Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 72
  1. #1
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Wayne Kerr’s Micronesia Milk Run

    Wayne Kerr’s Micronesia Milk Run

    Well here it is. The travel thread I've had the most fun making. Three weeks in Micronesia, mostly on Pohnpei Island, Majuro Atoll (think Bikini Island and nuclear bombs), and Palau. I travelled on Continental’s Island Hopper service aka “The Milk Run”. I lost count of the number of flights, around 30 I think. Two planes broke down along the way and with the waiting around for rescue flights from Guam the travelling was hard work but well worth it.


  2. #2
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Continental’s "Milk Run"

    Continental's "Milk Run"

    Getting into Micronesia is tough going from my base in Fiji. To get there I had to go through Australia (Sydney then Cairns) and onto Guam where I started Continental Micronesia’s island hopper service, which stops all islands onto Hawaii. I went as far out as Majuro Atoll via Pohnpei, then turned around back along the same route to Palau. Guam is still on a high level terrorism alert so security is tight at every island stop along the way. Passengers have to get off the plane on each landing and some serious looking security dudes check the plane and baggage.


    ^ The Milk Run is the bit from Guam out to Hawaii … would be a piece of piss to access from Bangkok or Manila

  3. #3
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    The Milk Run

    A few shots of the small islands and airports along the way


    ^ Chuuk Island group … a significant military base for the Japs during WWII … hundreds of wrecked ships and planes off the coast and a wreck divers paradise … more on Chuuk here Chuuk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    ^ Chuuk International Airport … spent a day sitting on the grass waiting for a rescue flight from Guam when our plane broke down


    ^ A small dot on the Pacific Ocean




    ^ Quite sure the air hostess was giving me the eye when we flew over this one


    ^ The stone alter at the entrance of Pohnpei harbour

  4. #4
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Pohnpei – Federated States of Micronesia

    Pohnpei – Federated States of Micronesia

    ^ Anyway first stop was Pohnpei for a week … click here to have a gander on Google Earth




    ^ This sign at the Pohnpei Visitors Bureau got me thinking how bloody far from everywhere I was – some good background can be found here Pohnpei - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  5. #5
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Pohnpei – Federated States of Micronesia

    Pohnpei's Forests

    Anyway first up on the agenda was a bit of work out in the forests. I had a few local guides lined up who trekked me through Pohnpei’s dense rainforest for a few days doing surveys. Pohnpei is one of the rainiest places on earth and it would piss down for 30 minutes then nearly as fast the sun would be out to push the humidity levels through the roof. The camera was safely stashed in my backpack for most of the trip.


    ^ Yours truly hiking in the lowland forests of Pohnpei Island


    ^ They don’t have any dangerous critters out there and my only injury was a bit from a big arse centipede


    ^ The joint is covered with small streams like this which make up the islands water supply


    ^ Where there’s water there’s waterfalls … one of what must have been hundreds we stumbled across


    ^ Took a swim at this small pool and a good back massage from the waterfall below



    The joint is covered with flowers and here are two of my favourite shots of the local flora (fauna shots to come later )




  6. #6
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Ponhpei Sakau (or Kava)

    Ponhpei Sakau (or Kava)

    The local drink "Sakau" is made from the Piper methysticum plant which is most commonly known as kava. This stuff knocks ya socks off. It is a mild narcotic but good sessions on it with the lads left we me slumped in my chair with a big f’off smile on my face for hours and no desire to move or talk much. The Pohnpeians mix it with hibiscus juice to increase the potency. Growing the plant is the number one income earner on the island as just about everyone is hooked on it.

    Problem in the forest is that the locals are progressively moving higher and higher upland to find places to grow the stuff. The plant requires a lot of sun so they typically clear a circular area of about 100 metres diameter and throw in about 30 plants. After about 3 years they get about $500 a plant or $15,000 for the 3 years patch. Doesn’t seem too much of a drama except I found about 420 of these clearings on my trek. Of course there are concerns about them buggering up the forest habitat etc but the real issue is that since it rains so much a shit load of topsoil from the cleared areas ends up in the streams and is causing big headaches with the quality of the drinking water on the island. The corals in the nearshore areas are also getting smothered with mud and dying off quick.


