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Typhoon slams Chuuk, on track to hit Yap harder

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by RJP, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. egovenatus

    egovenatus Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: VA
    Just came off the Odyssey, finally made it off Chuuk after several days, in Guam now and headed home. The Siren and Odyssey are stripped and vandalized, both were hung up on the reef on the south end of Weno. All crew and guests are ok, boats are likely totaled (or MAJOR refit) from what I saw. Thorfin, and a few other boats made it, but all other dive boats are aground, and were immediately set upon by the locals who vandalized and stole pretty much everything they didn't break. Be happy to discuss more when I get home.

    ---------- Post added March 31st, 2015 at 10:06 AM ----------

    Blue lagoon is ok, we all helped clean it up. Minor damage, food items were becoming scarce, cargo ship arrived today and began unloading supplies. Diving resumed today at Blue Lagoon, Felix was great, looking forward to going back in the future.

    ---------- Post added March 31st, 2015 at 10:11 AM ----------

    Island is in bad shape, many deaths, missing people, utilities down, many buildings destroyed, however in two days most roads were clear, and the utilities companies were out doing damage assessments and repair. Spoke to head of the team repairing power, says it will be at least June before they can get everything fixed and power back to everyone. Pretty much everything needed replacement.

    ---------- Post added March 31st, 2015 at 10:18 AM ----------

    Captain of the Siren is ok, bad cut and was knocked unconscious, myself and a doctor treated and monitored him. He was up and about this morning.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
    SelkieDVM, mikeycanuk and RJP like this.
  2. SelkieDVM

    SelkieDVM Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Thanks for filling in the details egovenatus. Safe travels home to you both. We're in Guam waiting on our flight to Tokyo, then on to Dulles. Keep in touch. ~L
  3. Akimbo

    Akimbo Just a diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Sad news all around. I can’t help but wonder how the wrecks weathered the storm. The typhoon could be devastating to the Chuuk economy if very many of the wrecks collapsed or became too unstable to dive.
  4. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    The updates are much appreciated. I will get in contact with the Blue Lagoon Resort prior to my upcoming trip to find out if they need anything brought over from Australia to assist with recovery efforts.

    It's horrible enough to find out about the damage done from the typhoon itself, but to discover the additional malicious damage done by the locals is heartbreaking. What are they doing, other than causing further destruction of employment opportunities for the locals?
  5. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    More from Odyssey on facebook

    Odyssey Adventures, Truk Lagoon shared a profile.
    4 hrs
    Here are some photos Hiroyuki Mori posted on his timeline. He lives in Chuuk. You can see some photos of the storm and the damage it caused inland. I just got off the phone with Lenny. He is in Guam and the weather is fine there fortunately. He will be getting on the plane in about 3-4 hours to go to Chuuk. We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.

    Odyssey Adventures, Truk Lagoon
    8 hrs
    I will share what information I do have. There is sketchy internet and phone service on the island right now. I understand that they are working hard on getting power restored. Those with generators are doing good. Mike Gerken should be on the island now and I hope to be hearing something from him soon when he can get through. Lenny's flight out of Honolulu yesterday was delayed over an hour so it was unlikely he was able to connect with the flight to get him to Chuuk Tuesday evening. I do not know if the storm is going to effect Lenny getting into Chuuk as the storm's bands are effecting Guam right now. This storm has now been upgraded to a super typhoon. The estimated maximum sustained winds are 160 mph, "becoming only the third super typhoon in reliable records with estimated winds that strong prior to April 1" according to Weather Underground's Jeff Masters. This storm will effect Yap. It is heading there now. Please pray for all of them to make it safely through this.
  6. egovenatus

    egovenatus Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: VA
    I spoke with several divers that dove on the 31st, they said wrecks were pretty good, minimal damage. Visability was bad, but wrecks were ok. Some of the wrecks have begun to collapse over the last few years, R2D2 on the Fuji isn't really safe to go to anymore (when I dove it Thursday or Friday), lots of fresh breaks in the metal and collapse, underneath what's left of the pilot house. The Scuba Munkies out of Australia will probably have better information on wreck conditions though, they are diving them as we speak.

    ---------- Post added April 1st, 2015 at 01:29 AM ----------

    Many of the locals didn't care about the "industry", they immediately began to loot the ships forced ashore, stole and drank the alcohol and began to vandalized things. As they said to me while I was trying to help the Odyssey crew.....we own all this now because you damaged our reef, then wanted me to give them gas for the skiff they stole from the Odyssey. It's a mess, Odyssey was not good when I saw her last. Siren, probably worse. Hopefully it is all sorted out and we can dive on her again, it's was an amazing trip and I had a blast with Odyssey and her crew.

    ---------- Post added April 1st, 2015 at 02:00 AM ----------

    Selkie, sorry we missed you, I think we were in Guam at the same time, in Honolulu now, we'll stay in touch.

