Getting Deep in Truk

January 22, 2015  •  2 Comments

Getting Deep in Truk

Photo's and Text by Mike Gerken

©2015 All Rights Reserved

      "Go Deep or Go Home" jokingly was the unofficial slogan for the "deep week" on board the Truk Odyssey in October of last year. Some of you might be asking at this point, "What is a deep week?" Basically, it's when a group of technical divers charter the boat specifically to dive on the often overlooked deeper wrecks in the lagoon. Deep usually entails going below 130'. This particular week long event was charted by Jane Bowman and Warrick McDonald from Ocean Divers in Melbourne, Australia. These two have been on the dive scene for some years now and have a tremendous amount of dive experience between the two of them not to mention a very strong following of talented divers who join them on such expeditions.

San Francisco Bow GunSan Francisco Bow GunThe gun on the San Francisco Maru is pointed hard to port. The depth of 160' inhibits coral growth allowing for a better view.

     The prospect of spending 6 days diving wrecks, that I had yet to dive even after 6 years of working in Truk Lagoon, was exciting. It is not to say that the deep wrecks are better than the shallow ones, it's just that they are different and offer a new set of challenges. A diver must be far more disciplined in order to safely visit these wrecks at depths of 150' to 220' for more than a few minutes. Our bottom times were on the average of 20-25 minutes yielding more than 60 minutes of decompression. There is little room for error when doing such dives making the experience a more substantial feeling of achievement.

     When I discussed the itinerary with Warrick and Jane, I knew these people meant business. They wanted to dive 200' wreck sites twice in one day and visit some that are off the beaten path, such as the Oite destroyer which is a 90 minute run up to the north pass. This schedule was fine by me as long as everyone took all the precautions required to do repetitive deep dives. This would also allow me more time to do a photo shoot on each site. Photographing wrecks at 200' only adds to the technicalities of diving. Not only do you need to pay attention to your diving and self preservation but, your camera and dive buddy need your consideration as well. Speaking of which, Annette Papa posed for me on many of these dives with, what I thought, were outstanding results. Thanks Annette!

     At the end of the six days of diving it could be said that it was a safe and exciting week. Jane and Warrick and their gang from Oz all had a great time and have since rebooked the Odyssey for 2016. I'm counting the days until their return.

    Here are a few images from deep week:

Oite Destroyer

Anti-aircraft gun on the aft deck of the Oite destroyer. Max depth 200'

Aikoku Maru

Aikoku MaruAikoku MaruThe stern gun on the Aikoku Maru points ominously skyward as she tried to defend herself before being sunk.

Aikoku Maru stern deck gun. Max depth 200'.

San Francisco Maru

San Francisco Maru Starboard TanksSan Francisco Maru Starboard TanksA pair of battle tanks atop one another on the for deck of the San Francisco Maru.

A Japanses battle tank on the San Francisco Maru. Max depth 200'.

Katsuragisan Maru

Katsuragisan BowKatsuragisan BowThe Katsuragisan is the deepest wreck dive in Truk Lagoon. This image was taken at 190' above the bow.

The bow of the Katsuragisan Maru. Max depth 220'.

Shotan Maru

Shotan MaruShotan MaruThe Shotan Maru is a rarely dived wreck in Truk Lagoon but an interesting dive.

Whip corals with mast in the background on the deck of the Shotan Maru. Max depth 170'.

Hokuyo Maru

Hokuyo MaruHokuyo MaruThis image shows a model posing next to the antennae on the pilot house roof of the Hokuyo Maru.

The radio antennae on the roof of the wheelhouse on the Hokuyo Maru. Max depth 190'

More images from Truk Lagoon here


Terri Allen(non-registered)
Was a great week thanks Mike. Love the radio antennae shot. See you in North Carolina for Wrecks and Sharks week
Martin clifford(non-registered)
Luved every minute of it mike
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