Some of the shipwrecks in the lagoon are shallow enough to be explored by snorkelers. Scuba divers, however, head for vessels such as the Fujikawa Maru. A cargo ship sunk during the February 1944 attack; its bow and stern guns are now adorned with a half-century of corals and sponges. Experienced divers can explore the pilothouse, galley, and engine room, but the real draw here is one of the cargo holds, where several, nearly complete Japanese Zero fighters rest in silence.
How many places can you shop for a “lovestick?” On Chuuk, woodcarvers shape these dagger-like sticks for the tourist trade, but they were once a unique courtship tradition on the island. A man would carve a stick with his own, distinctive notches and allow a would-be girlfriend to touch it and become familiar with the notch pattern. Then, at night he could slip the stick through the thatch wall next to where she was sleeping – and by touching the notches in the dark, she could know who was waiting outside.
Chuuk cuisine may be an acquired taste. Breadfruit, yams, and raw fish (dipped in a hot sauce) are traditional favorites. Alcohol is prohibited on the island, which helps explain why drinking kava (or sakau, as it is known here) is probably the leading nighttime activity. Drink enough sakau and you may be ready for oppot, a local specialty involving breadfruit buried underground for months…