Pohnpei is the largest and tallest island in the Federated States of Micronesia. Its peaks get plenty of rainfall annually and this creates more than 40 rivers that feed the lush upper rain forest. Pohnpei's waterfalls range from pleasant to spectacular, creating a refreshing and breathtaking experience for those venturing to the base of the falls. There are even camping areas at some sites for those who want to hear the tumble of the water as they sleep under the tropical sky. The streams are great for cooling off after a hike in the hills.
Over the last 15 years Pohnpei has rapidly developed as the most westernized state in the nation. This results in large part because the national government is located here. At the same time, traditional leadership continues to play an important role.
A trip to the ancient ruins of Nan Madol is a must on any visit to Pohnpei. Called the Venice of the Pacific, this manmade city with ocean-filled channels once housed a thriving, royal civilization. Huge basalt pillars form the residences of kings and sorcerers. These remnants of an ancient Pohnpeian civilization are still being studied and explored. They can be visited as part of an overall nature tour or studied in depth all day with one of Pohnpei's knowledgeable history guides.
The diving around the island is superb. Surrounded largely by rich mangrove forests, Pohnpei's jagged coastline is intersected by numerous channels that carry nutrients into the vast lagoon. These nutrients attract marine life and make Pohnpei one of the most varied marine environments in Micronesia. The island's hard coral reefs and colourful drop-offs are enchanting. Sea anemones, soft corals and colourful gorgonian sea fans dot the walls. Sharks, sea turtles and manta rays are seen at many sites around Pohnpei.
A short boat trip can be made to two neighbouring atolls, Ant and Pakin, that exude the aura of paradise unspoiled. Here, the true meaning of pristine diving comes to the fore. Whether it be riding a raging current out to sea through an island pass or exploring a deep fan laden chasm, the atolls are a fantastic experience.
Pohnpei Dive Sites
1.Mwand Wall & Pass
This stunning dive features a wealth of corals. Branching Green Tubastrea Coral Trees compete with Red Whip Coral and multi-hued soft coral trees. Crinoids decorate the beautiful gorgonians found below 30 meters. Divers can also see large fish such as Napoleon Wrasses and schooling fusiliers, as well as small creatures. A large variety of nudibranchs, blennies, anthias and butterfly fish inhabit the reef.[top]
2 Areu Wall
This inner lagoon dive features encrusting sponges, tunicates, hard coral and a wealth of tropical reef fish. At depth the wall is studded with black coral trees, large gorgonian fans and soft coral trees.[top]
3 Joy Island
The island offers several good spots along its east and northeast shores that are frequented by Green Sea Turtles, Eagle Rays, reef sharks, Dog-tooth Tuna and barracuda. The area also offers excellent snorkelling with shallow coral gardens.[top]
4 Rainbow Island
Decorated with hard and soft corals and a variety of sponges, this area features both steep drop-offs and sloping walls. There is a good chance that you'll see schooling jacks, turtles, King Mackerels or rainbow runners. Vast schools of parrotfish, unicorn fish and surgeonfish are also occasionally sighted.[top]
5 Kehpara Island
A variety of underwater terrain surrounds Kehpara, including a channel for drift diving and a wall with Golden Sea Fans, anemones and sponges. Sightings of Silvertip Sharks are not uncommon, along with patrolling Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks. Macro photographers will find a wealth of interesting critters such as lobster, shrimp and flatworms.[top]
6 Poahloang Pass
The sloping inner reef is punctuated with cracks and crevices. Look for molluscs, crustaceans and moray eels. The healthy upper reef is home to anemones, sea turtles, Sweetlips, and several species of snapper.[top]
7 Palikir Pass
With an ever-present school of 30 to more than 100 Gray Reef Sharks, this passage dive is considered one of the most active and exciting. Just outside the entrance of the channel is a deep reef at about 37 meters and is the best area to observe the sharks.[top]
8 Palikir Wall
Drift along the outer barrier wall into the channel and along the wall you'll find shell-life such as shiny cowries, Triton's trumpets, giant clams and augers. A giant coral head marks the entrance into the channel. This is a popular area for nesting triggerfish and resting Whitetips. Soft coral trees stud the channel wall and the reef top is home to many small creatures such as blennies, pipefish, anemone fish and gobies.[top]