Likiep Airport is a little different from Majuro, in that instead of having a paved runway, it's just a narrow weed patch between rows of Coconut trees. The approach is quite alarming, because one false move and you take out a palm tree and a propeller in one foul swoop. Yep, that's the runway:
Even more disconcerting is that just off the runway there are still remains of a plane that actually did take out a palm tree. I'm not sure how long it's been there, but it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon:
I have newfound respect for the pilots that fly in and out of 5 or 6 airports like this every day. Amazing! This is the main terminal at the Likiep airport:
Joe is the grandson of Jose DeBrum, a Portuguese whaler who arrived int he Marshalls in the 1850's. Along with his business partner, Adolf Capelle, they established a successful Copra (coconut oil production) business in the Marshall Islands, and went on to establish other successful business ventures. The two men bought the island of Likiep in 1878 from the Marshallese High Chief for $600, a mirror, a cannon, and a few other things. They split the Atoll so that islets on one side belong to the Capelles, and islets on the other side belong to the DeBrums. To this day Likiep is the only Atoll in the Marshall Islands that does not have a Chief. Before long, Capelles and DeBrums started inter-marrying, so many people are descended from both Adolph Capelle and Jose DeBrum. This is the case with Joe. He is the grandson of Jose DeBrum and Great-Grandson of Adolf Capelle. Jose's oldest son, Joachim DeBrum was a renaisance man. Born to Jose and his Marshallese wife, Likemeto, in 1860, Joachim was an avid photographer (on Likiep he developed his own photography lab, darkroom, and special processes for protecting chemicals from tropical heat), an avid reader (his library is still intact in his house on Likiep), self-taught businessman and scientist, and craftsman (the tool shed is crumbling now, but it has amazing things inside). He even learned enough about medicine to establish clinics on Likiep around the turn of the century. Here is a picture of the house he built on Likiep (made of California Redwoods). It is one of the only German-style houses that survived WW2 bombings and is still standing today. In fact, we went inside and poked around. It was amazing! Here's my colleague Ellie in front of the DeBrum house:
And here's the dining room inside:
Here's another couple pictures of the place we were snorkelling. It was absolutely breathtaking!
This is a traditional Marshallese Outrigger Canoe. And this picture is me:
The snorkelling was amazing there! My camera can't go underwater, but I "borrowed" someone else's pictures (from the internet) to show you some of the things I saw:
While snorkeling, I saw something very large and bright yellow (banana yellow) under some coral. It freaked me out, and I called to Don. He came over and verified that it was a Nurse Shark (which I have since learned are very lazy and not very agressive...thankfully!). He was only about 3 feet long, just a baby. I didn't want to hang around for long, but he was really, really cool. Later I saw a:
We bought some handicrafts from local people, including beautiful carved outrigger canoes (notice the 30 inch long Canoe that Don is holding in the group photo above covers up almost half of Joe). Likiep artists are famous for their beautiful carved canoes, and I can see why:
The plane that took us back was quite late (like 5 hours late). That's pretty standard. The whole town was out at the airport again, and many of them stayed the whole 5 hours to see who was coming and who was going. We flew over Ebeye and stopped at Kwajelein US Army Base to refuel on our way home. That is a very, very interesting story...the extremes between life on Kwajelein Islet (the base) and life in the neighboring islet of Ebeye. I got some pictures, but it's late tonight, and I need to go home, so I'll save it for another day. In searching the internet I found another photo journal created by a visitor to Likiep which might be of interest. Here's the address: http://marshall.csu.edu.au/Marshalls/html/ONeill/Likiep.html Good night everyone!