"The Pacific Fleet has returned at Truk the visit made by the Japanese Fleet at Pearl Harbor..."
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz
After a late night flight from Palau into Guam we met up with the other members of our group; Marcia West, and the newlyweds George and Renee from New Jersey and went on to Chuuk State, FSM which is where Truk Lagoon (now Chuuk Lagoon) is located. We were met at the airport and transported to the Truk Odyssey, a 130 liveaboard dive boat and our home for the week. We would be diving in Truk Lagoon, which was a huge, secret Japanese naval base before, and during, WWII. It was attacked by the US Navy airforce in Operation Hailstone in 1944 and has many (over 60, plus aircraft) wrecked armed merchantmen and Japanese Navy vessels.
After diving on day boats in Palau, we were in for treat, as the Odyssey can only be described as huge, and with only 11 divers we were able to spread out and have private cabins. Each was spacious and had its own head and the boat had a/c throughout. In addition to our cabins, there was a huge teak paneled dining room, sun deck, and a very comfortable lounge with wet bar, photo light table, TV/DVD entertainment system with our choice of 132 movies!
Service was superb, with nearly as many crew on board as guests. In addition to Captains Lenny and Cara, we had 2 deckhands, a maid, and guides Nick, Matt and guide-intern Matt, who to avoid confusion was nick-named Vern for the week.
The dive deck and platform would of been ample for 20 divers and we appreciated its well thought-out layout. We were able to dive steel 112 cu ft tanks, which were filled to 3000 pounds and gave us the equivalent of 120s. Odyssey has a membrane Nitrox system on board, so we were able to breathe Enriched Air Nitrox (EAN) with 30% oxygen in it for the week. This gave us a MOD (Maximum Operating Depth) of 143' at 1.6 PPO (Partial pressure of Oxygen), below which we run the risk of Oxygen Toxicity. Nitrox gives divers more time at depth with less decompression and much less nitrogen narcosis for clearer heads, always a good thing at 130!
Diving on a liveaboard is expensive, but when you look at the amount of dives we were able to do (up to 5 a day I did 4 most days) and the service and facilities, we all felt it was worth it. Literally everything is done for you and you are able to concentrate on your diving and photography, which are very task intensive, especially for the relatively deep diving which we did. If you want to go, see South Pacific Island Travel's website, Donna did a great job for us,
As to my UW camera equipment: It consisted of a Sea & Sea Motormarine II Pro EX, with 35MM lens & built-in close up lens. I use a 16mm wide-angle and 2x and 3x macro add on lenses. I have 2 strobes; a Sea & Sea YS-120 and YS 50. For film this trip, I used Ektachrome Pro VS (very saturated) and Fuji Sensia 100 ASA for most shots, with Fuji Velvia 50 ASA for macro. I also used some Fuji Superior 400 ASA for deep, low light conditions.
Most of the week I dove with Marcia West, as we are frequent dive buddies in the PNW and have shot together in Fiji, so we have an easy pace and keep a loose cover on each other.
I kept a running dive journal of the weeks 21 dives and the following account is from that log, written directly after each dive. I edited for clarity and added some comments usually in parenthesis. Some of it is emotional, and details ups and downs, joys and mistakes I made. All of which makes diving an adventure!