Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boat trip to Pakin

We finally out on the boat last Thursday, we went to Pakin atoll to visit one of the projects that the Australian Embassy funded. I was excited and a bit nervous at the same time as that was my first boat trip in Pohnpei and I heard people talking that November and December the wave is really rough hence all the surfers are here at the period of time. That was not my first boat trip, I went on a boat trip from Jakarta to Thousand Islands for work, yeah working in an advertising company can take you to exotic places for work, sometimes I miss those good old days. And my second boat trip was in Manado to Bunaken for diving and snorkling, I snorkled not diving by the way. I didn't recall to have any sea sick but I thought maybe the wave back then not as rough as in Micronesia so I call Heather to get the sea sick tablets just in case.

The schedule was to get in the boat at 8am because the boys want to do some fishing along the way, yes sure why not we're on the boat anyway. We went on the Embassy boat so it should be safe as people were saying that the boat is probably the safest boat in this island, but still, I was nervous.

 The boat "Three years in the making"

There were seven of us on the boat, Beru the driver, mr. husband, Glen from Fishery Commission, and three Pohnpean who were involved with the projects.

At 8.15am off we sail. The view was beautiful as we sail off from Pohnpei.

  Pohnpei from the ocean

Not long after we sail, the boys started to put down the lure and here comes the excitement of fishing, mr. husband caught lots of skip jack tuna and I lost count on 5 fishes. He got the magic hands or maybe the fishing lure he used was better than the others, but he surely look happy when he caught the fish.

When we arrived in Pakin we have to wait for someone to pick us up as the the channel to Pakin is really shallow so we have to transfer to other boat with flat bottom.

Pakin is an atoll situated approximately 45 km southwest of Pohnpei. The atoll consists of 17 small islands and islets with a barrier reef surrounding the group. The atoll has a total land area of about 1.09 square kilometres. Five of the islets are inhabited. The island of Nikahlep, which has a church and an elementary school, is the main centre of the atoll, where most community meetings take place.

The atoll of Pakin has a vast lagoon estimated at 14.35 squares kilometres with the deepest part at around 100 metres. The lagoon and surrounding coastal areas provide sustenance of the community and are considered one of the richest marine ecosystem in Pohnpei State.

Pakin has an estimated population of 120 residents. About 60 people live permanently on the main island of Pohnpei. Of the 120 residents, 47% are adults (18 years and over) and 53% are children and youth. These people live in a close-knit society where sharing and caring is commonly practised. Pakin has a chiefly system whereby the tittle is either passed down through a family, or gained as a result of election by the community.

The main sources of income for Pakin are derived from fish, copra and sometimes from selling pigs to the residents of Pohnpei. A species of citrus lime, unique to the island, is considered the best in Pohnpei, and is sometimes sold on the main island.

The atoll community is a recipent of a pearl trial project funded and run by the College of Micronesia Cooperative Research and Extension.

Pearl oyster trial farm

After the official agenda finished we had island lunch, I was overwhelmed with the amount of food they served. The food was a combination of fish, clam, squid, octopus, pig, banana, yam, taro, breadfruit and papaya. These island people can eat, I mean a lot.

There is no road, no car, no motorbike in the island. They have a little bit of electricity from the solar panel and they use it mostly for radio as entertainment. There is one peace corps volunteer in Pakin, he has been living there for one year and he actually the fifth peace corps on the island. Before him, the peace corps stays only for 13 hours before s/he decided to go back on the plane. People in Pakin usually eat rice and fish but sometimes only rice. Pohnpei is small but we still have shops and restaurants so we have good variety of food.

Land is no problem in Pakin, if one wants to build a house one has to open the forrest and build a house with materials available in the island. But they have to get the cement from Pohnpei.

At the other side of the Nikahlep island there is a beautiful beach with reef, white sand and beautiful blue ocean view.I think Pakin has natural resource for tourist destination. Perhaps my photos won't do any justice of its beauty, hence you have to witness it with your own eyes.

On the way back to Pohnpei was really jumpy, I can feel that the boat is flying before it hit the water again. It was a little bit scary for me but I survived, and yes the view was worth it. I took the sea sick tablet on the way to Pakin but I didn't take any tablet on the way back to Pohnpei and I was fine, so I guess I don't have sea sick motion after all.

I'm looking forward to go out on the boat again on the calmer weather.

1 comment:

BabyBeluga said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures and story. Being in this cold temp (as we are heading to Winter), those beaches are really like paradise. Yea for you for not getting any sea sickness, trust me, it's bad.... I had it when I went on fishing in Coronado beach, Calif. a few years back. Totally ruined my fishing trip :-(