Diving in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia - Bluewater Dive Travel

Truk Lagoon

Wreck Diving
Truk Lagoon Diving
Wreck Diving
Truk Lagoon Diving
Truk Diving

Scuba Diving in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia

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Truk Lagoon Diving Highlights

Truk Lagoon (actually Chuuk Lagoon) is an atoll in the central Pacific, approximately 1,800km northwest of Papua New Guinea.  It is situated within Chuuk State, part of Micronesia, and is renowned as one of the best wreck diving destinations in the world. Diving Chuuk Lagoon is a highlight of many recreational and technical divers' careers, and the wrecks can be explored from either a liveaboard or land-based resort.

Truk Lagoon scuba diving is best known for its 60+ World War II wrecks, which easily makes Chuuk Lagoon one of the world's best wreck diving destinations.  Due to its strategic location, Truk Island used to be a Japanese Naval Base during WWII. Today the shipwrecks of Truk Lagoon offer a good amount of marine life, with many soft corals and schools of small fish. Some of the wrecks are quite deep, with the bottoms in the 100 to 150 feet (30 to 45 meters) range, which makes Chuuk Lagoon an excellent destination for technical diving.


Intro to diving Truk Lagoon

Though known for its amazing wreck diving, Truk Lagoon is surrounded by a barrier reef. You can see corals of all shapes and colors, plus what is even more amazing, most of the wrecks are covered in soft coral. Even if wreck diving is not your favorite, it is full of beautiful coral and it is amazing to see tropical fish swimming around tanks, bicycles, trucks, torpedos, airplane parts, and much more.

The lagoon offers dive sites for every level of scuba diver. You can find shallower wrecks to dive at or there are also options for exploring deep inside various wrecks. Marine life enthusiasts will be captivated by all the marine life that the soft corals on wrecks have attracted. You can see plenty of macro objects like nudibranch and anemones or even larger animals like reef sharks. The dive conditions are great with warm waters all year round and very little current inside the lagoon that makes the dives relatively easy.


Where is Truk Lagoon?

The name "Truk" is actually a corruption of the native name for this area, Chuuk, which is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. Many know it also by the name Chuuk Lagoon but for divers, it is more known as Truk Lagoon or Truk Island. 

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The diving season in Truk Lagoon lasts year-round as visibility is fairly consistent year-round and rain is intermittent. However, it's important to take note that the rainy season lasts from April to December, and while the dry season lasts from December to April

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Marine Life & Best Dive Sites

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Marine Life & Photography Subjects

The wrecks of Truk Lagoon host beautiful soft corals and schools of small fish. There are reef sharks swimming by, but they can be hard to take photos of. However, numerous species of large jellyfish abound in Truk. While macro life may not be as abundant here as in other places nearby, there are various nudibranchs, anemones, porcelain crabs, shrimps, and small fish to photograph.

List of some of the marine life that you can see in Truk Lagoon:

  • Grey Reef Shark
  • Blacktip Shark
  • Whitetip Shark
  • Tuna
  • Squirrelfish
  • Anemones
  • Moray Eels
  • Barracudas
  • Blennies
  • Trevally
  • Porcelain Crab
  • Shrimp
  • Nudibranch
  • Scorpionfish


Diving Conditions

Visibility: You are in a lagoon, so visibility is good but not excellent; 40-60 ft. / 12-18 m. is the norm, and 30 ft. / 10 m. visibility would be a bad day. Sometimes visibility can reach 80 ft. / 24 m. or more, especially if it hasn't been raining (November - February).

Water Temperatures: 81-84 F / 27-28 C in the winter, 83-86 F / 28-30 C in the summer / early fall.


Truk's Best Dive Sites

There are far too many wrecks to explore at Truck Lagoon, so here are some of the best dive sites in the area: 

The San Francisco Maru - It is the most famous wreck because of its 3 tanks with guns on the deck, but it is also very deep, sitting at 170 ft (52 meters). Thus the wreck is only suitable for advanced divers that can see the tanks or technical divers who wish to go deeper. The wreck is not surrounded by a lot of marine life, but it has some amazing war artifacts. 

The Fujikawa Maru - Is a favorite wreck to dive for many scuba divers as it is filled with fish and corals. The ship still has a gun perfectly intact and you can easily access the staterooms and baths. 

Betty Bomber - A shallow wreck that is great for all levels of divers. The plane used to lit up when fired its guns which gave it the nickname "flying cigar". The wreck lies around 65 feet (19 m) but lost its nose, engines, and wingtip that still can be found around 325 feet (100 m) away from the wreck.