    ---------- Post added April 1st, 2015 at 02:07 AM ----------

    Thanks to everyone on all the boats and staying at Blue Lagoon, everyone stepped up and helped during and after the storm. Then we all hoisted a drink afterwards, good crew, I'll dive with any of you at anytime anywhere!
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
    SelkieDVM likes this.
  7. Redsprint

    Redsprint Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Australia
    Thanks for the posts guys. Very difficult to get up to speed with what has happened. Sad to see the damage to Siren and Odyssey and worse to see people have been killed and injured. Have been there four times and its awefull to think our friends are so affected.

    Have been trying to contact Blue Lagoon but I guess communication is tricky and I'm sure they are busy with clean up. We are going in two weeks so if anyone hears anything about conditions now please post them. Not sure what the best thing to do is but I guess if we all cancel it deprives them of much needed income.

  8. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    More from the Odyssey on Facebook, sounds like good news:

    Odyssey Adventures, Truk Lagoon

    9 hrs

    First of all, I want to breathe a huge sigh of relief for Yap. I understand the main island is fine. The outer islands have suffered damage especially to crops and we will know more in the days to come how they are doing. This storm is still heading towards the Philippines. Please all, be safe over there. I also want to send our thoughts to the Siren. We are thinking of you during this time and let us know if we can help in any way. I am very happy your captain is doing better.
    I just got off the phone with Lenny. The damage to the Odyssey has not been what we had been fearing. Please don't get me wrong, we do have damage to the hull. It looks right now like an 8" x 1/2" tear. They have the pumps going to remove the water we've taken on and we should know more once Lenny returns to the boat tomorrow if it looks like there has been any other structural damage.
    We were fortunate to have the family whose reef we landed on look out for our boat. They have been very helpful in watching the boat for us and helping us. As of right now, their whole family has been working with Lenny and Mike to help us.
    We are still trying to find out about the rest of our local crew who was not on the boat during the storm. Lenny did see one of our crew members when he got off the boat. His family is ok, but they did lose their home.
    I will continue to post updates as I get them. Please continue to say prayers for our local crew, their families and the other islanders who are still missing.

    ---------- Post added April 1st, 2015 at 04:27 PM ----------

    Redsprint, first let me preface these comments by saying that "advice is cheap and you need to consider all the options and make the decision that is best for you." Also, keep in mind that I have never been to Chuuk.

    But I would be very hesitant to travel to a disaster area unless I was with the military or a relief worker with an an Aid Society, or if I owned a business/property in the region. I personally saw south Florida just a few months after it had been ravaged by Hurricane Andrew and it was not a place to visit for a "fun in the sun vacation". It was more like my nightmare imagination of a demilitarized zone rather than a vacation spot.

    And keep in mind that the Typhoon Maysak is still active in that region. I was on Roatan for 2 weeks shortly after Hurricane Wilma devastated Cozumel. There were mudslides and deaths on the Honduran mainland and Roatan endured heavy rains, flooding, high winds, heavy seas, and poor vis. It was not a great dive vacation. We didn't do many dives and the ones we did weren't great.

    I am sure that there are many wonderful people on Chuuk, the family that has been protecting the Odyssey are clear proof of that. But the fact that the "bad element" in their society immediately turned to blaming the outsiders, looting, vandalism, extortion, wanton destruction, and claims of entitlement is enough to give me pause.

    Who will be their next target when the looting opportunities decrease and the country is still suffering and devastated? Will they begin attacking and robbing tourists? What effective law enforcement agency, if any, will be in place to maintain order?

    If you don't have trip insurance then I would try to get a credit with the resort and dive op for a trip next year. Where do you fly on the way to/from Chuuk? Any chance of making arrangements for a vacation there?

    But I would rather lose my money than travel to a disaster area on my vacation.

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't try and help the people of Chuuk, but don't go there for vacation; at least not right now, JMO.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  9. egovenatus

    egovenatus Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: VA
    Redsprint, I agree with what Kathy says, but Blue Lagoon Resort was up and running when we left and had begun diving trips again. Pretty much everyone at the resort and from the dive boats worked their butts of the day after the storm and cleaned up the downed structures and all the storm debris, and fallen trees, looks almost as good as new. As long as they can get food, water, and fuel for their generators I think your dive trip will be fine.

    Kathy, as for the family that "watched out" for the Odyssey, don't believe everything you read, that family only watched out for it because they had participated in looting the ship. I spoke to the family directly while I was helping unload the crew's gear. They weren't exactly friendly and only were willing to help if they got stuff or money. They told us to stop removing personal items because they now "owned" the Odyssey unless we paid for it. Stole the radio out of the skiff right in front of me and demanded I give him more gas for it since he owned it now.

    That said, looks like they worked something out with them for them to protect the Odyssey, hope that goes well, I wish nothing but the best for her and the crew. It was a great dive trip and I hope to come back when she is up and about again.
    RJP and KathyV like this.
  10. Rhone Man

    Rhone Man Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: British Virgin Islands
    Sad, sad day. I have been through a few Caribbean hurricanes in my time, but nothing that ever looked like that.

    I appreciate it is early days, but does anyone know what Odyssey Adventures' plans are? I could easily see the temptation to take the insurance money and call it a day, but I very much hope they don't. Those are some of my happiest memories, and would hate to think of them closing it down.

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