A quiet South Pacific retreat, Pohnpei has scores of rivers, waterfalls and hectares of forests to explore. And to top it off, the ruins of the ancient manmade city of Nan Madol waits for another Indiana Jones!
If Stephanie Meyer needed a choice to relocate the Twilight series to the South Pacific, she would have definitely chosen Pohnpei as the island for the Cullens! With over 7,600 mm of rainfall annually, this island needs an anorak for sure. But this also gifts Pohnpei with lush forests, spectacular waterfalls and over 40 rivers in 334 square kilometres. The island hosts the capital of FSM, Palikir; incredible dive sites, the famous forests of the giant Ka trees, centuries of history and some of the friendliest islanders travellers will get to meet.
Pohnpei can trace its history back to 1,100 AD! It was a highly-structured society, with clans, hierarchy, a ruling family and extensive infrastructure. The Spanish explorer Álvaro de Saavedra was the first European to lay eyes on the island of Pohnpei on 14 September 1529. Over the centuries, it saw Christian missionaries, marauders, along with rule under the Spanish, the Germans and then the Japanese during the World War I. There are numerous markers, relics, sites and architecture which show the touch of these civilisations in and around Pohnpei and Micronesia. For example, the prefecture of Kolonia got its name from when the island’s Spanish masters named it after ‘colonia’ or colony!
Birdwatchers, ahoy! The island is home to dozens of avian species, including four endemic ones – the Pohnpei flycatcher, lorikeet, fantail and the long-billed white-eye. Then, for divers, Pohnpei is surrounded by brilliant and healthy soft coral gardens. This, and the plentiful aquatic life, makes for superb diving. Prepare to meet sharks, manta rays, dolphins and scores of pelagic and coral fishes during your underwater sojourns. History buff will not be disappointed either – the Nan Madol ruins are worth several excursions alone, besides other places like Sokeh and Kolonia.