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

SS Thorfinn, Apr, 2006,

by Ioana Fiore, CA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 2419.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving California, Florida, Mexico, Caribbean, Hawaii, Malaysia, Fiji
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 75 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Mandatory safety stops: 60 feet/2 minutes, 30 feet/3 minutes, 15 feet/10 minutes. Begin ascension with 1000 PSI.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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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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