Chuuk with its famous Truk Lagoon is an island far off the beaten track. Thousands of miles west of Los Angeles and a definite sore butt multi-plane ride to see the Japanese fleet that is waiting for your diving adventure into WWII. As a vet of the miserable Continental Micronesia 6-stop gruling 8-hour multi-island hopper, "Don't take it!" Spend that extra time in Guam. Dive Guam or explore Guam for a day or two and take the direct flight to Chuuk direct without all the miserable stops. To save a bundle consider going to the Philippines and taking Asian Spirit, the Philippines carrier started by former employees of Philippine Airlines. Fly to Sabu and then to Palau a great stop over, and one of my reviews on my month long tour of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.
I stayed at the Truk Stop and dove with their operation. The hotel is a 2-star basic. The air conditioning was good, the room clean but basic. Their restaurant on site had very good baked goods. However, the Sunday buffet sterno's went out and the shrimp got cold. Needless to say I could not get to the plane's restroom fast enough. They have no TV or radio in your room.
The dive operation is good and they even have twin tank rentals and nitrox. Their dive master just recently came from Cozumel and he was excellent. I arrived on the best weather day in six months. It was unbelievable it was like glass as far as the eye could see. The visability on the San Francisco Maru was 200' AWESOME! We went deep, 186' in the hold down on straight air, down to this freighter of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Out of the blue came the deck with 3-tanks with their guns pointing right up at us as if they were waiting to fire on their American invading enemy. It was an incredible site to be hold. I cruised the deck closely examining the tanks and their many residents.
Our second dive was the Fujikawa Maru the greatest coral and fish experience on a wreck I have ever seen. It had some of the largest corals I have ever seen! It could not have gone down in a more protected spot if it had been a planned sinking. The corals are just thriving as in a protected underwater greenhouse, and the fish, just incredible! Thousands of small fish. Over a dozen different kinds of schools starting at one inch and moving up to a foot in size. Every crevice was alive with masses of different kinds of fish and just off the ship more schools of bigger fish. It was just a breath taking dive day. One to remember till the end of my days. Of course it rated up their with Blue Corner and Blue Hole in Palau. A location I have reviewed here also in July 2007 while diving with the Excellent Sam's Tours. An excellent operation run by an American Ex-patriot.
On my last day in Truk I was only able to dive really early due to my plane departure. So, I dove my last day with their competition which was a never ever repeat situation. The bloody boat operator did his best to drown me! If I would have had my way he would be looking for another job and never be on a dive boat again.
I was the only single on the boat, which was full of some of the Truk Oddessy's passengers, and I was stuck being the very last one in the water. I went down with really bad visibility and I was immediately caught in the current. I was swept about a mile from the boat and my torn hamstring said no to fighting the current. I surfaced and signaled the boat driver, he was the only one on the boat. I needed him to leave the mooring and pick me up. I blasted my Dive Alert for over 10-minutes and he just sat there. I launched my 9-foot New Zealand safety sausage and he still did not move. Finally exhausted without a snorkel, trying not to use any tank air, I still wanted to not give up on my dive, he moved towards me and his excuse was he might have a problem finding the wreck with its three moorings in the water.
I immediately jumped back in at the site and made the most of my remaining dive at a little over 100-feet. The corals were good on this tanker, but I would never go with this operator again. They have a beautiful hotel on the end of Chuuk, near where the Truk Oddesy moors, but I would never recommend them again to anyone.
If you go to Chuuk and its Truk Lagoon expect a really rustic experience. Bad roads and really basic foods. There is the resort at the end of the island where prices are high and service on the boat may be a little to deadly for my taste. Of course the world is full of adventurous people who may have better luck than me, and you may be one with great luck. Me, I have just used most of my good luck up before my retirement diving days in the South Pacific.
If you like wrecks with soft corals this is the place. I am a soft coral lover. The very best soft corals I have seen are on Bequa Island, Fiji, a coral lovers paradise where there are over 400 native invertibrates.