Sunday, December 30, 2012

30 Dec - Sokez Kayak

The weather has been absolute shite the last few days with at least a few more days predicted to come. So we haven't been able to get out for a snorkel or a fish: Crappyola. Today we decided to take the kayaks down to Sokez and do the channel for what will more than likely be the last time. It was raining while we unloaded the kayaks, but we weren't to be detered.
With a full moon yesterday is was a case of large tides. The paddle in was great with the tide pushing us, once we got to the halfway point it was like paddling up a waterfall......

Out the other side and time for a break.

"Indianna, I distinctly remember Mummy asking you if you needed to go to the toilet before we left."

One million questions about yesterdays movie and we made it through.

In the still water at the half way point.

The mangroves come right down the water.

Massive ferns everywhere.

Nic and Indi motoring ahead.

Waterfront living. A million dollars anywhere else on the planet.

The reason why the million view is worthless. The locals have their pigs on the water and that combined with the trash that seems to find itself into the water, it makes parts of the island simply unattractive to most. To us it's just how it is and we are going to miss every aspect of living here.

27 Dec - Sokez Guns

A lazy afternoon saw us decide to kill a couple of hours doing an easy hike with the kids. The Japanese occupied Pohnpei during WWII and had gun emplacements at stategic points all over the island. Sokez Island has probably the greatest concentration of them. So we drove to the switchback, parked the car and headed on up and started searching.
This photo doesn't really do the gradient justice. It's pretty steep and the kids did really well to make it up.

Gun #1.

Nothing like repeatedly telling two children not to climb on the 60+ years old gun to do your head in. Maybe a tetanus shot as a result of a decent scratch would make them listen to dear ole dad. Probably not.....

As much as he doesn't listen he's still a good kid......

The Muffin climbing down to #2 Gun.

By this point I'd given up telling them not to climb on the guns.

A little side note. The top of Sokez Island is very wet with heaps of differently coloured fungi to see.

Gun #3. Time lapse photography in action. This gun had a great view down towards Palikir Pass.

Prehistoric sized plants made it easy to convince the kids that dinosaurs would eat them if they weren't good.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fishing update.

I know that Chris and Peter have been hanging out for another fishing update.....
There are so many mahi mahi and wahoo around it is nearly impossible to catch anything else. I've boated 20 mahi in the last three trips and I've been trying not to catch them....
A great sunrise to start one of the mornings.

My 'teaser' doing it's thing superbly.

Why I hate off-shore wahoo. Two very expensive lures destroyed in a heartbeat. Lucky not to lose the lot. It beggers belief how they can eat a skirt and not get a hook in the gob for their trouble.

Thank you very much Lyndon Quirke.

Big mahi, couldn't even close the lid. Yep I'll miss this place.
The weather has gone to crap, so I'm hoping it'll settle down and let me out for at least a couple more shots at another marlin. Fingers/toes/eyes crossed.

22-23 Dec - Denira

We have a little local girl that spends quite a bit of time with us. Unfortunately both of her parents have died, fortunately Miss Dersey and Ringo have adopted her.
The Christmas Mass at PMA involves all the Sunday school kids getting up and saying a line. This was Indi's first Christmas on stage and she did a great job.

Jaxon looing very stylish in his Christmas vest Mummy made. He's an old hand at this caper.

Denira got her line out no problems either.

No stage fright. Good job muffin.

Denira stayed over for a movie night and sleep over. Nightmare springs to mind. All three of them in one room resulted in Jaxon complaining about the girls and taking himself off to sleep in our bed, smart boy. Then at 9pm enough was enough and I separated the two girls, they were asleep within a minute. The next day we went to church and then had Denira back over for a swim and to open he Christmas presents from us. Nic had been working on this quilt for Denira for ever......

And it turned out beautifully.

Ringo's 93 year old mum fell in love with Indi. Indi wasn't feeling the same love.....

Three very loud peas in a pod.

Ringo and I enjoyed being at the opposite end of the pool to the kids.

Yet another family portrait with our Pohnpei friends.

21 Dec - Midnight Madness

Each year ACE Hardware and ACE Office have 'Midnight Madness'. They open the stores from 7pm-midnight, and offer 15% off the marked price of everything in the store. And if you spend more than $20 you get a t-shirt, hat or canvas bag. They have to employ extra staff to control the crowds. Only in Pohnpei.
The police even turn up help with the car parking.

