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Honeymoon in Micronesia

Welcome to the Heart of Micronesia! Discover and explore the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) - Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei & Yap.

Chuuk

The many islands within this huge atoll are crowned with natural beauty. The outer barrier reef is punctuated with idyllic sand spits dotted with coconut palms. The high islands in the central lagoon rise into the blue island skies.

Lush vegetation and simple living punctuate the lives of the lagoon. Fishing, weaving and tending garden supplant the subsistence lives that many sustain on their individual islands. It is not unusual to see women waist deep in the mangroves hunting for a special delicacy or men walking the reefs by torchlight at night looking for baby octopus. Boat makers create vessels high in the hills of the inner islands and take them down to sea when finished. Open hearth fires are still used to cook the daily meals. Life here is close to nature and lived in conjunction with the land and the sea. Local carvers are also famous for using beautiful local woods to carve warrior masks and busts. And the Chuukese love stick is part of a legendary practice of courtship unique to this island group.

Reef Life from ChuukChuuk, with its vast, shallow, beautiful lagoon is a Mecca for wreck divers. A major shipwreck site from WWII, Truk Lagoon is unquestionably the world's best shipwreck diving destination. Here, more than 50 hulks have been transformed into shipreefs, holding the very best of the undersea world and maritime history at one site. Hard and soft corals in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes attract divers worldwide for both daytime and night diving. The vast selection of artifacts still found on the wrecks after five decades are testament to the unique history of the Micronesian Islands. The historical aspect of Truk Lagoon is not totally hidden by the jungles. Japanese lighthouses, perched high atop the lagoon's finest overlooks, can be reached by hiking or driving. Old runways, command centers, gun emplacements, cave networks, hospitals and libraries can be found with the help of a knowledgeable guide.

Chuukse ChildrenIn Chuuk, the pace of life slows and tropical nature is easily observed and appreciated. Many of the islands offer lush vegetation that harbors rare and migratory birdlife. Enthusiasts have been known to camp high in the hills to observe these special avians. Wild orchids and other flora are found in the scenic and sometimes rugged terrain of the islands. Traveling by ocean kayak from island to island is one way to enjoy Chuuk. Often overlooked are the outer reefs where a great variety of fish, both pelagic and reef dwelling, venture near cascading coral walls that stretch into the blue abyss of the Pacific Ocean. Windsurfing and sailing in the lagoon passes is also done during tradewind season.

Kosrae

Close your eyes and imagine a secluded white sandy beach without a single footprint to mar its pristine beauty. Imagine gliding silently in a dugout canoe through ancient mangrove forest canals, or visiting Neolithic archeological ruins that defy both time and meaning. How about trying to find the lost treasure of the infamous American pirate Bully Hayes buried in the harbor more than a century ago? If there is any destination that comes close to this vision, it is Kosrae, one of the four island states of the Federated States of Micronesia. This 42-square-mile island is located just a few hours southeast of Guam and few hours southwest of Hawaii.

Man with bananas on KosraeMan with bananas on KosraeThroughout their rich and colorful history, Kosraeans are considered one of the most peaceful and gracious people on Earth. Traditionally, a lot of materials are lost but lots are still practiced today. Traditional singing and chanting, weaving, woodcarving, canoe building, house building, farming, and fishing are still in practiced today.

Kosrae is known for its virgin reef and pristine waters, visibility up to 200+ ft. and thriving hard coral society. There are more than 172 species of hard corals and 10 species of soft carols. There are over 250 species of fish and marine lives. Bottleneck dolphins are apt residences of the coast and whales sometimes can be spotted. The three natural harbors are homes to 2 slained whaleships, Henrietta in 1843 and Waverly in 1893, with two WWII ship wrecks the Sansun Maru and Keikyu Maru and several planes (2 in good condition). And for the more adventurous and fit traveler, try the majestic Mt. Finkol, the tallest mountain in Kosrae. At 2,064 ft. high, it is a site worth exploring while in Kosrae.

Pohnpei

Pohnpei is the largest and tallest island in the FSM. Its peaks get plenty of rainfall annually and this creates more than 40 rivers that feed the lush upper rain forest. Pohnpei's waterfalls range from pleasant to spectacular, creating a refreshing and breathtaking experience for those venturing to the base of the falls. There are even camping areas at some sites for those who want to hear the tumble of the water as they sleep under the tropical sky. The streams are great for cooling off after a hike in the hills.

