Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 21 Nov 2019 12am







    Wednesday, November 20, 2019-1:01:08P.M.






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Around the Islands | On Goat Island

SOPHIA Perez, narrating: On this episode of Around the Islands, I spend two nights on Aguiguan, also known as Goat Island, with a crew of fellow-adventurers: Saipan residents Vlad Melnik and Analee Villagomez, and Evgenia Korotaeva, who literally flew into Saipan from Russia that morning, and I think didn’t quite understand what she was signing up for.

Goat Island is a 3-mile long island about 5 miles southwest of Tinian. It is currently uninhabited, but during WWII it served as a garrison for the Japanese. Hundreds of years before that, it was where Chief Taga and his band of Chamorro warriors lost their final battle against Spanish colonists. Today, Aguiguan’s main inhabitants consist of goats, monitor lizards, fruit bats, and, if this finding by Vlad is any indication, rhino beetles.

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Analee Villagomez finds Chamorro pottery shards on the ground: “We have all this pottery from the Chamorro times, ancient times.”

Sophia Perez: Our first step was to meet at Smiling Cove, where Captain Alvin Iglesias was preparing to ferry us over. While we waited for Vlad and Evgenia to return from their water run, Analee and I spoke to Captain Alvin and another local seafarer, master navigator Cecilio Raiukiulipiy about how to safely explore Goat Island.  

Cecilio Raiukiulipiy: You need to have a knife, a sleeping bag or a hammock, water, a tarp, a pot to cook the water, something to start up a fire…

Alvin Iglesias: Probably it’s good to have a GPS.

Cecilio Raiukiulipiy: Just be careful over there, there’s some drop offs, sharp rocks that you walk on top, there’s some cracks there, on top there’s four water tanks, so you might fall into the water tanks.

Alvin Iglesias: There’s a lot of centipedes.

Sophia Perez: Centipedes? How big?

Alvin Iglesias: About this big [indicates around 10 inches long]

Cecilio Raiukiulipiy: Do you have a hammock?

Sophia Perez: No, tent.

Alvin Iglesias: A hammock is one of the best…

Analee Villagomez: I have a hammock.

Sophia Perez: OK, so not the most reassuring conversation, and I definitely wasn’t looking forward to sleeping on the ground with poisonous centipedes, but there was no way we were missing out on this opportunity to explore Goat Island…

To learn more about our adventure to Goat Island, make sure to find our video on the MVariety YouTube channel or check out the Around the Islands Facebook page!

Also please note that contrary to an inaccuracy printed in a news article weeks back, all AI crew members received permits to visit Aguiguan, signed by Mayor Edwin Aldan.