Doing a wreck diving holiday is so different from all the other scuba diving holidays!

I’ve done a few scuba diving holidays in the past, but never a wreck diving holiday! The preparation and feeling leading up to a wreck diving holiday is so different from all the other scuba diving holidays.

Where am I wreck diving?

Well I’m heading of to Truk Lagoon which is considered the best wreck diving location in the world.

Truk Lagoon was a major Japanese logistics centre as well as an operating base for the Imperial Japanese Naval Combined Fleet. The atoll had been in the hands of the Japanese since World War I and was closed to foreigners.  In early Feb 1944, the recently conquered Marshall Islands by the Americans allowed them to send a pair or reconnaissance aircraft to gather aerial photographical intelligence of Truk Lagoon. They discovered that there were imperial warships present, including carriers and the super battleship, Musashi, which is the Japanese’s second Fleet’s flagship. The Americans launched “Operation Hailstone” in February 17-18 1944 on Truk Lagoon with five fleet carriers and four light carriers (with a total of 500 aircraft) from Task Fore 58. Warships and submarines blocked the entrances to the Truk Lagoon to sink any ships trying to leave the area while the planes flew in to destroy the ships and any aircraft on the island. But the time of the attack, the Japanese main battleships and carriers had left Truk Lagoon for Palau so there were only a fee destroyers and support ships in the area. The Japanese were caught off guard and unprepared. At the end of the 2 day operation, the Japanese lost more than 60 warships and over 250 aircraft; while the Americans lost 25 aircraft.

That was 69 years ago.

The history of the site and of every individual wreck is what makes it such a different diving trip from all the other diving holidays I have previously done. I don’t normally do too much planning on the area where I am going to dive. I do some research on what I can expect to see and what sort of interesting dive sites there are (any caves to visit). But with this, I found myself reading a lot about the history of each ship, when it was created, whether it was involved in the attack on Pearl Harbour, what sort of ship it was and what sort of cargo did it carry and also how was the ship sunken. I can imagine it is going to be very interesting doing the dive knowing the history of the ship. There’s supposed to be human remains and un-exploded ammunition during the dives too. Also most of the wrecks are located quite deep and some dives can get down to almost 50m deep! That’s higher than a 10 storey building – it’s a long way down and back up.

As part of my trip preparation, I’ve gotten myself a map of the area with location of all the wrecks. Got print outs and digital copies (on my iPad) of the underwater layout of a number of the wrecks and also written a list of the top 7 wrecks (according to a diving atlas).

Getting There

I’m looking forward to the trip, but one of the things which I am not looking forward to are the flights to get there. I have a 3:30pm flight from Sydney to Cairns, a 6hr layover in Cairns followed by a midnight flight to Guam, a 3hr layover in Guam before flying to Truk Lagoon, getting me to Truk by 10:30am. That’s a 19hr trip journey from Sydney to Truk Lagoon.

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