Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Northern Islands available on Saipan

Our Northern Islands, Dennis Chan's book about the first expedition to the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument is now available for purchase on Saipan.

The book is available at the CNMI Museum gift shop, located in the old Japanese Hospital on Middle Road in Garapan, across the street from Sugar King Park.

Our Northern Islands is also available on and

I hope to share Dennis' story with as many people as possible. I would like people in the Northern Marianas to grow up knowing and learning about the 10 islands north of Saipan. I'd like people to know that those islands and their surrounding waters are fragile, something that Dennis does not really get into in his book, but something that will be written about in future books.

I remember when I was growing up my mom had a single book with a single picture of Maug. And then in 1992 or 1993 I flew over Maug on a flight between Narita and Saipan. For years Maug was an abstraction for me, but now it is a real place.

I can remember sitting on the rim of the western islet, seeing Asuncion to the south and Uracas to the north, and thinking to myself, "This is a place."

And like Mufasa telling Simba, I thought, "Everything the light touches is our kingdom."

Every single thing I could see at that moment belonged to the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.


Our Northern Islands captures the sense that the Northern Islands and the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument are a place. They are a place you can visit if you win an essay contest. They are a place you can visit as a scientist. As a student. As a practitioner bringing about a cultural renaissance.

And thankfully, they are no longer a place you can visit as a commercial fisherman.

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