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My friend Henk Landkroon, from Groningen in the Netherlands, has an excellent photoblog: STORMBLAST1953

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saipan - Family

The purpose of my recent visit to Saipan was to see my daughter, Chicha, her two sons, Christian and Dean and her boyfriend, Chris. I got lots of family photos:

Breakfast at Shirley's Coffee Shop - Chis and Christian

Chicha on the iPad.

Pancakes for grandpa.

Chicha and Dean at Pakpak Beach, San Antonio.

Christian down the slide.

Feeding Guinea Pigs at the Saipan Zoo.

Do fruit bats really like popcorn?

Saipan Zoo

Saipan Zoo

View from Mt. Tagpochau. 

Tagpochau Road

Baby Dean 

Hard Rock Cafe

Salad and Wine for Grandpa

Scrabble Night with friends at Coffee Care

Family photos by Del Bensen

Lunch at 360 in the old Nauru Building.

Pizza at 360

Bird Island

Christian calls me "Grandpa Michael Newman".

The view from Suicide Cliff.

View from Marpi looking back toward the lagoon and Garapan.

Inside the Last Command Post of the Japanese Army on Saipan.

Japanese tank.

Banzai Cliff. The northern tip of Saipan.

Michael and Dean at Shenanigans.

Beach at American Memorial Park, Garapan.

Christian's beach fort.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saipan - Running the Hash

Whenever I visit Saipan I run The Hash. The Hash House Harriers is a drinking club with a running problem. I was a founding member of The Saipan Hash back in December of 1984. I also helped found the Korat Hash three or four years ago.
The Saipan Hash meets at the Bank of Guam in beautiful downtown Garapan every Saturday afternoon. These are the Hash Elders present when I was there: Haj Kramden, Renee Richards, Mutt, Mike Fink, Ciega and Dog Leg.

That Saturday's Hash started at the Marpi Sports Complex and finished here at Wing Beach.

It's not a race, but I'm always happy to come in near the head of the pack. That's bonfire material in the center of the photo.

A few beers and some snacks on the beach before religion.

Lovely sunset that night including one of the best green flashes I've ever seen.

The Tyrant readies the first down-down of the evening. Note the beer board and Hash accouterments. 

Religion has begun. A time for praise, punishment, jokes and lots of down-downs from the Sacred Vessel.

Early in the year most bonfires include a discarded Christmas tree.

That's all folks.

For the location of Wing Beach on Saipan click the link below.

Saipan - Diving the Grotto

I went to Saipan last week to visit my daughter and her two sons. I took some time off to scuba dive The Grotto, one of the most interesting dive sites I've ever experienced. I first dove The Grotto in 1980 with the legendary local diver, Ben Concepcion.

The Grotto is a collapsed marine cave. You enter The Grotto by hiking down over one hundred steps through what was once the cave's roof. At sea level there is a huge rock which serves as a diving platform. There are three underwater passages from The Grotto to the open sea.

At the bottom of the stairs looking toward the rock from which divers and snorkelers usually enter the water. Notice the "Washing Machine" of turbulence in front of the rock.

From the water looking back to the entrance. The stairs are in there somewhere.

From the rock looking at the northernmost underwater passage to the open ocean. The rope and buoys are there to assist exit.

This is looking out the southernmost passage toward the open ocean.

Green sea turtle.

Diver and sea fans.

Looking toward the open ocean from the middle passage.

Resting on the rock. Between dives you need at least an hour of surface time. The diver in the middle is Harry Blaylock, proprietor of Axe Murder Tours, a wonderfully laid back dive operation.

Sea fan.

Yes, it's really that blue. Looking out from The Bat Cave which is about 33 meters (100 feet deep) and just north of the northern Grotto entrance.

This photo of an Electric File Clam was taken inside The Bat Cave. The mantle of this beautiful clam is edged in a bright iridescent blue that seems to flash disco-style. Locally it is known as the Disco File Clam. (I think it's actually a scallop....)


Small coral head.

Don't forget to check the location of The Grotto by clicking on the "Click to see in Google Maps -> The Grotto, Saipan, CNMI" link below.