The many islands within this huge atoll are crowned with natural beauty. The outer barrier reef is punctuated with idyllic sand spits dotted with coconut palms. The high islands in the central lagoon rise into the blue sky.
Lush vegetation and simple living punctuate the lives of the lagoon. Fishing, weaving and tending garden sustain most of the people that live on their individual islands. It is not unusual to see women waist deep in the mangroves hunting for a special delicacy or men walking the reefs at night looking for baby octopus.
Fondest memory: Diving for sure and the people are burned in!
Watching and learning about tradition customs and culture I think are my favorite things. In the photo you can see where a Communities has come together to weave a new boat house or sing and dance.
Video of traditional Ponapean dancing
The cultures of Micronesia are very rich and they are really trying hard to hold on to them
Fondest memory: Just sitting on the floor of the central house and watching the families interact, cooking or doing the laundry and seeing the ids frolic in the water of the lagoon or the rivers that flow past the villages. I love gathering of people watching them sing and interact in their culture in Micronesia this is so possible at any church no mater the flavor or at a school or community function.
Some of the best snorkeling anywhere.
Fondest memory: Visited a native village in the northern most island. Here the women wear only grass skirts over a pareo. The men tend to dress more in the western style, though some wore only a G string. Men and women live in separate buildings and have meetings in a third 'meeting house' building.
If you find yourself in the Repuplic of Kiribati make your way to Butaritari. On this green island you will find a wonderful, simple place to stay: The Pearl Shell Rest House. Five or six island-style little houses made from local materials like woven palm leaves overlook the ocean and are ventilated by a cooling sea-breeze. Go fishing or exploring off-shore islets (some inhabited by 'spirits') with Joe the owner who speaks excellant English and realy makes you feel like one of the family. Three meals a day (more than I could handle ! ) and all for A$25 per day. Rent a bicycle or moped and explore this facinating and tranquil island. If you want to get away from 'civilisation' and don't mind the simple life you'll love this place. As the only tourist on the island at the time I was treated like an honoured guest including sampling several cups of fresh Tody at the local Police Station and being the guest of honour at a communal village Sunday lunch. After tucking into wonderful meal of fresh Crayfish I was asked for news of the Queen whom they all seemed to be very fond of eventhough independent since 1979. They were shocked to hear of the death of Princess Dianna. News takes a long time to reach these parts!
Fondest memory: On the island of Kosrae I travelled by canoe to an inaccessable part of the coast and there above a beautiful bay on top of a forested hill I found the remains of a mission station long overgrown and in ruins. I had met an elderly American couple earlier who had worked at this establishment from the 1920's until the early 1950's. They had described to me how the harshness of life in this remote corner of the Pacific was relieved by their most important possesion - a kereosine refridgerator. Remarkably, there in the green gloom of jungle covered ruins, I found the remains of the aforementioned heavy steel refridgerator lying on it's back, home to spiders and much wild life. Even the makers stamped label was still readable. As I gazed down to the blue bay below, yellow beach one end, mangrove forest the other, I felt a certain sense of timelessness and wonder.
The Federated States of Micronesia covering trips to Yap, Truk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. Yap has about 3 to 4 days of good diving with the Mantra's the big attraction. Truk has some of the best WWII wreck diving in the world. Pohnpei has both it's Ant Atoll, and some interior reef diving, but here I remember a day trip out to Nan Madol. Kosrae was just a quiet place on air mic's milk run where it was hard to get to dive.
Fondest memory: The people. The diving. The island's themselves and the sunrises and sunsets.
There are few, if any, 'luxury' hotels on the small island of Pohnpei. But the Village comes close...more
P.O. Box MR, FSM, Colonia, Yap, 96943, Federated States of Micronesia
Good for: Families
PO Box 135, Kosrae, 96944, Federated States of Micronesia
Good for: Business