Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Turtle Cove Cannon - March 29, 2008

This will be the last hike that I will be posting for awhile. I am leaving Tinian to look for work soon, but I might be back in June or July for a short period of time. I will miss all of the people that have been my regulars on these hikes; I will miss Tinian, where I was free to roam the jungle and cliffs; and I will miss my way of life here on Tinian.

Before we began this hike, Masa presented me with framed picture that was a collage of photographs from the hikes that we all had gone on. He also had unframed copies for the rest of the hikers. I was really touched by this gesture. I also want to thank everyone for the appreciation party that was given for me the night before this hike. I will be posting pictures from that party later this week. Again, Thank You All!

On this hike, 12 of us set off to look at the cannon, tunnels, and beaches by Turtle Cove. Below is a group picture of the hikers at the parking area below the cannon. From left to right are Masa, me, Lisa, Amanda, Jessabel, Stacy, Erica, Judy, Pete, Kimberly, and Bonnie (my sister-in-law, visiting from California), with Mitch taking the picture.

The cannon was a short walk from the parking area. The cannon is in a cave that was a rock shelter that had been enlarged by the Japanese. In the picture below, I am by the cannon and Kimberly and Pete are walking up to it. There are also bent railroad rails in the picture. I don't know what the rails were used for.

Below is a picture of most of the group standing by the cannon. This picture shows the cliff that shelters the cannon. From here, the Japanese could have protected the northern entrance to Tinian harbor with this cannon.

The picture below shows the breech of the cannon. It is missing the breech door. Also, the rails are clearly visible in the picture.

Mitch happened to notice a red insect crawling on a rock. I didn't have my glasses on and didn't get a good look at it, but from the picture, I can tell that it is a hemiptera. These are true bugs and have sucking mouth parts. I have seen similar bugs, not as bright as this one, hanging on vines, and sucking plant juices.

After we left the cannon, we hiked to the bottom of the slope below the cliff. I was a little worried that we had gone too low and might miss something along the cliff line. So, we ended up climbing back up the slope, which was real steep, as can be seen in the picture below of Erica climbing the slope. After getting up the slope, I found there was nowhere to go, so we headed back down the way we had come.

A little further along the slope, I decided again to climb back up it, to see if it was worth the whole group going up. I decided it was not worth the hike up the slope. You can see how steep the slope was in the picture below of me climbing down it.

After going up and down the slope a few times, I found a valley and decided to follow it up the slope. The picture below shows Erica and Stacy nearing the top of the valley and slope. It got real steep again. After we crossed a small ridge, we ended up going down another valley that paralleled the first valley that we had just gone up. It was a lot of ups and downs for the beginning of this hike.

As we followed the base of the slope, it slowly became a cliff! One of the areas that we walked through has Moses in a Basket, Tradescantia spathacea, growing in it. In the mainland U.S. this is a common ground cover plant. In the picture below, the plants with the green and purple leaves is Moses in a Basket growing on the cliff.

Below is a closeup of the flowers of the Moses in a Basket plant. The white flowers are contained in a bracket that forms the basket.

Just a little way past the Moses in the Basket plants was the tunnel that I remember seeing about 12 or 15 years ago. I really don't know if it is a tunnel or just a cave with three entrances. It may have been a natural cave, or a group of natural caves, that were expanded and connected together by the Japanese during World War II. In the picture below, Bonnie, Stacy, me and Lisa are entering the tunnel/cave.

On the floor of tunnel were a bunch of corroded 3 inch shells. The picture shows three of these shells on the cave's floor. The middle one has been almost completely destroyed by corrosion.

In front of Bonnie, in the picture below, is the tunnel that was built by the Japanese. This tunnel runs to another entrance that might have been a natural opening in the cliff's face, or it might have been dug out by the Japanese.

Below is a picture taken by Judy of Mitch taking a picture of Pete in the tunnel. This is the same tunnel that Bonnie is standing in front of in the picture above.

This is the picture that Mitch took, mentioned above, of Pete in the tunnel.

Below is a picture at the third entrance to the tunnel, just before we all left the system of caves and tunnels. In the picture are Kimberly, Lisa, Jessabel, me, Mitch and Pete.

Next to the tunnel-cave system was another cave/shelter. It had some neat nunu (banyan) roots growing in it. The picture below shows Judy standing in the shelter, with the roots on its roof.

Mitch, digging around as always, found some bones in the shelter pictured above. Some of the bones are pictured below. I am not sure if they are human or some other animal's bones.

After the shelter, it was time to head back to the van. The reason why we turned back is because I knew there was nothing else to see along this cliff line. So we walked back through the tangantangan forest, since it was a lot easier to walk through it than trying to follow the cliff back to the cannon.

As we got back to the parking area, there was an area of grass that we had to cross. I knew that there was a road that went through the grass nearer to the ocean. So we followed the grass until we came to the road. It was a lot easier to use the road than to cut a path through the grass. In the picture below is my daughter, Amanda, following the road back to the van.

After everyone had gotten back to the van, I told them that the hike was not over yet, and that we were going to walk to a nearby beach. So after a brief rest, we headed back down the road, through the grass, to a small path. This path leaded to a nice little pocket beach. The picture shows the entrance to the beach from the trail. There are a lot of puting and banalo trees on this beach.

The picture below shows the edge of the beach as you look north. In the picture Bonnie is taking off her shoes to enjoy the beach.

The following picture shows the land side of the beach. This part of the beach has a nice shady area to rest in.
The picture below was taken from about where I was sitting, in the picture above, looking out towards the beach. I really like this beach.

Judy had baked some brownies for me. I decided to share them with the rest of the hikers. Below, in the picture, is Judy getting a piece of a brownie, while Jessabel looks on enjoying her own brownie. Everyone enjoyed the brownies and none were left to carry out.

Mitch and Judy pointed out the rock that is in the picture below, which sort of looks like either a turtle or a camel. I think it looks more like a turtle, and since it is close to the ocean, it must be a turtle. Maybe the beach next to it should be called Turtle Beach, since it is also next to Turtle Cove.

Except for climbing up and down the steep slopes at the beginning of this hike, this was a very good hike, especially with the long break on the beach. I would like to thank Stacy for driving the van for this hike, and Judy for making the brownies. I also need to thank Judy and Mitch for all the pictures in this posting. Seems my camera decided to stay in Bali, instead of coming back with my wife.

The boonie bee count was one. I got stung in shoulder, and it didn't even hurt that much. Maybe I am starting to get use to being stung after all of these hikes.

I am sorry to say there will not be any more Saturday hikes, unless Mitch or Judy organizes them. It was fun while it lasted and I wish I had started these hikes earlier.

Goodbye everyone, I really did enjoy you all on these hikes and as my friends.

1 comment:

Mandaragat said...

Nice blog! That was an awesome adventure. I wish i could join one of your hikes in Tinian somday.