My stories and pictures from a lifetime of exploring the romote islands of the pacific.
Yap is a large, beautiful, laid back island with few people. This is the entrance for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). I use to consider Yap as a home base when visiting the outer islands. When going from one outer island to the next I often had to return to Yap first. While in Yap I would replenish my supplies and gifts, eat a hamburger and soft drink, and visit the small hospital to treat any infected cuts and once to remove a fish bone from my throat.
Yap is worth a visit all by itself. It is rich in culture and history. You can walk on the thousand-year-old stone pathways leading to villages and stone money banks. The banks are simply many large stone money "coins" lined along the pathway. These "coins" can be quite large and all have a hole in the center. To transport the money, a long pole is placed through the hole and several people on each side of the coin lift. The money is not often moved and theft was never a problem since everyone knew who owned each coin. Even when the owner of the coin changed, the location of the coin did not. The value of the coin had nothing to do with its size but the story behind each coin. The harder it was to quarry, and to transport the coin, especially if someone died in the process, the more it was worth.
1,000 year-old stone pathway.
Yap is pleasantly slow-paced and the people are never in a hurry. There was one stop sign on the island. My driver/guide would stop and look very carefully in both directions. There was never another car that we had to wait for. Once he was sure the coast was clear he would spend the next five minutes at the stop sign preparing his next betel nut. Even the car behind us didn't mind the extra five minute wait at the only stop sign on the island. I guess he too was preparing his next betel nut.
March 1, Yap Day, the only event during the year. I have been to a few of those but, unfortunately, it was held on the other side of the island than the only town and transportation was always a problem. It was an all day event and well worth the trip to the other side of the island if you can find a ride. A couple times I had to listen to Yap Day on the radio with all the locals who also couldn't find a ride. It's not the same as being there especially since I didn't speak the language.
Read more of "My Adventures" on the top right of this page.