Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kayaking through Nan Madol

Yesterday I woke up at 4:30 and drove an hour down to Temwen Island in Madolenihmw municipality with my kayak.

I put my kayak in as the sun was rising. After about five minutes of paddling a ray swam right under my kayak. A small shark passed me a short time later.

But my goal was Nan Madol: 92 man-made islands which used to be Pohnpei's religious and political headquarters. I have hiked to Nan Douwas island in Nan Madol several times, but I wanted to explore the extensive channels surrounding the other islands in the 200 acre complex.

As I entered Nan Madol, this strange plant was hanging over the water. While fiddling with my camera (Yea! I figured out how to use my new camera!) I drifted right into it. Gross.
The channels are all bordered by these massive basalt rocks. Nan Madol is sometimes called "The Venice of the Pacific" because it has so many channels. But people still live in Venice and people deserted Nan Madol hundreds of years ago. Many locals won't even go into Nan Madol because the spirits still haunt the place. Nan Madol does look like an appropriately mysterious place to hang out if you're a spirit.
I cannot fathom how people put these huge rocks in place a thousand years ago without any cranes.
The construction of Nan Madol was so massive in relationship to the population of Pohnpei that it's construction is almost miraculous. And it's abandonment is also remarkable. It would be like everyone moving out of New York City.

The picture above shows how dense the foliage has grown on these islands over the past couple of centuries of abandonment. There is a wall in this photo, too, but it is completely hidden and shaded by plants.
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Blogger LOneR.691PrOuD said...

ii LOVE Nan Madol :)

6:54 PM  

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