Geography and landscapes Micronesia
Les ÉPonape) and Kosrae.
We count in everything 607 Islands (an average size of just over 1 km²!), spread over 2 km from west to east and 900 km² of maritime space!
Almost all of these islands are made up ofatolls, plus a few rare high islands - where the capitals have settled. This is particularly the case of Pohnpei, which is by far the largest island in the country (372 km²), since it alone represents more than 50% of the land area.
The further west you go (Yap and better still Palau), the more biodiversity is important: the region, at the confluence of three major currents from the Pacific, but also from the Philippine Sea and the Indian Ocean, even has the largest variety of coral and fish species in the world.
The most traditional (and westernmost) of the 4 Federated States of Micronesia, Yap is a place in many ways fascinating. First there are his spokes, the stone coins, the largest currencies in the world, weighing up to more than 4 tonnes, which line up along the paths and at the foot of the houses of yesteryear ...
These pebai (common houses) and faluw (men's houses to rebuild everything, but at least twenty remain - some of which are accessible to visitors, such as in Kadai village.
In Colonia itself, the small "capital", France sponsored the reconstruction of the Yap Living History Museum, with its pebai, faluw and stone coins offering a perfect traditional setting. Not to be missed either: the “bank” of Balabaat, at the gates of the town. And, for the thrill, a foray into Rumung, “the forbidden island” (which is no longer), in the far north, where the largest rai in the country is located (3,60 m in diameter). We now have the right to approach it, but not yet the right to take a picture!
As for the beaches, Bechiyal, in the far north of Maap Island, is home to a very pretty one. There are other beautiful ones, notably in Wanyan and on the West Coast.
Another highlight of the trip to Yap: the meeting of manta rays in the Miil channel, in the north of the island (see sports and recreation: diving). You can reach the area by boat via the Tagreng canal, which you can also explore by kayak, through the mangroves. Of a completely different kind, we can also organize sea trips in a traditional canoe - the opportunity to see the Micronesian sailors at the helm up close.
And even if it means visiting Yap, it would be a shame not to plan to do so at the time of Yap Day (March 1) or in the month preceding. This is the opportunity to attend superb dances (see “Traditions”), or their rehearsals. Note, however, that planes and accommodation fill up quickly during this period, so you have to do it in advance.
The islands around Yap
A step further still in the prohibited shirts and pants), the superb Eauripik, Satawal l & rsquoci depending on the irregular maritime connections, it is possible, on the other hand, to reach Ulithi atoll by plane and to stay there (in a small diving hotel). The flight offers incredible views of the reefs and the stay there takes you back to a bygone era. In Mogmog, one of the 4 inhabited islets, all Western influence is banned.
Chuuk is above all a huge lagoon (2 km²), surrounded by a coral reef 130 km long and dotted with around fifty islands and green islets of volcanic origin - the highest of which still rises to 225 m. Seen from the air, before landing, the panorama is just incredible.
Weno, l & rsquochose to offer, it is better to cross towards the secondary islands, in particular Fefan, Dublon or Tol (beautiful forest).
- West of Chuuk, trèest of Truk, the Mortlocks are known to be the only wood carvers.
His volcanic citadels dripping clouds herald a world in the rough. On this high island, the forest takes its ease in the land and the mangroves largely emphasize the coasts. By the lagoon, we reach by boat the mysterious sacred city of Nan Madol, classified in 2016 as World Heritage. More than seven centuries old, it hangs on dozens of man-made islands in the heart of a labyrinth of canals colonized by mangroves. Over the centuries, the enormous basalt columns of the buildings, transported from the volcanic heart of the island, have shattered, torn apart by the vegetation, undermined by the tide.
Built on the water by a people of navigators, Nan Madol was entirely turned towards the sea. Some islets sheltered the enclosures with eels, sacred animal, others the parks with giant clams or turtles, or even the canoe factories. Abandoned at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the city, which retains a powerful aura for all islanders, today threatens to sink under the blows of global warming.
The lagoon also has toend, and passes where some adventurers surf very beautiful rollers.
In the land, we forage from waterfall to waterfall, we stop to observe the sacred eels (huge), we go hunting petroglyphs of Pohnpaip, we photograph the pepper plantations, before returning to Kolonia to take a look at the old German bell tower and the beautiful sharks and manta rays from woodcarvers from the Polynesian atolls of Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi.
Those who are not yet ruined west of Pohnpei, made a biosphere reserve by Unesco in 2008. On the surface: colonies of black noddies, terns, boobies, frigates. Underwater: lots of gray sharks, reef fish, groupers ...
To the east of the Caroline Islands, the least visited and least populated (6 inhabitants) of the 000 federated states is not, like the others, at the head of a string of atolls scattered in the Pacific. This is abouta single high island of volcanic origin (culminating at 634 m), reminding Pohnpei by its physiognomy and its exuberant vegetation - in addition to more rugged and more luxuriant still. Like her, she surrounds herself with a lagoon superb and a reef, and is surrounded by vast mangroves particularly beautiful, to explore by canoe. Theecotourism is also booming in Kosrae.
Another highlight: the visit of ruins of Lelu, a mysterious city built around the year 1250, reminiscent of Nan Madol but less impressive. In short, a nice stopover to forget yourself for a moment.
More than a place where we collect the sites to visit, Micronesia is one of those destinations to live where the essential is the atmosphere and the discovery of a (very) different culture.