Tag Archives: Pagan

Jamaican on Pagan DAY 3: Meet the Pioneers

PAGAN IS NOT UNINHABITED. There are people on Pagan!

 

According to Wikipedia:

"Pagan is a volcanic island in the Mariana Islands archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, belonging to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Formerly inhabited, the inhabitants were evacuated due to volcanic eruptions in 1981."
 

True, but what the current conventional wisdom doesn't tell you is that some people have moved back to the island! The resettlement has begun!

 

Pagan is not "uninhabited. There are people on Pagan.

 

There are people hunting, farming, making crafts, playing music, living and enjoying the life of their ancestors…There are people who have dreams of a life for their children and with plans to raise them close to the land and culture.

 

Pagan is not "uninhabited. There are people on Pagan.

I've been to the island. I've met those people….and now you will too:

 

Here is a brief interview I conducted with the 5 residents of Pagan explaining who they are and why they've chosen to start new lives on this remote island:

If youtube not available in your country, click here
 

Yes, there are people on Pagan. There are people hunting, farming, making crafts, playing music, living and enjoying the life of their ancestors, dreaming of a life for their children…and listening to Bob Marley on their ipods!

 

It's always been a cool thing–as a Jamaican nomad–to arrive in Hawaii, Saipan, Pohnpei, Guam and pretty much the world over to discover that Reggae music–Jamaica's signature gift to the world–is enjoyed by millions thousands of miles away from the little island on which it originated.  So, while it wasn't a surprise, it was still a pleasant reminder of that reality when I entered a home on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific, and was greeted by a huge painting of Bob Marley, Jamaica's prime musical ambassador. Yes, it seems another Jamaican has beaten me here to Pagan!

 
Jun (left) shows off his spondylus shells while Tyron tunes his guitar

 

Here's a video of the pioneers taking a musical interlude

If youtube not available in your country, click here
Tyron plays guitar, Jun (Daniel) provides backing vocals and JR (Herman) looks on while Bob Marley watches over a summer afternoon musical interlude on the island of Pagan. 
 

Yes, there are people on Pagan.

 

EDUCATIONAL INTERLUDE:

Pagan = 18.53 square miles in size
Manhattan = 33.77 square miles in size
Saipan= 44.55 square miles in size
 

 

What's it like to be the five people living on an island half the size of Manhattan? What do you do all day? Well, for one thing, you've got to eat. 

 

In this video, Jun (Daniel) demonstrates an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method for getting and preparing coconuts on the island of Pagan!

If youtube not available in your country, click here
 
Yes, there's a lot to do….


…enjoy the view..



enjoy the view some more

 



…ponder the insanity of civilization…"I want to live a natural life with no need for money."–JR



…Go hunting with the dogs



Relax in Paradise

 



Welcome visiting Jamaicans…

Chamorros, Champinos, Palauans and Jamaicans on Pagan

[Bob Marley painting by Analee Camacho Villagomez]



Enjoy the sunset on Pagan

 

 

And thus ends my third day on the island of Pagan!

 

Learn more about Chamorro people and culture at

http://www.chamorro.com

 

Learn about the threats to the pristine beauty and life on this island at http://www.savepaganisland.org

 

 

Support the alternative: sign up for a unique "Ecotourism Instead" adventure to Pagan at http://www.DiscoverPagan.com
 

Jamaican on Pagan Day 2: In the name of Jamaica!

DAY 2: In the name of Jamaica!

 

What if Chuck Noland were Jamaican?  I think abut these things. Remember the movie Castaway starring Tom Hanks as Fedex employee, Chuck Noland? His plane crashes off a deserted island in the middle of nowhere and Chuck, as the lone survivor, has to figure out how to stay alive. Great movie. Well, what if the same fate befell a Jamaican castaway? How would the story be different?

 

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland in Castaway

 

Well, for one, our Jamaican castaway would already know how to open a coconut, so that wouldn't be a major challenge to survival. Two, his best friend would probably be a soccer ball rather than a volley ball if he had his way.  



