War Graves: The Story of Truk Lagoon
Few people will have heard of Truk Lagoon let alone be able to find it on a map but for scuba divers, it is considered the best place in the world for wreck diving.
During World War II, the modern-day Chuuk State (part of the Federated States of Micronesia) was a strategic Japanese stronghold in the Pacific. Unwilling to launch a land invasion, the United States attacked the Japanese shipping in Truk in February 1944, sinking dozens of ships in Operation Hailstone. After the war ended, these vessels remained untouched until Jacques Cousteau and his team visited in 1969 and began to uncover the numerous ship wrecks. Within a few years, a diving industry to this remote location was born. This is the story of how the Japanese gained control of Truk as they looked to expand their empire following the end of World War I. We explore the events in the build up to war in the Pacific to provide some context around the story of Truk Lagoon. The waters of Truk conceal dozens of wrecks. These are war graves but in addition, each of the wrecks also has a story of its own. 75 years on from Operation Hailstone, the world is a very different place and as a planet, we face ever growing conservation challenges. The wrecks of Truk Lagoon are no different as they face challenges of their own as they slowly crumble away.
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