Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Oscar Camacho on Anatahan

The Saipan Tribune carries a story today written by Oscar Camacho about a trip the CNMI Boy Scouts took to Anatahan in the 1990's. My Dad, the retired Associate Justice of the CNMI Supreme Court, figures in the story.
There is no need for watches or instrument for telling direction. The sun is directly behind me and I am facing east. To my right is the vast ocean and to my left is the sharp rugged terrain of Anatahan. The Chuukese say they named all these islands. Gum for a part of the sailing canoe, Tsinian for the direction were the sun comes up, Seipol for an empty bowl and Anatahan for something I don't know. Justice V. says there's a book on Anatahan written by Japanese soldiers.

A cow just mooed and the flies swarm and buzz all over even when there is no need to. Mr. Reyes said the goats would welcome us to the island; he was wrong. It was the flies that cheered and danced with joy at the new smells arriving via the CNMI Challenger, formerly Daiwa Challenger and allegedly affiliated with a different kind of flies, the Yakuzas.

The Secretary of Lands and Natural Resources greeted us early this morning at Smiling Cove and posed several pointed questions. He said he was disappointed to learn that only seven boys scouts were going with 18 adults. He also asked how many of the boys are of CNMI descent. It was quite unfortunate that there were more of our Micronesian friends than our own. Nonetheless, he was happy to provide this opportunity to the boys and leaders. Parents bid us farewell and the secretary gave the boys a lecture on rules concerning accommodations on the Challenger. Captain Taitano reiterated the secretary instructions and the boys listened intently. I too listened with interest. A man wanted to come aboard the Challenger but the secretary, in a commanding tone of voice, told the man not to board because he was drunk.

There were gestures made to certain crewmen and to the mayor of the Northern Islands-gestures only they know regarding fishing, hunting and eating restriction. Another agency, which made this trip possible, is the Emergency Management Office. Mr. Robert Guerrero made certain fuel was delivered, and as usual talks occurred between the secretary, mayor, the executive director and the judge. The boys minded only their business and I simply observed. I saw the mayor's truck pull up close to the yatch and someone instructed Ansen and Jonathan to unload. Ansen and Jonathan each carried a case of Lite beer and I remarked, “I should take a picture of this.” Mr. Cal Reyes was all hyped up while the judge was relaxed and the rest of the crew simply worked and did their part of loading up the Challenger.

Sepio, Ansen, Tony and Jonathan climbed down and up a ravine below and toward the ocean. Earlier, Justice V. loaded his rifle and went into the trees with Mr. Gus Flores. Yes, the same Gus who threw up on the way to Tinian for the Summer Camporee. This time refused to barf, and he prevailed all the way to Anatahan.

Justice V. shot a goat with one shot. Mr. Pete Guerrero and Al Saures skinned and cut it up. We set camp and did the cleanup. Wildlife Preserve and Forestry Officers Stanley V. and Ben Camacho escorted us and showed us the site for camping. They called it the “Golf Course” and it does look like a golf course except that it is very rugged below and very flat where we are now. I can see the two discuss their work. They had problems setting up the tents earlier.

Calistro and Jun and Paul Santos of Rota came and inquired as to what am I doing. Am I drawing? “No, I'm writing.” They left. The sun is now just above the hills and ready to call it quits. Headcount eighteen, Hoppy and another are not here. Cal is discussing tomorrow's schedule: volunteers to skin goat; gifts to villagers: candies, guasaun, perfume. After lunch, an educational session on the forestry badge. Challenger should arrive and take us to the village-the eight kids in the village will be excited to meet other boys. The boys were told to show their Boy Scout spirit and were instructed to ask questions about life on Anatahan.
I remember Oscar telling me he had gone on that trip. I don't remember him telling me he had written about it.

Here's a link to my trip to the Northern Islands in 2009.


Oscar's writing continued on Thursday and Friday of this week. My two brothers, Abraham and Solomon, are mentioned in the Thursday story.

1 comment:

bigsoxfan said...

Thanks for the hook up, might have missed an interesting scouting tale without it. I met some scouts on saipan and was and still am impressed by the universal nature of the Boy Scouts. Scouts learn of their local environment and the experience only varies by how skilled the leaders are and the local flora and fauna. The leader of the trip to the northern islans was well versed in the species and their uses. By the way, gum made from Pine trees is just plain nasty, but the sap works well as a bandaid, if you don't have duct tape and aloe vera leaves.