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November 9, 2011

Kosrae – The Island of the Sleeping Lady. So called because of its profile. Just what was needed after Majuro. The island is richly swathed in greenery and bordered by mangroves. It has a small population on a 42 square mile island and a mountain, Mt. Finkol, which rises to 2,069 feet. Currently there are 7,000 people living here and are spread throughout the island other than a small concentration in the harbour called Lelu (pronounced Layla).

We anchored in Lelu Harbour and were able to take our dinghy ashore to a stone wall in front of the home of the owner of the local Ace Hardware store. He also had access to water collected from the roof of the Ace Hardware store located adjacent to the home. Smith was most welcoming and helpful. I’ll admit there isn’t much going on in Korsae other than snorkelling, diving, kayaking, exploring the Japanese caves built during WWII and fighting off the vines that seem to threaten not only the land but out in the water towards the boat. There is a Japanese vine (for which I don’t have the name) that was planted during WWII by the Japanese. It was supposed to grow and cover over entranceway to their caves and armaments. Now it’s run rampant. Looking up at the hillsides the jungle is covered in the vine to the extent one cannot see the trees. I suppose what will happen is that it closes out all light and will kill the trees. At this point erosion will become a big problem and more of the hillside will threaten homes built along the shoreline. For now it looks incredible but it has its hideousness as well when you understand the damage to the local environment.

A lot of time I spent kayaking through the mangroves that line the shoreline. Watching the birds, drifting amongst the roots and generally thinking I was living in Jurassic Park. So many channels to explore and get lost in and when it’s dusk and one hears strange noises all one can think of is “are they sure there aren’t any salt water crocodiles here?”. Luckily they aren’t as it was perfect territory for salt water crocs. And crocs have migrated from Papua New Guinea to Palau so it’s entirely possible that they could make it to Kosrae as well!

So time moved on and before we knew it 2 weeks had gone by and we still hadn’t moved. We couldn’t resist all the wonderful things on the island which included Tuesday movie night at Bully’s, meet and greets at Bully’s on Fridays and to top it all off a Halloween party at Bully’s. Bully’s is part of the Treelodge Resort and is located behind the hotel on the banks of the mangrove channel. It’s an enchanting location for a lovely restaurant. One walks along one of two walkways through the mangroves out over the water. One of the walkways is concrete. At night time, with the overhead lights sparsely lighting the way and the glass in the concrete sparkling like diamonds it’s a perfect setting for Halloween. It could be Transylvania except for the humidity. Ghostly vines hang down over the walkway, mysterious sounds come bubbling up from the mud below the walkway, mysterious objects fly overhead and with a little wind the trees rattle and whistle. Of course Bully’s is the hangout for the 12 ex pats that live and work in Kosrae. For Halloween everyone gets dressed up and the local kids come in (over 100 of them) to collect their candy and gawk at the expats playing silly games! It was a great evening and Mark and Maria, the owner/managers did a great job.

Halloween gathering at Bully’s Richard’s gone troppo

Richard’s gone troppo

We were really enjoying our stay there but it was getting on time to leave. Korsae is not the easiest place to purchase needed supplies. The island had been out of eggs for 2 ½ weeks, it was almost impossible to buy a ripe and edible papaya and believe it or not coconuts were in short supply. One cannot just walk onto someone’s property and pick a coconut so we relied on the local vendors (few that there are) if that’s what one can call them. We were out of almost everything and we needed to get to Pohnpei. It was only our good fortune that Connie had earlier gone to the local Lelu Elementary School to drop off some school supplies. On the day before our departure we were saved. The principal and the teachers at the school had got together and put together this incredible load of bananas, drinking coconuts, Kosrae tangerines, peppers, breadfruit, tomatoes, cucumbers and to top it all off someone had baked a banana pie.

Well, we consulted the meteorological maps, paid homage to the gods, checked all the fittings and now it was time to waddle off to Pohnpei loaded down with our Kosrae storehouse!

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