Isolating in Truk Lagoon - (Continued)
(Please read the past blog reports for context.)
Part I of "Stuck in Truk"
Part II of "Stuck in Truk"
Part III of "Stuck in Truk"
Part IV of "Stuck in Truk"
Fujikawa Maru Machine Shop
After two years of tending to the Odyssey in Truk Lagoon the time has finally come to pack up and head back to the USA (at least for a while). The owner of the Odyssey was able to enter into the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) after an arduous quarantine process that took nearly a month to complete. (The FSM is still closed at the time of this post). With his arrival I can now depart and the Odyssey will be in good hands.
Using the catchphrase “Stuck in Truk” these past few years made it sound as if I was truly marooned here. The fact is, I could have left at any time but chose to stay. For health reasons, it seemed a prudent decision to not leave a virus free country during a global pandemic. The virus, whose name I won’t mention, has caused hardship for everyone these past two years so it would be wrong of me to complain about my situation here in Truk. Whatever financial losses, social isolation and boredom I have experienced, the world was coping with the same but while also combating the pandemic.
As for myself, I have not experienced a single day of wearing masks, social distancing or living in fear of the disease. The FSM did a wonderful job of keeping the virus out and its people safe while they went through the monumental task of vaccinating a population of only 150,000 or so people spread out over an island region twice the size of the US with a land mass equivalent to Rhode Island. Considering the sparse resources and complex geography it was impressive how they have vaccinated more than 70% of its people to date. I was proud to be a part of this effort. The Odyssey was used to deliver vaccines and health care professionals to the various islands in the Lagoon. We just returned from yet another vaccine trip just a few days ago from the date of this post. It was exactly on the 1 year anniversary from the first vaccine trip we ran.
Momokawa Maru Control Room
When I reflect on the past two years I try to see the bright side of the experience. After all, I did manage to accomplished the most rewarding and complex wreck diving of my life. Dives I had never had the time to attempt due to my obligations as a captain and tour leader. Photographically it was a coup. Not only was the diving awesome but the two people I dived with made it all the more so. I couldn’t have asked for better dive buddies than Keisuke and Eri of Treasures Divers here in Chuuk. With their dive operation also shut down they too wanted to make the best of the time on their hands and explore the wrecks like they had never done before. The three of us dived, feasted and laughed together. We made a great team. It was just what the three of us needed to be able cope out here in Truk Lagoon. I will miss them.
Although I am excited to rejoin the rest of the world and reboot my life beyond Truk Lagoon, I’m not doing so without apprehension. This is the longest I have stayed in one place continually since 1998 and it’s only natural to feel some angst when lifting off again. My spirit, although restless, has a sedate side to it that is demanding and hard to ignore. However, the wheels are up in a few hours and I'm off to the next stop.
Join Mike on the Truk Odyssey for Rec•Tec 2023 & 2024