A turtle, sharks, a cake and some WWII history

A week in Maloelap has brought an odd assortment of experiences from snorkeling with a white tip reef shark on the Japanese munitions wreck, to receiving a cake from a local lady conveniently timed for Valentines day.

We’ve trooped through the Taroa island greenery to find abandoned planes (there are 41 in total on the island), as well as cannons, bunkers and the Japanese HQ. If you look closely, as Robin did, it is also possible to come across the bullet shells that were fired between the Japanese and the Americans during the war. It is hard to imagine such events unfolding on this seemingly eternally peaceful slice of paradise.

This week has also pulled in three mackerals who have fallen prey to our new super lure. We can’t seem to eat the fish we are catching fast enough and as I write this the fridge houses our next two fish meals. Luckily there is always someone from the village happy to share the load.

We have walked to the windward side of a couple of the uninhabited islands, and similar to the other atolls we have stumbled upon a plethora of floatsam and jetsam. There’s literally thousands of plastic buoys and bottles, not to mention the pairless jandals, rope and other miscellaneous items. It is interesting to conjure up histories for these random articles, all of which have obviously traveled over vast lengths of ocean before finally finding a resting spot in the Marshalls. Unlike their Mexican counterpart – Jose Ivan, a fisherman who allegedly drifted all the way from Mexico to the Marshalls, who has recently flown home -
these items will never return home. It is both amazing and scary how such remote places can be infiltrated with such items. In comparison on the lagoon side of these islands there is minimal litter, and we’ve seen baby black tip sharks and fish playing in the shallows from the beach as we walk. On both sides the coral is abundant.

It is 6pm and the sun is slowly slinking towards the horizon, indicating another week has passed aboard Confederate. We are fresh out of the salt with wet hair and happy bodies. Our evening snorkel rustled up an unashamed turtle who cruised by to say hello before disappearing behind a coral head. Life is good.

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