Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sokehs Radio Tower

If you are ever on Pohnpei, you have to hike up Sokehs Rock.  I still haven't done that.  I went the wrong way and hiked up to the radio tower along the Sokehs Ridge.  It was not a bad hike and is worth doing.

The hike can be found by taking the road onto Sokehs island and then heading straight when you get to the fork.  From there the road heads up, up, up, and technically you could drive to the radio tower, but I don't recommend it.

There is a dramatic turn in the road and this would be a good place to park.  You could actually park lower down the road, and get a little bit of a warm up before heading up to the steeper part of the road.

This is looking back down at the curve.  Beyond on the other side of the water is the airport.

Turning around and looking up the "road."  I wouldn't want to bring a car up here without 4wd.

At the end of the road is a short path which leads to the radio tower.  I brought a lunch with me and sat at the top looking down at Kolonia.

Some of the local wildlife was interested in my sandwich and french fries.  Prior to human contact, the only mammals on the islands of Micronesia were fruit bats.  This is not a fruit bat.

The view was spectacular.  This is the rock I want to climb next time.  I'll have to pay better attention to the people giving me directions.

I could see down into the port and with my camera get a good view of the purse seiners.  Notice how each boat has a helicopter.  A helicopter for finding fish!

Looking away from the port towards the fishing "mother" ships.  They are catching a lot of tuna in Micronesia.

Looking at Kolonia.

And the airport.


Joe said...

Kaselehlia maing Angelo!

I like your pics and coverage of the Sokehs ridge.

The road up to the radio tower site was actually built by local forced laborers during the Japanese occupation in preparation for the 2nd World War. Anti ship guns, machinery and other artillery were hauled up the steep road and placed in strategic locations for defense of the island, sepcifically the ship channels in the reef; I'm surprised your guides did not show you the guns and artifacts from the Japanese era that are still present on the mountain...maybe next time.

The mountain itself has some important history in itself. It was the site of the Sokehs rebellion. A rebellion that took place during the German occupation of the island, (1910 - 1911) headed by one Soumadau of Sokehs and the people of Sokehs. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokehs_Rebellion for more information on the rebellion.

After many years of non-use the road was covered with big trees, vines, brush and was littered with big boulders that fell from higher areas on the ridge. In 2001, after the FSM Telecom selected the mountain as a good site for a cellular phone site, the road was cleared and repaired, relatively speaking, to the point it is now.

We, FSM Telecom, hauled up our equipment and machinery same as our forefathers did 80 or so years in the past but of course in a differnt fashion and this time the machinery and equipment were not for use in aggression or war but were for telecommunications, specifically for cell phones. So the sturdy steel tower that dominates the skyline of Sokehs mountain, from where your pictures were taken, is for cell phone service. In hindsight, I now wish we had more 'camouflaged' tower that wouldn't distract so much from the awesome view up on the mountain..but as they say, "Hindsight is 20/20...".

After completing the road, we realized the risks associated with traveling it, so we had to come up with something to caution the pedestrians and motor vehicles traversing the area. Hence the sign in your picture...a sort of indemnification for the FSM Telecom from possible litigation in the case of an accident which may occur from traveling the treacherous road. Surprising fact is that despite the 'dangerous' conditions of the road, to date there has not been an incident or serious accident occuring on that road or on the mountain(knock on wood). Can't say that is directly attributable to the sign but the sign is there nonetheless.

Thank you for your interesting blogs. Keep up the good work!

Joseph Johnny
Plant & Engineering Manager
FSM Telecom

The Saipan Blogger said...

Wow, thanks for all that great information! I went exploring on my own and didn't have any guides. I can't wait to visit Pohnpei again. This last trip was my third since 2008.