FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap are four island states of more than 600 tiny islands and atolls, stretching almost the entire width of Micronesia, 1,800 miles across the Pacific from east to west. Known as the Federated States of Micronesia, each speaks its own language with its own distinctive culture, traditions and history.
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None of the bright lights of Guam and Saipan are to be found here. A more traditional island lifestyle prevails, surrounded by the spectacular beauty of the islands and their seas. An integral part of Continental Micronesia's 'Island Hopper' route across Micronesia, the Federated States of Micronesia attracts the more adventurous traveller, such as experienced sports divers, underwater photographers, hikers and backpackers.
Both Kosrae and Pohnpei are situated far to the east of the group and share a similar climate and geography. They are high volcanic islands with cloud shrouded peaks, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and hidden mountain pools. They share the same pristine, fringing coral reefs, clear azure seas, mangroves and sandy beaches. The Lelu ruins reached its peak in the 12th century. Nan Madol, however, began construction as early as 500 AD and was toppled by the present day traditional government in the 1520s.
Chuuk is renowned for its dramatic wreck diving, which is recognized as the best of its kind in the world. Its vast lagoon, more than 30 miles across, was Japan's 'Pearl Harbour' and more than 100 ships and aircraft were sunk while sheltering here during World War II. The warm, tropical water, prolific marine life and ocean currents have transformed these wrecks into breathtakingly beautiful coral gardens and artificial reefs, home to hundreds of marine animals and fish.
Yap has managed to let most of the modern world pass it by and practises Micronesia's most traditional lifestyle. Some 200 miles from Palau, Yapese warriors sailed there in centuries past, despite great danger and hardship, to quarry the giant Yapese stone money. These large circular stones, carved symmetrically and holed in the centre for transportation, can be greater in diameter than a man's height. Most of the stone money is stored in a canal known in the money bank, though some still rests outside the thatched men's hut and family huts to denote wealth and status.
The Yapese, proud owners of the largest currency in the world, continue to delight in sharing their paradise with visitors. Yap is most famous for its Manta Ray viewing, but the diving doesn't stop there - there are no shortage of beautiful reef formations and marine life in these waters.
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