Stuck in Truk - Part IV
Isolating in Truk Lagoon - (Continued)
The scenery from the deck of the Odyssey is quintessential tropical Pacific. The flora covered isles scattered around the lagoon add perspective to the vast expanse of blue water. Fish break the surface revealing evidence of the food chain beneath, a coconut bobs along drifting off to a distance land and the familiar stream of skiffs race by with the buzz of the Yamaha Enduro outboard pushing them along. This form of transport is the SUV of the Pacific. Locals of Chuuk taxi supplies and people back and forth between the islands and the Odyssey lies directly in their path. I sit on deck and watch the traffic and realize that life in virus-free Chuuk remains relatively unchanged during this world wide pandemic. Other than a few businesses seen utilizing social distancing rules you couldn't tell there was a killer virus running amok around the globe. The stores are busy and the supplies that fill them arrive on schedule by air and sea. Most seem as content now as they were before the outbreak; that is unless you are employed in the tourism industry. The economic survival of those that are dependent on it is precarious. A recent successful online fund raiser and government financial assistance has helped my crew and their families make ends meet. Now all we can do is scale back, adapt and wait patiently for the FSM to safely reopen.
Until recently, I never considered Chuuk to be my home. It was my place of business; a place to dive but not a home. For those of you who know Chuuk you'll understand it is not the most conducive locale for an expatriate to live. Sure, the diving is world class but what else is there? It took being stuck in Truk during a pandemic to realize that it doesn't take movie theaters and decent restaurants to make life shine here; it takes the absence of a killer virus. To date, the Government of the FSM has been successful in preventing that un-welcomed visitor from stepping ashore. That makes Chuuk a haven. I see life back home on the news and social media and if Chuuk wasn't a paradise to me before, it is now. Facebook was once a place for open discussion and portals into our friends lives but now it's one massive sounding board for the aggrieved. Due to a new perception my attitude has changed where Chuuk however, has not.
I may be away from the distress back home but it doesn't mean I don't care. I just feel there is not much else I can do to make a difference other than social distancing and voting. Come November, I will be taking part in that American right by absentee ballot without fail.
In the meanwhile, I will continue to occupy my days maintaining the Odyssey and spending my free time diving the wrecks. This golden opportunity to photograph them uninterrupted will not go to waste. It's this activity that levels me, gives me a sense of purpose and motivates me to get out of bed. If given a choice, I would much rather be earning my living entertaining my guests aboard the Odyssey and showing them first hand why Truk Lagoon is so famous. However, until the country reopens I can only provide imagery to help keep the excitement alive.
Top: Keisuke poses next to the torpedo blast hole in the Hokuyo Maru. This photo shoot took place at 200'.
Middle: Part of the control room on the Kiyosumi Maru
Bottom: Eri and I meet head to head in a narrow dark corridor of the Shotan Maru.
No comments posted.