After gorging ourselves on the fruit that Hamilson and his wife provided, Hamilson took us back to the Treelodge. On the way back, we drove through Malem. Hamilson made sure to point out the house where Kino lived, which was also the same house that Cia had lived in prior to her marriage. “Cia is from Malem, and Aliksa (Cia’s husband) is from Lelu,” Hamilson said. “Aliksa came *all the way* from Lelu to find her.”
Lelu Village is only a few miles from Malem. This is a common theme that we heard on Kosrae. “Oh, that’s all the way up in Tafunsak.” “I don’t want to go all the way down to Utwe.” In all these instances, the distances are not great. It just illustrated to us yet another island point of view.
Hamilson stopped at a gas station on the way back to Treelodge.
That would be the gas station – a large storage tank. Gas is purchased by the gallon (like in the States), but unlike the States, it is literally by the gallon. You buy a gallon jug filled with gasoline and pour it in the gas tank. There is no such parlance as “fill it up”; since there are only about 20 miles of road on the island there’s not much need for a lot of gas in the car at any one time.
I can’t help but point out that the tank has no secondary containment and that there is a creek right beside the building.
The next morning, Roy and I were both feeling the effects of the hike up Mt. Oma. We decided to take it easy for the day. Koda dog decided to join us on the taking it easy part.
So, after having breakfast, we hopped on the bikes and rode to Tofol and wandered around many of the same areas we had a few days prior. We spent quite a bit of time at the Visitors Center talking to the staff, and debating whether we should buy one of the wall hangings as a souvenir.
It was cloudy for much of the day, but it did clear up in the afternoon and turned beautiful – very common for Kosrae. Roy and I took advantage of the opportunity and spent a good part of the afternoon snorkeling at the Blue Hole. It was amazing to us every single time we set foot in the water at how warm it was. Truly just like bath water. And so clear. I don’t think I knew what clear was before I went to Kosrae.
After tiring ourselves out snorkeling, We hung out on the beach and ate ice cream.
We had discovered that Bully’s had ice cream, so while Christina and I indulged in ice cream (a root beer float for Christina, ice cream for me), Roy enjoyed his first beer on the island. About the only places that we saw alcohol available for sale were at the hotels. Bully’s had an eclectic mix over the time we were there. What we found interesting, though, was the label on the beer bottle.
Then, it was time for something I’d looked forward to for a few days – the weekly sunset cruise. The Treelodge offers a sunset cruise every Thursday night. Even luckier for us – Roy, Christina and I were the only ones on the cruise that night, so we had the boat (and the host, Mark) all to ourselves.
Mark is one of the owners of the Treelodge, and he was generous with his time and his stories. On the way to our anchoring spot, we saw the progress that had been made on Lelu church renovations.
We then passed this boat. I originally took this picture because it had the name of the boat on it. Little did we know that we would get to know some of the passengers on the boat quite well over the next few days.
We chatted with Mark and enjoyed sashimi snacks while waiting for the sun to set.
Mark gave us a lot of insight on the local culture, and his experiences on living in Kosrae. Among other things, we learned that Kosrae was originally called “Kusui” and is still referred to that on maps. “Kusui” means “very bad smell” in Japanese. The reason for this? Time was, prior to having plumbing, the Kosraeans would answer nature’s call during low tide and count on the ocean to take care of the sanitation.
We were in luck for this cruise, since I think this was about the best sunset we had the whole time we were there.