Monday, December 26, 2005

Back to Japan in 4 Days

It's raining again! ECCKK!

Any hopes for getting some sun today were dashed as soon as the sky opened up and it started raining. Oh well, at least yesterday was beautiful. We spent the day at this place:

It has been ten and a half years since I've been to Forbidden Island. The place hasn't changed too much. It hasn't been degraded like a lot of other places on Saipan. In fact, if anything, it has only gotten better.

The island is only barely easier to get to than it was a few years ago. You take a small winding dirt road, which is now officially named Forbidden Island Drive, up to the top of a cliff that is east of the village of Dan Dan. It used to be that the part of the road that was maintained ended at a farm at the top of the cliff. To continue towards the Forbidden Island lookout and the start of the path down to the beach you had to drive or walk about a hundred meters down a really muddy and pothole filled dirt road.

Not anymore. The farm is gone, but you can still see where it was because the tangan tangan growing there isn't as tall or as thick as the rest of the surrounding area, and the road is maintained all the way to the lookout. The lookout used to be a small cleared area barely big enough to park a car. Now it can fit several buses and excited tourists are kept from falling off the cliff by a concrete fence. There are telescopes at the lookout, but you have to put a quarter in them to make them work. Yeah, progress!

The path down to the beach is just as I remembered it. It has hardly changed, except there are no longer any cows down there. It is a beautiful hike and you go through several different ecosystems. The only thing that remains constant throughout the hike is the steepness of the downward slope (which turns into the steepness of the UPWARD slope when you decide to head back home).

It didn't surprise us that we were the only people down there. There has only been one occasion where I have gone to Forbidden Island and seen other people. Even then, it was just a single American guy who hiked down and then immeadiately hiked back up.

If you ever get the chance to experience it, try to spend at least one day of your life on a deserted Pacific Island beach. It is one of the most exhilarating and at the same time relaxing experiences you will ever have. I promise. I try to do it at least once every five years.

When we were little, our main activities at Forbidden Island were fishing on the reef and swimming in the pools that are protected by big rocks and the reef.

You are not allowed to go fishing at Forbidden island anymore; The area has been protected as a wildlife sanctuary for the last couple of years, but the upside to this is that the fish population has really recovered. Too bad we couldn't eat them.

We went swimming in the pools next to the channel between Saipan and Forbidden Island. We saw tons of fish. There weren't just lots of fish, there were lots of BIG fish.

I wish that I could have gone fishing, but I realize that if you EAT the big fish, then there won't be any big fish to LOOK at. I had to settle for potato chips.

Fishing and swimming, however, are only secondary activities that get in the way of getting a good suntan. That is what Emily would have you believe anyways. I got scorched. I now have yet another Chamorro sunburn, even though I liberally applied large amounts of SPF 50 sunblock.

I might as well burn while the burnings good; I'll be under two feet of snow in less than 4 days. I'm sure going to miss this place.


Saipan Chamoale said...

This post sucks. I just wanted to put something up. It ended up being really bad.

I hope you at least enjoy the pictures.

Bo kocky said...

Don't be so hard on yourself, I love reading what the two of you have been up to.