World largest warship graveyard – Chuuck Lagoon
It may look like a tropical paradise, but this stunning lagoon masks a dark secret… under the clear blue waters lies the biggest graveyard of ships in the world. In the Second World War Chuuk Lagoon (also known as Truk Lagoon) was Japan’s main base in the South Pacific, but in 1944, Americans launched Operation Hailstone, which has been called the Japanese Pearl Harbor, and the bombardment lasted for three days. The attack wiped out 60 ships and 275 airplanes, sinking them to the bottom of the lagoon.
Most of the wrecks were left untouched for nearly 25 years since people feared setting off the thousands of sunken bombs. Many of the shipwrecks in the scuba diving paradise have full cargo holds full of fighter aircraft, tanks, bulldozers, railroad cars, motorcycles, torpedoes, mines, bombs, boxes of munitions, radios, thousands of various weapons, human remains, and other artifacts. More than 3,000 people were thought to have been killed.
The attacks for the most part ended Truk as a major threat to Allied operations in the central Pacific. The Japanese garrison on Eniwetok was denied any realistic hope of reinforcement and support during the invasion that began on February 18, 1944, greatly assisting U.S. forces in their conquest of that island. Truk was isolated by Allied (primarily U.S.) forces, as they continued their advance towards Japan, by invading other Pacific islands, such as Guam, Saipan, Palau, and Iwo Jima.
In 1969, French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and his team explored Truk Lagoon. Following Cousteau’s 1971 television documentary about the lagoon and its ghostly remains, the place became a scuba diving paradise, drawing wreck diving enthusiasts from around the world to see its numerous, virtually intact sunken ships.