Chuuk (Truk), Palau, Yap

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by sev11, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. sev11

    sev11 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Las Vegas
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    Have booked a trip to Truk (Blue Lagoon Resort) for 4 days, Palau (PPR) for 6 days and Yap (Trader Ridge) for 4 days. After pictures from my father who worked for Continental Airlines of Micronesia in the 1970's been wanting to go ever since. Finally bit the bullet and leaving in May. I am an Advanced Open Water Diver (w/ Nitrox cert.), wife doesn't dive but I told her just to bring a lot of books......

    I am hoping for some suggestions on a couple questions! We have planned a bunch of surface tours on each of the islands but am curious on the diving-

    Truk - staying at Blue Lagoon Resort - what are the must do wreck dives? Been looking around the internet and it varies, also bought "WWII Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon" and been reading up on the different options. I am comfortable in the sport diver limits but don't wish to push over 120 ft. Still kind of new to the diving game as I only jump in a couple times a year.

    Palau - staying at PPR and going with Neco Marine. Would assume they pick the dive sites but any recommendations if there is some options?

    Yap - staying at Trader Ridge and planning on doing the dives to see the Manta's.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. Kevrumbo

    Kevrumbo Great White

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: South Santa Monica Bay/Los Angeles California, USA
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    Truk: Fujikawa Maru; Shinkoku Maru --beautiful soft corals & fish life. Hoki Maru; Nippo Maru --interesting cargo & artifacts, but deep @ 120' between superstructure and deck levels looking further down into cargo holds.

    Palau: Blue Holes to Blue Corner traverse with aiding current; Siaes Tunnel; Ulong Channel; any of the big wall dives (Big Drop-off, New Drop-off); Peleliu Cut & Express for strong current big pelagic action.
     
  3. mjh

    mjh Loggerhead Turtle

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    There are trip reports, galleries and slide shows from our Chuuk/Yap trip. Would suggest really knowing your computer. You don't have to dive past 100fsw but you will find as time passes you may want to. You should also know how it works if you do go into deco.

    Chuuk trip report: Aquablue Dreams
    Yap trip report: Aquablue Dreams
     
  4. RJP

    RJP PADI Pro

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    Are you talking four diving days or "four days total"?

    Kensho Maru is a nice relatively shallow wreck with a very open and tidy engine room.

    Betty Bomber is a good "third dive of the day" - very shallow. Going all that way, might as well see a plane too!

    :D
     
  5. sev11

    sev11 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Las Vegas
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    Thanks for the responses! Planning 3 dive days Truk, 2 Palau, 2 Yap - will try and fit in 3 dives per day. Just throwing post-it notes in all the books at this point. Have not done a deco dive yet so not sure if that is the 1st place to try- do have a computer and been doing no deco dives on that. Thanks again for the help!
     
  6. RJP

    RJP PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
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    Assuming they haven't changed the inbound flight schedules, if you're only on Truk for four days total, you're not going to be diving three days... unless you don't mind being dead tired the first day. Not the location - or dives - you want to be doing after travelling for 24hrs or more to get there.

    And then you're gonna be in Palau for six days and only dive TWO of them?

    :shakehead:

    I'd swap one of the Palau days for an additional Truk day, except the only thing harder than conveniently getting from the US to Truk is conveniently getting from Truk to Palau...

    :eyebrow:
     
  7. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
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    yeah, what RJP said... going to Palau for 6 days and only diving TWO???? You are joking, right??? :dropmouth:
     
  8. Pullmyfinger

    Pullmyfinger PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Iwakuni, Japan
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    My wife and I spent 7 days in Yap last spring break.
    A very cool dive site in Yap is Yap Caverns. It's a maze of cuts in the reef, the dive covers a lot of area. There are fish everywhere, the dive begins and ends along the reef wall. Plenty of hard and soft coral, very colorful and full of life. So it starts as a wall dive, moves into a big swim through area, and ends along the reef again as a wall dive.
    Our max. depth on the dive was 66 ft., avg. depth 35 ft.

    Goofnuw Channel is where you'll likely see Manta Rays. Mill Channel is another place where your boat might go to see Manta Rays as well.

    My wife thought that Vertigo was the best dive among the ones we did in Yap. This is a cool wall dive, one where we saw quite a few reef sharks up close.

    Magic Kingdom was another place where we saw a lot of sharks. I counted 20 circling along the edge of the reef while diving here. You'll also see Titan triggerfish and bumphead parrotfish on most of the dives. The bumphead parrotfish we saw were very big. Turtles also.

    Surface intervals were done on the boat. They served banana bread and hot tea. We stayed at manta Ray Bay Hotel and took their boats out. They have a sailboat right in front of the hotel that's been converted into a restaurant. Yap was a great time.

