Operation Hailstone – Truk Lagoon

by   Profile Robert   When 29th March 2018
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On February 17, 1944, more than 60 Japanese warships and over 400 fighter jets await their deployment. No one suspects that the US Navy is already on their way there to take revenge for the attack on Pearl Harbor which took place on the 07/12/1941.

In a single attack, the entire 4th Japanese fleet and the Japanese base as well as large parts of the islands will be completely destroyed. Over 3,000 Japanese soldiers die in the two days of the attack (17-18 February 1944) and Truk Lagoon becomes the cemetery for a whole fleet of ships. The term "Japanese Ghostfleet" is on everyone's lips.

The wrecks of Chuuk are an official underwater museum as well as an underwater final resting place for the fallen soldiers. Every year, for over 70 years, numerous members of the Japanese soldier’s relatives have come to Chuuk to commemorate them.

Renamed Chuuk in 1990, the state with some 300 islands is part of Micronesia, located 600 miles southeast of Guam and just 3,400 miles southwest of Hawaii in the Pacific. In diving circles, however, Truk Lagoon retains its former name, making it one of the most famous wreck diving sites in the world.

Since those fateful days, aircraft, tanks and other war equipment rest in the gigantic bathtub of the coral atoll - and as a highlight, there are over 60 Japanese warships of up to 180 meters in length found there. The ships are mostly at reachable depths between 5 and 60 meters and are covered with soft corals and sponges.

The "Fujikawa Maru", a Japanese military freighter of 130 meters in length, like many other ships of the ghost fleet, lies upright at the bottom of the lagoon at a depth of about 15 to 50 meters. Brimming with artifacts from the shiploads, one could spend an entire week at each of the wrecks.

Only a liveaboard can be recommended here. It is easier and means no long journeys with a day boat, plus you can be anchored exactly over the wrecks. Only about 1,000 divers come to Truk Lagoon every year to explore this "wreck El Dorado". None of the wrecks are alike, each with their own charm and secrets to explore.

The journey here is long. From all European airports you can fly via Tokyo to Guam. On the island, a night at a hotel must be scheduled before flying to Chuuk with United Airlines the next day.

The water temperatures are constantly 28° or above. My Mares Flexa 3.2.2 provided me with the necessary warmth for up to 4 dives a day.




Written by
Profile Robert
When 29th March 2018
Location Chuuk Lagoon, Stati Federati di Micronesia

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Stefan Michl on Mar 31st 2018
Fantastic blog Robert! Keep on rolling....

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