During World War II, Truk Lagoon (also known as Chuuk Lagoon) was used by Japan as its main base in the South Pacific. It was heavily fortified providing anchorage for the Japanese Imperial Fleet & considered to be the most formidable strongholds in the Pacific.
At anchor in the lagoon were battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, tankers, cargo ships, tugboats, minesweepers, landing craft and submarines.
On the 16th & 17th of February 1944… The United States took the main Japanese Imperial Navy Base by complete surprise. Known as Operation Hailstone – the battle lasted two days with intense daytime and night time airstrikes, submarine attacks and surface ship action. The American carrier-based planes sank 12 smaller Japanese warships, 32 merchant ships and destroyed 275 air craft mainly on the ground, which played an instrumental role in the American Forces gaining a stronghold in the Pacific.
Some describe this as the equivalent to America’s Pearl Harbour.
Lying at the bottom of the lagoon is the world’s largest collection of intact shipwrecks from World War 2. No other place on earth has as many wrecks that are so large and well preserved. These ships are 60 – 150m in length and they lie on the bottom like toppled skyscrapers, now overgrown with marine life. 35 of the 50 wrecks have been discovered and explored and are still very much intact.
The warm tropical waters of Truk Lagoon are nutrient rich and constantly stirred by currents. As a result of 49 years of submersion, these wrecks have been transformed into magnificent artificial reefs. Their decks are covered with a festive array of brilliantly coloured soft corals, sponges and other delicate marine life
Truk Lagoon is by no means limited to just sunken ships, there are numerous warplanes sitting on the bottom lying in comparatively shallow depths, ideal for shallow dives later in the day.
The outer edge of the reef, where you can dive the passes 50m+ and you are likely to encounter sharks, turtles, mantas and schools of fish.
Where is Truk Lagoon?