Megan McCormick discovers Micronesia, a little known region in Oceania consisting of over 2,000 islands and making up over a quarter of the world’s atolls.
She begins her journey in Guam, the gateway to Micronesia, which boasts one of the most important military bases in the Pacific. Megan is invited on board the USS Frank Cable, where she learns about how the island was liberated by the marines at the end of World War II. She also visits a traditional tattooist and learns about the art, which is indigenous to Micronesia.
Megan flies from Guam to Pohnpei, the capital of Micronesia and, with an average 400 inches of rainfall a year, it’s one of the wettest places on the planet. She goes hiking through some of the island’s lush, green vegetation and ends up at the magnificent Kepirohi waterfall – the perfect places to soak off the dust from the trail. Next day she takes a boat trip to Nan Madol,Micronesia’s greatest archaeological ruin. It was built in the 12th century and was the capital of a tyrannical dynasty called the Sandleurs. Dubbed ‘the Venice of Micronesia’, Nan Madol is situated on 92 tiny, artificial islands and is steeped in local legend.
From Pohnpei Megan takes to the skies again, this time heading for Chuuk. A number of Japanese warships were sunk in the lagoon at Chuuk, and it’s an incredible place to go wreck diving. Megan has the opportunity to spend the night on one of the tiny islands around the lagoon, however unpredictable weather makes the experience less enjoyable than she’d imagined.
The next destination is Palau, a tiny republic made up of 343 islands, which was only granted independence from the United States in 1994. The population still observes some traditional customs, and Megan witnesses the rituals which a woman undergoes a month after giving birth to her first child. She also goes kayaking through the rock islands to one of the most amazing sights in Palau,Jellyfish Lake.
The final leg of Megan’s journey takes her to Yap. It’s the most traditional of all the islands in Micronesia, where the local currency is stone money. Megan finds accommodation with a local family and seeks permission from the Chairman of the Council of Tamol to visit Ulithi Atoll, home to a large population of hump backed turtles. She returns to Yap in time for the Yap Day celebrations – a festival which started in the 1960s to remember the traditions, legends and stories of the community. Finally Megan ends her trip to Micronesia with one last amazing underwater experience, diving with the manta rays.
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