The I-169 "Shinohara"  - The sunken submarine that accidentally flooded is now a wonderful dive site. You cannot enter the submarine but diving around is truly spectacular, plus it's a favorite spot for jellyfish and occasionally you can spot some turtles, rays, or sharks passing by. 



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Truk Lagoon Travel Information 

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How to Get There

Truk Lagoon is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between the Philippines and Hawaii. Book your ticket to Chuuk International Airport (TKK) on Weno Island. All flights to Chuuk International Airport (TKK) require transit via Guam, United States.  


How to Dive Truk

Both liveaboard & land-based options are available.  


Topside & Non-Diving Activities

If you have time, don't forget to do some WWII relic excursions! Deep-sea fishing trips beyond the outer reefs can also be arranged. Other water activities like kayaking or snorkeling are also possible. And of course, you can just enjoy the beautiful beaches. 


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Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: US Dollar (USD)
  • Language: English is a primary language
  • Main Airport Code: TKK
  • Time Zone: UTC+10
  • Electricity: 120V

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Reviews (5)


Diving in Chuuk is a very unique experience. I wasn’t prepared for just how many wrecks there are and how huge they all are. Every wreck is different and has its own ecosystem of soft and hard corals and a great selection of macro. There is something for everyone here, and dives can easily be tailored to individual diver depth limits and wreck penetration experience. However, this is a very wreck-centric location, so don’t expect any big marine life and only a few medium-sized reef species. I would recommend buying a guidebook that gives a basic history of each wreck before you travel. There are guidebooks available in Truk but they are really expensive - around $90!! Having a book makes it really interesting to read about the wreck you are diving either before or after the dive, and to understand some of the histories of the area. Water temperatures are generally around 27-30C year round, with little current and generally great visibility. The weather can be unpredictable - there was a lot of rain when I visited, accompanied by windy squalls that chopped up the surface quite a lot. However, there are some very sheltered sites that can be utilized if the exposed wrecks are weathered out. I would recommend diving Truk from a liveaboard rather than a shore resort. The diving facilities are far superior and the accommodation and food is also better.

Visited on 01/2023 - Submitted on 01/27/2023
  • Top Reviewer
Fountain Valley, CA
United States

Our trip to Chuuk was a real adventure. We departed from Los Angeles on United Airlines to Honolulu and connected with the legendary “Island Hopper" to complete the trip. This route stops at the islands of Majuro, Kwajalein, and Pohnpei before arriving in Chuuk. The reason scuba divers come here is because it's known as the holy grail of wreck diving. These are not the stripped down, purpose sunk wrecks you see at many sites, but World War ll wrecks sunk during Operation Hailstone in February of 1944. These ships and planes are still much the way they were when they went down. The majority of their cargos are still onboard, including trucks, airplanes, tanks, mines, bombs, machine gun bullets and thousands of other artifacts, including Noritake china. Human remains can still be seen on some of the ships, reminding us that these are sacred places, to be treated with reverence. It's unlawful to remove anything from the wrecks, so the artifacts can been seen for years to come. But, these aren't the only things to see. Since these wrecks have been on the sea floor for over 75 years, they're covered with hard and soft corals, sponges, anemones, and other marine growth. There is also an abundance of fish life including schooling fish and sharks. It's almost like diving on ship-shaped coral reefs. There are over 20 wrecks within recreational limits, and more for technical divers. On the outer barrier reefs, you're able to dive on sheer walls covered in beautifully colored corals. My favorite dives were the Fujikawa Maru, Shinkoku Maru, and the Betty Bomber.

Topside activities are somewhat limited, but you can explore lighthouses, some large gun installations, and military cave networks. We stayed at a resort that has a small museum dealing with the history of Truk Lagoon. The people are friendly, but the culture is male dominated and women should be sure to dress modestly.

Accommodations and restaurants are limited, but keep in mind that this is a really remote island and you should limit your expectations. We found everything adequate and kept in mind that we came for the scuba diving and not vacationing. There are few souvenirs to be had, in the way of handicrafts, like woven items, handmade casual jewelry, and carved wood. One of the fun items is the hand-carved “love stick". Each one is unique and has a wonderful story of courtship behind it.

Bottom line: This is a place best suited for divers only, with modest accommodations and restaurants. Any shortcomings can be excused because of the world class wreck diving. Definitely a bucket list scuba diving destination and it's easy to see why it’s called the “Wreck Diving Capital of the World".

