Iokwe from the Marshall Islands!
(sometimes it’s spelled with an “a” – like many words in the Marshallese language, there are many spelling “options”)
Yup, still here. It’s that lovely. For the end of last week and the beginning of this, we were anchored off of Eneko, a small island near the end of the atoll away from the “big city” Majuro. It was an incredible spot. The way the palm trees lit up as sunset approached, the sunsets themselves, and the sky full of stars – it’s easy to see why so many cruisers have meant to leave months and even years ago, but are still here. The sunsets and the views are what come to mind when you think “South Pacific” (though as a technical note we’re North of the equator).
This week, I met the PRESIDENT of the Federated States of Micronesia. In a bar. They had a presidential summit this week where the presidents of the nations of the Pacific came together to talk about who knows what, maybe who has the more beautiful beaches or sunsets (or more likely important things like climate change threatening to eliminate the lowest elevation countries like Tuvalu and Kiribati). And because of that, the presidents were out and about and I met Peter, the president of the FSM. He warned that I should be careful on my journey, I might well end up married in Pohnpei and not make it any further. There is also a big energy conference, so the city is loads busier than it otherwise might be. It’s quite a treat at lunch to overhear the next table talking about the energy interests of the Pacific.
We are preparing to set off, next to Bikini, and then out of the country to the FSM. I’m particularly excited about Bikini as it’s a World Heritage site and likely the most famous atoll in the world. The snorkeling is said to be incredible – some have said better than the Great Barrier Reef! I’m hoping while snorkeling we’ll be able to see the wrecks, which are some of the most notable from WWII (including the USS Saratoga, which is said to be the only diveable carrier in the world, though we won’t be diving there).
Departure from Majuro though does mean departure from many of the comforts I’ve come to enjoy here – decent Wi-Fi, the US Postal Service, grocery stores with stocked fruit and veggie shelves, and 75 cent cab rides.
Last week I wrote about the tuna boats. How they’re everywhere in the lagoon. These are massive, multi-million dollar boats, equipped with million dollar nets and many with helicopters. And at dinner ashore the other night, Stedem ordered tuna, to which the server said, “oh sorry, we’re out of tuna.” We found it quite laughable, but on a bit more reflection, it’s a bit sad that such a clearly abundant and profitable resource is so close, yet the locals don’t benefit from its proximity. That, or whoever’s in charge of purchasing at the restaurant was not paying enough attention to inventory that week.