Yap is such an amazing culture the first time I was in Yap the local legislature was debating preventing Yapese women from wearing tradition western cloths and from covering their breast. The State of Yap is the Western most (or is it eastern most maybe frankcanfly can help me sort that out) anyway it is the closest to Asia of the States in the new Federated States of Micronesia.
There are 4 languages spoken on the Islands in the State of Yap, Yapese which is spoken on the Island of Yap and nearby Islands. In the Outer Islands the languages of Ulithian, Woleaian, and Satawalese are also spoken. Because they were under Spanish, German, Japanese than USA control many older folks speak Japanese and I meet a few really old ones in the 1970s on my first visit that spoke German. However there is a mixture of a little of all the colonial languages in Yapese and the young people all went to school in English and that is the second language.
In Yapese culture dance and music is really important and this is really something special to see on your VT visit. The villages are divided into family groups and a large family group will have three types of dwellings the community house is the largest where everyone gets together to dance sing and count their stone money. Then the nuclear families each have a sleeping house finally there is the men’s club house. Also no kitchen cooking is outside in a separate covered area but not enclosed.
Rai or Yapese stone money, is still of value and exchanged on Yap they are about a foot or two wide and up to 12 feet with a hole in the middle used to carry it. The value is based on the type of stone the size how much risk went into getting it and the history of the Rai.
The most impressive archaeological spot in this part of the pacific ocean is the ancient sites on Pohnpei of Nan Madol. This was built in prehistoric time some say it was started as early as the 7th or 8th century CE and it is architectural magnificence. The place is built on about 100 little Islets so it really is canal based like Venice.
Video of Pohnpei and Nan Madol
Video of Pohnpei
Indeed, no greater record of prehistoric achievement exists in all of Micronesia than the 92 islets of ancient Nan Madol. Nan Madol was a place for the very elite where the priests and nobility live and were they were buried -- sort of the Green Zone of Pohnpei. The tombs are on 60 Islets called Madol Powe which are Northeastern most part of Nan Mandol. I would have love to have been a fly on the wall to have seen the royal funeral with all the giant colorful outriggers going from the Nan Madol palace to the Madol Powe mortuary.
The place which is the burial spot of the kings, Nandauwas, is really the crowning architectural achievements of Nan Madol the walls just sweep up in overlapping stone 25 feet tall. really something a modern architecture would look at a marvel so well designed and so skillfully made I was impressed. In the Center is the place the king was laid upon the Pohnpei (the Name of the country), which means "upon a stone altar."- Very powerful!!
This Small Island just off of the Satawan Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia. Part of the Mortlock Islands, located about 180 miles SE from Truk Lagoon. I have much more details on this visit in the Chuuk section of VT
A very good place to start is at the College of Micronesia at the Chuuk campus in the state capital of Weno Chuuk. They have classes in traditional culture like building the outriggers, growing swamp Taro and sailing. Also classes in tradition music and Dance but what is really nice is you can meet kids from all the outer Islands. Once i sorted out the outer Island i want to go to i than meet some of the kids at the College of Micronesia who were learing to be teachers and go back to their home Islands.
College of Micronesia - FSM
P.O Box 879
Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
Another great place is the Xavier High School, Micronesia in Weno Chuuk there are about 200 students and they come from all over Micronesia. They all build traditional huts built they way they would on their home Island and cook traditional foods which are open to the public from time to time but just a great place to go and photograph the triditional huts.
Xavier High School PO Box 220
Chuuk, FM 96942
Pohnpei is huge by Micronesian standards it is the tip of a sea mount volcano and is by far the biggest and highest in the Federated states of Micronesia. Where as most of the cultures in Micronease face the sea not true in Pohnpei it is really a land based culture. You the VTer can do lots of land based stuff in Pohnpei like visit spectacular tropical waterfalls and rivers or camp in the hills next to, to die for tropical fresh water pools.
Video of Pohnpei
hiking in Pohnpei
surfing in Pohnpei
Lots of stuff to do -- like visit the Outer Island with places like (Mwoakilloa, Pingelap, Nukuoro, Sapwuafik , and Kapingamarangi).
