POHNPEI: Nan Madol is a prehistoric “city” of more than ninety man-made islets off the coast of Temwen Island, constructed of naturally-occurring prismatic basalt columns, basalt boulders, and coral fill. Many of the islets have large, complicated structures on them composed of the same types of rock — stones as heavy as 90 tons. Together, the islets formed a powerful administrative and religious complex from which the island of Pohnpei was ruled for several hundred years by a line of tyrannical monarchs called Saudeleurs. The lower city, Madol Pah, was the administrative center, while the upper city, Madol Powe, was the ceremonial heart of the complex.

Megalithic sites like Nan Madol are rare around the world and even rarer in the Pacific. Anyone who has seen the city would place it alongside other more famous megalithic feats such as the pyramids of Egypt and Central America, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and Rapa Nui’s moai. And yet, Nan Madol is little-known outside the archaeological community and visited by a surprisingly small number of people each year.

KOSRAE:  is a small tropical volcanic rememnant of 42 sq miles surrounded by an attached reef that winds its way around the island.  There are several barrier islands covered with Mangrove, that act as a nursery for immature fish, so important for renewing the reef  fish populations.  The weather averages 80 degrees year around with relatively high humidity of 80% while we were there in Sept. it’s lovely warm, humid and very lush. The islands are defined by the the former occupiers timeline, first the Spanish, then the Germans , the Japanese occupied the island before and during the 2nd world war, followed by their liberation by the USA.  They are now the independent Federated States of Micronesia and enjoy protected status and free association with the USA. Residents can travel freely so many join the US military and as a result the island population is in decline due to lack of jobs and economic opportunity the allure of America is too tempting.  

The population runs at around 6,000 as of the most recent census but many abandoned buildings attest to the out migration, standing roofless in a vine covered slow decay.  The visitor industry is in decline also, tho the diving is spectacular, the ruins are stunning and the people are very friendly.  

The island is lovely however, verdant green with towering ridge of peaks the highest being just over 2,000 ft. The people seem genuinely friendly, are very warm and welcoming.  Visitors are few and of the 4 hotels listed in the guide books, only 2 are actually operational.  Our selection, the Pacific Tree Lodge lies on a barrier island surrounded by mangrove forest, it is a unique setting and one we personally inspected. The nearby restaurant Bully’s is accessed by a walking bridge, thru the mangrove.  It is a lovely setting over looking the mangrove and the river that moves with the tide. Birds abound.  The food is great and the service is warm and friendly. 

Little is know about the early islanders, except they built remarkable structures unparalleled thruout the Pacific for their  size and complexity. While on Kosrae we will visit both the ancient Mhttp://www.pacificislandsresearchinstitute.org/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=990&type=image&TB_iframe=1enka ruins, a large site spread thru out a valley deep in the jungle well away from the shoreline. Menka is made primarily from large boulders, estimated to be over 2,000 years old.  We will also visit the extraordinary Leluh ruins made from columnar basalt stacked in a very precise way.  Leluh was completely built by adding extensive landfill onto a shallow reef.  It is from a much later time, approx 1100-1400 AD.  Both are amazing examples of these very unique complex structures found thru out the islands of the Pacific, attesting to the ability of these islanders to amass great man power.

April 27 or 28, 2017  Plan to arrive TO KAUAI no later earlier is fine, accommodations provided.
Planning a very special gathering at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, plus a sunset beach bonfire.  
Sunday April 30

Depart Kauai for Honolulu and a visit to the Bishop Museum,
I will attempt to arrange special access for all of us.
over night in HNL
May 1 depart for Kosrae
May 2-6 Arrive Kosrae explore island and Menka and Leluh ruins
May 6-12 Arrive Pohnpei allow 3 days at Nan Madol.  Accessing Nan Madol per the tides work only May 7-8-9 2017 they are the only days when tide is high enough to access Nan Madol by boat.  Also visit quarry
Travel to offshore atoll for a day of snorkeling and relaxing
Explore waterfalls
May 12 Depart Pohnpei