In January of 2023, John Jay ventured out to dive the shipwrecks of Truk Lagoon, a deep-water atoll of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia. This atoll previously served as a primary logistics and repair base for the Japanese Navy in the Western Pacific during WWII. On February 16-17, 1944, the Allies attacked the base under Operation Hailstone, heavily damaging the infrastructure, sinking over 50 ships, and destroying even more aircraft.
The wrecks lay scattered at depths of 30 to 200 feet in various states of destruction. Truk is unique due to its prohibition on artifact collecting in the early days of recreational diving. As a result, a vast array of artifacts remain exactly where they landed when the ships sank, including everyday items, vehicles, weapons, and unexploded ordinance. Jay explored 10 ships and penetrated deep into several, going as far as the lower engine rooms. The level of skill required to safely explore these wrecks ranged from basic to very advanced, with the dangers including silting, entanglement, constriction, and the unusual orientation of the wrecks. Diving the Turk Lagoon was a childhood dream for John and he is excited to share the story.
John Jay is a NAUI certified recreational dive instructor, a 70-meter-rated technical and rebreather diver, and an AAUS Scientific Diver with over 1,600 dives. He has a passion for all things diving and has a lifetime goal of diving extraordinary places on every continent. John’s been a kelp exhibit diver with the California Science Center in Los Angeles and a reef surveyor with ReefCheck California for the last 6 years. He’s currently co-teaching a Scientific Diver course at USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island and also volunteers with the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber.
His dive-related skills include instructing, wreck and cave diving, technical diving, underwater archaeology and salvage, as well as silent diving on his KISS rebreather. He has conducted underwater research for various government agencies, including CDFW, USGS and NOAA. As a freelance dive instructor and dive guide, he averages about 6 dive trips each year and treats every dive like a treasure hunt, diving virtually anywhere, anytime. As an avid learner, he currently holds 34 dive certifications, with 4 more in the works, including a 100-meter depth rating.
In 2025, he will be on a team exploring some virgin reefs in the Marshall Islands, hoping to discover new species.