    We just got back from a 7 day trip in Palau a couple of weeks ago. My favorite dive here was Ulong Channel. Sensory overload of fish, they are everywhere. multiple big Napoleon Wrasse, Grouper, black tip reef sharks, huge schools of baitfish. Giant Trevally, schools of bluefin trevally. Skipjack and wavy back tuna, Clown triggerfish. This is just an awesome dive. 67 ft. max. depth, 38 ft. avg.

    Blue Hole to Blue corner, as has already been mentioned. Well worth checking out. It's considered by a lot of people to be a signature dive. A lot of sharks, big schools of baitfish, etc. Palau is just loaded with marine life.

    There are a lot of wrecks in Palau as well. We dove the Iro Maru, which is a Japanese tanker. The deck is at about 85 ft. It's completely covered in coral. We didn't dive any wreck other than this one. Mainly due to the fact that we're going to Chuuk for 4 days over Memorial Day weekend, so we knew we'd be getting our wreck fix then.
    We're going back to Palau this summer to just dive wrecks. So for this trip we only dove one wreck.
    New Drop Off is another great dive, Dexter's wall is another. Palau is an awesome place, many of the dives are very cool drift dives. My wife and I are going to be making repeat trips back.

    Surface intervals are done on different beaches, they last around two hours. Lunch is served at the beach rest areas. We really enjoyed Palau.

    I'll let you know about Chuuk in about 6 weeks.;)
    Have fun.
    -Mitch

    P.S. I agree, you have to spend more than 2 days diving during a 6 day trip. You're already there...what else are you going to do?
     
  9. ZippyBoy

    ZippyBoy Angel Fish

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    Just returned from a couple a weeks of diving in Truk and Pulau. Trip was great, thanks to my local dive shop.

    Truk: stayed at Blue Lagoon and used Blue Lagoon Dive Shop
    hard to pick a "favorite", depends on what you are looking for. The ships are so large, and there is so much to see and absorb, you could spend a week on each one and not see the same thing twice...
    1. Shinkoku
    2. Fujikawa
    3. San Francisco
    BLDS does an incredible job of showing people the wreck highlights and letting you discover stuff on your own. This is more technically oriented diving and having previous deep/wreck experience will be a big plus. The BLR accommodations are "rustic" but adequate and the service was very good. The lack of sharks in Truk was disappointing, too many have made their way into the soup pot. :depressed:

    Pulau: stayed at PPR and used Neco Marine
    don't miss dives
    1. Seis Cavern and Seis Corner: We dove them as a pair.
    2. Ulong Channel - nice combo of sharks on wall and spectacular reef scenery in the channel. We got lucky and hit it on a swift moving current. Better than Mr Toad's Wild Ride
    3. German Channel - saw the only Manta of the trip here
    4. Chandelier Caverns -
    5. Blue Holes - reminded me of Trinity Caves in Grand Cayman

    and snorkel Jellyfish lake

    Neco did a really good job of diving the sites on "off peak" so we weren't running into the other 100 divers in the water, but that may have been as a result of my dive shop being a good customer of theirs. PPR is top notch...............order a shark bite and watch the sunset from the infinity pool.

    PM me if you need more details. this is a very abbreviated list. :D
     
  10. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Up a river of excrement in a native american water
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    As others have said you really should look at your travel plans - personally I would drop Yap and spend more time in Truk. Especially, because the flights between the islands are a bit harsh and you end up spending a day flying but only being the air for 4 hours.
     
  11. deepstops

    deepstops Blacklight Poster ScubaBoard Sponsor

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    You're just not going to see that many sharks inside an atoll lagoon.

    To the OP, here's a link to my trip report there seven years ago. The wrecks have not changed significantly: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/pacific-islands/28819-truk-report.html
     
  12. ZippyBoy

    ZippyBoy Angel Fish

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    2 more quick notes.....

    1. Truk is not the place to start learning deco dives. There is plenty to see and do without adding that complication. BLDS will sell you custom blends of Nitrox depending on your dive profiles. You pay by the O2 they put in the tank.

    2. BLR and Truk are rustic.....a non-diving spouse is only going to be entertained for so long reading books. There are some interesting non-diving activities that mostly revolve around site seeing WW2 relics or you can take a land tour of one of the other islands and snorkel the surrounding reef and wrecks (there are three wrecks right off BLR and a cool Zero across the lagoon).


    Deepstop.......The shark comment was made as a result of direct observation by the locals (BLDS) and my dive shop hosts that have been there multiple times over the years. Sharks inhabit lagoons, there were sharks on every dive in Pulau - which has outlawed the Japanese finning fleet.
     
