Friday, February 21, 2014

New Island, New Country

With our arrival at Pohnpei (Pon-Pay), we have left the Marshall Islands and entered the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The Federated States are another country formed in the mid 80's when The Trust Territories of the Pacific were "liberated" from the United States, who had acquired them from Japan as part of the WW2 settlement.

Nice View of the Anchorage from the Harbor View Restaurant

Similar to the Marshall Islands, the FSM have their own constitution and government, but have a clause somewhere that says they are in "Free Association with the United States". This means we protect them militarily and give them heaps of aid money and guidance. While the citizens of the FSM are not considered U.S. Citizens, they are granted unlimited visas to visit and work in the U.S., provided they haven't done anything to cause their visa to be denied.

Since most of our yearly aid money goes into health and education budgets in these tiny islands, there is a sizable chunk of the population who speak pretty good English. This makes it easy for us to travel and interact with people at all levels of the economic scale.

So we have had a pretty pleasant time hanging out in Pohnpei. There is a Seven Seas Cruising Association Cruising Host here, John Ranahan. John is an ex-pat American teacher. He and his wife have traveled all over the world teaching English in foreign countries over the last 40 years. They now call Pohnpei home, and help to welcome visiting yachts to Pohnpei. There is also a native Pohnpeian couple, Kumer and Antonia Panuelo, who are building a marina and boating complex on the water in the yachting end of the harbor. So now we have nice dinghy docks, a place to drop of trash, a cruiser bar, and showers. Currently under construction out on the Quay are a dive shop, restaurant, and small 4-unit apartment complex.

Within walking distance is a decent grocery store, a fresh veggie and fish market, and the public library with internet at $10/month. A $1pp taxi ride away, is the downtown section of Pohnpei with more grocery stores, a U.S. Post Office, and a very well-stocked Ace Hardware and Ace Office Supply. In 2 minutes, no waiting, no paperwork, we got a $10 pay-as-you-go sim card from the Telecom, and recharge card that work both for the cell phone and the wifi internet we can receive on the boat and most places in town.

The anchorage itself is the most protected anchorage we have seen since we left Fiji, deep inside an ancient volcanic caldera. I can see now why our friends on Carina spent last typhoon season sitting here in Pohnpei. It is the first flat-dead-calm no-roll-at-any-tide anchorage we've been in in a year. In a word, nice.
At 02/20/2014 7:20 PM (utc) our position was 06°46.53'N 158°01.03'E

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