MONDAY, NOV. 4
When we closed the door behind us , early that morning on November the 4th, we knew that a lot of hours of travelling lay ahead of us. It would take us 1 tram, 2 trains, 4 planes, 5 airports and 1 minivan to get from home to our destination on Kosrae. In 44 (!) hours we traveled from Schiphol airport, via Hongkong to Manila. From Manila to Guam where we took another airplane to finally arrive (after two stops on Phonphei and Chuuk) in Kosrae.
It was already November the sixth when we were greeted
by to staff of Kosrae village resort at the airport of Kosrae
Me, just of the train
at Schiphol airport
The airbus that would take us to Hongkong (Schiphol)
On Manila our transfer time was six hours. We figured that we would be one of the first to check in.
Much to our surprise people started showing up hours before actual departure, carrying dozens of boxes (sometimes filling up to three trolleys) forming a 30 meter long row in front of the Continental Micronesia desk which led from one end of the terminal, whole way to the other end of the terminal.
Despite us being at the airport 6 hours before departure we were among the last ones to check in.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6TH
Finally, at 2:40 PM we got of the plane . No more planes for 10 days now.
After a short luggage check we walked out of the terminal and we received our first Island smiles from the Kosraen village staff who had come to meet us. A short drive to the resort a warm welcome and we were taken to our cottage.
Time for a nap. We had to make up for a lot of lost sleep
Our island accommodation was a traditional Micronesian style bungalow situated under the shade of mangrove, pandanus and coconut trees at the ocean's edge. The bungalows are interconnected by paths of naturally hard packed sand.
Mangrove crabs occupied the forest floor and sand paths after sunset. You had to be careful not to step on one
Our cottage, hidden
in the rainforest
Diana, in front of the KVR (Kosrae village resort) sign
View from the sea toward KVR. You can only see some rooftops of the cottages hidden in the lush vegetation
SUNDAY, NOV. 10
It is a Kosrean custom to be quiet on Sunday. Even recreational activities are frowned upon.
So another day for us to relax. To sleep late, read a book on our (almost private) beach be
lazy and wind down.
Our guide leading us through
Inside the mangroves. Where the guide showed us a tiny, bald young bird, hiding in its nest.
FRIDAY, NOV 8TH AND SATURDAY, NOV 9TH
It is always exciting to dive at new destinations. How will the diving be organized, what kind of boats do they use, how many people will be on the boats. how are the guides etc. Well everything proved to be more than okay. Sleeping lady divers (the dive operator) took us on their lovely. small boats to beautiful dive sites all around the island in the week we dove with them. The dives were easy going (slight current) and the lunch was perfect (We loved the Tuna sandwich and the homemade cookies). There were not more than four divers onboard. Two days we even had the boat to our selves. After the diving we made use of the hot water shower on board to rinse of the salt water (What a luxury !)
The Friday was a very special day for Diana; Her first dive ever in the openwater. And she was hooked immediately.
Diana and Peter (one of the other guests) gearing up before departure
The dive boats in Utwe harbour
Diana surfacing after her second dive. To the left of her Katarina, her dive instructor (and resort owner) and to the right Roman, our dive guide.
THURSDAY , NOV. 7
The night before the sea had rocked us to sleep. At high tide the ocean is only a 3 meters away from our doorstep. It was to rythem of the breaking waves against what we had fallen asleep.
We woke up late that the morning. We already had decided the day before that we did not wanted to go diving so shorty after our arrival. This was a good day to relax, explore the beach, the small resort and to try to get over our jetlag.
Later that afternoon we took off on a kayak trip through the mangroves
WEDNESDAY, NOV 13 & THURSDAY, NOV 14
Two more days on which Kosrae becokned the underwater adventurer. Clear, warm (30 degrees centigrade) waters, visibility of 35 meters or more. Beautiful hard coral gardens, plunging walls, tuna, Barracudas and a rainbow of colours which could be found in the forests of thiny Chrismass trees that populate the large corals.
After 15 minutes or so after we took off from Utwe harbour on what would be our last day of diving (thursday) we
spotted a group of dolphins. They swam strait at us. Leaping out of the water now and then. A part of the group swam a while in front of the boat. Riding the bow wave. This was a nice start of the day.
Kosrae is well known for its unspoiled coral reefs.
During our dives we drifted over huge fields of all sorts of hardcoral, sponges and soft coral.
A spotted eagle ray.
On our fifth dive we saw a couple gliding by.
TEUSDAY, NOV. 12
A day on which we did some exploration of the island. First we went by Taxi to the Lelu ruins.
The Lelu ruins are considered to be one of the wonders of the Pacific and once an ancient ruling empire complex of the entire Micronesian region. Huge basaltic slabs arranged in order of making 20-ft walls and encompassing a capital city in the ancient times. The historical site, ruins of large basaltic walls, channels, streets, tombs, and living quarters dates back to the 13th century.
Our cab driver dropped us not on the side we expected we would be, so it took quite a while before we had figured out our map of the ruins.
After exploring the ruins, surviving an attack by a voracious dog we decided to slowly walk back to KVR. On our way back we passed by (and visited) the giant clam farm, rested under the trees on the beach near the blue hole and had lunch in Nautilus resort. (maybe we were already spoiled by KVR, but we did not like this Nautilus resort ). After walking for a couple of hours in the intense heat we hailed a cab, It was to hot to walk any longer and the cab was nicely air-conditioned.
Giant Clam farm
This is a National project where protected giant clams that reach up to 3 meters long are raised and taken out to the Aquaculture sanctuary in the reefs off Walung.
MONDAY, NOV 11TH
Diana is a certified diver now.(click here to view her certificate). She completed her course last Saturday after her fourth dive. According to Katarina she will become an excellent diver (and she is one I can tell)
Our dive guide Roman (standing) and skipper Gordon
A school of dolphins (about 30) came to say goodbye to us
The colorful Christmas trees (a tube worm)
FRIDAY, NOV 15.
Our last day on Kosrae.
We have to get the bubbles out of our system before we can board an airplane tomorrow. So now diving today.
Instead we made a Jungle hike to the Menke ruins. On our way to the ruins our guide and owner of the land we walked upon told us a lot about the Kosraen culture and history. He also knew a lot about the flora and fauna of the Island. We returned enriched with knowledge from the three hour hike.
Time to pack and say goodbye to the beach.
One of the many streams we had to cross
Diana, in front of a tree which is used as warning system on the island. The trunk is hollow. When you hit it a deep hollow sound which can be heard for miles away, roars through the forest.
SATURDAY, NOV 16.
Today ends our ten day stay on the Island
of Kosrae. An Island we fell in love with.
An unhurried place where people consistently return a smile.
We very much enjoyed our stay at the Kosrea village resort. The warm welcome. The friendly and very helpful staff. The nice traditional cottages. The mangrove crabs who hurried back into their holes when we opened the door. The refreshment served at our cottage after we returned from a day of diving
The excellent food served at the Inum; The resorts restaurant. Considered to be the best restaurant on the island. The five lovely wild cats who sat at your table or where chasing lizards.
It was hard to leave.
The treasures Diana collected from the beach
One last time on the beach
The resorts restaurant : Inum
Four of the five "guard" cats
If you look south across Lelu harbor toward Tofol you'll see the rugged ridgeline of the mountain range that forms the profile of the "sleeping lady"
According to legend the gods were angry with a woman so they laid her in the sea in a sleeping position and turned her into the island of Kosrae. The story goes she was menstruating at the time which accounts for the rich red soil found in the jungle at the place which would be between her tighs.
The entrance to Kosrean's small airport building
Inside the departure lounge