Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 23 May 2018 12am







    Tuesday, May 22, 2018-8:26:20P.M.






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‘Forbidden’ angles

FORBIDDEN Island is a spectacular plateau that looks like it was sliced off from the main island and pushed a bit out to sea. But there is more to this slab of rock than meets the eye.

I have seen Forbidden Island from far overhead and close from its base. The chance to see it from above and from the other side came last month when I was invited to an aerial tour of the island.

That was the first time I saw the top of Forbidden from above. It was like looking at a “new” landscape.

I asked our pilot if he could maneuver the four-seat plane above Forbidden Island as low and as close as he could while I took photos of this popular piece of rock that juts out like a crouching reptile.

The top of the plateau is rocky but some portions are flat and covered with green and it looks like you could spend a night camping there. But getting up to the top of this island is a new and difficult story. It is next to impossible, especially if you are not that daring and you don’t have the right equipment.  

A trek down to the island requires at least 45 minutes, a sturdy pair of shoes, comfortable clothing and lots of guts. The jungle trail going down is easy, the trees providing shade from the heat and the only challenge you’ll meet are the pine needles that make the pathway slippery. When you emerge into the clearing where the jungle ends, that’s when the real challenge begins — then it’s already too late and too far to go back.

If you are scared of heights, just proceed with caution and focus on the road. If you can avoid it, try not to look over the sides of the path where you will see yawning cliffs.

Don’t underestimate this small slab of rock. It isn’t named Forbidden for nothing. It has claimed numerous lives in the past.

I’ve tried climbing halfway around the island and had to go back minus the soles of my shoes and with numerous cuts and scratches on my arms and legs. I didn’t take the option of climbing straight up aided by a rope because it looked so hard and steep. Fighting the strong currents of the water when the tide is coming in is another challenge you have to consider.

The challenge actually starts when the paved road in Kagman ends. The rest of the road is only suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles and most parts of the road are like giant potholes, with elbow-sharp turns that could send you hurtling down deep ravines if you’re not careful.

But it’s worth the trip.