Sunday, December 11, 2011


Since we are now in the northern hemisphere, we are heading into winter and this will be my first northern Christmas (but I don't think it will be a white one!). In reality, the temperatures are about the same, although there is more rain here which does cool things down nicely sometimes. It has rained most days since we have been in Kosrae and this is the 'dry' season! We have had a fairly lazy time here, but have managed to stretch our legs and also do some diving. We've been for several walks along the road in both directions which is quite scenic, especially in the coastal sections. During our walks we have been trying to make friends with the local cats but to no avail. We were getting good exercise as we had discovered a shop that sells cone ice cream a decent walk away but eventually discovered a closer source (although this shop has since run out). The island is resupplied by ship every few weeks so the stocks in the shops can vary a lot. We noticed a big difference from when we got here to earlier this week after a ship had been in on Saturday. Apparently, supplies of beer are about to run out so I guess there wasn't any on that shipment. The shops have an interesting and eclectic mix, lacking in what we would call basics but anyone for a large bottle of Hersey's chocolate syrup?!. We have also not been able to find anywhere that sells bread: donuts, sweet rolls, even sweeter rolls, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes and scones but no plain bread!

The housing around Kosrae is interesting with lots of abandoned shells of buildings that must have been quite nice in their day while people are living in comparatively flimsy houses. Maintenance appears to be an unknown concept, this is also evident in the cars abandoned by the side of the road. Some of the cars on the road are also interesting, we've seen several with holes in the windscreen, windows missing, or the whole front bumper and lights smashed etc. There is a lot of rubbish around, which is a pity as there is a rubbish collection and even recycling of aluminium cans and plastic bottles. In particular, one large hardware store near where we are anchored appears to chuck all its rubbish straight into the water. Large pieces of polystyrene, some sandwiched with aluminium are also everywhere. These are the remains of the interior of a defunct fish processing plant that are now used for all kinds of purposes and seem to be very popular paddled as rafts. We watched one being paddled across the harbour and returning stacked high with firewood.

We spent one morning exploring the ruins of an old city at Lelu (near where we are anchored). This was a city (similar to Nan Madol in Pohnpei) built with a canal system and constructed out of basalt blocks. There are walls, canals, tombs and courtyards still evident from a city that dates from the 1400s to 1800s.

We have been for a few dives in the harbour where there are at least 3 wrecks. We dove on a WWII Japanese freighter, a WWII flying boat and a 19th century wooden whaler. There is not much left of the whaler but all were interesting dives despite the murky water in the harbour. Kosrae has a really good network of about 70 mooring buoys around the island to protect the coral. We went out one day with a local resort dive operator who also owns the only other yacht in the harbour. The coral is in really good condition so its great that Kosrae is taking steps to protect it. Mark, who with his partner Maria own the Pacific Treelodge Resort, came out to say hello when we had first arrived in Kosrae and we have enjoyed their hospitality at the resort. The resort has a bar and restaurant set in the mangroves, a dinghy ride away up a channel through the mangroves. Its a really nice setting and we have joined in on some of the (mainly) ex-pat activities including movie night and a sunset cruise. Highly recommended if anyone is passing through Kosrae.

Our next stop is Pohnpei so if anyone is interested in a short notice tropical break let us know!


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