Pohnpei is famous for its energetic dances and also for the relaxing drink sakau, a kava-like brew. Watching sakau being prepared is an experience unique to Pohnpei. The pepper plant is taken from the wild and presented at a special ceremony. The root is then pounded and mixed with water to form an earthy tasting drink that inspires both myth and magic. This host to the nation's capital has much to offer the visiting nature lover, explorer and hiker.

Diving PohnpeiThe fishing and diving around the island is superb. Surrounded largely by rich mangrove forests, Pohnpei's jagged coastline is intersected by numerous channels that carry nutrients into the vast lagoon. These nutrients attract marine life and make Pohnpei one of the most varied marine environments in Micronesia. The island's hard coral reefs and colorful dropoffs are enchanting. Sea anemones, soft corals and colorful gorgonian sea fans dot the walls. Sharks, sea turtles and manta rays are seen at many sites around Pohnpei.

A short boat trip can be made to two neighboring atolls, Ant and Pakin, that exude the aura of paradise unspoiled. Here, the true meaning of pristine diving comes to the fore. Whether it be riding a raging current out to sea through an island pass or exploring a deep fan laden chasm, the atolls are a fantastic experience.

Scene from PohnpeiPohnpei's people offer a look at family life island style. Communities come together to weave a new boat house or just wash the daily clothes. Kids frolic in the water of the many rivers that flow from the mountains and down past the villages.

Much is still to be learned about the mysterious Nan Madol ruins. Called the Venice of the Pacific, this manmade city with ocean-filled channels once housed a thriving, royal civilization. Huge basalt pillars form the residences of kings and sorcerers. These remnants of an ancient Pohnpeian civilization are still being studied and explored. They can be visited as part of an overall nature tour or studied in depth all day with one of Pohnpei's knowledgeable history guides.

Yap

Yap is the most intriguing island in Micronesia. It is a land steeped in ancient traditions, fascinating legends, and peopled by one of the most distinctive cultures in the Pacific. Attractions like a handmade seaside men's house, cultural village tours, huge, ancient stone money discs and stone money banks, dancing, handicraft making, marine life and mangrove forests highlight a visit to this unique outpost.

Dance is an art form in Yap. Through dance, legends are passed down, history is recorded and entertainment is created. The dances of Yap are raucous, colorful and well-orchestrated. Men and women both start at an early age to learn this special Yap tradition.

This traditional life carries into the villages where fishing, sailing and weaving are still important parts of everyday life. Grass skirts for the women and thu'us, a type of loincloth, for the men are the basic garb in the small towns that sit in tranquil settings around the island.

Yap has a number of small hotels, including the finest dedicated dive resort in Micronesia, that cater to divers, sightseers and those wanting a closer look at the culture. The island's rolling green hills and lush mangroves make Yap a true tropical Eden. These can be seen every day while heading out to explore the sea. Or an ocean kayak tour can be arranged to allow the visitor to look at these wandering passageways in a very special way.

Yapese DancersThe people of Yap are shy but warm. They don't mind visitors who are respectful and appreciative of their lifestyle. With a little coaxing, the visitor may soon find his or herself helping with a chore, like launching a canoe or weaving a basket to carry coconuts. This special kind of island encounter is not unusual on Yap and is part of the Yapese spirit that makes the island so enticing and enchanting.

For the active person, there's plenty to do on land and in the ocean. The visitor can expect to go mountain biking, hike on an ancient stone path or try some deep sea fishing as part of the Yap experience. Or, just take a nap under a coconut tree on one of Yap's unspoiled beaches.

Diving with Mantas off Yap Yap is famous for its clear waters where schools of tuna, dolphins and reef fish are found in abundance. Observing the greatly varied marine life on the reefs and in the channels has become a must for divers around the world. While clear waters and sheer dropoffs certainly describe Yap's diving, one fact stands above the rest. Yap is the world's foremost destination for seeing manta rays up close and personal. There is no other place on earth where they can be seen on such a consistent basis year 'round. This fact has catapulted Yap to the top on all lists of the finest diving attractions in the world.

Source: www.visit-fsm.org

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