When we left Saipan for Pagan we thought we’d stay about ten days. Three and half weeks after our arrival we finally said our goodbyes to the people and island that kept us there so long. Without the scientists sharing their food and water, the locals sharing fresh meat and fish, and the archaeologists telling us where to go to find another archaeological feature we wouldn’t have been able to stay as long as we did. I was so grateful for this extra time. Pagan was a unique experience in so many ways. I learned a lot and really enjoyed our time there.
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In addition to all the adventures listed in our first update from Pagan we took a few days to tan a cow hide,
hiked up a mountain trail that led us to meet a few herds of cows and a handful of goats,
went diving, explored some coastal caves, swam over and watched blacktip sharks hunting on the reef from the beach,
found some ancient latte stones and a giant medicine rock in which lie 27 mortars for different plants,
made pig tusk jewelry,
interviewed a few of the people who have lived on Pagan for extended periods of time, did laundry the way old fashioned way, took some friends out sailing,
diagnosed what was making the baby goats sick and nursed the male back to health again,
We both loved the lifestyle but it was time to go. The June-July lulls were starting to be replaced with potential tropical storms and typhoons. We left on Thursday 7/4 at noon and 48 hours arrived in Saipan. We had just managed to miss the tropical depression that magnified over Pagan and Agrighan, the island north of Pagan. Had we still been anchored in North Bay we would’ve been braving 45mph winds and big waves. To paint a picture of what that means, the scientists’ canopy tent flew up in the air and bent in half and the locals had prepared a sturdy structure to shelter in if things got worse. Safe in Saipan we checked in on our friends Pagan and watched as the tropical depression became a tropical storm, then typhoon, then an almost super typhoon with 130mph sustained winds and 40′ seas, very thankful to be tied down safe in Saipan.
Typhoon Soulik heads toward a bracing Taiwan where they have cancelled all flights and mobilized military and police to assist with evacuations and emergency situations.
The typhoon has made us a little more anxious to hurry back to Guam and tie up at home. We have three half-day long trips to make before we make it back since we will stop in Tinian and Rota on the way. We will be carefully monitoring the weather. And enjoying the last few weeks of our trip too.