Chuuk

Aerial shot of Chuuk Lagoon

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.

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 baby 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.

Images courtesy of Federated States of Micronesia Visitors Board

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Underwater Recommendations

Chuuk, with its vast, shallow, beautiful lagoon is a Mecca for wreck divers. A major shipwreck site from WWII, Truk Lagoon is unquestionably the world's best shipwreck diving destination. Here, more than 50 hulks have been transformed into shipreefs, 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 five 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.

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