Part of the Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk Atoll (also known as Truk) is situated in the Caroline Islands, encompassing 15 large islands, 192 outer islands and 80 islets and one of the largest lagoons in the world measuring 50 miles at its widest point. Beneath the blue waters is a submerged museum of World War 2 Wrecks, more than sixty ships of the Japanese wartime fleet encrusted with coral. On them are fighter planes still in transports, trucks still lashed to the decks of freighters and officers' china and utensils with brand names still recognisable. The lagoon has been declared a monument, and salvage and souvenir taking of relics is prohibited by law.
The main island of Weno (formerly Moen) is the capital and commercial centre. For an outstanding view of Weno and the lagoon, climb into the old lighthouse built during Japanese occupation and visit the Truk Continental for a stroll in the coconut palm grounds with splendid views across the water to Dublon Island formerly the Japanese military headquarters. On Sapou overgrown vegetation partly conceals the remains of what was once a city, while at Fefan, craftsmen carve Chuukese lovesticks. And on Pulap Atoll the villagers still build seagoing canoes using traditional methods, and are adept at celestial navigation.
The Federated States of Micronesia comprise Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap, four island states of more than 600 tiny islands and atolls, stretching almost the entire width of Micronesia, 1,800 miles across the western Pacific from east to west. Each speaks its own language with its own distinctive culture, traditions and history.
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