War Relics - Chuuk
Chuuk is a surprising place; a beautiful, tropical lagoon with scattered green islands. It looks like one of the most-peaceful spots on Earth, a place seemingly unchanged by time and history. But history did change this lovely place, dramatically. And, as you wander, you quickly begin to notice the reminders of World War II a bunker here, an old gun emplacement there and what it brought to these quiet islands.
Slip beneath the calm, blue surface of the lagoon, and that's when it really hits you. Chuuk, then called Truk, was the site of a major battle in the war. Japan's largest naval base in the Pacific, it was bombed into submission by American aircraft in February 1944. As a result, divers can explore more than 40 sunken warships and submerged aircraft that rest on the bottom of the huge lagoon.
From the Truk Stop Hotel and Truk Lagoon Dive Center, centrally located on the main island of Moen, you can easily dive three to four wrecks daily. There are tankers, transports, ocean-liner troop carriers, a submarine, a destroyer, freighters and many more now covered with soft corals and surrounded by schools of tropical fish. Left alone after the war and protected for many years since, they are still full of munitions, cargo and the personal effects of the crews.
A dive trip to Chuuk becomes something more as you begin to envision the history recorded in each silent ship, each downed aircraft, each gun emplacement. And, if you are like most who visit here, you come away with a sense of discovery that was both unexpected and unforgettable.
The Truk Stop Hotel is a modern, comfortable hotel catering to divers. Located on Chuuk's main island, minutes from the international airport, it has 23 rooms, each with air conditioning, a refrigerator, private balcony with an ocean view, TV with DVD player and a telephone. The resort also has a wireless Internet café, restaurant, large diver-prep and gear-storage area, and boat dock. The Truk Lagoon Dive Center, a PADI facility, and the well-known Hard Wreck Café are also located on site.