    ^ An upland sakau plantation on Pohnpei … sakau or kava is the leafy plant on the left


    ^ This pic shows the area of the clearing for the plantations … the undisturbed rain forest has dense canopy and it is not possible to see the sky like this in most areas


    ^ The sakau plant … I never tried heroin but they say this is the next best thing

  7. #7
    RIP
    blackgang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Last Online
    08-07-2010 @ 08:33 PM
    Location
    Phetchabun city
    Posts
    15,471
    Thanks Wayne..

  8. #8
    Sprayed On Member
    The Fresh Prince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Not in the willage
    Posts
    11,684
    Good Stuff!

  9. #9
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    The Ocean View Hotel, Pohnpei

    back to the road ...

    The Ocean View Hotel, Pohnpei

    After a few days out bush I needed some cold beer and grub. The best I found in Pohnpei was Budweiser Light (which went down way too easily I might add) and the local mangrove crab. I’d say the best spot to indulge is the bar at the Ocean View Hotel which as the name suggests looks north over Pohnpei harbour and out onto the north Pacific Ocean.


    ^ Bar at the Ocean View Hotel, Pohnpei early Saturday afternoon


    ^ A few hours later … the aches and pains of trekking were long gone by this stage


    ^ The local grub … mud crab at about 200 baht a kilo cooked … the absolute delish with cold beer


    ^ Mud crab claws the size of beer cans

  10. #10
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Downtown Pohnpei

    Downtown Pohnpei

    Downtown Pohnpei is bloody small and mostly made up of small sakau bars and a Walmart that smells of rats piss. A few shots of around town.


    ^ The main drag

    A couple of Spanish style churches around town






    ^ One of the government offices, this one houses the Attorney General


    ^ I’m informed this is the local short time hotel

  11. #11
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Tuna and Pohnpei

    Tuna and Pohnpei

    The view over the main harbour of Pohnpei is superb. The harbour is home to one of the world’s biggest tuna landing places from the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fishery. They’re pulling about a million tonnes of skipjack tuna out of the surrounding waters each year and most is frozen and dispatched to Thailand for canning which then ends up all around the world.

    Of course most of the boats are owned offshore and the owners pay an access fee to the government, but like all these places corruption abounds and it is a real mess when one trys to work out where the access fees end up. In the case of Pohnpei or the Federated States of Micronesia it most likely goes into senior government official’s property developments in Hawaii with bugger all ending up in the hands of locals. All the average Pohnpeian sees of their tuna is when they pay big bucks to buy "re-imported" tinned tuna from Thailand. Result is a far less nutritious product and lots of tin waste for Pohnpei to deal with … agghhh don’t get me started.


    ^ Pohnpei harbour and some tuna boats on the right


    ^ Some big tuna boats at port


    ^ A blurry zoom shot of a big Chinese tuna boat out at sea … fair bit dredging going on at the entrance of the harbour to keep things running … of course the access fees should be paying for this but they aint at great expense to the nation


    ^ Another Chinese boat … you might be able to make out the helicopter sitting up front that they use to spot the tuna schools … the skiff on the back is used to run the net around the tuna schools and is about 50 foot long I guess.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat
    astasinim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Last Online
    02-05-2018 @ 01:07 PM
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    4,067
    Those views are stunning Wayne. What is it you do for a living? Your one lucky bugger.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Last Online
    10-09-2009 @ 02:28 AM
    Posts
    891
    Yep, the places Wayne gets sent for work are amazing.

