Ten Delicious Places to Dip into Diving

Micronesia: Lagoonatics

The Federated States of Micronesia, which includes the islands of Truk, Pohnpei, and Yap, is on everyone's list of top 10 dive locales. Here you will find unequaled wreck diving, great visibility, large sea creatures, and thick schools of tropical fish. And the neighboring archipelago of Palau will fill in whatever aquatic absence you may feel after your Micronesian exploration.

Truk, (or "Chuuk" as natives say), the site of one of World War II's great air and sea battles, is a wreck diving site without peer. In all, there are over 80 diveable wrecks—you could spend a month here and not see them all. Truk's underwater world is not just rusting hulks. With time, the wrecks have become artificial reefs alive with corals and sea life. Scuba Times Magazine has written: "Truk Lagoon is the absolute ultimate.... Dive it and be spoiled forever." Unfortunately, most wrecks are fairly deep, between 60 and 90 feet, so the lagoon is not the best destination for novices.

Those looking to explore the most interesting wrecks and log the most dives should seriously consider a liveaboard. Most ships are comfortable, well-equipped vessels with quality crews. Stay anchored in the lagoon, or explore the outer atolls and reef for a break from wreck diving.

After Truk, Palau is the region's leading attraction. Indeed, Palau has been ranked as one of the best all-around dive sites in the world. A large atoll with over 200 islands, Palau offers diversity found nowhere else. The variety of dive sites in a small area is staggering, with 60 great drop-offs starting at surface levels and dropping to nearly 1,000 feet. Water is 82 degrees, with visibility regularly 125 to 200 feet. Palau boasts a dozen blue holes, and a famed five-chambered cave system. The sea life is superb—1,000-pound clams, thick schools of reef fish, and large pelagics.

If you have time left after Truk and Palau, we recommend a two- or three-day visit to Yap. Yap's Mil Channel is, perhaps, the best place in the world for giant mantas—close encounters are virtually guaranteed.

Practically Speaking
An eight-day liveaboard trip runs about $2,700. Smaller boats may be a more attractive option; they can sit right on the dive so you don't have to swim long distances or be ferried, and you can rack up more dives each day.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 31 Jan 2001 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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