Pohnpei is the highest island in the Federated States of Micronesia. Its peaks get plenty of rainfall annually creating more than 40 rivers that feed the lush upper rain waterfalls range from pleasant to spectacular, providing refresh¬ing and often breathtaking views for those hiking through the forest.
Pohnpei's jagged coastline, hemmed largely by rich mangrove forests, is intersected by numerous channels that carry nutrients into the vast lagoon. These nu¬trients attract marine life and create one of the most varied marine environments in Micronesia. An additional claim to fame for Pohnpei is its relaxing drink sakau, a kava¬like brew.
As it is the capital of Micronesia, there are many hotels to choose from, but only a couple cater to divers and have their own programmes. South Park Hotel is a well-run operation that works with both Let Ehu (We Are Pohnpei) Tours and Phoenix of Micronesia. Let Ehu — owned by veteran diver Emensio Eperium — is great for small groups and those who want to set their own agenda. Phoenix is a large, Japanese-run operation that brings in large groups but will also find room for individuals willing to go where the boat is going. The Village Hotel, located out of town, has a well-run and experienced diving operation as well as a superb setting — bungalows nestled in the jungle overlook the lagoon islands. The food at the Village is the finest in Micro¬nesia. Ask about week-long packages at Let Ehu or the Village.
Pohnpei's hard coral reefs and colour¬ful dropoffs are enchanting. The macro life is great, particularly in the inner channels. Trips can also be made to the two neigh¬bouring atolls of Ant and Pakin, which ex¬ude an aura of paradise unspoiled.
Ant's large pass opens to some of the most idyllic sand beaches in the Pacific. A snorkeller's paradise, the clear waters along the pass dropoff reveal coral beds and golden sea fans. Soft corals, fed by the massive influx and outflow of sea wa¬ter, also adorn the walls.
At the centre of Ant, a reef area famous for its barracuda and manta rays can be found. The upper reef is a kaleidoscope of colour with small basslets in thick gold and crimson clouds venturing up into the wa¬ter column to feed.