Published: February 27th 2011February 26th 2011
Saturday 26.2 – Kosrae
Japanese tunnels from WWII and island views and jungle hike. Today I was picked up by Hamilton, the owner of Ohma peak. His windshield was broken – he was cursing the government for not making landowner trim their coconut trees – one had fallen lately direct on his car. We went to Malem, a village on the east coast and started out from his house. The trek was regular jungle rain forest with green in green. It didn’t rain but I was sweating buckets. Hamilton first with his machete cutting new growth on the path. After one hour we reached a clearing where I saw the first Japanese tunnel. There were a couple of artifacts like a broken sake bottle with ‘nippon’ written on it. Not much animal life – surprised that there were not more birds. The walk was not difficult and we reached the top (my altimeter read 440m) after 2½ hours. Great views over all of the south, west and east of the island. The top had been cleared by the Japanese and there still did not grow trees – good for the view. Just below the peak was a maze of Japanese tunnels.
Erik on Mt. Ohma
Only 440 meters, but still it takes 3 hours to get to the top. Views of the south of the island
We went in and walked maybe through 7 corridors, each 10 meters, twisting and turning. There was nothing there, I couldn’t even find a room, so wonder if they slept in there, or if it just was for hiding. I think we passed 10 entrances to tunnels going up here – very interesting, and Birgitte was envious – we’ll probably see more on Saipan or Pelileu. Hamilton dreamed of making a lift up to the top here or place a windmill. Going down I thought about how fertile the land was here and not cultivated at all. They import old cars – it seems to be the final resting place for the entire Japanese car fleet – why not make plantations of e.g. expensive cocoa and coffee and ship it back? I know it is in the middle of nowhere, but the problem is probably getting the work done and some westerners to start it up.
Down we had papaya, Kosrean oranges (green and more sour than regular), tangerines and coconut. As most families he also had his parents buried in his backyard. White cements graves. Back at Treelodge we picked up Birgitte and the children and went with Hamilton
- with NIPPON stamped. From WWII
to a place where they had eels in a creek. Big ones that were fed and splashed about.
The trek costed 40$ + 10$ transport.
While I was trekking, Birgitte and the children went to the Blue Hole to swim. Here they met the Island’s dentist who was American and married to an Kosrean – their children played well with Anders and Johanne. Some of the challenges that the island faces was nutrition – e.g. when he checked the teeth of the children in elementary school, there had been 5 children out of 300 who did not have holes in their teeth. There was also a great deal with Diabetes 2 – their diet is not varied, and it is easy to see that most are overweight. Not extremely, but there are very few ‘normal’ sized.
Read the full story and see more pictures on my homepage version: http://www.futtrup.name/RTW/Kosrae.html
There are more photos below