The Maasdam 24 see Saipan in a Day

[Photographs by Ferdinand “Ding” Ramos]

“It was a dark and stormy night…” Oops, wrong opening line. (Sorry, Snoopy.)  Ahem. It was a bright and sunny day,  and the Holland America cruise ship, Maasdam, was scheduleed to dock at the port on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Sunday, Sept 8, 2019.

As an island consultant, I’m occasionally asked to provide information on the islands to visitors.

This time, my photographer, Ding, and I showed up at 7am to be sure that THIS time, the ship would, indeed, dock. (Yeah, that’s a whole other story for another time!)

Maasdam at the dock. Check.

With that little detail confirmed, we headed back to the airport to pick up the vans for our arriving guests.

Invited guest guides for a day, Robert Hunter, and Gary Liddle and I discuss logistics.

While awaiting the paperwork, world renown author, ethnographer, oral historian and “birder,”  Rlene Santos Steffy, arrives from Guam. I had the pleasure of meeting Rlene on Guam during my recent Guam Writers Workshop Learn more at : http://guamwriters.com/

Gary, Rlene, Robert and I chat while we wait

The paperwork is completed, vans are assigned, drivers are briefed, microphones are checked, signs are posted in the windshields….time for a convoy!

“Pig Pen this here’s the rubber duck And I’m about to put the hammer down.” (10 points if you know that reference!)

Once at the dock, guests begin exiting the ship after passing through US Customs, and we load up the vans. Two of my guests, Lorrin and Nina Lee, are on a three month tour (see Lorrinlee.com), and were the first of my guests to sign up way back in March!

Finally, we meet! (See www.LorrinLee.com)

We head out to our first stop: American Memorial Park.

 

First stop, American Memorial Park…Welcome! Introductions….and the strict rules of my tour! (You’ll have to sign up to discover just what those rules are!)
Watching “An Island Called Saipan” at American Memorial Park

 

Post-documentary debriefing and preparing for day’s tour

 

Robert Hunter, Director of DCCA (Department of Community & Cultural Affairs) shares facts and triva about wartime Saipan

 

Pointing to the Court of Honor (currently under construction)
Visiting the Chamorro & Carolinian memorial
Yeah we got a little ol’ convoy Ain’t she a beautiful sight
At the Carolinian Cultural Center

 

Robert gives background on boat building and celestial navigation
At the boat house, one of DCCA’s projects

 

At Ladder Beach

 

 

As Lito Airfield
What on earth is everyone staring at???

Answer: One of the largest war time structures on the island: the Bomb Magazine at As Lito airfield.

Inside the Bomb Magazine
The sad, yet beautiful Banzai Cliff

 

Gary holds court at Suicide Cliff

 

Looking down at the suicide leap from another vantage point

Then we went In Search of Amelia Earhart

The Old Japanese Jail
Going back in time through the corridor of the jail in search of Amelia Earthart
Read more about Amelia on Saipan here: http://www.discoversaipan.com/amelia

By this time, the “Saipan in a Day” adventure is officially ended. Robert and Gary have departed and taken our visitors back to the dock, However, a smaller group of WWII buffs are treated to a special private collection of relics and artifacts from the Japanese era and Battle of Saipan.

a unique collection
Guests enjoy interacting with the pieces
Explaining the uniqueness of this particular relic

 

The Maasdam WWII History buffs on Saipan

 

We say our goodbyes!


“What’s that?  Yes, you can definitely write a TripAdvisor Review! I’d be honored and it would help a lot! Thanks for asking!”

Maasdam departs Saipan

“As the sun sank slowly over the horizon…” Oops, sorry, wrong epilogue…Wait! That one fits! As the sun sank slowly over the Saipan horizon, Maasdam pulled away from the dock, and sailed off into the sunset on its way to Guam!

“We’ll catch you on the flip flop
This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side
We gone – Bye Bye!”

Thanks to everyone who made this tour special and run smoothly!

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