I just saw an advertisement for Pohnpei, FSM while I was checking out a cam on Surfline. When I was a kid, we went to Pohnpei to visit friends who'd moved there from Guam. My mother was a practicing midwife, so we were actually there for her to deliver a baby. We stayed at a place called the Village for a couple of nights. My father was good friends with the owner, Micronesia being a pretty small place back then (yes, pun intended). I had two of the best meals of my life there and it is still my all time favorite hotel. For most of the month we were there, we stayed with our friends. The woman's husband was a marine biologist. He and his son and I (my father was on crutches after breaking his leg) spent most of the time stomping through the jungle, learning about plants and exploring the basalt ruins that littered the island. We went on a 15 mile round trip hike to a huge waterfall that was taboo for the islanders to visit (so being haole we had to go). Hiking through rain forest past giant, black stone sarcophagi and wild, red ginger, dripping with dew that we wiped on our faces to keep cool. The husband told me that we were probably the first people to go there in generations. The rocks on the bank of the stream, at the bottom of the waterfall, were covered with the most brilliantly, neon blue and green, colored mudskippers. They were everywhere.
At one point we all went to climb Sokeh Rock. On the way up, I lost my footing and almost slipped and killed myself. I was hanging by my fingers onto a rusty pipe, half-way up the sheer rock face, looking at my own mortality for the first time. It is as scared as I ever I remember being. I didn’t make it to the top and went back down while the other’s went on. It’s one of my greatest regrets. I was so ashamed at my own fear, that I vowed to never let it get between me and my goals again.
After the baby was born, we went and spent 4 or 5 days on Joy Island and to visit the ruins of Nan Madal. It took us half a day to get there, taking the jeep on pitted dirt roads, to a dock in the middle of nowhere, where we got in a little boat with a tired, old engine. The guy driving the boat sped through canals in the mangroves like he knew them better than I knew the street I lived on. It amazed me that he didn’t get lost. At one point on the ride out, he slowed down so that we could look down into the crystal clear water and see a giant manta ray, at least 8’ across as we went over it. We stayed in small plywood huts on the little spit of sand, sleeping in mosquito tents. We went snorkeling in the waters around Joy Island all day long. I have never seen, nor been in the water with more sharks. Black tips, white tips, hammer heads and blue fin. I had my 11th birthday there. The ladies who cooked the fish and vegetables that we ate everyday, fried me some bananas in lieu of a birthday cake, using some of their precious, store-bought sugar. The men who sat around chewing kava kava each night and spitting the brown, mud back-wash into the bowl invited my father and I to sit around the fire and partake in the festivities. It was the nastiest stuff I have ever tasted, but it made me feel like a grown up for the first time in my life. My younger sisters were both jealous, it being something only the men could do. As for Nan Madal, you’ll just have to go yourself. There was a reason why Lovecraft chose it as inspiration.
I had no idea that anyone was surfing there until last month, when I saw a picture of Shane Dorian surfing P-Pass online. When we went there 30 odd years ago, no one went to Pohnpei. Only scientists and fishermen. Certainly no one ever surfed there, or if they did, they hadn't told anyone. So, in my mind, it’s a new surf spot. That kind of breaks my heart.
But, I’ve definitely added it to my list. I still need to get to the top of that rock. I bet it's a lot smaller now.
Last edited by zaGaffer; Jan 29, 2013 at 06:34 PM.
while we are on the topic of advice...
should i ride the new Neck Beard or possible the Sharp Eye Disco? What dimensions should I get? Any preference on wet suits? Which wax works the best? Where can i go to get my best shred on? Where can i get overhead barrels with no one out? Will you take me there?
ON the right day you can take a boat out to the shoals and catch some beauties. Some of my buddies have paddled out and scored. Just beware of men in grey suits. Otherwise go walking and discover. Thats part of what the surf journey is all about