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Pohnpei

December 4, 2011
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It’s been quite a mixture here. And it’s been very quiet. The anchorage is well situated for protection from the easterly trade winds, when they blow! The first 3 weeks here we had no wind which means when the sun shone we baked. However, the island has mountains that are over 700 metres high so in

Pohnpei anchorage

the evening the breezes from the shoreline sweep down off the hills cooling the valleys below. Daytime temperatures hover at around 29 C and in the evening we may go as low as 24 C which is wonderful for sleeping especially when there is a breeze.

It appears now that the easterly trade winds may have returned. The last few days we’ve had winds of over 15 knots with higher gusts bringing the rain. In some ways the rain is a blessing. It does rain a lot here and we’ve managed to only once gather water from shoreline resources but apart from that one time we’ve collected rainwater on tarps and awnings so that both drinking and bathing water has been fully replenished. In fact as I sit here we’ve rolled up our collection system as the tanks and containers are full and until we consume a little we don’t really need any. Nice in one way but also here there’s so much rain that things are going mouldy and we’re having to take curtains down to wash them and store away until we get some sunshine. We keep the fans going in the boat day and night just to keep the air circulating to dry and fend off the mould bugs! We’re winning.

Pohnpei itself is entirely fringed with mangroves. There are no pristine tropical beaches here until you get to the outer islands. As a result access to the water from shore is mostly manmade.  It may be just a cut in the mangrove to allow the local fishboats access to their houses or docks or it could be done by invading forces such as those who were responsible for building Nan Modol which was built here some 2,000 years ago

Nan Modol

was built by a conquering group who came to Pohnpei 2,000 years ago quickly subduing the local population and forced them to build an incredible fortified community on the east coast of Pohnpei. The rocks used to build Pohnpei were brought from Sokehs Island which is very close to Kolonia some 15 miles from Nan Modol. The intricate forming of the stone blocks is stunning to see. Some blocks are square and others almost hexagonal and both types used in the construction of the walls. Today we were led out to Nan Modol through the mangroves. Our timing was bad as we arrived at high water and had to wade over to the main section of Nan Modol. That was a shock to the 15 year old guide we had as she had to sit through crazy white people stripping down to carry their clothes over to the opposite shoreline. Am sure the SDAers, or the LMSers, or the Church of Latter Day Saints would not have been impressed with our actions. However, having hiked all the way out there we weren’t going to miss out on strolling through the ruins.

We had a great day heading out to Nan Modol with a couple of other cruisers in a rented car. It was our first foray out of the anchorage on the town of Kolonia. We took great advantage of stopping at every little nook and cranny, every store, every waterfall and at a very nice resort called the Village Hotel. First off were two waterfalls. The first hike we made was a treacherous walk into the bush and along a ridge under an overhang from which the waterfall cascaded. It was a spectacular site but not the best waterfall to bathe under. The next was a short hike along a beautifully designed walkway planted on other side with giant crotons, ferns, hibiscus and palms. Due to easier access it’s definitely the more frequently visited by tourists. However, to be honest there are very few tourists here and most coming here focused on surfing and/or diving. The waterfall was a welcome relief to escape from the heat and humidity.

Time was calling. We had to head back to town but not before a stop at the Village Hotel for a bite to eat and a lazy hour spent being pampered by an incredible setting and great service at the Village Hotel.

The Village Hotel, Pohnpei

The Village Hotel is probably the best resort in Pohnpei with a traditionally built main lodge perched high up on a ridge offering an incredible view over Manta Pass. From there one can watch either the sunset or the sunrise transforming the ocean into brilliant array of colours and moods. It’s probably the best place in Pohnpei for food and view.  We’re very lucky it’s 8 km from town or otherwise we may be broke by the end of the month.

So, in  a few days we’re headed off to Palau.  Kevin, a friend from Calgary, has arrived for the trip with us.  Although the weather is questionable we’re ready to move on for another experience.  We’ll be in Palau for Christmas and New Years and through to the end of January when we’ll be off to the Philippines.  In case we don’t get a chance to send greetings for the holiday season here you are:

Merry Christmas

and

Happy New Year

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Louise permalink
    December 5, 2011 07:23

    Have a wonderful sail to Palau!

  2. John Middleton permalink
    December 5, 2011 16:25

    Hi Tony and Connie, Glad to hear all is going well and the adventure continues apace! Getting cool over here but no snow yet other than in the mountains where it belongs. Just finished reading a rather jaded view of the S. Pacific islands by Paul Theroux entitled the “Happy Isles of Oceania”. The stonework used in the fortress at Nan Modol looks like naturally formed volcanic rock which sometimes forms into hexagonal shapes. Have a safe crossing to Palau and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you both.

  3. Barrie permalink
    December 7, 2011 02:28

    Wishing you a merry Xmas and great New Year from Puerto Morelos, Mx.
    Barrie & Sandra, SV Passat II

  4. December 9, 2011 09:03

    Ran into Sierd yesterday! Which reminded me to check your blog – too late….. I’m now subscribed for updates.

    Wishing you all the best in sailing to Palau.

    Happy holidays from our gang to yours!

  5. Admiral Wayno permalink
    December 10, 2011 12:07

    Hi guys, just noticed the shortest track from Palau to Philippines is 900 kms as the crow flies. So be on the look out for any crows! haha…
    Happy Christmas

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