Truk is a fascinating place to watch island culture, local agricultural activity, visit WWII sites and get a real feel for Micronesian island life.
Tonachau Mountain Iras is, at 229 meters, the loftiest peak on Weno. The mountain is the legendary home of the God Souwoniras and his divine son. Situated by the Wichon River and Falls, the Wichon Men's Meeting House is the spot where Weno chiefs are reported to have met with Poomey, eldest of the six brothers who were the first chiefs of Chuuk. The shallow pool at the base of the Falls is still used for bathing and sport, just as it was in historic times. The site of Poomey's dwelling on a mountaintop may be seen From here and his gardens are nearby. Numerous petroglyphs are etched in the exposed basalt above the falls.
Other islands in the Truk Lagoon have historic and scenic sites well worth a visit. Nemwes and Fouman Rocks, in Tunuk and Onip on Udot Island, are associated with the tales of the ancient rivalries between Chuuk and Yap, an island group that lies to the southwest. Legend has it that Nemwes, the daughter of a Yapese high chief, disobeyed her Father's wishes and came to Udot by walking across the sea. But when the priests of Udot destroyed her power to walk on water, Nemwes died of grief.
The main island of Weno (formerly Moen) is the capital and commercial center, and is home to roughly 16,100 of Chuuk's total population of 53,300. This is where the fathers of a Jesuit-run school lived and were summoned daily by a large bell. It's also from Weno that you can get your best views of the lagoon and its sheltered waters.
Chuuk's district center on Weno is where visitors can experience
a taste of island life by visiting the local stores jammed with everything
from kerosene stoves to ladies wear and handicrafts.
For an outstanding view of Weno and the lagoon, climb onto the old lighthouse built during Japanese occupation and visit the former Truk Continental for a stroll in the coconut palm grounds with splendid views across the water to Tonowas Island, formerly the Japanese military headquarters.
On Sapou, overgrown vegetation partially conceals the remains of what was once a city.
Built by the Japanese in the early 1930's, the Sapuk Lighthouse was constructed atop a hill commanding a panoramic view of the strategic northeast passage. Below the lighthouse are huge guns used to prevent American ships from entering the lagoon. The abandoned houses of lighthouse guards stand nearby in eerie silence.
The Japanese Wartime Communications Center is the principal structure in the complex of buildings that now comprise Xavier High School. Built of reinforced concrete with walls three to four Feet thick, the massive building sustained little damage despite direct hits from U.S. Bombers.
The property on which the building stands had been purchased by the Catholic Church prior to the war, and when it was reclaimed, decided to repair the structure and use it as a nucleus for a Jesuit high school. Today the complex includes classroom buildings, a chapel, living quarters and offices for staff members, a study hall, gymnasium, workshop, mess facilities, and student dormitory.
The Tonata Guns and Caves serve as other reminders of wartime. Japanese Forces fortified many natural caves on Weno and other islands in Chuuk. Sometimes, as on FeFan and Tonwoas, they enlarged the caves to install guns, or rails for the transportation of munitions and stores. The Tonata installations are typical of those found throughout the former bastion of Chuuk.
Nefo Cave, just 50 meters From the Governor's residence, is about 10 feet wide, 6 feet high and 78 Feet long. The cave contains a gun used by Japanese soldiers to guard entry to the north pass, and many of the soldiers lived there.
The Japanese Officer's Quarters on Eten Island still stand despite aerial bombing by U.S. aircraft during World War II. The extent of damage to the reinforced concrete structures is greater than at other sites targeted for attack. The Japanese greatly modified the island of Eten by the creation of an airfield so that its present Form actually resembles an aircraft.
Legends - The Trukese Love Stick
In past years, an island man would carve his personal notches on the lovestick and let his would-be sweethearts feel it. At night, lovestick in hand, he would kneel beside the thatch wall opposite where a girl lay sleeping, poke the stick through the wall and entangle her long hair, hopefully awakening her without arousing her family. The silent language of the lovestick began when the girl put her fingers around the shaft's notches and identified the owner.