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BLR History
Our Founder

The late Kimiuo Aisek founded Blue Lagoon Dive Shop and it is the pioneer diving business in Truk Lagoon, hosting journalists, television crews and special projects and many enthusiastic divers from all over the world. He was a pioneer diver throughout Micronesia, starting his career in Palau before coming home to find the shipwrecks he saw being sunk as boy. He was on Tonoas Island watching as a witness to the 1944 WWII American attack on the Japanese fleet.

Kimiuo Aisek on the Momokawa Maru, 1982. Photo © Tim Rock

Kimiuo Aisek - Micronesia's Ambassador

Kimiuo was an explorer, finding or participating in finding most of the wrecks in Truk Lagoon. He was also a visionary who saw the future of tourism and diving as a way to improve the lives of his family and fellow Chuukese. Known as “Micronesia’s ambassador,” Kimiuo traveled the world speaking about his home and its sunken war treasures. He was the first Micronesian to be inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. There only two... the other is Francis Toribiong of Palau. The Aisek family has continued his amazing legacy by acquiring  the resort and many other businesses. On September 13, 2014, the Kimiuo Aisek Memorial Museum opened. It was built in his honor and is on resort grounds.

50 Years in Business

50th Anniversary Speech from Dianne Strong PhD - 13 Nov 2023

   Before I begin, how many of you are divers from the Resort? And how many of you have dived here before? Thank you for coming to Truk Lagoon.

Tonight is a very special night. Fifty years ago, for Poppa’s opening of his dive shop, he invited all divers to celebrate. The tradition is now 50 years old.

Kimiou Aisek founded Blue Lagoon Dive Shop on 13 November, 1973. He put Truk Lagoon at the top of the list for wreck divers.

In 1998 when his son, Gradvin Aisek bought the Truk Continental Hotel from Continental Airlines, he continued this generous tradition of providing free diving and meals for the day for his diver guests.

   So here we are 50 years later. Tonight we honor the shop’s founder, Kimiuo Aisek. It took five years persuading a man with three years of Japanese education to accomplish this feat. Tonight, fifty years later, Blue Lagoon Dive Shop remains the first dive shop in Micronesia, the first dive shop family owned and operated without ex-patriots, the first dive shop to own a hotel! And lastly, the most famous destination for wreck diving in the world.

For 50 years, Blue Lagoon Dive Shop history has included dive stickers from all around the world. Each sticker placed by the divers themselves.

   Now, how did Kimiuo accomplish this?

While not educated as a businessman, he had the foresight to invest his earnings in the business. In June 1973, Kimiuo did not accept our payments, but asked to buy our equipment to succeed. 

   This brings us to a custom in our islands. The custom is to share the catch, but don’t go home with empty pockets. To develop his indigenous dive shop, Kimiuo invested in his staff: boat drivers, and dive guides. Look at the sign to my left. It lists every Trukese man ever employed by Blue Lagoon. If the first word before the name is “Mawe" it means he is deceased. Expatriots trained and certified his “boys,” even for Trimix blending.

   When his son, Gradvin Aisek was certified in 1983, Dr. Bob Rogers was his NAUI instructor. Rogers discovered two challenges. When he planned to teach buddy breathing and met his students on the bottom at 20 feet, his students took off like rockets gathering every clam they could see. Since they had not yet learned how to use their buoyancy compensators, they “bicycled” their way to the surface, their arms embracing multiple clams.

Another class session the students jumped in him ahead of him. He quickly learned “First one in gets the octopus.”

   So that is the history of Blue Lagoon Dive Shop. For more history, you can read his biography, “Witness to War,” which I wrote for the 40th anniversary. Kinisou chapur for joining our tribute to Kimiou, his family, and staff for 50 years of excellence! Be sure to visit the Kimiuo Aisek Memorial Museum next to Blue Lagoon Dive Shop. Enjoy yourselves and the food line starts there. (Speaker bows as is the Chuukese custom since the Japanese days.)

On 14 November, Kimiou's last wife, Missy Middleton, and the speaker visited his grave on Tonoas.

- Author Dianne Strong PhD Nov 13, 2023

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The speech presenter and author at the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop door with dive stickers from all over the world.

Contact

For reservations and information about Truk's Blue Lagoon Resort contact us:

For the Blue Lagoon Dive Center e-mail/phone here:

You may e-mail us at: BLResort@mail.fm

Resort Phone: (691) 330-2727/2438

Dive Center E-mail:  BLDiveshop@gmail.com

Dive Center Phone: Tel: (691) 330-3873

©Blue Lagoon Resort / Blue Lagoon Resort, Box 340, Weno, Chuuk, FM 96942 / E-mail: BLResort@mail.fm / 691-330-2727/2348 . 

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