Micronesia: Day 16 beta

Sunday, July 7, 2013
6:52 P.M.

This is my last night in Micronesia, so I’m planning to live it up. Whether that means initiating canine fights, getting wasted off sakau, or having mangrove-identifying competitions, I do not know. But whatever it is, it’s not going to be antisocial. My mom’s secret b-day party begins in 6 minutes, so from then on out, I’ll be AWOL for the rest of the evening, and perhaps until tomorrow afternoon.

The flipside is that I will have a ten hour plane flight to catch up on all my blogging, so I’ll have plenty to do then. My mom brought her laptop as well, so in the unfortunate and probable event that the plane won’t have outlets and I’ll run out of battery, I’ll be able to use her computer too (if she lets me). The general plan at this point is to get a flight to Honolulu, change plane tickets and pay a small re-booking fee, and hit up the sunshine in Kailua-Kona for a time yet to be determined. I’ll be in touch with my Micronesia comrades through Skype or email or something, and I’ll be having plenty of adventures on my own.

Peace.

6:59 P.M.

__________________________________________________________________
Update: 1:31 A.M. 7/9/13 Hawaii Time
I’ve finally made it to Kailua-Kona. I thought I’d just give a brief overview of what else happened on my mom’s birthday.
Driving to Manta Pass

We were originally planning to go all the way to Nan Madol, but heavy morning rain prevented us from doing so. The infrared satellite pictures showed continued clouds over the area (I couldn’t find if Pohnpei had a doppler radar), so we expected the rain to continue. It lasted well into the morning, but by 11 A.M. or so, it was gone and we were just under cloudy skies.

My mom is such a good sport

Instead, we headed to Manta Pass, which is a Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the northern Pohnpeian coast. It is so named because manta rays like to hang out there. My mom and I went snorkeling over there and came across schools of manta rays. At one point, I saw four right below the surface. In the far distance, I could see the rays scooting around on the top of the water, presumably feeding on some baitfish.

The mantas like to hang on the deep part of a reef dropoff, but there were some very cool reef fish and corals on the shallow part of the reef, and my mom and I spent a great deal over there as well. It always amazes me how many fish can survive in such blue, sterile water.

Thanks to this class, I know what kind of trees cover the coast. Mangroves!

Have any of you every been to Clayoquot Sound near Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island? If not, I highly, highly recommend it. It is an absolutely beautiful location. In many ways, it seems like Pohnpei is the tropical equivalent of Clayoquot Sound. The topography is similar, it rains all the time, and the land is incredibly green. Tofino doesn’t have coral reefs and Pohnpei doesn’t have kelp beds, but they are eerily similar in many ways.

More pictures of Pohnpei

After 1:00 or so, we headed back to the PCR Hotel. This picture shows the exterior of it and the several small charter boats on its docks. Notice how brown the water is. This is due to its location on the Sapwalap Estuary, where there are far more nutrients than in the open ocean or even most of the water inside the barrier reef surrounding Pohnpei.

PCR Hotel
Speaking from two days after my mom’s birthday, I can tell you that it went well. Kids shared their homestay stories, which all sounded very adventurous and fun. It’s too bad that I wasn’t able to go, but what can you do, eh? 
I didn’t do anything adventurous that night because all the kids were working on their field reports for the estuary project. I didn’t even get a chance to go out on any of the field days after my seizures, so completing the entire project in tandem with getting my mom acquainted with everything and packing wouldn’t have made sense. 
Regardless, I had a great time with my mom and got to do some snorkeling without all the mandatory safety precautions sanctioned by the UW, and I hope I can do some more here in Hawaii. 
I’ll use common sense though.
Charlie
Finished 1:57 A.M. 7/9/13
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