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Photographer's Note

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

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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