My first trip to Tinian was in the late 1990's. A new million-dollar hotel/casino was recently built and, even though I was not much of a gambler, it was worth checking out. Tinian could be reached by small plane or boat from the nearby Saipan island. We tried the boat. The two islands are only two miles apart at the closest points but the boat ride still took over an hour.

The hotel was nice but don't plop down on the bed too fast. The beds were as hard as rocks. I looked under the blanket to see if there was a slab of concrete under there. I guessed that the Japanese tourists must like rock beds. The beds could be pushed out of the way because the floor was much softer for sleeping.

The large swimming pool was still under construction and, at that time, was just a hole in the ground. There wasn't much of a chance that it would be finished in time for an evening dip. The only thing left to do at the hotel was gambling. The machines were hungry and really enjoyed the quarters I fed them. My wife found a machine that must have been sick because it kept spitting the quarters back out. She couldn't win them as fast as I could loose them so that was it for gambling.

The only thing left on our to-do list was site seeing. We rented a car at the hotel and set out. I studied the map of Tinain that the hotel gave us so we wouldn't get lost. The map showed the road leading from the hotel, circled the island, and then ended back at the hotel.

The first stop was a beautiful large deserted beach. A quick look around and back to the car. We've seen lots of beautiful large deserted beaches.

The next stop was the Tinian blowholes. Ocean waves travel through underground tubes and shoots the water straight up. Interesting...back to the car.

We then found ourselves driving on one of the American WWII runways. Now Tinian got my attention. This was the largest airport in the world in 1945 with a B-29 taking off every 30 seconds. Now it was as deserted as the beach. The jungle was closing in on the runway. The runways use to be 200 feet wide but now, at places, the trees and bushes were scratching both sides of the rental car as we drove.

We went in circles on the numerous taxiways between the runways but eventually found the atomic bomb pits. I know we found them because there was a sign at each pit, "Atomic Bomb Pit #1" and "Atomic Bomb Pit #2". An interesting note here: years after that and 50 some years after WWII, they discovered that they had the signs reversed. Number 1 should have been number 2 and vise versa, so, they switched the signs.

We stopped and explored many large bombed out buildings and Japanese bunkers. This led us to the Tinian invasion beach. This was an unbelievable American military success. The Japanese sparsely fortified this beach since it was impossible to mount an invasion from such a small beach, so they thought. Never before or since did the American military land so many battalions on such a small landing site and at great speed.

At this point of our adventure we already drove around the north side of the island and were on our way back to the hotel. We stopped at a prewar Japanese shrine and Tinian's Suicide Cliff. Tinian's Suicide Cliff got its name the same way Saipan's Suicide Cliff did. Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped rather than surrendered.

There was one small town in Tinian and it was next to the hotel. We know the town was very old because there is a latte stone site in the center. It is believed that the ancient inhabitants built their huts on top of these stones. Next to the site is an ancient water well.

That concluded our Tinian adventure. We saw everything there was to see and still had time left over at the end of the day. I've made several trips to Tinian since then and the rental car company never noticed all the scratches each time I returned the cars.

The Road
Large Beutiful Deserted BeachBlowhole
American WWII RunwayAnother American WWII Runway
Atomic Bomb PitTinian's Invasion Beach
View of Invasion Beach from inside a Japanese pillboxJapanese writing in the pillbox
Pre-war Japanese ShrineTinian's Suicide Cliff
Latte Stones
Read more of "My Adventures" on the top right of this page.

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