Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Pacific to Amsterdam

Writing from the house of my parents in Enkhuizen, Netherlands, my pacific journey has come to an end. All good and wonderful without any negatives.

With a stop-over in Guam I arrived in Amsterdam via Manilla. One day in Guam was a bizar experience.

First of all I had to undergo an interrogation by the US immigration as Guam is one of their protectorates. And as they could not imagine someone sailing from the americas to pacific and then entering Guam by air from Pohnpei, I had to explain 4 different times how, why and where I had come from. Coming from Europe via Mexico to the Pacific was seen as an impossibility.... why not via US of A? Why do we not have a record of this? Well... why should you....

Of course the island must be beautiful but what time I had I spent sleeping after a nightflight and walking around the city. Friendly people but an abomination. A mix between Torremolinos, Cancun and Miami. The bus is called shopping bus and drives from shopping mall to mall.. only stopping at the 1000 room hotels that overlook the bay and dominate the beach. Not one independent beachbar, restaurant or the like is left on a small strip of free sand from hotels to waterline. All bars, restaurants and of course shops have parkinglots and the airco set tot 15 degrees. Prices are very high, even in comparison to the USA, but no so to the japanese, chinese and taiwanese tourists. Besides shopping the main activity seems to be stripclubs and massages as there are parlours on every streetcorner.

Anwways, after an uneventful flight to Manilla, and an incredible flight across asia (China, Mongolia, former Soviet Union to Europe) I am now back in Enkhuizen. KLM really outdid themselves and the flight was full-service! My windowseat allowed for constant vistas across endless spans of dessert, steppe and mountains to the sagrin of the other passengers who mostly wanted to sleep while the plane was catching up with the smouldering sunset for almost the entire 12 hours of flight.

Home sweet home and back to the stark reality of... ohoh.. the bankbalance, work, where to live, what to wear in cold weather and what to do inside...

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Manta Ray alley

The last leg to Pohnpei was pretty rough, tempers are fraying a touch as well now we are getting to the end of the journey. Luckily we were given special permission by the village chief to stop over at one of the outer islands to break up the 4 day trip. Typing this message, many experiences are passing me by and not always in the right order, mixed up names, islands, dates, etc.. It is definitely time to go home.

A bizar incident marked our first night after arrival on Pohnpei, when a guy jumped from a car and started to jump up and down in front of us, challenging us to fight. He went for Cedric and after I distracted him, He started running after me.. oeps, well, I have enough of that sort of braindead dross, so stood my ground and made him go away. Sort of funny, Cedric got into a fight the first night we met in Puerto Vallarta before our journey started.

Apart from that.. as always we meet nice people, but here we also find ourselves on a lush island with much variety of flowers, plants, vegetables and trees. The magnificent Nan Madol ruins are a city build in the lagoon water by a 1000 year empire of local kings. Very impressive, but they were sort of brutal to the local populace. Lots of mythology.. a lost city underwater, just in front of the reef. Death within days for those foreigners (some germans who took skeletons and a japanese who dove the hidden city the wrong day) who came to excavate and steel stones and bones from the royal graves. You should only dive the sank city after having thrown a stone from a specific tree island and having received the goodwill sign from the ocean.. two sharks that show up shortly after to greet and meet.. If not, than try again the next day..

Manta Ray allay did not show live up to its reputation. Instead we dove 3 days and got a hung anker on the coral that was almost impossible to get off the rocks. We had to set a 2nd anker, dive to release the first and struggled to then get the 2nd anker out.

One more weekend and then onward to Guam.