Sunday, April 24, 2011

Truk - Day 2

On Tuesday, February 15th, I was ready to be out diving!  We ate breakfast at the restuarant at the hotel, which, is where we ate EVERY single meal while we were in Truk.  We actually never left the resort, except for a trip to another island.  I don't feel bad about that though because there was just not much to do in the town of Weno. 

Anyway, our first dive of the day was the Fujikawa Maru.  I was told that morning that this was supposed to be the most famous site in Truk...the site that the most pictures are taken of for dive magazines and stuff like that.  I will be honest, I'm not a huge fan of wreck diving, although Dan LOVES it.  I don't really like going inside them, penetrating, as it's called in the diving world.  I get nervous about that, and I just really prefer seeing the beautiful fish and corals and all that.  So, when people were passing around maps of this ships during breakfast, and talking about the "super structure" and lengths and widths and what type of ship it was and all that, it kinda just went in one ear and out the other.  But, I was excited to experience something new.

So, the 12 of us divers hopped on two boats, along with the boat driver and dive guide and headed out to the dive site.  Alls I can say, is that the dive was AMAZING!!!!!!  It was by far the best wreck that I had ever dove, and it still my favorite dive of the Truk trip. 

The ship was VERY long, but we were able to enter the cargo holds on the sides.  They were these huge openings, and you could swim from one to the other, versus swimming around the boat, which was much easier and we were able to see a lot more of the cool stuff.  Inside the cargo holds we saw a Japanese bomber plane, a gas mask and barrels of oil.  This dive had a lot of swim throughs and they were so much fun.  I have attached a bunch of pictures, because there were so many beautiful ones I just couldn't decide what to leave out.  We also saw several sake bottles, which we saw on almost every dive.  The majority of the ships that were sank, where merchant cargo ships with supplies, which included a lot of sake!!



My favorite pink and purple soft corals.

This gas mask was inside one of the cargo holds.



This was the opening to the back of the gun, where ammunition was loaded.

The gun or canon.  (not sure the proper ship term.)

Canon again.

Canon again...with a lot of fish.

Canon again...more fish.

This was the dial that said at the speed.  It still moved, because Dan touched it.

Interesting that it was written in English. 

Another canon.  Divers in the scene are Dan and Tom.

Dan above the canon.  You can see how big it is with him in the shot for perspective.

This was Dan's 200th dive.  The strobe flooded out what was written on his slate,
but he sure does look cute!!


Steps leading from up from the deck.



Sake!!!!

More sake bottles scattered around the deck.

All I can say is that diving the Fujikawa was AMAZING!  It was so beautiful.  The ship and the things were saw were fantastic...and the amount of coral and fishlife was unreal.

Taking decent pictures inside the ships is kinda difficult.  Because there is no sunlight if you've penetrated, you have to use the strobe, but using the strobe tends to highlight a of backscatter so the pictures aren't super clear.  But some of the videos look pretty cool.

video
This video is of the inside of the first cargo hold.  You can see the bomber.

video
This is a video of the swim through from the first cargo hold to the second.

video
This is a video of the second cargo hold.  You can lots of barrels and ammo and a gas mask. 

After lunch and a nice surface interval, our second dive was on the Yamagiri Maru.  This was a nice dive, but definately not nearly as spectacular as the first one.  We saw some ammunition and were able to go inside the engine room.  You were also able to do a little swim through the engine room and up a staircare to a room where there was a skull.  I chickened out though and didn't see it.  I felt kinda like a loser for being a chicken, but oh well, I'm over that.

Ammo

More ammo

Engine room

Engine room

Engine room

Engine room

Cute clownfish (Nemo) and a pretty anenome.

My favorite...so pretty.


Overall, a GREAT day of diving!!

Truk - Day 1

Ok, after finishing the Palau trip blog I got a little sidetracked and haven't been able to finish documenting our trip to Micronesia.  Part of the problem was that once I started looking at the pictures and reliving our time there, that's all I could think about.  I was kinda obsessed about going back...not that I'm not anymore...but I've got a better grip on reality this week.

