|Truk Lagoon, January 2004|
This was our third trip to see the wrecks of Truk Lagoon, our first trip on the Truk Odyssey, now our liveaboard of choice. The sixteen of us had plenty of room to roam; sometimes we had trouble finding each other! There are two single rooms and seven doubles, six of which have single beds that can be separate or pushed together as a king. Room #9, our room, has a double bed and upper single berth, perfect for storing all that extra stuff. Even though it is smaller than the other rooms, it’s still bigger than cabins on most other boats.
The dining room has seating for twenty-four, four people at each of six tables. Meals are served buffet style. Breakfast included cereals, fresh fruit, juices, toast, and oatmeal, or you could order a hot meal off the menu such as eggs, pancakes, or waffles. Lunches always included salad plus a range of food from hamburgers to rice mixtures, and dinners included salad, usually a choice of meat or fish dishes, vegetables, and dessert. Cookies, candy, etc. are always available, as are soda, beer, wine, and alcohol. The only rule is that once you started drinking, you stopped diving for the day. Of course there are special snacks after morning and afternoon dives. The food ranges from good to excellent. The last night we were offered a choice of dinner off the boat or potpie and leftovers on the boat; no one even hesitated—we all chose dinner on the boat, not only because the food was plenty good, but also because no one wanted to get off Truk Odyssey until forced!
There is a sundeck, which also has a shady area, a salon with TV, DVD, and library, and of course the spacious dive deck. Once you pick your spot above one of the bins, it’s yours for the week—tanks are filled at your station so your BC never needs to be changed unless you want to dump the water out of it once in a while. There are a large multi-level camera table and fresh-water rinse tanks--two for cameras and two for everything else. Entering and exiting is easy off the lower platform and it’s possible to climb up the ladder with or without fins. The hang bar at twenty feet can give you quite a ride as the boat swings. We were able to make up to five dives each day although most of us stopped after four except for a couple of night dives, which were OK, but not great.
The wrecks themselves are fantastic; after 60 years they’ve become reefs in the shape of wrecks and wrecks on the inside. We noticed more deterioration in the past two years than in the previous twelve, so if Truk is on your wish list, better go sooner rather than later. We were given thorough dive briefings so we could find things on our own, and one or two crewmembers were in the water on every dive for anyone wanting a tour. Many of us purchased the set of wreck slates with diagrams of each wreck and carried them underwater with us. Visibility ranged from 30-100+ feet and there was little or no current. Water temperature was a heavenly 84 degrees!
Everyone was using Nitrox, which is included in the price, and larger 112 cubic foot tanks are available for the air hogs, which made them and their buddies very happy. Technical diving equipment—doubles, oxygen, etc. are available for an additional charge. Depth limits were suggested as far as what would be interesting to see so as not to waste time and air, but not enforced. We also did one shark feed, which was done in a location and manner so that no sand was stirred up to ruin photos.
Since we were going on to Kosrae after disembarking the Truk Odyssey after breakfast the last day, we stayed overnight at the Blue Lagoon Hotel, adequate but a bit pricey. The food in their restaurante was quite good and reasonably priced. You can relax, walk the grounds or arrange for a half-day tour. This will also work if you are flying out on the 2:30 am flight. Town is at least a twenty-minute walk; there are a few stores.
There’s nothing but good to say about our week on Chuuk except it went way too fast! We’ll be returning again.