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The Philippines & Micronesia (15)

TravelPosted by Jean Dar Wed, October 19, 2016 21:50:47

Guam - Where America's day begins

I am going to visit Guam for a few Days after Yap during the Micronesian leg of my trip to the Philippines and Micronesia, and might not go diving all that much over there. But that could easily be changed since nothing more than accomodation is arranged at this point in Guam.

Today Guam is an island territory of the United States with a significant military presence, but it has not always been that way. During World War II, its location about 900 miles north of the equator in the Western Pacific Ocean made Guam immeasurably valuable to both the Axis and Allied Powers. Guam played a pivotal role in the war and remains a great place to explore history firsthand.

The island has been a possession of the United States since 1898, except for a brief period beginning when the Japanese took control in December 1941. In July 1944, U.S. Marines landed on both sides of Guam, and by early August their counterattacks had taken a serious toll on Japanese troops, securing the U.S. force's trek to victory. Guam is home to more than a dozen World War II sites, each one of them offering a unique perspective on the war.

For years Guam's waters were one of the world's best kept secrets when it came to freediving and scuba diving. Guam's reefs are colorful, gorgeous and teeming with life, from the colorful coral heads to the multitudes of sea creatures that live there. Guam has several companies that specialise in beginner lessons for the curious, and they can also certify you all the way to mastery.

Many of Guam's beautiful blue sights are just off its shores, while others are only a quick boat ride away. Scuba diving is a booming business on Guam, and one should find competitive rates, quality equipment and experienced instructors that should make a visit memorable. However, I can't see that diving in Guam could offer quite the same world class diving, coral reefs and sea life as in Palau, Yap or some locations in the Philippines.

In Guam its possible both to explore underwater shipwrecks, or walk a grassy hillside to discover intact weapons shelters from World War II. One can also visit solemn memorials to Japanese and U.S. soldiers, or the sites of the Tinta and Faha massacre that claimed the lives of nearly fifty Chamorro men and women.

- More about my forthcoming visit to Guam will follow here at Ad Astra!

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