Day 21 (Part 1): Visiting the Nan Madol Ruins
Man and nature work best hand in hand and not against each other.
The catholic mass was usually celebrated at Our Lady of Mercy Church every Saturday at five in the afternoon, except on the first Sunday of the month. It was the first time that Jane, Jordan, and myself attended mass together.
After a quick lunch, we left for our trip to Nan Madol. It took us about forty-five minutes on the road from Nett to the eastern island of Temwen, where the Nan Madol ruins were found.
Getting to know the Nan Madol Ruins
Before I set out to visit the Nan Madol ruins, I asked about them. One of the stories I heard was the presence of giants who inhabited the islands a long time ago. The twelve-meter walls with large log sized pieces of stones arranged criss-crossed and pile after pile in an orderly fashion puzzled the locals and tourists who had seen them. These stones were also seen even on the coral floor under the water. Unfortunately, here were no traces left from these giants. No bones, nor any historical data that they existed, but this would make you think twice about the size of the average Ponapean. The descendents of these mighty giants who built the stone city in the East might be walking among us after all.
Some Online Facts
I found out that the 80-hectare city was built around 500 A.D. and some of the structures were as recent as 1500 A.D. Nan Madol which means “spaces in between,” was the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur Dynasty.
This Venice-like city was the home of nobility and influential families. But despite the number of royalty housed within the stone-walls, the majority of the residents were commoners.
Food and water were brought to the city because Nan Madol did not have its own to maintain the population. When the Saudeleurs were over thrown by the Nahnmwarkis, it did not take long before the city was abandoned because the settlers had to gather their own food and water and it became tedious for them to live within the city.
Even up to now, archeologists are still mystified how the city was built and there was still no clear explanation how the stones came upon the location.
Going Back to the Trip
It was like going to the edge of the forest and meeting with the ocean when we tracked towards the ruins of Nan Madol. The trail that lead us to the beach made us single file to our destination.
Upon crossing a short distance of a river artery, the wall of the city greeted our eager eyes. We were lucky that there was no rain the past few days making our crossing a cinch. We were warned that the water could reach up to the waist level, I came prepared with a plastic bag, in case the water would reach our back packs.
We had a few snapshots within the stone city and even had a chance to go beyond the beach.
It was actually getting late and we had to go to the Keperohi falls, which was just a few minutes away from Nan Madol.
Things to remember at the Nan Madol Ruins
- Bring some cash $7.00 to pay the entrance fee. Actually, it was more of a courtesy to pay the owner of the land where you would cross to enter the ruins. In this case, there were two landowners that we paid to reach the Venice-like city.
- Wear light clothes that easily dry up. Sometimes the river is only a foot deep, but during high tide with rain the night before, the river crossing might reach up to waist level.
- Wear comfortable sneakers or sandals that are waterproof.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Bring bottled water.
- Be ready with extra batteries for your digital cameras.
- Make sure that you have enough space in your memory drive.
- Bring snacks.
- Use plastic bags to place your sensitive equipments in (cell phones, iPods, digicams, videocams)
- Bring extra dry clothes.
Disclaimer: The amount paid to cross the proprietors may change after this post was written.