  13. Mossman

    Mossman Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SoCal
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    Actually, I found Truk a very friendly place to do my first deco dives given the absence of current and surge, the presence of mooring lines and the Odyssey's 10' hang bar, and the Odyssey's 112cf tanks. These weren't long deco multigas pre-planned dives, but simply letting my computer run a bit overtime, mandating a 5-minute stop at 10' rather than a 3-minute safety stop at 15' for instance. Prior to these dives, I had the sense as many newer divers do that "going into deco" would immediately kill me. By experimenting a bit in Truk, I became far more comfortable with decompression and got to know my computer a lot better as well. When I finally got around to formally taking a Decompression Procedures class, I believe I was much more comfortable at the start than if I had never before done a deco dive.
     
  14. guamrider

    guamrider Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Location: Guam
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    Hi,
    I've been going to all three for over 30 years, and everyone has given you great choices. I do have a couple of exceptions though.

    (1) If you're going to dive planes at Truk don't make an entire dive on any single plane wreck. Instead, tell the guide that you want to dive both the Betty bomber and Emily flying boat on one tank. You can see everything they have to offer in 10-15 minutes, they're both shallow (60' or less) and you can move to the other one (they're very close to each other) and then continue the dive. Make these or the last dives of the day. Just make sure they don't charge you for 4 dives for the day.

    (2) TOTALLY agree with more dives in Palau. You'll want to make 2 dives at some locations, particularly Blue Corner and Ulong.

    I produce a diving tv show here on Guam and have a lot of videos on diving at all three locations and land tours in Palau. These might help you decide. Pete Peterson's albums on Vimeo

    Oops..almost forgot. All are perfect for nitrox diving.

    Enjoy your visit.
     
  15. RJP

    RJP PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    Cool videos Pete - thanks for sharing them.
     
  16. ncchuck

    ncchuck Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Carolina
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    Great video with one very serious problem. Handling of human remains is not only illegal but unethical. Truk Lagoon is one giant cemetary. I highly doubt anyone would sneak into a cemetary, dig up graves and then video the skulls. This is a serious problem that seem to afflict many photographers and has nearly closed down Truk Lagoon several times. The Japanese spent lots of money to collect as many remains as possible to prevent this behavior. Because some were missed they often do surprise visits to the area to monitor guides, operators and even tourists.

    Because this is a long standing problem it's very possilbe that the skull isn't even real or may in fact be a local person. Just respect all human remains.

    Many of the smaller artifacts on these ruins have been placed in highly visible locations by various dive guides and tourists over the years. Don't believe everything you see.

    I lived on Chuuk for several months and dealt with these issues frequently.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  17. Mossman

    Mossman Great White

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    Illegal maybe, but why unethical? After all, they're dead. What do they care?

    Maybe I'll donate my skeleton (after I'm dead, not before) to Truk so divers can have some bones to play with without the ethical guilt trip. My frame is a big bigger than the average WWII Japanese merchant sailor, but the divers will be narced and hopefully won't know the difference.

    How well did the occupying Japanese respect the Chuukese back then, BTW, alive or dead?
     
  18. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Up a river of excrement in a native american water
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    Sorry going OT here ...

    NC, in talking to locals it was my understanding that while the Micronesian Gov. allowed divers from Japan to remove the vast majority of the remains they did not allow them remove all of the remains because they are a tourist attraction.

    The comment about "surprise visits" I find odd. Who is doing the visits and what are they trying to accomplish? Sure there are the no artifact rules that get enforced but are you referring to something else?

    BTW If you want to see lots of bones just visit a crypt ...
     
  19. ncchuck

    ncchuck Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Carolina
    387
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    It's a matter of common decency. No one wants the graves of their ancestors molested. I certainly wouldn't want someone bouncing my mothers skull around even though she's been dead for many years.

    The Japanese government (I have no idea what division) filed a formal protest against one of the leading dive operations in Chuuk about 3 years ago. I was there when the bureau of tourism on Chuuk held mandatory training sessions for all dive operators and guides. We were told this was very close to being an international incident and was taken to the U.N. Obviously things like this don't get the headlines of war events but it did happen and it was sad. Several Japanese families are very active in protecting their loved ones graves.

    I guess it's pretty obvious that bad things happen during wars but there is no reason for us to act so uncivilized after the fact. Again, these are graves not playgrounds or entertainment centers.
     
  20. ncchuck

    ncchuck Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Carolina
    387
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    The local guides are the actual problem. They will tell tourists anything to get a bigger tip. I liked and worked with many of these guys but they have no respect for the law when it interferes with their income.

    I was told by owners of the resort as well as the tourism minister that indeed the Japanese government negotiated with the Chuuk government to remove ALL the remains. Anything left is because they were not found. Neither the Japanese nor Chuukeeze condon graves being disturbed on land or in the water.

    I think the vast majority of divers find the ships themselves along with the authentic artifacts facinating enough to keep them coming back. I hope people don't travel around the world to find body parts. I personally found artifacts in their natural position much more interesting than those gathered and setup on tables or platforms for divers. Beer/wine/saki bottles in racks for instance are much more interesting than those setting on tables. I think it's pretty obviously the ships didn't sink and have those bottles stay standing upright.
     

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