I can see it now! Walt Goodridge as Dexter Style in "Jamaican Castaway on Pag-an" coming soon to a theatre near you!

 

In any case, I'll leave you to ponder those possibilities (please contact me for the movie rights) while I continue with my real life adventure! 

Yes, I am now Jamaican on Pag-an! (standing on the black sand of the north bay)

 

 

On my first full day on Pag-an, I meet Sandy, better known as the chief of Pag-an! I'll share more about him and the four other residents of the island a bit later. For now, Sandy was nice enough to welcome me to the island and give me a brief tour..

 

Sandy, the chief of Pag-an

 

First stop: a high point in plain sight from which to plant the Jamaican flag and claim this island in the name of the people of Jamaica!! This one is for the record books! Walt Goodridge is the first Jamaican to set foot on the Pacific island of Pag-an! That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Jamaica claims Pagan!

 

 

Let the ecotourism begin! Bring your own flag and discover Pag-an for yourself! 

 

Next, a few historical sites. Until I started doing WWII tours of Saipan and Guam, I had no idea how widespread the Pacific conflict had been. It touched practically every island in Micronesia. Most of these islands were occupied by the Japanese at that time. Here on Pag-an, too, there were once at least 8,000 Japanese and about 300 indigenous I'm told.

Japanese "Zero" a crashed fighter plane on Pag-an

 

The black rock is cooled lava. When the volcano on Pag-an erupted in 1980, this is where the flow stopped, just a few feet from this WWII relic

 

70 years later, huge craters from the aerial bombing of the island still remain.

 

Sidebar: While we were there, a helicopter arrived with a member a team of researchers monitoring the seismic activity of the volcano.

 

Well, we've been here for a while now. Curious to meet the 5 residents of the island of Pag-an? Want to know what modern-day pioneer life is like on a little island in the middle of the Pacific?  Let's approach their homes…

Well, actually, let's wait until tomorrow for that!! Stay tuned!

 

NEXT! DAY 3: WHAT??? Another Jamaican?????

Jamaican on….wait for it…wait for it….PAGAN!

DAY 1: The Cure for Seasickness
Riza, Harald, Wayne and Ken all gave great advice and tips for combatting seasickness. However, the best advice so far was from Gus:

"hey Walt, Marijuana could probably help.  Unfortunately, it's not legal. Whenever you feel nauseous, it's best to lay flat on your back.  It also helps to grab some fresh air at a spot where you don't have to smell the diesel fuel/engine's exhaust.  Eat hours before your departure and try to relax during the voyage. Enjoy. gus :D"
 

So, I took his advice, got some weed, and, um—just kidding! The advice that worked for me was to simply lie on my back whenever I felt a little nauseous. Fortunately, I didn't have to use that tip until halfway through the 18-hour boat ride to the island of Pagan!

 

That's right! At this very moment, I'm Jamaican my way on the high seas to the remote, pristine Northern Island of Pagan!

Pronounced: PAG-an. (Emphasis on the PAG)

NOTE: If pronounced correctly, Pagan rhymes with wagon and dragon. I'm going to exercise a little creative license and write it as PAG-an from now on to help with your pronunciation even as you read silently to yourself.

 

Pagan is often called the "crown jewel" of the Marianas!

It is one of the most biologically and geologically diverse islands  in the archipelago, and is home to many threatened and endangered species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. 

 

I've left my laptop behind in safe hands and I'm off to experience what the Tom Hanks character in the movie, Castaway, experienced, being way out on a small island in the middle of nowhere with just my wits for survival! (Well, in this case, I'll get by with a little help from my friends, but you get the idea!)

 

We pulled out at 10pm

Boat owner, Keli, gives us a quick orientation

 

It's a beautiful night as we pull out from Saipan harbor

 

 

By 5:30am the next morning, we pass Anatahan, another of the islands of the Northern Mariana Islands

 

I have, of course, left out the tossing and the bucking and puking! Actually, it wasn't a bad trip. Once I heaved out the small amount of liquid that had accumulated in my stomach overnight, I felt much better! (That's my cure for seasickness!)

