Micronesia, Yap - Lamotrek Atoll


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Yapese Style

Homes of tall steep coconut thatch were sometimes combined with concrete walls, "to make it more cool inside".

Dugout Canoes

here had an elegant sheer line and a stylized frigate bird motif at the bow and stern.

The Queen Veronica

was recently completed and is the largest ocean going dugout canoe in Micronesia.


is the greeter at Lamotrek. He teaches pre-school and in the summer migrates to the big island of Wa'ab where he teaches workshops in early childhood education in a modern facility.


in every form possible is eaten at Lamotrek.


is the grandson of Xavier the principal of the school. Eli was born in Kansas City, MO but remembers little about it. He's known for calling everyone in trousers 'mericans.


of coconut fiber is made by men usually during their (tuba) drinking circles. This is a cash commodity for islanders.

A Young Man in a Mwar Mwar

showed us his technique for making twine. Note the camp pad on his leg to prevent skin abrasion from the rough fibers that have been soaken in seawater for 2-3 months.


fish traps are still used during the correct season to capture small (sardine like) fish.

Every part of the Coconut Tree

is used by islanders. Woven baskets and plates are used every day.


is another staple. There are many varieties and many recipes for this important carbohydrate.


are everyday attire and also used as gifts during cultural rituals or to make amends. These are woven on back-stap looms by women.


of traditional materials take even longer to weave. Banana and hibiscus are used.

Patterns of Lavalavas

and even colors can be unique to a clan. This is the lavalava we bought after viewing many different patterns. We later learned this general pattern is called "pig" (peeg).

Choisee or Choity

is Francis' youngest daughter. Shy but curious, she always had Leslie's hand in her own.

Wash Day

shows that the lavalava is the principal attire of women.


is coconut "beer". It is fermented from the sap of the coconut flower over 4 days. The inoculum is present in the shell. Men "cut" their tuba three times a day.

Joe Yetigmaliu

is a skilled pharmacist (though he is still completing his studies) and also a traditional mariner who recently returned to Lamotrek from an ocean passage aboard the Queen Veronica.

Every Afternoon or Evening Men

and only men, gather to drink tuba, discuss issues and make decisions. Women - except visitors - are not invited.


found tuba tasty; Philip did not agree.

This Pretty Girl

is not yet wearing a lavalava which means she has not yet assumed the position of woman that brings with it new responsibilities.

Her Younger Sister

is also a beauty.

Girl Children

though female, often accompany their fathers to the drinking circle. This sweety couldn't keep her eyes off of us.

The Sailing Canoes

of Lamotrek required new sails when we visited. They had new sailcloth but needed to rough cut panels before we could sew them on our sewing machine.

Xavier and Finian

carefully placed the booms on the sailcloth and then measure to confirm the measurements were equivalent along the boom and then along the sail's leech.

Many Hands

helped to move the sail's panels through our machine. A wee tug here or there from our helpers made our rows of stitches wander. The sails will be strong, despite our crooked seams.

Men's Meeting Houses

are dotted around Yap and used for meetings conducted over the drinking of tuba and chewing of betel nut. This meeting involved a heated discussion of the appropriate "sentence" for young men guilty of violating the quiet curfew.

The Men of Lamotrek

still use the sailing canoes. This team of young men had been dispatched to fish along the reef to our west.

Leaving Lamotrek

was difficult and we were smothered in leis and crowned with mwar mwars for the small party the islanders threw for us.

Joe Ragmai

retired teacher, village elder and one of the acting chiefs spoke on behalf of the village. They presented us with a lavalava, coconut twine and a huge feast of fresh and prepared food for our journey.

How Many Fathoms?

of line were required to wrap Carina's steering wheel? Oh, maybe 50, maybe wee bit fewer. The result was lovely and warm and just a bit prickly but the hand spun Lamotrek coconut line makes a great grip.

Abundant Food for the Passage

to Woleai was generously provided by our friends at Lamotrek. Hidden under those banana leaves are two red snapper, a lobster and two coconut crab!