • 1 BBQ dinner on uninhabited island (weather allowing)
  • Malé city tour (on request)
  • Return airport transfers

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.


EGYPT | Emperor Superior | Reefs & Wrecks | 11 – 18 November 2022

A very popular liveaboard, Emperor Superior offers fantastic diving in comfortable surroundings. Her experienced crew make this one of the best for divers in the Red Sea.

NOW from just £1255 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox
  • Airport transfers

Booking deadline: Subject to availability. Limited spaces available.


EGYPT | Emperor Echo | South & St Johns Itinerary | 05 – 12 January 2023

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. Great value for money and perfect for small groups of buddies with a ‘Book 5 and 1 dives for FREE’ offer all year round.

Price NOW from just £1035 per person based on sharing a twin cabin/room including:

  • Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price.

Alternative departure airports available at a supplement.


All offers are subject to availability. Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002, email the team at  info@diversetravel.co.uk or click HERE to see the latest special offers on their website.

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Save up to 1/3 off a trip to Indonesia! Your chance to dive Bali, Komodo and Raja Ampat aboard the NEW luxury MY Emperor Harmoni for less! Launching in September 2022. Emperor Harmoni is Emperor Divers Indonesia’s brand new liveaboard. Built of Sulawesi Ironwood and offering a truly new experience to liveaboard holidays, experience a true sense of sailing the Indonesian seas in freedom, style, comfort and confidence with her two engines. Enjoy spacious diving and relaxation areas or relax with a massage on deck. Example price based on Bali departure to Komodo WAS £2900 / NOW from just £1995* per person based on sharing a twin luxury cabin including: 1 night in Bali before the boat departure with airport transfers One way flight from Labuan Bajo to Bali after the liveaboard with 20kgs baggage 7 nights onboard MY Emperor Harmoni with 3 meals a day, afternoon snacks, unlimited drinking water, tea & coffee All diving with guide, cylinders & weights, Marine Park & Port Fees Free Nitrox 1 cocktail party on a local island (weather allowing) Return airport transfers * Price excludes international flights, these can be quoted at the time of reservation Booking deadline: Subject to availability. Other Dates available - book before 30 September! Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk. More Less

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