  14. #14
    Banned

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Last Online
    03-06-2014 @ 09:01 PM
    Posts
    27,552
    Nice Wayne. Remember the region well!! Good to see that Continental didn't cut back Air Mike routes. Very practical service, indeed. Unfortunately, 3 weeks doesn't even touch the time that you could really explore. Every major island {political} group has it's own inner-island regularly scheduled shipping service. The only way one can get to many backwater places. One could easily spend several years exploring the broad Micronesia region.....didn't have a chance to get to Yap, huh?
    Last edited by Rural Surin; 05-07-2009 at 07:16 PM.

  15. #15
    Eric
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Last Online
    06-08-2012 @ 11:53 PM
    Location
    Macau
    Posts
    2,231
    Any one else slightly jealous

  16. #16
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185
    Quote Originally Posted by astasinim
    What is it you do for a living?
    Mate has always been a tough one for me to answer ... in a nutshell I help developing countries with development planning. In most of the countries I work big chunks of their GDP comes from seafood. So mostly seafood and a few other things thrown in. These days I work for myself so I usually factor in a day or two on each side of the work to see some sites.

  17. #17
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185
    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    didn't have a chance to get to Yap, huh?
    You are right mate, there are so many places to see out there. Visited Yap airport and hear lots of good things about the place. Nearest I got to there was Palau. Mate I fell in love with Micronesia and will probably get back in August/September. I never realised how easy it would be to access from SE Asia and I'm surprised it is relatively undeveloped tourism wise.

    Anyway Mrs Kerr is on my system with the photos so the rest might have to wait until tomorrow.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
    astasinim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Last Online
    02-05-2018 @ 01:07 PM
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    4,067
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Brown View Post
    Any one else slightly jealous
    Only ever so slightly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by astasinim
    What is it you do for a living?
    Mate has always been a tough one for me to answer ... in a nutshell I help developing countries with development planning. In most of the countries I work big chunks of their GDP comes from seafood. So mostly seafood and a few other things thrown in. These days I work for myself so I usually factor in a day or two on each side of the work to see some sites.
    Sounds like an interesting job. I would love to hear more about it, if you have the time and in inclination.
    I aint superstitious, but I know when somethings wrong
    I`ve been dragging my heels with a bitch called hope
    Let the undercurrent drag me along.

  19. #19
    Banned

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Last Online
    03-06-2014 @ 09:01 PM
    Posts
    27,552
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    didn't have a chance to get to Yap, huh?
    You are right mate, there are so many places to see out there. Visited Yap airport and hear lots of good things about the place. Nearest I got to there was Palau. Mate I fell in love with Micronesia and will probably get back in August/September. I never realised how easy it would be to access from SE Asia and I'm surprised it is relatively undeveloped tourism wise.

    Anyway Mrs Kerr is on my system with the photos so the rest might have to wait until tomorrow.
    Undeveloped tourism. Quite frankly, that can only be beneficial for these folks.

  20. #20
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185
    Agree there mate ... just surprised it hasn't taken off

  21. #21
    Banned

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Last Online
    03-06-2014 @ 09:01 PM
    Posts
    27,552
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr View Post
    Agree there mate ... just surprised it hasn't taken off
    Fortunately for the region, {even today} most of the travellers you'll find are of the yachty-types and people looking to escape. Outside of Guam, Palau probably has the most developed of what passes as a tourism trade. I believe some time back, such consortiums of American-Japanese interests for development didn't take hold. Too out of the way for most......

  22. #22
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Nan Madol - Pohnpei

    ^ indeed mate … Palau is booming … one of the sites I visited there receives about 500 tourists a day and at $35 a pop someone is doing very nicely indeed. I suspect however that much the money ends up mostly in the hands of Japanese tour operators. The night life out there is also racy to say the least … might put a few pics of that up when I get to the Palau bit .

