Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 19 Jan 2019 12am







    Friday, January 18, 2019-3:02:02A.M.






Font Size


Our Oceania: Heeding the call North (Part 2)

Despite its tiny population, Pagan has more than its share of history.  Exploring the island, it is impossible to avoid evidence of untold stories, from decaying bunkers to abandoned ATV’s with horned bull skulls as hood ornaments.

National Geographic photographer Dan Lin took me on a stroll across what used to be a Japanese airfield during WWII, where you can still examine the frames and engines of decimated planes.

View this article's accompanying photos in our gallery

What may have once been a runway is pocked with bomb-blasted craters, one of which, according to Lin, still sheltered an undetonated bomb when he visited the island two years prior.

Perhaps the most exciting untold stories on the island are the ones that haven’t happened. Despite the military’s plans, there are many who hope to move to Pagan and live off the land like the Kaipats.

 “I was glad to go back to my family’s land, where my dad was born,” said voyager and boat-builder Jason Aldan.  Aldan works for 500 Sails and helped build Neni. I asked him if he would consider moving back to Pagan.

“Oh hell yeah!” he said without hesitation. “It’s not over populated. You can have a fresh start.”

Jason was one of the many crew members who weren’t quite ready to leave when it was time to head back to Saipan.

But Pagan left us with a final parting gift; as we set sail, we were escorted out of the lagoon by dolphins, again.