Monday, 14 December 2015

Things that annoy me today

Things that annoy me today, people that complain about the speed of the wifi and then go on FaceTime and drag what little bandwidth there is down off the scale.

Asked his wife to google to see if there was a place in Chuuk that did take out pizza, because it's not on the hotel menu. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

What about the weather

To describe Chuuk as a tropical paradise would not be an understatement. Palm fringed beaches, giving way to rain forest covered hills. Rustic and remote houses nestling on the waters edge, the sound of birds and the lap of waves. But be prepared it can rain!! Buckets of the stuff, most days there are a few heavy showers ie 10 to 20 minutes of torrential stair rods. Every now and then it sets in the clouds come down and the heavens open. Coming back from a dive a few days ago the boat lost all reference point, given that this part of the lagoon has 3 large islands only a few miles apart it was quite an unexpected experience

Another few days and some interesting diving

The last few days have been a little different as the dives have been with some single tank divers who are over here for a about a week as part of some other diving round the Pacific. Quite good for me as I got to hear about different sites in Guam and Yap which are both on my to dive list. 
One thing that is painfully obvious very quickly is that many divers do not grasp the sheer quantity of wrecks in Chuuk, magazine articles can just not do it justice with a few photos and descriptions of the signature wrecks just does not prepare you for the abundance and variety. Many come for a week here or the liveaboards and can only scratch the surface and not get to know any of the wrecks at all. 
This was brought home for me diving the Sankisan yesterday, 3 years ago when I was here last it was the second wreck that we dived on. An upright cargo vessel that has been blown in two just aft of the Bridge when an American bomb hit an hold carrying explosives, her aft fragments are in a 24m wide explosion crater 180m away. The front sank in about 30m of water with the forward holds containing, trucks, plane parts, and more bullets than I have ever seen in my life. Truly quite a memorable wreck, lots of life, artefacts and an interesting story. But I didn't remember one thing about it from my first trip, which just shows how overwhelming coming here can be. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Independent diving with Blue Lagoon

I'm now diving independently with the Blue Lagoon dive centre which seems to be working ok. The first day I had the boat to myself we went off todo some of the plane wrecks the are off Etan Island, the first one we dived was a Betty 2 engined bomber which is about 150m off the island and sits in about 20m and is mostly intact from the wings back, considering the plane must have crashed quite hard as the engines are about 50 on from the plane where the sheared off and carried on and the nose is also quite damaged. 

The second plane was the Emily flying boat which is a large 4 engined plane which sits between Etan and Dublon island the wreck is upside down and very broken up but this is probably not due to a high speed crash as all 4 of the engines are still in position along the wings only having fallen from the wing as the steel bolts holding them  to the wing corroded over the years and the propellor blades are still straight and not bent back as they would be if it had hit the water hard.    Many parts like the instruments have been pulled from the wreck over the years and now litter the sea bed around the site making it well worth a rummage to see what can be found and identified. 

Plane wrecks make a nice change from some of the ships, partly because they are compact and good to dive even when the visibility is quite poor, also being aluminium there is less corrosion and marine growth or coral so even the smaller parts are easy to identify even if they have been removed by divers and dropped around the wreck over the years. 

Odd things about Chuuk

It's been a few days so here are a few more Chuuk facts. Number plates appear to be optional. I have not seen a car with a front number plate and quite a few with no rear plates as well, I suppose on such a small island there would be no escape any way and most of the traffic drives at walking pace. 
I had a trip into Weno the nearest town a few days ago and that was an interesting experience. It's about 5k and took about 30 minutes. There are only two smooth sections of road and they are no more than 100 yards long the rest is pitted with deep ruts and holes some s few feet deep and around 20ft long so it's very slow progress, made a bit worse bey being stuck behind the school bus, just like the one in the Simpsons, for part of the way. 

Weno as a town is all low rise max 2 story buildings,  a few hotels and shops, most are more small road side stalls but there are a couple of larger convenience stores but nothing like you would see in the UK, more the Tesco Local than a supermarket. There is also a small port and a water taxi dock given the state of the roads many people just travel by water, both around the island and to some off other local islands in the atoll. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Lust4Rust a 5 star setup

Had a few days off the blog with the end of Pete Meslys Lust4Rust trip people have started to leave a big bunch left on Sunday and a few more today, there are now only 5 of the original 33 left and on Friday it will just be me.

A few things about Lust4Rust. The setup Pete has at the Blue Lagoon Resort is really very good and while the main facility's are there for those who want to do the deeper wrecks both OC and CCR there is provision for those coming out diving single tank on air or nitrox, and the boat spilt up provides different groups with wrecks with in the limits of their diving. Most boats only have around 6 divers and only very occasionally did two boats have to go to the same wreck and then there was alway an arrival time difference to ensure there was no over crowding.

Gas fills have been spot on with the O2 membrane unit and trimix bank that now provides O2 at around 94% and 16/45 trimix fills have been very consistent and even my Poseidon didn't complain once . 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

End of the lust4rust trip,

Final dive for the folks from Black Cat Divers who initially invited me to join there Lust4Rust trip about 18 months ago so a very big thank you to Jez & Michele for thinking of me.

The dive was on the Nippo Maru a 107m cargo/passenger vessel fitted out to supply water to Truk and some of the tanks still remain in the forward holds. When she was sunk she also had a deck cargo of trucks, a 2 medium tank,105mm howitzers on the aft deck and artillery equipment, shells and mines in the aft holds. 

The wreck sits in about 45m of water so is a very relaxing dive on a rebreather over an hour investigating the wreck including the engine room which can be exited quite low because of the torpedo hole in her side. Both the holds and accommodation areas are all very easily accessible with plenty of light and alternative exits clearly visible. The bridge on this wreck is very open with large windows to swim through and still as the wheel pedestal and engine room  telegraph.

All in all a very nice wreck to be finishing the Lust4rust trip on.