Sunday, April 06, 2014

Snow, Sakura, Sand, and Sedge

It snowed the day I left Washington, DC.  This has been the winter that refuses to end.  I usually have a hefty travel schedule, but spent a solid six weeks in our nation's capital after my last trip to Fiji.  I think it snowed four times during that stretch.  I'm praying the snow is over.

Meanwhile in Japan, Spring has sprung.  My flight from Dulles to Narita was two hours late, so it was a rush to get through customs and immigration, on the train to Naritasan, and back to the airport in time for the flight to Guam.  Yet again I missed peak sakura blooms.  Visiting Japan during peak cherry blossom season remains unchecked on the bucket list.  But like Fa Zhou said, "My, what beautiful blossoms we have this year. But look, this one's late. But I'll bet that when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all."

During my layover in Guam I met up with Julie Hartup of the Manta Trust.  I've been reading about her work with Tumon mantas.  I mean come on, manta rays in Tumon Bay?  No way!  As this photo proves, yes way!  And speaking of Tumon, I feel like there are more and more fish in the water every time I visit.  My unscientific analysis hereby declares that marine protected areas work!

From Guam it was onto Chuuk with a short sojourn in Pohnpei.  Curtis and Lorenzo, two colleagues who work for the local government, took several enviros visiting the island and me on a monster four hour hike up through the center of Weno.  Chuuk reminds me a lot of the Northern Islands, just with more people.  The lower part of the hike was through agroforestry, while the center of the island was savanna and grasslands.  In Saipan we'd say it was ranch and badlands.

Tomorrow afternoon I'll retrace my steps and head back through Guam and Narita on my way back to Washington, DC.  Does anyone want me to bring them a Chuukese love stick?

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