Sunday, July 22, 2012

Falo Island Shark Nursery

Weno Island as seen from Falo Island.
The waters of Chuuk are incredibly beautiful.  I know better than to call them pristine, but their beauty above and below the waves outshines anything we have on Saipan.  Man, I hate having to admit that!

Wilden and Teno with Falo Island in the background.
I made two trips to Shark Island last weekend; I dove the first and snorkeled the second.  On the way back to the Truk Stop my guides Wilden and Teno asked if I wanted to stop at the popular-for-picnic island just north of Weno.  Who was I to say no?

Falo Island is a small sandy island just about the size of Managaha.  Wilden told me to take about 15 minutes, so I did a quick walkabout of the island.  And what should I find on the western shore?

Baby blacktip reef sharks!  This is probably not too exciting a sight for those of you from Saipan because this is relatively common around Managaha, Bird Island, Tank Beach, or Wing Beach, but it is increasingly rare.  These little sharks are assessed by scientists are near threatened with extinction.  They're threatened because they get chopped up for shark fin soup (I've seen piles of shark fins that include fins from this species), plus my Chamorro cousins in Guam grill them up when they get hungry (here on Saipan, at least in my family, we would always let them go).

I've seen cool footage of these guys playing around in shallow water and thought I'd try my hand at recreating it.  Yeah, right.  In about 200 photos, this is just about the best.  I guess that's why we have professionals.

My stay in Chuuk was much too short.  I was able to spend some time with great people, but I wish I could get out to the villages and outer islands and talk to people about the ocean.  And hopefully go swimming in their ocean, too.

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