Looks like the Boxing Day sales in Australia. So much smarter to do it before Christmas.....

Our buddy Bill helps run ACE Hardware, I'm sure he just shakes his head in amazement.

Only in Pohnpei.

The girls even wrap your purchases if you want. Should have brought all the stuff from home.....

After a quick stop at the ACE's I headed to the Rusy Anchor for the 'End of the World' party. Well we're still here, some probably wished they weren't the next day though.

Mokil Trip

The recent Rotary quiz night saw Nic and I emptying our pockets for a good cause. Between answering the quiz questions (not that well mind you) we bought raffle tickets and purchased some items in the 'silent auction'. One of the things we bought was a couple of plane tickets to one of the outer lying islands named 'Mokil'. Mokil is about 85 miles as the crow flies, due east. It is a three island atoll with about 80 - 100 living there permanently. So with Eleri at home with the kids we headed off to airport at 7am.
The plane is only small so everything, including passengers, is weighed prior to departure.

A six seater; this was going to be fun.

The pilot/owner is one of my fishing buddies so I got to sit in the co-pilot seat. Very cool. The first thing I did was read through all the placards that were in front of me. The one that stood out the most read "No Acrobatic Manoeuvrers, including spins, approved". Happy with that.

Nic was snug in the second row, heaps of leg room though.

Yep we're flying..... At a max speed of 130 knots you had heaps of time to take it all in. Next stop Mokil.

The sun was less than two hours high at take-off so, combined with the clouds that morning, we had some pretty specky views.


Our first sight of Mokil. It's only 85 miles from Pohnpei so 48 minutes, airport to landing strip.

Can you see the landing stip??????

I'm sure Nic was just waiting to die.

Our compound back on Pohnpei wasn't much shorter than this landing strip. There were heaps of skidmarks within two metres of the start of the strip were Alex (pilot) punches the plane down hard so he has time to stop before falling off the other end.

Safe and Sound

We had no real plans and were content to just find a beach and hang out for the four hours or so we had before the plane came back.

But the day went from good to great. Alex spoke to his airline contact on the ground and this guy (Don Johnson) looked after us for the entire time.

So a short boat ride from one end of the island to the other saw us at Don's house for some supplies.

The lagoon inside the atoll was cystal clear.

Don's young one. They don't see too many white people here.....

Don made husking coconuts look easy. Six in under a minute.
First stop was through the one small passage out of the lagoon for a snorkel on the outer reef. There is no real effect of the rain run-off that we have on Pohnpei so the water was gin-clear. You could see further than I have ever seen under water before.

Nemo. Now who would have thought he'd be here too....

Schools and schools of fish. I guess feeding 80 versus 35000 allows some fish to survive to adulthood.

We saw five turtles during this first short snorkel. We even saw one before getting out of the boat.

Next stop was on Picnic Island. We had a relaxing walk along the beach. We also saw one of the rare monitor lizards but Nic's screams scared it away before I could take a photo.

Relaxing after a sandwich.

On the way back to Don's house we stopped inside the lagoon looking for more turtles. No turtles but heaps of beautiful coral.

Fish and corals, corals and fish. Magnificent. 
After mooring the boat we walked through the township back to landing strip. No power generation on the island except for solar panels on each house - all donated by the French government.

It's a basic living but they take great pride in their houses.

Always be on the look 'up' here in the pacific. More people die each year around the world by falling coconuts than shark attacks - fact.

Yep, they're here too.

Here piggie, piggie, piggie. Next Christmas me thinks this one won't be so friendly.

Pandanus. Kind of like breadfruit. Sweet breadfruit.

The path was a scenic and peaceful way to get back to the plane.

Ferns everywhere.

I'm sure the take-off was harder to get through than the landing. Once we were up in the air and breathing again Alex flew us over for a couple of really cool pics.

Alex had refuelled and took us over the historic ruins of Nan Madol. An unexpected, fantastic bonus to what had already been an awesome day.

The pass beneath this little island on the route we normally take to Nan Madol via boat. We often stop here for a snorkel.

Another island we have to pass by in the boat, and another great place to snorkel.

As we prepared to land we flew over the anchorage where all the fishing mother ships stay.

Now that's a runway.

Safe and sound on the ground. That's a great feeling.
A massive thank you to Alex and Mary for donating the opportunity to do this to Rotary. And another for Alex for making sure we were looked after on the island and the extra trip over Nan Madol. It certainly was a highlight of the last three years.