Beautiful island in the distance, Truk Lagoon, Micronesia

Truk Lagoon, Micronesia

For years, a vacation to Truk, Micronesia, has been on my bucket list, partly because my old dive master spun some great stories about exploring this postcard-perfect site, and partly because I’m a WWII buff. I had no idea until recently that there’s a third reason for me to go—ghosts

About a thousand miles north of New Guinea lies Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon, the largest maritime graveyard in the world. In 1944, the Battle of Truk and US Operation Hailstorm lasted for three days, sending both American and Japanese vessels to the bottom of the world. You can find over 50 WWII sites here. Divers spend most of their time between 100 and 130 feet, navigating around the wrecks and piles of rusting machinery, and I hear it’s a stunning and dramatic dive.

Fish swirl around the propeller of a world war II plane in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia.

A piece of history slowly becomes an artificial reef.

My dive master told me there’s still live ammo in and about the wrecks, so on top of all the other hazards of diving, you have that to look forward to. Truk is also a haven for sharks, and dozens of Gray Tips and Blacktips patrol the edges of a place called Shark Island (I feel I have to say that last bit with a pirate accent—argh, sharrrk island, matie). Then there are the legends…

truk lagoon micronesia world war II wreckage.

World War II wreckage lies on the beaches of Truk Lagoon.

Like the S.S. Thistlegorm in the Red Sea, divers have described hearing the ghostly sounds of machinery running, such as grinding metal and engines revving. Others have reported hearing spectral voices. So imagine this: you’re finning your way around a cool wreck, having the time of your life, and bam! A voice in your ear. How freakin’ terrifying.

It’s almost as if a writer made all this up: a dive in which you might die by shark, ghost, or explosion. It’s still on my bucket list though…