Marshall Islands


Erik Futtrup
Erik Futtrups billede
 
2011

Denne rejseberetning har ikke været bragt i medlemsbladet: Globen, og artiklen har derfor ikke været redigeret af Globens redaktionsteam.

This is a part of our 1½ months trip around the world in the winter of 2011 - visiting Baltimore [USA], Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Kosrae [Micronesia], Guam [USA], Saipan [Northern Marianas, USA], Palau, South Korea and Taiwan. 

Saturday 19.2 – Majuro, Marshall Islands

Takeoff at 5:30 from Hawaii. 3 hours after takeoff the day was over…

The reason was of course the crossing of the date line, so suddenly it was Saturday. Landing, we passed the Arno atoll and it was great to see both this and the Majuro atoll from above. Landing on a small strip, an airport with no planes and a small house for an airport witnessed about the statement in the Moon handbook: The Marshall Islands are about as remote a chain of islands as exists on the planet. Also it is the least visited country in the world in my travel club (3 persons before me, as for Equatorial Guinea and 24 hours in the Vatican city). RRE (Robert Reimers Enterprises) had a mini bus waiting and we were quickly on the way into D-U-D, the three islands making up Majuro. Again the Moon handbook said is was like a slum, but that has changed a lot since being published in 2003. It was not like Hawaii, and it was dusty all right – but not garbage everywhere as stated. Felt much welcome at the hotel and the cottage at the RRE was wonderful. But, admittedly, there is not really anything to do here. We bought some supplies for the trip tomorrow to Eneko, postcards and stamps.

 

 

Sunday 20.2 Eneko, Majuro Atol, Marshall Islands, Pacific Ocean

The Robert Reimers Tide Table Restaurant is great. Everybody on these islands speaks English, but still, it is obvious that it is not their first language. We ordered oatmeal for Johanne, but got cornflakes, which she tried to make us accept. Something similar happened to a woman at the next table. Most visitors here are on business, it seemed we were the only tourists here. It was mostly cloudy today, but we were still looking much forward to the trip to Eneko – one of the islands across the lagoon. I had searched for a way to get to the Arno atoll east of here, but it was not so easy. The trip took 15 minutes and it was like a small paradise. A kitchen we could use and we had one of only three rooms. The water was crystal clear and we went straight in. The corals were thriving and many, many types of soft and hard corals. Lots of fish and I saw my first clown fish. It was low tide when we arrived. There were a few people here. Two women and a man who worked as teachers at the Majuro high school. They had started as teachers several years ago on a volunteer basis and later being employed. They used Eneko as a weekend getaway. There was also a boat with a family that had been sailing for 10 years. Their twins looked like they were around 4 years. They all went away in the late afternoon. A local family were caretakers here. The lagoon side was very quiet where as the sea-side was with big waves.

Many times I thought about us being here. Many wishes to be at this paradise place with good weather, sea, snorkeling and quietness – as we do. But for the local, it is obvious that it is difficult to go anywhere, and they are stuck here. If you zoom out, like on Google Earth, there is nothing in the vicinity. Water world. But we felt privileged to be here. So much better than a bit boring yesterday. The day passed quickly, swimming a lot. The supermarkets in Majuro had 2-3 red wines per store, but it was actually good Australian reds, so I had brought a good limestone Shiraz which made it perfect for our macaroni cheese and sausages dinner. We fall asleep with the sound of the waves and the cicadas.

The following day.

I don’t know the date or weekday any more. A good sign. I slightly remember where we are – on a isolated pacific atoll, all alone. We spend the morning with snorkeling and more snorkeling and playing in the water. There is not so much more to tell – but it is heavenly. When the boatman arrives around 11, we kindly ask him to wait until 12 as agreed – we don’t want to leave.

Gekko on Eneko

 

Tuesday 22.2 – Majuro – Kosrae, Micronesia

We are in the restaurant when it opens at 6:30 and quickly get coffee. The pancakes are not coming though, and we have to leave at 7 with the bus, so when it finally arrives we have to quickly take them with us. We have paid 10$ for the bus (2 persons), and we find out it includes the return trip. Also the trip to Eneko had only cost 40$. The cottage at RRE was 133$. In the airport, all luggage is hand searched and the tax is 20$ for adults and 15$ for the children. There are a young Japanese couple that seems to be tourists; we saw them in the restaurant yesterday. A couple in ‘uniform’ come and talk to us – we had noted them when arriving from Hawaii, and they are now also in the onward flight – getting off in Phonpei. They are from the Salvation army and are sent from the bishop in Hawaii. They help with different projects here (like housing projects and clean water in Marshall Islands).

45 minutes flight to Kwajalain atoll – also in the Marshall Islands. It is an American military base, and most people got off here. No other passengers were allowed off the plane. After 45 minutes the Island hopper continued and an hour later we were in the easternmost island in Micronesia – Kosrae.

 

Read more here: http://www.futtrup.name/RTW/Marshall.html

 

Faktabox

 

Tips and trip planning

 

Relevant thread about atol visits in the Marshalls from Lonely Planet Thorntree: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2011834&messageID=18234364

Traveling in the Pacific kind of narrows down to Continental Airlines and a couple of other odd options. The best list the this one:
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=726510&start=32

I have been asked a couple of times if the Air Marshall still was in operation to Kirimati, but I'm not sure - I did not see any planes or info at the small airport.

We traveled on a 'round the world' ticket from Star Alliance - using the dream tool found on http://www.staralliance.com - select the 'book and fly' tab, press 'Start now', click the world map. A up to 16 legs costs about 4000$ for an adult and 3200$ for a child, but if you are visiting several islands, it can also quickly add up if buying single tickets.

 
 
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