This is a place that I am sure Bulent Atalay (batalay) would enjoy visiting as it is one of the archeological wonders of the Pacific. It’s somewhat surprising that this is the first photograph of Nan Madol that has been posted to TrekEarth. That’s probably a reflection of the fact that this is a place that is well off the beaten track, and therefore receives very few visitors. In fact the man in the canoe told me that I was the only non-local visitor on that day.
Nan Madol is an ancient stone city that was built on tidal flats off Temwen Island on the south-east coast of Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia. It comprises 92 man-made islands which were built over a period of 300 years from about the 12th to 15th centuries and were occupied up until about 1800. The islands were built by hauling massive hexagonal shaped basalt columns, up to 5 metres in length and weighing 4-5 tonnes, from other parts of Pohnpei and using the columns to create retaining walls (see Workshop post for a close-up view) between which coral rubble was dumped to form foundations for stone buildings. Nan Madol can only be reached by boat, although you can wade through the water from Temwen Island at low tide. I’ve also put an alternative view of Nan Madol from the ocean side in the Workshop.
Nan Madol was a place of residence for the nobility in the Saudeleur dynasty and enabled them to live apart from the common people. I suppose you could say this was an ancient version of the private islands being built for the rich and famous off the coast of UAE and in other parts of the world.
This local man with a fiberglass canoe hangs around Nan Madol waiting for visitors who want to be ferried between the islets. He charges US$1 a return trip. I used him to cross to the islet from where I took this photograph in order to keep my camera gear dry (the water was nearly two metres deep, so it would have been difficult to wade between these two islets). As I was the only visitor for the day, I suppose that meant the $1 that I paid him was his total earnings for the day.
If anyone is interested in seeing more photographs from this fascinating place, I have posted another 12 in my Pbase gallery here
Critiques | Translate
mcenteesalas (1618) 2007-12-07 6:32
Hi David, stuning and beautiful shot of this tropical scene, beautiful rocks, they look like and old boat, it looks really dramatic, superb well done, I really enjoyed admiring it, good composition and POV, well done, thanks for sharing it with us, regards, Joao Salas
Polonaise (5802) 2007-12-07 6:45
Amazing is that banyanman man !!!
Just came back from Peru...
Stone culture of Incas ????
Beyond explanation, beyond the logics, beyond our (modern men) understanding...
Another priceless contribution to my lack of knowledge about the world.
Love you brother...
Clairedelune (4923) 2007-12-07 14:55
Now! You have made my day David! I was wondering about you!!! Going in your gallery once in a while to see signs of your presence. And there you are! Thank you!
Well... it is really nice to have guys like you roaming about the world and finding unique places that I am quite sure I won't see myself. It is indeed surprising to see that there is still places that are not 'documented' in TE yet!
In looking more carefully at your photo, I suddenly saw the three other persons that are sitting on the stones. People of the place, I guess.
As usual with your contribution in TE, you have an excellent note.
Keep posting David!
riclopes (35577) 2007-12-08 0:33
Hello stranger, long time now see ;-) You allways try to be unique in TE and here you are again, with a never seen before site of the UNESCO, which is even more surprising. I love such remote places and even more being so interesting and beautiful as this one seems to be. And you were the only visit that day? Wow, that's fantastic, David. Fine capture, with an exotic framing on top and a nice diagonal of the fascinating stone wall. Thanks for introducing us this special place and also for the link to your Pbase gallery.
siolaw (38292) 2007-12-08 1:02
An interesting scene around these impressive ruins. Good natural framing with palm leaves on top. And dynamism and action provided by the oarsman and canoe. Sharp details, natural looking colors.
A well composed and timed picture
kensimage (8565) 2007-12-08 9:02
I've never heard of this place, but it sounds like an amazing feat of construction, and your shot shows it off well. Apparently you patiently waited for the boat to get to a good position, which paid off. You really get to see some amazing out-of-the-way places! Regards, Ken.
stego (24132) 2007-12-08 14:38
Just the fact of seeing such an unique place so rarely seen was enough to praise you, but besides, it is a very nice photo, with the ruins well framed with the tress and the men well placed compo wise giving a touch of life (and colour, with the canoe).
You have the monopoly of not only the island, but of all East Micronesia in TE.
TFS, Regards, José.
vincz (19113) 2007-12-09 4:46
Beautiful one, so well composed on this oblique. I love the depth created by the palm above and the dark "wall". Very nice one.
ahmet54 (3279) 2007-12-09 5:08
very interesting site. Thanks for sharing it.
ChrisJ (117201) 2007-12-10 2:05
Looks like a wonderful place. The canoe is well placed in the frame at right, with plenty of space to 'move' into. Good colour & sharpness. Tfs!
plimrn (21344) 2007-12-12 5:07
"Call a place paradise, kiss it good-bye," but this does seem like paradise. The combination of the ancient ruins and the sleek, modern kayak is wonderful and then when one hears it's not crowded with tourists... You have a Great life!!
Charo (51212) 2007-12-17 14:46
Bellísima toma con muy buena perspectiva. La luz y los colores son magníficos. Gran POV.
Kenny10pin (19301) 2007-12-18 7:02
interesting take here, I like the structure, very unusual indeed
berek (50506) 2007-12-19 6:26
nice and interesting atmosphere. you successfully use branch's for framing. clear picture. thanks for note. have a nice day.
batalay (40239) 2007-12-21 5:31
I am very much flattered, but apologetic that I had not happened upon this gorgeous image before (it's been two weeks since you posted it). Your note in informative, it is highly engaging. I had no idea of the existence of Nan Modol.
The photograph itself is well conceived, and perfectly implemented. You've caught the young man paddling in just the right place, in just the right part of the stroke. Thank you the citing me. When I take my working vacations, lecturing on ships, I have to abide by the academic calendar. This means that I can get away from my university duties during the summers, when the cruise ships are plying the waters of Europe. in a year or two, when I retire from academia, I would love to try to make trips to the Southern Hemisphere (when it is winter time in the North). Then I can see the paradise of Polynesia, Micronesia, Australia and New Zealand.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
ViktorVaughn (1525) 2008-01-04 17:03
Great, another place on my long list of places to visit. I have actually never heard of this place. But your informative note, and workshop photos make me want to visit this place (plus I like tropical places, and off the beaten path!). You placed the canoe in an excellent place, and you can really see the stacking of the massive stones.
flory (4848) 2008-04-22 22:12
love this view!exotic and beautiful place.reminds me (somehow) by our Danube Delta where you can be the only visitor,just you and the paradise..:)thanks for show us this unique place and for pbase gallery!
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-01-23
- Categories: Ruins
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED, UV
- Exposure: f/6.3, 1/125 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2007-12-07 5:50