Colonia, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia

We woke up this morning to yet another beautiful Pacific Island.  To us older folks, Yap is a familiar name from stories about World War II.  It was a significant battle site then, and the island has remains of both Japanese and American planes.  There were no official tours offered, so we didn’t see any of that.  In the morning we decided to find the Living History museum, but turned the wrong way.  But as often happens when we go astray serendipity stepped in and we ended up finding some shells and having a nice conversation with a member of our crew.   He is from Bali and we talked about the value of conserving nature as we watched a couple of mudskippers and a crab in some nearby mangroves.  It was a nice encounter with a kindred spirit.  After that we went back to the ship for lunch. 

While at lunch we encountered Janet and Tim (Susan’s sister and her husband), who informed us that they had found locally brewed beer and that it was very good.  We did walk by the Living History museum up to one of the resort hotels (we didn’t remember the directions well, and so missed their beautiful garden), and then back to the Manta Ray Bay Hotel.  The brewery is very small but they make two brews and offer as a third choice a blend of the two.  They called their beers Manta Gold (light) and Hammer Head Amber ("dark").  The blend was called Texas 2 Step.  Cute.  The best part of this story is that the beer we tried (the dark of course) was quite good.   We bought t-shirts and a beer mug from the brewery, so we have some memorabilia from the Stone Money Brewing Company.  The hotel has an old Chinese junk tied up to it, which is now a bar and restaurant.  We went up to the bar area to check it out and ended up in a nice conversation with Maria, the bartender.  We ended up talking about travel and how we have learned that people are all the same, no matter where they are from.  That got Maria all choked up and she decided she needed a hug, so we had a great group hug.  Because we wanted the beer and were enjoying this conversation we never got to go watch the native dancers at the museum.  But we wouldn’t trade that encounter for anything.

The other thing Yap is famous for is its stone money.  One of our friends who is from Germany, took a tour by cab; the cab driver was the chief on the island, and he had once made an outrigger canoe which he donated to a museum in Germany.  He made a trip to Germany in connection with the donation, and enjoyed it.  So when our friend really wanted a piece of stone money, he gave her one - it weighs about 20 kilos…  We’re not sure how she did it, but we’re sure she found a way to get such a special souvenir home where she can enjoy it.

Even though we never got near a beach, the shelling turned out to be great here.  We found a huge shell at the water’s edge down a concrete embankment, one that we’ve seen for sale on many islands.  We also found them in a pile of coral and sand, and closer to the ship, a huge sand pile.  We ended up with quite a bonanza.

Getting our ship to the dock was apparently a major sailing feat.  When we stood on deck 8 aft and looked down, we could see that there was a coral bed very close to us, and that the passage into the dock was very narrow.  When we were ready to leave the Captain announced that we were the largest ship ever to dock there, and that he hoped that we would also be the largest ship to successfully leave the dock…  Not to worry, we got out just fine.  Our respect for the bridge crew is even higher now than it has been.   It would be wonderful to pay a return visit to Yap, so we can snorkel and/or Scuba dive.  Most of the tourists who come to Yap do so for the diving.  We have enjoyed all our ports, but this was definitely one of the most special days we’ve spent on this journey.  More photos in the Yap photo album.

© Susan L. Stone 2015