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February 22nd 2009
Published: February 23rd 2009
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Dear all,
After Dan and I left Palau we began our long journey to Chuuk in Micronesia. First we flew from Palau to Yap and then on to Guam. In Guam we changed planes, stuffed our faces with Burger King and then flew on to Chuuk!! We arrived here in the morning having missed a whole night of sleep...but according to the immigration lady we still looked like Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio!!!!

We were staying on the island of Weno. Our hotel was nice but very hot and had nothing around it. No restaurant and no taxi's to go anywhere! In our room we had a kitchen, so I thought that I would cook us dinner. Then I went into the shop and realised that it wasn't going to be easy. No fresh foods, no rice and no bread. In the end we ate corned beef with green beans!

The next day we met an American Man who has a car and offered to drive us around the island. During World War 2 the Japanese had about 40,000 troops here and so we went to see an old bunker and some old guns that are still here. The roads on Chuuk are the worst that I have ever seen and all driving has to be done at a very slow speed!

After three nights in our hot room we boarded our liveaboard boat on the lagoon. For those of you that don't know about Chuuk here is a quick history lesson. During World War 2 the Japanese used the lagoon as part of their strong hold on the Pacific. The lagoon made a perfect natural harbour. On the 17th February 1944 the Americans launched 'Operation Hailstone' and sent wave after wave of bombers over the lagoon. There are now more than sixty wrecks laying on the bottom of the lagoon including boats, submarines, tugs, planes and flying boats.

Dan and I spent the next seven days living on the boat and diving about five times a day. By the end of the week we had seen a lot of wrecks! We happened to be here on the 65th anniversary of the attack. Its hard to describe what it is like diving on these wrecks they are all so different, some of them are huge and they are in very good condition. At the beginning of the week I was a little afraid to dive inside the wrecks but after a couple of days I was squeezing through smaller and smaller holes and going into engine rooms, cargo holds, bathrooms and even old cabins.

Some of the bones from the Japanese who died have been taken from the wrecks and cremated but there are still many bones left and these wrecks are certainly graves. Seeing bones didn't have a huge effect on me but seeing things like an old shoe did. Thousands of Japanese sank with the ships although some were able to make it to safety before their ship went down. I really enjoyed the week but it was hard work, lots of deep diving and diving all day everyday. On the last day my right ear decided that enough was enough and I now have an ear was worth it though!

We are now back on land and have two days until our flight back to Manila. I wont lie and tell you that Chuuk is lovely because it really isn't. The people here are not very friendly, there is a high unemployment rate and many people seem to pass their days not doing much. Yesterday I ordered a jacket potato with some vegetables for my lunch. Ten minutes later the waitress slammed some vegetables in front of me and said ' no potato today' then marched off. Its also not a good idea for us to go out at night as people drink a fair bit and get into fights. On the dive boat we met a Chuukese man who got into a fight when he was drunk and nearly died because of it!!!!!

I can't believe that I am actually looking forward to going back to Manila....that says something about Chuuk! Still I have dived Chuuk lagoon and I have seen Micronesia, its probably a once in a lifetime thing! I am now looking forward to getting to Australia and doing some normal things like getting my hair cut and doing some washing. How sad is that!!

Love to you all and stay in touch,
love and hugs,

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23rd February 2009

Am I the only one who the thought the gas mask was a pair of pants?

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