Visited on 12/2016 - Submitted on 04/13/2020

Truk is the place for WWII wrecks. I had always thought the wrecks were deep, though, and thus more accessible by technical divers. However, when BlueWater Photo ran their recent trip, I knew we would be going to those wrecks mostly accessible at recreational diving depths.
Yes, the wrecks we visited are often at the 60-120ft depth. The liveaboard offered nitrox, usually at 30%, and by watching your dive computer we had enjoyable dives - many for 45-60min by doing multi-level.
We had calm conditions with mostly clear water. The dive guides took us inside engine rooms, wheel houses, hulls and compartments. If you do not wish to penetrate, though, there is lots to see on the outside of the wrecks. There are all kinds of artifacts, some which have been brought up on the decks of the wrecks. Bottles, china, telegraphs, gas masks, engine machinery, trucks, tanks, dozers, airplanes, bullets, torpedoes, and more. Photo opportunities include both wide angle and macro. Be sure you have strobes, focus lights, and dive lights (it is dark inside). We had some fun with external lighting, too.
The wrecks are all WWII Japanese. Hearing/reading about their stories adds interest and context.
The wrecks are full of coral growth and fish life. Checking out the masts and kingpins are a beautiful way to dive at more shallow depths and get a scale of the size of the wrecks.

We dove from a dive liveaboard. Land based diving is also possible, and visits many of the same sites but with a sometimes long/bumpy ride to/from and for your surface interval.

We visited a small museum with information, pictures, and artifacts of some of the wrecks. It made me realize how many more wrecks there are beyond the ones that we saw during our week of diving.

Visited on 02/2018 - Submitted on 03/09/2018

Truk Lagoon is not known for it's marine life, but obviously the shipwrecks. It's possibly the number 1 wreck diving spot in the whole world. I dove it this summer and can totally see why! First of all, I usually go on trips to see an exotic shark species. That is what draws me in. And, I actually did get to dive with my 8th shark species, a zebra shark, during my trip at Truk Lagoon. But, I also knew that I had to dive the number 1 wreck diving spot even if I wasn't promised a shark. Some of the other marine life included spotted eagle rays, jellyfish, eels, and nudibranches. Again those were not the cause of your breath being taken away. It was the magnitude of the ships, the ammunition left behind, the gadgets found in the ships that would've been used by the crew, and just the sobering reality that you are diving a gravesite. i am not one to take human life lightly. So, for me seeing the skull embedded into the ship was quite the experience. Not only do you have to swim up into a somewhat small, dark, secluded area to see it (kinda made me a little claustrophobic, and I'm not usually like that), but again knowing that was a life just made it a little bit surreal.

Let's just say I swam through a betty bomber, torpedo holes, and down to the million dollar wreck known as the San Francisco! Missiles, tanks, land mines, and much more are still there for us to dive with. That was my deepest dive ever. Extremely EPIC!

No matter where you stay, Truk Lagoon needs to be on your bucket list!!!!

Visited on 07/2013 - Submitted on 02/24/2014

I have been to Chuuk several times and I intend to keep going back. It is that good. If you love soft corals, GO. If you love wreck diving, GO. If you love war history, GO. If you are a tech diver, GO. If you have a camera, GO.

I have dived the wrecks from shore based dive shop and also from the Truk Aggressor, now gone but there are other liveaboards in the lagoon.

The island has changed dramatically in the 20 some years I have been going. The days of letting your gear dry on the lanai of the Truk Continental Hotel are over, at least if you ever want to see your gear again they are. When I was on the Aggressor, we had a night security guard who kept people from paddling up in the night to steal our gear. That being said, if one just uses caution all should be well.

The diving is sublime. The visibility in the lagoon can be a bit murky but since the dives are all on wrecks it never seems to matter. I found the diving to be very doable for most divers. Although some were deeper, it was very easy to dive in the 60 to 100 foot range. The wrecks, aside from being amazing pieces of history, are covered with stunning soft corals and anemones with their resident skunk clown fish and microscopic shrimps. Tiny reef fish such as damsels and anthias sweep over the wrecks in unison like some sort of fishy ballet. Angel fishes, butterflies also swim in and out of the structures and looking closely one can find lion fishes as well. If one takes the time to look up from this stunning display pupio can be seen swimming by and occasionally a reef shark. Ammunition also also covers some of the decks along with gas masks, jeeps, tanks, bottles and even bicycles.

When I was there in 1994, a group from Japan had just been there to remove remains from the wrecks and take them home to Japan. It was the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Chuuk. Although since then, I have seen bones that were found within the wrecks and then left on display and photographed by divers. It is in poor taste and usually the remains are placed back inside the wreck by a divemaster.

Making night dives on the wrecks is something especially not to be missed as the place just comes more alive. It's difficult to believe this place could become more spectacular but it does.
Seeing this bit of history is an incredible opportunity one should not pass up if at all possible.

Visited on - Submitted on 02/13/2014


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