Woke up this morning to a ton of blue sky and sunshine! The sunrise was beautiful. I had previously arranged to rent a car to explore the island further and do a mangrove tour out of Utwe. I first headed up to Tafunsak to the “biggest store on the island” in search of souvenirs of any kind. None to be had. I hit every store down back to Lelu and nothing. Sorry for those that requested a Kosrae shirt, zero. With the sun shining so bright and tons of time – I hit the resort for some pool time before I headed down to Utwe. I stopped at many spots along the way snapping pictures of various beaches, etc.
I arrived at the Utwe harbor to meet up with Tadau Waguk who leads the mangrove tour in an authentic Kosraen outrigger canoe (albeit with an outboard motor). Tadau has been doing this many years and came by recommendation of my sister as she had done the same tour many years ago. He had his grandson with him and we headed out into the mangrove channels south of Utwe.
The mangroves were beautiful.
We wove through some very tight spaces – hardly wide enough for the canoe.
We went by an area nested by birds that apparently are very important for fisherman on the island as they track the tuna so the fisherman can follow them to an almost guaranteed catch. There is certainly no shortage of food on this island with what the sea and land provides these people; fish, fruit¸ etc. We then went to a small beach near Utwe Ma (as previously mentioned on my post about my cultural day) where we got out and stretched our legs and viewed some fruit bats. These bats were HUGE! At first I didn’t think I saw them as I was looking for bats hanging in the trees and was annoyed by the huge birds flying overhead. Wait, those aren’t birds! Those are bats! You can just see one on the right hand size of the open space here.....
Wingspan I would guess to be 20 inches or so. Creepy as you could see right through their wings as they were so thin and obviously no feathers. We looked for monitor lizards which were introduced by the Japanese many years ago but didn’t spot any. We then wove back through the mangrove back to Utwe harbor to finish the tour. An excellent tour.
I then drove back up to the Nautilus and stopped at Malem to try and find some Japanese caves while driving up the Malem “river”. This river was no bigger than a stream back home. I struck out on the caves and every local I asked didn’t speak English. I did stop at some Japanese steps leading up to an old gun emplacement that was kind of cool. So, at least I did connect with some actual World War II history.
Then back to the Nautilus where I’ve been packing and stalling to go to dinner as there is a strong storm blowing through. Apparently the bad weather I’ve been experiencing is a severe low pressure cell that is likely to turn in to a tropical cyclone. I was told today that many a cyclone have been formed right over Kosrae – only to gain power as they drift through the Pacific and doing damage to places like Guam, Saipan and the Phillipines.
It really does feel a bit sad to be leaving this beautiful place and the many great experiences I’ve had here; both on land and underwater. Tomorrow I fly to Pohnpei and am looking forward to more adventure there.