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.
This shot is very surreal because you never would imagine how things would look from an aerial standpoint until you finally see it. While I was in the air, I felt like a kid in a candy store beautiful the island looked so unique and beautiful.
A unique view of the “city” of Garapan. Garapan is a village on the island of Saipan that comes closest to a city on the island. Hotels, restaurants, super markets, department stores, etc. If your ever visiting the island of Saipan, be sure to drive through the village of Saipan!
I’ve always tried to take this shot on an airplane. Yet it was always so difficult due to the angle of the plane plus the wing always being in the way. Thank goodness for a helicopter! Stay tuned for more stunning shots of the island of Saipan.
A few shots of the MV ASUKA II from a helicopter. Each time the ship leaves port, a helicopter is used to drop flowers down onto the passengers on the vessel’s departure. Talk about great customer service! The ride was exhilarating.
The weather has been somewhat cloudy in the Mariana Islands. Its probably due to the passing storm, supposedly the strongest storm of 2014 (Typhoon Vongfont). Took a drive up to the highest point on the island, Mt. Tapochau. This drive MUST be done with a 4×4 capable vehicle. The past few months have been rainy, causing the roads to deteriorate.
This picture was taken looking south, looking towards Tinian. You can also see the island of Aguigan (Goat Island) in the distance. I took the picture around 12-1230PM. I was hoping for more blue and less clouds, but Mother Nature can be like that at times. This was a 30 second exposure done with a polarized filter + an ND filter.
I hiked down to Bird Island the other day and managed to take a few descent shots given that it was a very cloudy day. This was taken at around 1PM. I was hoping to get some really nice exposures with the sun being in the perfect spot at 1PM. However, it was a bit overcast. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, the result was unique in the sense that the clouds in the background make the picture look more dramatic.
Bird Island is one of the Marine Protected Areas in the CNMI. It is located in the North Eastern side of Saipan. It is a quick 5 minute hike down to a beautiful beach. In the summer time, you could venture over onto the island itself and explore the tide pools for exotic marine life. If your lucky, you could also see baby black tip sharks patrolling the shoreline in search of a meal to eat.
I recently returned from a trip up to Maug, an island apart of the Northern Mariana Islands chain. It is roughly around 330 miles North of Saipan, surrounded by Uracas (North of Maug) and Asuncion (South of Maug). Years ago, the island used to resemble a cone-shaped volcanoe that can be found through out the Northern Mariana Islands chain. After an obvious violent eruption, the remote island transformed into the three islands that can be seen to this day. The topography of the island is very rugged. Steep hills and sheering volcanic ridges pattern all the islands. There are certain areas where vertical ridges protrude outward from the islands.