The past month has been a bit difficult for the community of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. A severed fiber optics cable literally disconnected the island of Saipan from the entire world for three weeks. Two weeks after, the island was ravished by an unsuspected super typhoon over night. This led to shortages in fuel (gasoline & diesel) and water (potable and non-potable). It is safe to say that life is very different for the entire community. As of today, it appears that two typhoons may embrace us with their presence in the next week or so.
This past weekend was filled with adventure. Saturday was filled with 12 hours of fishing for the 2015 Mahi Derby. The morning was filled with crying reels and the sound of fish hitting the deck. Unfortunately, our biggest bull was only 17.05 lbs. The biggest fish that day was around 24-27 lbs. Although we didn’t win, we had a great time battling the creatures of the deep blue. I took this photo while we were leaving the harbor. The boat belongs to Rufin Jr. Inos.
Along the northern shoreline of the beautiful island of Rota, a freshwater swimming hole can be found that is protected by lush jungle and coral reefs. It seems as if its big tide pool. However, the pool’s looks are deceiving. Once you jump in and taste the water, you will know that the water is not 100% salt water. It is a great place to hang out with friends and family enjoying the warmth of the sun.
I found this beauty while my partner and I were exploring the back roads of Rota. We saw this hilitai from afar allowing myself to creep out of the car very slowly to snap a few shots. It’s yellow spotted skin helps camouflage the creature into the rootedness of the dense Rota jungle. The closer I approached, the more it proved to be a very shy and timid creatures. The hilitai is one of many creatures that can be find on the beautiful island of Rota.
The beautiful island Rota serves as a safe haven for various indigenous creatures of the Northern Mariana Islands. The humble Ayuyu, commonly known as the coconut crab, is one of many indigenous creatures that can be found on the island. There are a few common places to find this creature in its natural habitat. The easiest way to spot an Ayuyu is to take a stroll on the back road of Rota that connects the Song Song village to the Sinapalo village. It is a dirt road that is nested into the beautiful jungle that engulfs the limestone island. Be sure to take this journey at night due to their increased crab activity during this time of the day. Keep an eye out for the reflection of their eyes from the lights of your vehicle.
It is mind boggling to think how these ancient megaliths were excavated and transported to this latte site. When in the presence of such remarkable accomplishments of the ancient chamorro culture, I always ponder what the ancient chamorro society was like. Would I fit in? Where would my role be in regards to being a hunter, a gatherer, a craftsmen, a farmer, etc? As time continues to tick, there will always be a sense of curiosity and amazement when it comes to our ancient Chamorro roots.
I recently made a trip to the island of Tinian for the annual Pika Festival. This festival showcases the notorious donne’, or hot pepper, that is known for its intense spicy flavor. You can find Tinian Hot Pepper in stores. However, the best Tinian Donne’ you can find are from the local families who make the concoction by hand. I managed to take a stroll to the House of Taga. It is always a great feeling to be surrounded by megaliths made by Ancient Chamorros. Not only will you be in awe, you will appreciate the strength of the culture by creating your own hypothesis on how these megaliths were excavated and constructed. If your ever on the island of Tinian, be sure to take a few minutes and appreciate this Chamorro Heritage site.
A view of Hotel Street, Garapan, Saipan. What helped me identify areas much easier were landmarks. In this picture, various landmarks can be seen; Hyatt, Fiesta, American Memorial Park, Smiling Cove Marina, Hotel Street, etc. This picture was actually one of several pictures I took continuously. The panoramic stitch didnt come out as I wanted. As a result, I ended up with this beautiful picture.
A view of Saipan looking East. At this point in the ride, we were heading back to the hanger. It was somewhat difficult taking panoramic photos due to the wind gusting past the helicopter. If you weren’t prepared for it, you could literally drop whatever your sticking out of the cockpit. The timing of the photo was perfect because you could see the vegetation as well as the sea grass beds in the lagoon. Overall, this was a very great experience.