The many islands within this huge atoll are crowned with natural beauty. The outer barrier reef is punctuated with idyllic sand spits dotted with coconut palms. The high islands in the central lagoon rise into the blue island skies.
In Chuuk, the pace of life slows and tropical nature is easily observed and appreciated. Many of the islands offer lush vegetation that harbors rare and migratory birdlife. Enthusiasts have been known to camp high in the hills to observe these special avians. Wild orchids and other flora are found in the scenic and sometimes rugged terrain of the islands.
Lush vegetation and simple living punctuate the lives of the lagoon. Fishing, weaving and tending garden supplant the subsistence lives that many sustain on their individual islands. It is not unusual to see women waist deep in the mangroves hunting for a special delicacy or men walking the reefs by torchlight at night looking for octopus. Boat makers create vessels high in the hills of the inner islands and take them down to sea when finished. Open hearth fires are still used to cook the daily meals. Life here is close to nature and lived in conjunction with the land and the sea.
Local carvers are also famous for using beautiful local woods to carve warrior masks and busts. And the Chuukese love stick is part of a legendary practice of courtship unique to this island group.
Chuuk, with its vast, shallow, beautiful lagoon is a major shipwreck site from WWII, Truk Lagoon is unquestionably the world’s best shipwreck diving destination. Here, more than 80 hulks (inside reef :40 hulks, out side reef :40 hulks) have been transformed into ship reefs, holding the very best of the undersea world and maritime history at one site. Hard and soft corals in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes attract divers worldwide for both daytime and night diving. The vast selection of artifacts still found on the wrecks after six decades are testament to the unique history of the Micronesian Islands.
The historical aspect of Truk Lagoon is not totally hidden by the jungles. Japanese lighthouses, perched high atop the lagoon’s finest overlooks, can be reached by hiking or driving. Old runways, command centers, gun emplacements, cave networks, hospitals and libraries can be found with the help of a knowledgeable guide.
Traveling by ocean boat from island to island is one way to enjoy Chuuk. Often overlooked are the outer reefs where a great variety of fish, both pelagic and reef dwelling, venture near cascading coral walls that stretch into the blue abyss of the Pacific Ocean. Windsurfing and sailing in the lagoon passes is also done during tradewind season.