Truk Lagoon is a long way from anywhere. After United cancelled their flight from Cairns to Guam I re-routed my trip via Hong Kong. This made the first leg of the trip nine hours in the air instead of three while leaving the second leg to Guam at five hours. After two international flights, a 14 hour stopover in delightful Guam and the TSA going through every item in my hand luggage, I arrived in Chuuk late on Sunday night excited for two weeks of diving.
With some creative packing and use of the hand luggage allowance I managed to make it with rEvo, camera and extra strobes. I’m diving at Blue Lagoon Resort and enjoying their excellent rebreather services. After a couple of checkout dives on the first days, day three saw our little boat of four divers headed out to see the San Francisco Maru.
As with most of the wrecks in the Lagoon, the San Fransisco was a cargo ship carrying things from one place to another. She’s a popular technical dive here as she sits in 60m on the sand. The top of the deck varies between 45 and 50m. As she is a bit deeper and further from the sunlight there are fewer corals encrusting her surface. This helps with being able to see the bow gun and the shape of the bow clearly.
The big drawcard for me was the selection of Japanese tanks sitting on the deck. There is one on the port side and two leaning on each other on the starboard side. When I swam back down the deck after taking photos of the bow they were circled by fish. Between the tanks on each side is a big hole criss-crossed by beams. In the hold underneath are two tanker trucks. Three of the four headlights are still in place and on the port truck the steering wheel is sitting askew in the remains of the cabin. The trucks are surrounded by 44 gallon drums and there’s an ordinance trolley propped between them.
I happily spent a half hour bottom time lining up shots of the three areas you can see in this post – bow and bow gun, tanks on deck and trucks in the hold. The aft area of the ship is supposedly more damaged and less recognisable, as well as being deeper. While it’s hard to resist the temptation to swim around the whole wreck like a nutjob, the photos are definitely better when I slow down and concentrate on getting a few shots right as opposed to high speed terrible photos of everything. A lesson to remember for the rest of the trip.
Here’s to a merry Christmas and lots of fantastic diving.