Really cool historical sites like the archaeological site of Nan Madol-ancient city, the "Venice of the Pacific" and the best know historical Site in the FSM
Lets start this visit to the state of Kosrea in the Federated States of Micronesia off with a video as you know a u tube video is worth a thousand words and you can listen to Kosraean musics with the thousand words.
Video of Kosrae
Second Video of Kosrae
Third Video of Kosrae
Forth Third Video of Kosrae
Kosrae is one of the most peaceful place and people I have ever visited with and I have been to a few places. Lot of Interesting things to see the Lelu Ruins which was the capital of a vast central Pacific empire from the 13th century is really amazing. The Kosrae State Museum in Tofol has a very good over view of Kosrae culture and history and it is free.
Beautiful hikes in the mountains of Kosrae with waterfalls and of course DIVING fantiastic diving with gin clear water 200 ft visibility.
It is a little over 100 miles by boat to the Sapwuafik Atoll. Sapwuafik has a population of approximately 700 folks with about half under 16 so lots and lots of kids The people of Sapwuafik like most of the outer Islands live a very simple peaceful life based on the sea and local foods such as giant swamp taro, bananas, and breadfruit. Sapwuafik Atoll was most likely populated first from Pohnpei or by a closely related group of Pohnpeian around two thousands years. When you visit you will find the main village of Sapwuafik on the lagoon where the main taro patch , as well as other communal facilities such as the municipal office, elementary school, dispensary, and church is located.
In 1837, a band of really rotten men from the cutter Lambton, "commanded" by Captain C. H. Hart, slaughtered the entire community with the exception of three young boys and a 5 or 6 girls and women. Hart came back and left on the beach 20 Pohnpeians and some "white beachcombers" The population when I visited are the decedents of those few survivors plus beach drop offs that went on to create a unified community with a distinctive culture and pride in its achievements. The study of this is literal a text book of how a culture that is multiracial and multicultural pulls itself into a unified culture. Studying this culture has caused anthropologists to do A reevaluation of the whole concept of ethnicity
The Mortlock islands run across a large strech of the pacific and are about 200 miles (300km) south and east from the Chuuk Lagoon. The Mortlockese are really very kind gracious gentle, laid back folks. The Mortlockese seem to be quite a religious bunch. I attended a number of churches and even a tradition (sprit visit them after a member of the family dies) anyway the local church seems to be the center of life for many. But that being said traditional beliefs still run very strong and they still carve the wonderful Mortlockese masks out of hibiscus wood. The adventure of going to the "outer islands" is really exciting and very much worth the effort. The outer islands are so very peaceful and calm, and modern "niceties" of life are not to be found imagin no TV -- one place on earth. The only way to interact with the rest of the world is by solar powered radios using gasoline- or solar-powered radios. To get to may of the other outer Islands in the Matlocks, you need to sail aboard one of the state’s two ships.
The diving in Yap was some of the best I have done. Having dove in places such as The Red Sea, Belize, Cozumal I can say that Yap rates right up there with the best of them. Most dives were with 4 people or less and with a small boat we were able to go to places nor frequented by many divers. Great variety of fish,sharks, mantas and dolphin. I dove with the guys at Beyond the Reef and they were great! The local dive instructors were the best and they were proud of the paradise they share with those lucky enough to dive with them. Must see dive sites include Fanif Wall,Gabach,Gilman Wall and Magic Kingdom.
Pohnpei-Nan Modol ruins.
Truk-the wreck diving.
I like Beyond The Reef dive operation in Yap, since I haven't been to the other islands since 91 I will hold making a recommendation until I get a chance for a return visit.
Scuba diving in Truuk is pretty amazing. The liveaboards (Truk Odyssey and Agressor) make it easier to get the most diving out of your vacation. We did the Odyssey and were able to dive about 25 ships in a 7 day period. The food is fair (but plentiful) and the crew provided great information about the ship and good dive briefings.
Sit down on your favourite rock in the channel and wait for the Manta's coming. It's an unbelievable experience!
There are just a few dive bases on the island, most of them belongs to hotels. DIving is expensive, a two dives trip is around 120.-$US including a sandwich and tea....
But it is a must!
Experience the history and everyday life of a traditional fishing village. See how inhabitants live off the land and sea.
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