In the heart of the South Pacific, a bit west of Hawaii, is a small atoll that houses one of the U.S. Military’s most strategic outposts. The island’s name is Kwajalein (K-wa-dj-u-lan) or Kwaj for short. All of the people who live on Kwaj are U.S. military. If it wasn’t for the mind-numbing heat index and 100% humidity, you would think you were on the Mainland, in any other small town U.S.A. The lawns are perfectly manicured, the streets are clean, houses are maintained just as in any other suburban oasis.
It’s no wonder Guam receives one million visitors a year. White sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and a gentle ocean breeze welcome visitors from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Russia, China, and the U.S.
Living on the beautiful tropical island of Guam means staycations are a welcome alternative to jetting off-island to relax. Eschewing the hubbub of Guam’s tourism center, Tumon, we ventured north to STARTS Golf Resort. We were soon seduced by the charm of the place.
Priest’s Pools is one of my favorite sights in southern Guam. The Pigua River cascades along terraces of basalt lava as it heads toward the ocean. The water is cool and somewhat clear. Back when the Spanish first arrived on the island in the 1500s, the priests would bathe in the cool fresh water. The river meanders in the typical volcanic hills and tall sword grass found throughout the south.
While Guam is full of great dive spots, divers living here are also lucky to be just a short plane ride away from some of the most amazing diving spots in the world
Exploring southwestern Guam in a dune buggy for Jungle Rules Adventure Tours has got to be one of the most fun photography jobs I’ve had. I took care not to spill out of the car as we raced over red dirt hills alternating between gorgeous sea views and otherworldly ‘lunar scapes.’ If the clay hadn’t been red I would have suspected we were on the moon, the earth looked so extraterrestrial — a sort of lunar desert, but with trees. The hubby drove with aplomb and we even threw our hands up (camera between legs) as we took hairpin turn after turn and caught air over blind dunes.
The trek to Shark’s Cove feels a lot like being a castaway. My wild imagination had me calculating survival techniques and glancing nervously at my diminishing cell battery. (Times like these I thank God I married a MacGyver type.)
Kayaking through Palau’s Rock Islands by default feels like being a castaway in an undiscovered paradise. This was my second time to take this day trip and it was no less exhilarating than nearly two years ago.