 

The morning of the journey, I did a saltwater flush to complete clear my stomach and colon (ask me if you don't know what that is). It's something I typically do before every journey. In this case, I figured that I'd get less seasick with a completely empty system. It seems to have worked.

 

18 hours later, we arrive at PAG-an at about 4pm in the afternoon

 

I hadn't planned on eating during this short two day journey. I figured I'd simply fast for the duration. However, I changed my mind and whipped out my just-in-case bag of lentils and made myself a simple soup before the other crew members started their cooking.

 

We made several trips to unload gear and personal items aboard a 15-foot speedboat.

 

 After spending 18 hours aboard the boat, I actually felt a twinge of sadness upon leaving to start the adventure on PAG-an!

 

 

 We set up tents and call it a night!

 

 

NEXT! DAY 2: Claiming the island in the name of Jamaica!!

 

 

Meanwhile, 

 

Learn more about PAG-an and the military's plans for bombing it at
http://www.savepaganisland.org/
 
Get more information about actually visiting PAG-an as an eco-tourism destination at
http://www.discoverpagan.com

Transportation!

Next item on the checklist: Transportation!

Okay. Let’s do something different this time! I’ve done Canada by car, Laos by bus, China by plane… What’s next? I know, let’s do the boat thing!

Uh-oh, waitaminit!! Last time I did Tinian by ferry back in 2007, I started to get nauseous, but I’m willing to give it another adventurous Jamaican try! In the spirit of the great Jamaican explorers of past and present, I will explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations; boldly go where NO JAMAICAN HAS GONE BEFORE!!! Um, sorry…got a little carried away there. Ahem.

So, where to find a boat? Hmmmm. Well, I’m on a little island in the middle of the Pacific. Shouldn’t be too hard!

Voila! a boat:


Inspecting the boat with a few curious passengers




Discussing logistics with the owner and captain

Cool! Cool! Cool! Seems like I’m all set. I’ve got my tent. I’ve got my boat. Packed a few things of tremendous importance (i.e. Lara bars), and I’m almost ready to push on through!

The only question that remains: Where on earth is this nomadpreneuring, minimalist, vegan Jamaican heading this time???? Patience, my dear friend. Patience. Stay tuned!

Walt

 p.s. If you know of any NATURAL anti-seasickness remedies or advice (no drugs, no patches), please let me know (just hit reply)

Somewhere’s calling!

Note for folks on Saipan: For a split second a few days ago, I  thought to myself "Ruth is going to enjoy these new emails!" Then I quickly remembered that my late friend, Ruth Tighe now has a much wider vantage point from which to enjoy this adventure, and so I dedicate this new adventure to her! (Her email comments throughout my last 6-month adventure in China have been immortalized in the book Guess Who's Coming to Dim Sum: The Jamaican in China; full color pdf download; Also available in Paperback on Amazon!)

 

Jamaican's Log: April 1, 2014

 

Yes, it's time for a new "Jamaican in Somewhere" adventure! I've been to Jamaica, the US, Canada, Mexico, China, Singapore, Laos, Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam, Tinian….but where next? This is a critical question, you see, because I've got to  fulfill the United Nations mandate that requires there be at least one Jamaican on every land mass in the world…at all times!

 

Somwhere is calling!

 

First, however, I must prepare. First stop: Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods on Beach Road here on Saipan!  Checklist item #1: sleeping tent! If I should ever be without accommodations like I almost was when I was homeless on Hainan, I'll have a "Plan B!"

 

I chose the size that fits two people (hey, you never know if I might have to entertain a tent guest!)

 
Dan the man at Fishing Tackle shows me how to set it up!
It's easy once you know how!
 

Yep! That'll work! Hmmm…Now, what's next on my pre-adventure checklist? Transportation! Stay tuned! 

 
 

You don't want to miss this one!

 
Walt