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Dive Review of SS Thorfinn in
Micronesia/Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon

April, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Ioana Fiore, CA, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 2419
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
California, Florida, Mexico, Caribbean, Hawaii, Malaysia, Fiji
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Mandatory safety stops:  60 feet/2 minutes, 30 feet/3 minutes, 15 feet/10
minutes.  Begin ascension with 1000 PSI.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Separate camera shelves on dive tenders, rinse tanks on "mother
ship" and camera tables on salon deck (one deck up from dive tender
deck and rinse tank) with stowage shelving underneath.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
Accommodations:  cabins are not luxurious but perfectly adequate with comfy
beds.  They vary in size--some can be cramped, and some roomy, some sharing
community showers/toilets and some with in-cabin facilities. Most, if not
all, have natural light from windows or skylights and in-cabin sinks. 
Comfy salon with big-screen TV, good video/DVD/library with historical data
on WWII activites in Truk Lagoon.

Dive Ops:  The wreck diving is unique and fantastic and deep (hence the
mandatory safety stops, which we did faithfully). Numerous and diverse
artifacts to view (both above decks and below), plus great coral reef
environment formed on the ships, teeming with lots of fish and critters.
They hyperfill tanks (in-water fills) for max bottom time on deeper dives.

Dive guides are expert, knowledgeable, and very conscientious--do not make
it difficult for them to keep track of you by your going off alone, without
telling them what you're doing, or by being inattentive to your dive
profile. Even if you've never penetrated a wreck before, you can do it with
these guys. I'd tip them individually as well as contribute to the common
pot liberally--they get little, if any salary, and they dive 4-5x/day, 7
days/week for months. We didn't see (or hear about) them getting any
off-time for de-gassing, and suspect they may be chronically bent--which,
if true, is exploitative at best and downright cruel at worst.   

The dive tenders are the best we've ever been on:  super-fast
transparently-enclosed inflatables, with individual sit-atop gear bins with
padded seats, grip bars, clip straps for headgear, easy-up ladder at the
stern, and even a sit-down freshwater shower.  

Bar arrangements for alcohol are strange:  Pre-notification of what you'll
want, and/or you have to purchase by the bottle, or six-pack at the
least--then you drink from your own supply which they keep under lock &
key. Soft drinks are free.  No juices, unfortunately, since I hate soda. 
Food was good and in reasonable quantities.  Good snacks served during the
day, and the saltwater spa on the salon deck is great for dive
post-mortems. The Thorfinn is extremely stable, no seasickness woes.

The crew lives on the ship all the time, and the Captain (age 65+) and his
post-pubescent local wife have a couple of babies running around (can you
say "lead-paint poisoning hazard"?), so it's like a little
fiefdom on the seas.  And odd arrangement, but the diving was great.
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Other dive reports on SS Thorfinn

All Micronesia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Micronesia
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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