We left Palau around 2am on February 14th.  We had to leave our hotel in Palau around midnight, so it was a short night of sleep.  While going through security in Palau my lipgloss, eyeliner and mascara were confiscated.  The lady didn't like the baggy I was using.  It was a sandwich bag, versus a zip-lock bag, so she took my stuff away.  Nevermind that I've been using that exact baggy for probably 3 years, but whatever.  I was SOOOOO  PO'd about that.  After roasting for hours in the airport, we finally get on the plane, which headed to Guam for a several hour layover.  Fortunately for me though, the Guam airport has some really awesome duty free shops, so I bought some new lipgloss and mascara...although I was still rather bitter about it.  So, finally, we are again on our way.  We were exhausted and crabby and just wanted to get there by this time. 

We finally arrived in Truk (fka Chuuk)!  Happy Valentines Day!!




Truk is a small state, part of the Federated States of Micronesia, which is an independent island nation.  There are only about 53,000 people that live on all the islands of this state, and it is very poor.  The infrastructure is especially bad.  The drive from the airport to the hotel was about 5 miles, but took probably a good 30 minutes or so.  In Truk people survive by subsistence living, basically fishing and eating their catch.  About 5,000 tourists do come to Truk a year though, mostly for diving.



During World War II Truk was occupied by the Japanese, and there are several sunken Japanese ships and fighter planes that offer incredible opportunities for diving.  Truk supposedly has some of the most spectacular wrecks to dive in the whole world. 

Truk Lagoon is specifically known for surviving "Operation Hailstone" in February 1944, which was a massive air strike by the US on the Japanese that were based in Truk.  The strike is considered to be similar to the extent of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  We were headed to Truk to dive some wrecks...lots of them.  From the airplane we could see the remants of wreckage in the clear blue waters, and even driving through town we could see what used to be massive cargo ships.   









While in Truk, we would be staying at the Blue Lagoon Dive Resort, and were diving with the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop, located on the resort.  Since I was still kind of crabby, and definately exhausted when we arrived, I choose to skip the first dive of this leg of the trip and take it easy.  I took a nap and worked on reading The Golden Compass, which Dan had gotten me for Christmas. Dan went diving and came back super excited about what he saw and I was rested and pumped to see it myself the next day.

A view of Truk Lagoon from the dock at sunset.

Spring is Here!

I think Spring has officially arrived!  I hope so anyway...  Today was Easter, and such a wonderful day to be alive for many reasons! 

Dan and I started out by celebrating this wonderful day with a tasty brunch with my mom, Mark and Jen (my bro and sis-in-law), and of course, with two of the cutest little dudes ever, Parker and Lily! 


We ate good food and we talked about what the Easter bunny had brought to P&L, the wedding, and of course, when Dan would be putting the boat in the water!!  If it stayed nice, we were hoping today would be the day for that!  So, we were all so excited when we left and the sun was shining and the air was warm.

So, Dan and I quickly rushed home to see Dixie and "My Baby."



"My Baby" is the name of our boat.  And, as much as we love it and have fun on it, we did not name it that!!!  We bought it about 3 years ago and that was it's given name by it's previous owners.  Dan is a little superstitious when it comes to renaming boats, and so, it's just stuck.  

Anyway, it's been a long winter, so we've been itching to get the boat into the water and start playing around.  We uncovered it a few weeks ago, when the weather was really nice.  We were really anxious to see how it held up this winter, because during one of the first really heavy snow storms in November a tree broke and fell on My Baby. 




Although the tree did tear a hole in the tarp, and in the boat cover under the tarp, My Baby didn't have a scratch on her!!  We were so lucky. 



So, Dan and a few of the neighbors finished putting in the docks and lifts down by the beach, and then they drove the boat over to the landing.


It's been awhile since I've seen such a big smile on his face!!!!



Even though it was chilly we went for a little sunset cruise.  We were covered in blankets and had the heaters roasting away, but it was lovely!




What a perfect end to a beautiful day...and a dreadfully long winter.  Hope your Easter was filled with blessings!