Scattered in the western part of the Pacific Ocean in the equatorial belt, 607 tiny islands form the Federal States of Micronesia. This nation is divided in to four recognized states namely Yap, Chuuk, Ponpei and Kosrae. In early history, the tropical islands emerged as a result of continuous volcanic activity. Their geographical features range from steep mountains to coral atolls to deep volcanic protrusions. In time, the four states have developed their own distinct culture and tradition. Yap, the furthest in the west, is generally known for its “stone money.” Chuk, reflected by its name, is a mountainous island. Pohnpei, the most densely populated, is also one the wettest places in the world. Lastly, Kosrae, founded in the eastern part of Micronesia, is sometimes called “the island of the sleeping lady” because of the shape of the island resembles a woman’s figure. Let’s take a closer look and discover Micronesia’s natural beauty.
Off the south-western shore of Pohnpei, about seven miles away, the Ant Atoll is one of the most glorious coral islands to witness with its sandy, white beaches, palm trees and peaceful ambience. Tourists who take a 2-hour ride to take a look find Ant Atoll to be an ideal place, like many others in Micronesia, for snorkelling and swimming. There no permanent residents in this atoll as it was abandoned once by a population of 500, perhaps to move in to mainland developed Pohnpei. Because of the lack of human settlements, the biological diversity of the island is also greatly affected. This is also because of humans as well since illegal fishing and hunting is not monitored in the uninhabited atoll.
Located on Wena, the capital of Chuuk, the 230m mountain is the highest elevation in Weno and is celebrated in one of the local’s famous legends about a god named Sowukachaw who visited the island of Chuuk and embedded a basalt rock on the summit of the mountain from he started ruling the island. Climbing this mountain will give a clear panoramic view on the island of Chuuk and a beautiful sunrise during early morning.
Wiya Bird Cave
Among Micronesia’s many caverns, the Wiya Bird Cave of Kosrae, is the one of the most popular. It houses thousands of birds particularly the swiftlet bird that is only found in this cave. The whole cavern runs through and opens at the other side of the island. And just like most of the islands of Micronesia, it holds a legend of its own as the residents believed that giants used to reside in the cave and were the ones who taught the first Kosraean locals counting from 1 to 10.
Utra-Walung Marine Park
Another natural wonder in Kosrae, the Utra-Walung Marine Park is one of the conserved areas in Micronesia. It can be found south-west of Kosrae near the village of Tafunsak. And due to the fact that its western edge is exposed to the sea, it contains regions of wide-spread mangroves and it teems with healthy, undisturbed coral reefs. On the mainland itself, the hardwood forests, besides sheltering a variety of flora and fauna, also contains rare types of trees such as nypa fruticans, asplenium and sonartia alba. From the three ecosystems this park hold, one can conclude how valuable Utra-Walung is in a biological perspective.
The state of Pohnpei has been richly blessed with a number of exquisite waterfalls, one of which is the Waterfall of Lidudhniap or popularly called “Twin Falls”. It is located near the village of Kolonia. Its water is fed by the Nanpil River which passes through a natural pool and eventually falls through the waterfalls. Locals have made the site a traditional place to swim on its pools and to drink sakau together.