    Anyway back to the road …

    Nan Madol - Pohnpei

    Pohnpei is home to "Nan Madol" which is an ancient city which some say could be 2000+ years old. Lonely Planet rates it a must see of Micronesia. The site covers more than 18 km² and is made of up large megalithic structures built on coral reef flats and mangrove lagoons. Some call it the Venice of the Pacific as it contains hundreds of small canals between all the city buildings. How they ever got all huge stone logs into place screws me and many others if the info on Wikipedia is correct - Nan Madol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. There is some good imagery of the site on Google Earth which can be accessed by clicking here


    ^ The track into Nan Madol is thick tropical coastal forest ... bladdy beautiful


    ^ The first sign of the ancient city as you walk in


    ^ Yours truly navigating a shallow canal to get onto the main artificial island of Nan Madol

    Some assorted shots of Nan Madol … it is times like these I wish I had the photography skills of Bustak or Bob …






















  23. #23
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands

    Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands

    Next stop was Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Here’s a pic knocked off the net of the atoll and inner lagoon as well as snapshot from Google Earth. The imagery for Majuro is quite good on GE and can be accessed by clicking here




    ^ Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands

    As you can see there aint much to do on Majuro unless you’re a diver or fisherman. The atoll is narrow as hell and in some spots it really is possible to throw a stone from one side to the other. Anyway to cut a long story short I got sick out there with an ear infection and spent a few hours in line at the hospital to get some antibiotics. Wasn’t long before I gave up on that as loads of seriously ill people were waiting around in agony for 1 or 2 doctors and I figured my ear infection could wait until I got to the next island.

    They have really high rates of serious health problems out there … of course most of the locals reckon it's due to nuclear fall out on nearby Bikini Atoll. Reality is they don’t eat any local natural foods (fish, fruits etc) anymore and gorge themselves with massive serves imported white rice, spam, and other tinned shit. That combined with no space to exercise or play sports has resulted in one of the highest rates of diabetes anywhere on earth. The hospital is doing at least 4 major limb amputations a month due to diabetes complications (from a population of 25,000 people that is heavy going). The TB rate is something like 300 times that of mainland US. This is all exacerbated by them having next to no freshwater except for one small water lens in the widest bit of the Atoll which is currently supplying all freshwater … although they only turn the water on one day a week. Sewage treatment … forget it.

    All a bit of mess and depressing to say the least … spent most of my spare time on the hotel balcony looking over Bikini Atoll and thinking how f’ed up it was to blow the crap out of the joint.


    ^ Looking out over Bikini Atoll … site of the 1940s atom bomb tests


  24. #24
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Palau

    Palau

    Next stop was Palau. This required a return trip along Continental’s island hopper service to Guam and a few flights down to Palau …7 seven flights in total. Palau is probably best known for its Rock Islands and diving and I managed to find a day to visit the reefs, Rock Islands, and an amazing place called Jellyfish Lake. I loved the place and hope you enjoy some of the pics …


    ^ Palau’s Rock Islands


    ^ A traditional men’s meeting hut … this is where all valuable lessons are handed down. The mural on the front was explained to me as a life-cycle triangle for men. The six sections from top to bottom: 1 – learn about small reef fish; 2 – learn how to fish; 3 - once you fish the girls will sit with their legs open for you; 4 – after that you will have children and need to learn to catch the larger reef fish; 5 – as your family grows you will need to learn to catch sharks; and 6 – if you screw anything up along the way it is likely it will end in war and you should avoid that.


    ^ First up was a visit to a nice lagoon for a swim


    ^ My launch for the day … my local assistant had to smother herself in the limestone mud from the bottom of the lagoon … good for the skin apparently


    ^ A lovely place to float around for an hour or two

  25. #25
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:30 PM
    Location
    Fiji Islands
    Posts
    3,185

    Palau's Coral Reefs

    Palau's Coral Reefs

    Next up was a gander at Palau’s coral reefs. Very impressive indeed. A few test shots with my little Olympus underwater number.




    ^ Two of the many hundred Rock Islands








    ^ Plenty of naturally occurring giant clams about the place


    ^ The first Napoleon Wrasse I've seen for 10 years


    ^ Lots of reef sharks around the sandy areas

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •