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April 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Blue Lagoon Resort, Chuuk, Micronesia

the non-liveaboard experience

from the April, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

After a trying trip involving four plane connections, I arrived in Chuuk International Airport ("Truk" officially became "Chuuk" in 1990) with my luggage still in Guam and my sanity barely intact. But there was one more adventure to endure. It was past midnight and raining hard when the resort staff loaded us into a Toyota RAV4. There were no streetlights, and the main road was an obstacle course, filled with ruts, holes and unmarked excavations, all hidden by the downpour. The ride was as rough as they come, but fortunately our driver knew where to steer the car. (When we returned to the airport on a sunny day, I gulped at the unmarked open trenches, as deep as 30 feet, on either side of the road.) At last, my partner and I reached the resort and were greeted with refreshing coconut milk, while the staff transported our luggage to our room. I crashed and hoped for a better tomorrow. I got it for the next nine days.

Blue Lagoon Resort's Dive BoatsChuuk Atoll is everyone's idea of a tropical paradise, and it's at the end of the world, with fewer than 100 rooms available. While many hardcore divers prefer liveaboards here, I'm prone to seasickness, so my buddy and I opted for the Blue Lagoon Resort. The grounds are beautifully maintained, with the requisite coconut palms and hammocks, but they are also, shall we say, "decorated" with WWII anti-aircraft guns and aircraft propellers. Truk Lagoon was Japan's main base in the South Pacific when Operation Hailstone, a threeday attack by U.S. forces in February 1944, sent 60 ships and 275 airplanes to the bottom of the lagoon, making it the world's biggest ship graveyard. That's what I had come to see.

My first dive was on the Fujikawa Maru ("maru" is a designation for non-military ships), beginning with the bridge at 30 feet. I could easily see fighter planes and big artillery shells in her holds; though deteriorated by the sea, they were easily identifiable. It was simple to forget I was diving a ship, it looked more like an oddly -shaped flat reef. On the bow, clownfish nestled in its anemone shelter. A juvenile pipefish lounged around the coral, as did clams and sponges on the deck. Moorish idols were everywhere. A small gray reef shark passed by, the first and only of my trip -- disappointing because I had read the lagoon was full of them....

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