August 31, 2004

leaving guam

lost pond wasn't quite as clean this time
Greetings from Guam!

It's hard to believe, but my year here in Guam is now drawing to a close. As of today I have been here exactly 1 year and my contract with AWR is over. Tonight I'm flying to Palau where I'll be diving for a few days before flying back to the US mainland (Los Angeles to be exact). In California I will visit some friends and family and then drive to Tennessee with stops along the way in Yosemite & Colorado.

two lovers point and a blue starfish
When I wrote my last update my plans were still mostly up in the air but a lot has happened since then. I'm now planning to move to the Chattanooga, Tennessee area although I haven't yet finalized what I will be doing there.

As usual I've been keeping busy here in Guam over the last several weeks. The weekend after my last update I went hiking to the end of the breakwater in the harbor. Along the way we went snorkeling three times and also spotted a sea turtle.

During the next week the Liberation Day celebrations here on Guam came to a culmination with a fireworks display that I enjoyed watching. Liberation Day commemorates the day when the US Army returned to Guam to expel the Japanese during World War II and is the most widely celebrated holiday on Guam.

climbing down part of lower melolo falls
The following weekend we hiked to Lost Pond and Shark's Pit. This time the area lived up to it's name and we saw some sharks while snorkeling. We also enjoyed the rope swing at the pond. On Sunday we caught a ferry to Cocos Island which is at the southern tip of Guam. About half of the island is built up with a resort complex featuring all kinds of attractions ranging from go carts to parasailing, wakeboarding and snorkeling. It was a very warm day when we visited Cocos but we had fun swimming, playing volleyball, snorkeling and celebrating a friend's birthday.

After keeping busy with work during the week I went hiking again the next Sabbath below Two Lovers Point. The tide was very low so we were able to explore the reef area below the towering cliffs. These cliffs are probably the most famous landmark here on Guam. Legend has it that a young couple fell in love but they were forbidden
lower melolo falls
to see each other again so they braided their hair together (both men and women traditionally had long hair) and jumped off the high cliff together.

During the next week some of the new teachers who are working at Guam Adventist Academy arrived so on the weekend we took them to Melolo Falls. This hike is usually quite short and easy but the route we took was a bit different this time. We first explored the lower part of the falls where there are actually 4 or 5 seperate waterfalls within a short distance. Climbing down to the bottom of a couple of them
posing for the camera
was a bit tricky but we all made it. At one of the waterfalls we enjoyed swimming in a deep pool. It was even possible to swim under the waterfall and into a small cave where there were a few chrystal formations. For the next leg of our hike we decided to follow the river to Upper Melolo Falls. This turned out to be far from easy, but it was fun and again everyone made it and seemed to enjoy the route. At some points we were walking in chest deep muddy water and in other areas we scrambled over fallen trees and other debris. The most unusual thing we saw was a wind surfing board that was floating in the river. It must have been washed downstream during a storm or something but it was odd to see something so out of place in the middle of a jungle stream. Once we reached Upper Melolo Falls several of us climbed to the top and jumped into the pool below before we headed back to the vehicles. On Sunday I attended a farewell party for a coworker and then got to go kiteboarding a little bit.
gun beach fireside vespers
Unfortunately the wind wasn't very strong but at least I got to ride!

The next Friday we did an afternoon hike to Talofofo Caves and then went to Gun Beach for a campfire vespers. We enjoyed hot dogs and other campfire food before singing some songs. On Sabbath we hiked to a place called one thousand steps. I think there are really only about 250 steps but it's a fun hike in the eastern part of the island that ends up on a rugged part of the coast. Since we had quite a few kids along who wanted to swim, we stopped by Marbo
group shot near AWR
Cave to cool off after the hike. On Sunday I spent some time getting ready for a Typhoon that was headed our way. The storm did end up affecting Guam quite a bit but the strongest winds were recorded on a couple of islands to the north. Guam had some gusts up to 79 mph but the sustained winds were considerably slower and everyone who has been through a "real" Typhoon said this storm was pretty tame. The main inconvenience for me was that we were without water pressure for several days.

This last weekend was my last one here on Guam so I had the sad time of saying goodbye to a lot of friends. We did however go on one last Sabbath
awr radio station
afternoon hike to "Andrew Falls" which was fun. On Sunday I played tennis with some friends and then went kiteboarding for a bit.

Well, that pretty much covers what I've been up to for the last few weeks here. Over the last few days I've been tying up all the loose ends at work, packing and saying goodbye to people. Now I'm all ready to fly to Palau in a couple hours to enjoy some diving. I've thoroughly enjoyed my year here in Guam and will miss all the friends I've made here. I'll also miss the hikes, kiteboarding and underwater life but I'm sure I'll be able to get outside in Tennessee some too. I doubt I'll be snorkeling in the middle of January there though...

Until next time,


Posted by andrew on August 31, 2004

Andrew, Sorry to hear you have left Guam. I was engaged to marry a U.S.Navy Chief Petty Officer from Agana,Guam quite a few years back. His name was Jose Q. (Joe) Flores and I am so sorry I did not marry him. I have been trying to locate him and just found out he died in Agat, GU on 2/27/97. I would love to contact any family he may have left there but don't know their names. His Mother Maria P. Flores raised his 3 children in Agana. You made me feel closer to him. Thanks!

Posted by: Susie on October 1, 2004

If you're trying to locate someone in Guam you might check out the Guam Phone Book at where they have online white and yellow pages.

Good luck!

Posted by: Andrew on October 8, 2004

Hey Andrew,
We miss you. The windy season is just around the corner. I am sitting here in my office with Dave and we were wondering if you could change the home page on the kiteboardingguam site to be the Beaches pages. It looks a bit more professional. I guess you would have to add a bar links to the other pages. send me the pass words and I make a stab at it. Later, Michael

Posted by: Michael Lanser on October 9, 2004

Andrew, I am sure the P in Maria P. Flores's name was for her mother's maiden name. I think her whole name was Maria Peredo Quitugua Flores. Her husband's name was Angel Leon Guerrero Flores & he was in the Navy Insular Force Guard & was killed by the Japanese on 12/10/41 when they captured Guam. They were Jose Q. (Joe) Flores's parents & I am hoping someone kin to them will see your web site & contact me or you. Thanks for your help.

Posted by: susie on October 11, 2004