January 31, 2004

oregon, waterfalls, caves and manta rays

the beach in oregon
Greetings from Guam,

It's been well over a month since I last wrote and it's hard to believe that January is nearly over already. After I last wrote I enjoyed a great Christmas with family in Tennessee. I especially enjoyed the cool weather and had fun playing ping-pong and croquet outside.

After Christmas I traveled to Oregon to spend time with more family there. We had another Christmas celebration and also spent some time enjoying the Oregon coast. It was quite cold and we even had some snow but it was still nice to bundle up and walk on the beach. Shortly after we returned from the coast the Portland area got hit with a snow
ice in oregon
and ice storm which pretty much shut down everything including the airport. My flight back to Guam was cancelled 3 days in a row but I enjoyed the extra time with family and even shoveled some snow and went sledding before finally traveling back to Guam.

The way it worked out I only missed a half day of work due to the snow delay, but arrived on Guam early Monday morning, slept a few hours and then went to work. It took a few days to adjust to the time but it wasn't too difficult this time.

On the first weekend after I got back we went for a hike to Segua Falls, which I visited and wrote about a few months ago. This time we went there via a different trail which
arch at talofofo caves
passes by some rusty army tanks left over from the war. We also had several kids along this time so a few of us took turns carrying them on our shoulders. We enjoyed jumping through the waterfall again before hiking back to our cars.

On the following Sunday (January 18) I went snorkeling at Gun Beach with a friend. The weather was rainy and overcast but we decided to go anyway. We were both quite surprised to spot a couple of 8+ foot manta rays which we enjoyed watching for quite a while. One of them kept swimming laps back and forth in front of us with his mouth wide open. I guess they were feeding on plankton or something and they were swimming right on the surface so we could spot them from a longer distance from above the water. It was very impressive to watch such large, graceful creatures up close. One of them got within a foot or two of us at one point but I had left my camera in the car on account of the bad weather so didn't get any pictures.

view and flower at talofofo caves
Last Friday another volunteer and I decided to visit Talofofo Caves in the afternoon. The hike to the caves was pretty short but goes through some lush jungle growth. The main trail ends on top of a cliff with a natural arch and a view of the coastline but we also explored several side trails and caves. One of the caves that we went in to started out as just a crawl space with a strong wind rushing out of it, but then opened up into a bigger room. From the room we climbed up an incline and eventually came out of the cave at an overlook in the side of the cliff. From the overlook we had another good view of the coastline below. We had heard that there was a place like this in the area,
now those are big leaves!
but didn't know where it was so it was fun to explore and sort of "discover" it for ourselves.

On Sabbath after church we went on another hike to the Melolo Falls area which I wrote about previously. We jumped off of the waterfall a couple of times (into the deep pool below) and then followed the river upstream for a while. We had heard there might be another waterfall up that way but didn't end up finding one this time. It was still a fun hike as we didn't have much of a trail to follow and just had fun exploring. At one point we heard some jungle pigs making noise but didn't get close enough to see them. Saturday night I played settlers with some friends.

Sunday I was invited to go out SCUBA diving on a friend's boat which was fun. We each got two tanks of air and did two dives. We saw lots of fish and coral but the most unusual creature I saw this time was an eel who was just sticking his head out of his hole. On the second dive we had fun weaving our way in
sunset at talofofo bay
between some of the tall coral heads which were around 30-40 feet from top to bottom.

Since I got back to Guam I've enjoyed having my kites here now and have been able to fly them quite a bit, including on this last Friday afternoon. Today (Sabbath) it has been raining pretty much all day. Several of the usual hikers were also busy so I didn't end up hiking after church. Tonight we're having a game night though so I'm planning to go back to the church for that.

Well, that's it for now so I'll add some pictures and get this posted.

Until next time,


Posted by andrew on January 31, 2004