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Dive Review of Truk Siren in

Truk Siren: "Surprisingly interesting and good diving.", Mar, 2015,

by elizabeth idell, AL, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 8597.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I made this trip because I was also visiting Palau, I am a history buff, retired military, and though I am not a wreck enthusiast but these are really special wrecks. It was not Typhoon season. When I arrived in Palau there was a Typhoon moving through Micronesia that moderately effected our diving. Then leaving Palau to get to Truk (which is actually now called Chuuk) another typhoon caused delays. Then after getting off of the Truk Siren on the 28th of March we were actively involved in assisting shipwrecked crew members from the Siren and Odyssey. And of course, we were delayed leaving Truk.
Due to the weather, when we arrived there were only 6 passengers that could get into Truk. This made for a very intimate group and we got to know our fellow passengers and crew quite well. Among the passengers there was one technical diver, an instructor, two experienced divers (including myself), and two brand new divers. Because of the depths that we were diving and the wreck penatrations I would not recommend Truk to a new diver. However, our group was very small, the instructor stuck with the "kids", who were very calm and capable new divers, and the largest dive guide to guest ratio was never bigger than 1-3. The tech diver usually dived alone. Water was always calm. Visibility wasn't always great, did I mention there had been some extreme, unseasonal weather, between 30-150 ft. But mostly around 50 ft. The cruise director/dive guide was very experienced at Truk. He was recently returned from a few years away but had an incredible knowledge of the vessels we dived on, the history of the lagoon, and how to navigate the precarious local political and cultural scene. He really made the wrecks come to life for us. The other two dive guides were professional and equally capable. The rest of the crew were very professional.
After every dive we had a hot drink of our choice waiting for us. The food was very good considering there were shortages of everything fresh on the island. The day before we got on the Siren and after we left the Siren we didn't have as much access to fresh food at the resort. The chefs even accommodated my gluten free requirements with no problems.
Arrival, they suggest you arrive a day early. That is a good suggestion and the only place I could recommend to stay is Blue Lagoon Resort. Flights route through Guam or you can follow an Island hopping route from Hawaii. United Airlines is the only ride around and they are not very reliable under the best of conditions in this part of the world. The crew picked me up from the Blue Lagoon Resort about 1 pm the day after I arrived. It was a very short skiff ride to the boat. One passenger was delayed twice and finally arrived a little after midnight.
The Siren provides Free rental gear, with the exception of torches and camera equipment, if you want to minimize your baggage. In this case they didnt have adaquate torches. The new cruise director was fixing that problem.
Our check out dive was before dinner. Almost no current. Our check out, 105 ft for 55 minutes.
To tell about the diving you need a little history. Truk Lagoon is synonymous with Wreck diving. During Operation Hailstone, 17-18 Feb 1941, the Allies first destroyed on the ground or shot down the entire Japanese contingent of Zeros guarding Truk and establishing air superiority. Then the following day sunk over 60 vessels in and around the lagoon. It is a very interesting story and there are lots of books, videos and movies about the battle.
In the 60s this little forgotten part of the world got back in the public eye when Cousteau came and did a documentary. Other pioneers have located and catalogued the wrecks of Truk. Today, over 70 years later, these wrecks are surprisingly intact. They vary from having a large amount of coral growth to limited growth. Most wrecks that are divable by recreational divers lie in water where their deepest point is less than 150 feet and their shallowest point between 90 and 40ft. Some have masts that extend higher.

So, that's a little history. And it is fascinating. However, anyone that dives with me knows I'm not much of a wreck diver. Let me tell you. This place will make you into a wreck diver. The wrecks are extremely interesting because the approximately 50 divers a week that come to Truk are respectful and don't take from the wrecks. So artifacts from munitions to tanks, trucks to medicine bottles, bones to machine guns, are all still in place and bring that history alive. The diving is often at the extremes of the recreational limits. Dive operators ask divers to do extended safety stops at 60, 30, and 15 ft. Still, doing wreck penetrations through several decks of these vessels is eye opening. Viewing the damage that caused each vessel to sink and seeing the after affects is very eerie. I wish I could describe it better.
The marine life is not real abundant. Blue anthias are common. As are damsel fish and anemone fish. Soft corals in every color are also abundant. Some wrecks are rife with schools of jacks, bat fish, sardines, fusiliers, and surgeon fish. Others have very few. There are some reef sharks and we have spotted eagle Rays on three wrecks. We are told that guitar fish, leopard sharks, and mantas are a common siting as well. I will have to take their word for it. We did spend 2 dives on a wreck that had a resident hawksbill turtle. But they hunt turtles here so they are not abundant. On night dives we have seen a total of 1 lobster, tiny crabs and shrimp, and other common night creatures. But if you come to Truk for the critters you will be disappointed. Wrecks are what you are here for and it is well worth the trip.
With 4 dives a day we dived usually 2- 3 wrecks a day.
We took one day for shallow dives, the Betty Bomber, and a shallow reef that is known for reef sharks.
Ok, so I felt the Siren was a safely run boat. However, not really sure about how accurate weather communications to Truk were. On 29 March we woke up to a severe storm. No internet so we had no idea how the storm was developing. The satellite weather reports were calling it a tropical storm. They continued to call it a tropical storm well past when it finally abated. By then we knew 5 vessels were wrecked, including the Siren and Odyssey. I won't go into details about those hours. What is important is that the emergency communication system to the area failed. United did not cancel flights because they didn't seem to know what was going on and we couldn't communicate with them. The following day we had a Sunami warning. Fortunately no wave materialized. Our warning allowed less than 10 minutes of reaction time. Other island problems included looting of the wrecked vessels and other unsavory actions by a small group of bad actors on the island. This is a real shame because there were many people needing help and many helping them but a few bad folks overshadowed the good.
Weighing the good and the bad, I would go back. And, I would go back with this crew. I know Chuuk (Truk Lagoon) has a lot more to offer me.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Truk Getting There Through Guam on United Airlines

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 70-80°F / 21-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-150 Ft/ 9-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Due to depths and penatrations recreational divers always dived with a guide.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 1 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments You need to plan for dark enclosed places a focusing light is a must. To get good photos larger internal compartments you need bigger lights.
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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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