DEPTHERAPY’s 2018 CHUUK LAGOON EXPEDITION
Funded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 2016 Libor Fund
Blue Lagoon Dive Resort
So a short drive from the CHUUK International Airport on Weno brings you to the Blue Lagoon Dive Resort. You will find similar enterprises in places such a Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles; accommodation and diving all under one roof.
The Resort was the brainchild of the father of Chuuk Diving Kimiuo Aisek
Chuuk is relatively close to Australia, Japan and the USA and divers from those nations form the nucleus of the hotel residents.
DECISIONS - DECISIONS
Early in the planning process we had lengthy discussions with our travel providers Dive Worldwide, Charlie Munns has a deep knowledge of Chuuk having spent many years over there as a dive guide. I also spoke to my good friend Aron Arngrímsson, who has dived Chuuk many times and runs trips and technical diving programmes over there. In these early stages we needed to decide between a Liveaboard, or a hotel? We decided on a hotel due to accessibility issues and Blue Lagoon Dive resort was our hotel of choice.
Reflecting on that decision we believe we were quite right, many of our programme members who suffer from PTSD need time and space to themselves, Blue Lagoon provided this in abundance.
As you turn off the road all you can see are palm trees, well-manicured lawns, the dive centre on your left and the hotel buildings infront of you.
The coach pulls up infront of the reception and we are immediately handed fresh coconuts with straws in them, very refreshing after the flight from Guam. The accommodation comprises of a series of two storey buildings, each bedroom has a balcony overlooking the sea. Ben Lee and Andy Searle are both bilateral amputees and need a fully accessible room. There is one fully accessible room at Blue Lagoon with a wheelchair ramp leading to it. There are ramps leading to all other communal parts of the hotel.
We were met by Advin the General Manager and Felix who was very much our point of contact during our ten day stay. Reception seems to be the nerve centre of the resort, probably because the internet signal is good there. You need to remember you are on a remote and not wealthy island so some facilities that you may take for granted at home do not exist here. There was more internet than I expected but you needed to be sensible as too when you tried to use, too many people around reception, poor signal. Reception is also a nice place to chill out, the air conditioning runs at 19 degrees Centigrade.
There is a large restaurant, a large functions room, a beach bar, with an extended ‘happy hour ’. The grounds are spacious and front the Pacific Ocean, coconut tress abound and you find chickens and the occasional pig, yes pig wandering around.
The place is a hive of active, staff always seem to cutting hedges, mowing and raking the grass, dealing with maintenance, housekeeping duties, etc. There is always a security presence.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Walk around the grounds and you can find relics of the Japanese occupation, weapons, and propellers from aeroplanes. There are bunkers and a museum next to the dive centre which you can visit for $10.
I was sharing a room with Martin Weddell, the rooms are spacious, functional, clean and bed linen plus towels are regularly changed. There is plenty of room for the storage of clothes. Air con was excellent and believe me with high humidity you need it. The twin beds are large and comfortable.
Each room has a balcony for those evenings when a rum is required and, providing it doesn’t rain a good place to dry dive kit. All the rooms are linked by a communal walkway.
We used this room quite a bit as expedition members had presentations to give on the wrecks we would dive and Jason Court gave a presentation on the aquatic life of the Lagoon as a prelude to the bio mass exercise we would complete as our coral mapping exercise. The room as a projector and sound capability.
The hotel has a large restaurant, which again overlooks the sea. There is an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner (tea for Northerners). I was quite surprised at the range of food on offer. Food is cooked individually which can at times cause a slight delay. Blue Lagoon do not normally do all inclusive, you basically pay for what you eat. For us that didn’t work and we had an agreed amount each programme member could spend on each of the three meals, paid in advance,
The hotel became very busy towards the end of our stay so the hotel management introduced a buffet breakfast scheme which worked very well.
You have to accept you are on a remote islands and what food the hotel can offer depends on the container ships bring in. While we were there they ran out of little and produced fist class food, even having salads on the menu. Yes the fried ice cream is to die for,
Just outside of the main building there is a small bar, bedecked with signed tee-shirts, flags etc from previous dive trips. A lively place and a nice environment to relax in after a day’s diving. The bar opens at 1400 hours with a 2.5 hour long ‘happy hour’. I must admit amongst our group there was not that much drinking as most people were tired after a day’s diving. There is a good range of beers and spirits.
The bar area also provided a convenient place for our end of diving day management meetings.
THE DIVE CENTRE
Is a minute or so walk from your accommodation but it can seem a lot further when you are walking to it in a light tropical storm
I have to say the staff at both the hotel and the dive centre are amazing and nothing seems too much effort for them. Always happy and smiling and ready to help.
SOMETHING NEW FOR BLUE LAGOON
The general manager, Advin, said that in all his years as manager he has never had a group with so many ‘disabled divers’, unique for them but didn’t they do well. Anything we needed, any help we required was provided happily and immediately.
WOULD I RETURN?
Without a doubt! A great place to relax and enjoy.
NEXT BLOG Blue Lagoon Dive Resort – The Dive Centre