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Exploring Pohnpei

For our only full day in Pohnpei, we took a boat tour from the resort and had a wonderful guide named Billy. Come to find out, Billy was featured on a history channel program about Nan Madol which was our first stop. I wish I could share photos but I have no patience with the dial-up, 14KB connection so I will add photos when we get to Majuro or Honolulu ~ depending on how fast a connection I can get.

NAN MADOL: This ancient archaeological site is located on an artificial islet off the southeast coast of Pohnpei. It was a bumpy 40 minute ride to the location but so worth it. We entered at a break in the seawall and we were lucky because the tides were going out and we almost missed our chance. If we had another full day, we would have done the kayaking trip throughout the area but we’ll save it for next time.

We came to the huge temple on Nan Dowas which is surrounded by up to 25 feet walls made out of basalt logs. The chiefs would greet visitors on this islet and the visitors had to crawl through a small opening up to where the chief sat thus showing their reference and paying tribute. Even today, we had to pay a $3.00 per person visitor fee to the current Chief’s representative which was his 7 year old son.

We spent our time on Nan Dowas but all in all there are about 80 islets which make up Nan Madol. The earliest carbon dating of the buildings date back to the 7th century and the building went up through the 16th century. When the Europeans came to Pohnpei, Nan Madol had only recently been abandoned.

KEPIROHI FALLS: We parked the boat along the shore and hiked in-land for about 10 minutes. We were rewarded with a GORGEOUS 70 ft waterfall which cascaded into a pool fit for swimming. Thankfully, we hadn’t mentioned the eels to FG until after she swam in the falls. She and FM really enjoyed it while I choose to just walk around in the water rather than swim. Like Nan Madol, this property owner charged $3.00 as well.

MANTA ROAD (Mwand Pass): After a nice lunch on a small, private atoll, we took the boat to a location close to the hotel which is referred to as “Manta Road” and there is no doubt as to how it got its name. There were SO many beautiful mantas in the water and they were so big we could easily see them from the boat. Manta Road is a cleaning station of sorts for the mantas ~ there are small fish there which will attach to the mantas and eat the parasitic insects and leftover food on the manta’s gills & skin.

John’s lunch wrapped in banana leaves:

FG reluctantly got into the water to snorkel with us. Unfortunately, the death, and subsequent news casts of Steve Irwin has left FG nervous around ocean creatures especially the Manta Rays which so closely resemble the Sting Rays. There were also a few sharks below us and she did freak out a little when she saw the first one. She swam faster than I’ve ever seen her swim before ~ heading back to the boat. There was a nice Englishman on the boat with us who is a very experienced diver and he educated her about how the rays and the white-tipped sharks, mostly telling her they won’t hurt you. I’m proud of her for getting back into the water. She did jump on FM’s back a couple times though.

We swam with about 6-8 rays during our snorkel as well as two white-tipped sharks. The rays are really majestic in the way they spiral and swim ~ like a bird in flight. If they got a little too close, I have to say, my breathing got a little quicker and FM got nervous when one ray decided it wanted to “play” and stayed between him and the boat 🙂 Too much fun!

We decided to spend the afternoon in the capital city of Kolonia…more on that later.

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