|Kosrae, February 2004|
Most people fly from Truk Lagoon to Hawaii via Guam; we experienced the island-hopping route—Pohnpei, Kosrae, Kwajalein, and Majuro, with a four-day stopover on Kosrae. Major airline service only began in the late 1980’s and the islanders voted to limit construction for tourism purposes, so Kosrae is untouched by large hotels.
We stayed at the Kosrae Village Ecolodge, built and operated by Bruce and Katrina for the past ten years. There are ten individual open-air thatched huts sitting along a winding path through the jungle, close to the ocean. Our room had twin and double beds, both enclosed in spacious mosquito netting, so we did not feel claustrophic. There was always a breeze blowing outside; unfortunately it did not make it through the mosquito netting, although there was a ceiling fan and large floor fan. In fact, our only complaint was that it was sometimes too warm and muggy to sleep at night. Mosquitoes were not a major problem. There was a table and two chairs, as well as a small refrigerator sitting atop some shelving. The bathroom/dressing area had more shelving and a large area for hanging clothes with another shelf above. The open-air shower was spacious, surrounded by bamboo walls, with hot water and fluffy towels. Tap water should not be used even for brushing teeth; fresh water was in the refrigerator, along with some local fresh fruit, replenished daily. The porch has a table, two chairs, beach view, and entertaining hermit crabs in the front yard. The restaurant is a large thatched building; most meals were not included, but were reasonably priced and quite tasty. Lunches on dive days were included.
We dove for three days with Sleeping Lady Divers, the name deriving from the “sleeping lady” land formations. After a leisurely breakfast each day, we were transported about ten minutes to one of the three marinas on the island where we boarded small pontoon boats with no more than 4-6 divers each. Boat rides were 20-40 minutes. Moorings surround the entire island, so diving is possible somewhere in just about any kind of weather. Lunch during the one-1 ½ hour surface interval was quite a spread—fix-your-own tuna, meat, and cheese sandwiches, local tangerines, and desserts, including what has to be some of the world’s best brownies.
The diving we did was wall/slope diving with fantastic visibility. We saw occasional barracudas, turtles, eagle rays, sharks, grouper, etc, but mostly the diving was a huge variety of small to mid-size fish, along with some eels, nudibranchs, and other invertebrates. Kosrae has to be the Christmas tree worm capital of the world, and home to hundreds of clown fish. Even I got my fill taking clown fish portraits! Some of the coral formations were different than any we had seen before, looking like castles. We did all drift diving, very easy and relaxing, starting around 80 feet and moving shallower up the slope. Safety stops could be done while still looking at fish.
Bottom line—would we go back? Yes, good diving, beautiful sunrises, tasty food, killer brownies, and a great way to break up the trip going home.