I just spent 6 nights and 7 days at the Truk Blue Lagoon Dive Resort. I woke up each morning, walked out onto my first floor balcony and saw the view in the picture above. If I turned to my left, I saw the view in the photo below:
Then I got to jump in the shower, throw some clothes on, and sit through 8 hours of meetings. For five straight days.
It wasn't all bad. As I left the hotel room and headed towards the conference room, I walked through this:
The hotel was on a small peninsula jutting into the Chuuk Lagoon, so we were surrounded by water.
As I sat in the meetings I could look out the window and watch flocks of birds just feet off shore. The birds were trying to pick off small fish that were swimming near the surface. Every once in a while 3000 tiny fish would simultaneously jump out of the water as a big fish tried to eat them from below.
The Chuuk I visited was similar to the Saipan that most tourists see when they come here. We stayed inside the resort grounds 95% of the time and only ventured out to go to dinner one night and on our two field trips.
It was hard not to fall in love with the place.
I was in Chuuk with the Nature Conservancy to work on a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for Laulau Bay in Saipan. My other colleagues from Saipan were Kathy Yuknavage from Coastal Resource Management Office and Steve McKagan of Division of Fish & Wildlife. We were joined by other CAP teams from Guam, the Marshall Islands, and Chuuk, as well as facilitators from Palau, Guam, Pohnpei, and Hawaii.
Like I mentioned previously, the conference was 5 days long. Each day we presented a portion of our CAP to the other three teams. On the first day we presented the targets we had identified, then the second day we discussed our objections, then we talked about threats, and so on until we had a pretty good looking CAP.
We went on two field trips. The first one was to Epinup, the CAP location for the Chuuk team, and to one of the other islands, the name of which escapes me.
I really enjoyed the trip to Epinup.
The group took two small boats to the proposed marine protected area. First we got out and met with some of the community members, who shared some coconuts with us, then we got a small tour of the village, went out into the mangrove forest, and then finally we went snorkeling in the coral reef.
The Chuuk CAP is different from the CNMI CAP in that they are a very different place. They are not nearly as developed as Saipan, but what amazed me was the close working relationship they seemed to have with the local community. You can't buy that sort of local involvement.
Here are a few pictures from Epinup:
I didn't get any pictures of the second field trip because my camera broke (yes, I am now without a camera). This field trip was really cool. We took a boat over to another island, got dropped off at one dock, then walked through the village to get to the next dock. They were doing something to conserve or protect their taro resource on the island, but I never really figured out what it was.
Sorry, it was the last day. My brain was fried by then. I was just happy to look at the bread fruit trees. I like bread fruit trees.
I don't like the way this post is written. My subjects and verbs just don't want to agree tonight. The pictures are the important part. Enjoy them and try to ignore the grammar and the poor story telling.