Rock Hopper Update!

This is just a short update on the September 1st Rock Hopper trail run.

Rock Hopper Poster

Rock Hopper

United Airlines is offering a 10% discount to all race participants and Kosrae Village is offering a 20% discount on lodging for the race week (special starts on August 30 and runs through Liberation week).

Here is a link to the Rock Hopper Registration page. There is also more information on the United discount here.

Happy Hopping!

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Kosrae Village News & Events

The best news!

Our very good friend, Ric Fullerton, has successfully received a kidney from a living donor. Both he and his donor are doing extremely well and he expects to be back on Kwajalein in a few months. There are expenses that aren’t covered by insurance, so if you know Ric and would like to contribute check his Facebook page or let me know.

The annual Rock Hopper trail run will take place on September 1st (US Labor Day) this year. The race is a fun run covering about 5 miles, partly on dirt and partly on pavement. Last year whole families took part and everyone had a great time!
Kosrae Rockhopper 2013 Starting Line

Runners in last years race

Kosrae Village is offering a 20% lodging discount for race participants.

You might want to extend your stay into the next week. Kosrae celebrates Liberation Day on September 8 and generally the Liberation Week is taken up with parades, canoe racing, track and field events and general good fun.

Humm – I think that we might extend the Rock Hopper special through Liberation day holiday. :)

A lot of you know that we organize an annual coral monitoring session at the end of September or early October. This year ‘s monitoring period begins on September 27, with volunteers arriving from the US. Right now we have 4 divers on the team and we really need a couple more. So if you are thinking about participating, remember it’s tax deductible!

Have a great week!

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Lessons Learned or I got Hacked!

I’ll be the first to tell you that Facebook is NOT intuitive to me. It seems like every time I log in (not that often) the interface is different and finding what I need is difficult. So, like a million others, I pretty much left the settings alone, accepting the defaults that FB sets. It never occurred to me that I was leaving my account wide open to abuse.

Here is what I think happened.

Basically the imposter copied my account by creating a new account using my name and a photo copied from my FB photos. Then – he / she / it? copied all of my friends addresses (easy to do if they are public), and started asking them to “friend” him. Then he proceeded to spam them trying to get them to click on bogus links, hoping that people wouldn’t notice that I don’t usually send out messages like “I just won (something amazing) and you can too! – click here”. I didn’t figure this out on my own. First, my friends alerted me about what was going on and then helped me figure out what to do.

Apparently this sort of thing is fairly common, so I thought I would share what I learned. If this is as new for you as it was for me, my experience might help protect you and your friends.

You start by checking your settings (right now, on my screen it is under the drop down arrow on the right side of the top menu or toolbar).

First, if you think someone has your login info, change your password immediately (it’s in the general settings and right in front of you when you open the setting menu).

The security settings are a great help if someone is actually using your account. Take a look at them and change them as needed.

Also check the apps settings. The impostor might be a program and not a person, so make sure that there are no unfamiliar apps. You can delete apps by clicking on the “x” to the right and get information about activity by clicking on the app name.

Finally, you should also check your activity log, to make sure that the invader has not made changes to your account.

Now, this is all great stuff and important to take care of, but it only applies if someone is actually using your account. In my case it was more like an email spoof where my account info was copied and then used to try to trick others.

So how do you protect your friends? I found the answer here: How Can I Hide My Friends List In Facebook. Basically you open your list of friends, select manage and then set the privacy level. I also turned off the sidebar on the right that shows friends activity.

To see what your page looks like to someone browsing FB, go back to settings and select Timeline and Tagging and then “View As” in the Who can see things on my timeline? option. I found this tidbit in a really excellent article about securing FB accounts here: Secure your Facebook account in six easy steps.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to backup my FB account. I especially don’t want to lose the information on the Kosrae Village page, that timeline goes back 20 years and has scanned photos from the early construction days. We all looked a lot younger then. :)

Are there other things I should do to protect my account? Do you know of any backup solutions for Facebook?

Be safe!

Posted in Katrina's Rambling | Tagged | 2 Comments

Crustaceans Rule!

Last Saturday a new volunteer coral monitoring team formed by island residents completed their first monitoring session! Since everyone is working, their monitoring schedule will be monthly on Saturdays. If you are an interested local diver you are welcome to join the group.

The conditions could not have been better, calm, clear water (177 feet visibility was measured during the monitoring session), no surge and a very mild current. The team did a great job and we will be able to keep the data, even though it was technically a “training” dive.

Here they are, in all their glory. :)

If any of you “off islanders” are interested in joining the September / October coral monitoring team (warm, clear tropical water, amazing hard coral reefs, US income tax deduction! How can you go wrong?) please let me know, we really need your help!


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Protection for the Yela Ka Forest

Earlier this month a historic occasion took place on Kosrae. The Yela Valley Ka forest, the last major Terminalia carolinensis forest in the world, is now protected by the first conservation easement in the Asia Pacific Region.

The Nature Conservancy helped the families who own the Yela Valley, a 1,400-acre valley encompassing the largest stand of Terminalia carolinensis trees in the world, several other endemic plant species and the endangered Micronesian pigeon organize the conservation easement which is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

While conservation easements are relatively common in the United States, this is the first conservation easement outside of the Americas and Hawaii. This revolutionary land deal is also preserving the culture and traditions — the forest provides freshwater, fish from the rivers and traditional medicine. The trunk and immense buttresses of the ka tree were traditionally used to make ceremonial canoes, and the nuts are an edible treat. It is also an extremely valuable watershed, with almost no invasive species, which drains into one of the most productive reef areas on Kosrae.

Yela Valley Protected Area

Yela Valley Protected Area

The full Nature Conservancy press release is here: TNC Yela Press Release

It’s good to have good news,

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A Newletter in Disguise :)

This post is partly to check that the new subscription mechanism is working and to share three short bits of information.

  • Next weekend (April 5-6) I will be at the Seattle Scuba and H2O Show. It’s being held at the cruise ship pier on the Seattle waterfront, Pier 91. This is a new venue for the show, for the last few years it has been held in the Tacoma Convention Center.

    Kosrae Village has booth #719. If you are in the neighborhood drop in to visit, or to talk about Kosrae and Kosrae Village or to book a trip of a life time. :)

  • Spring Specials!

    We’re offering a great special from May 1 to June 30.

    Stay for 5 nights and pay for 4, stay for 10 and pay for 8, or… you’ve got the idea. The only catch is that you can’t combine it with any other special.

  • Coral Monitoring!
    This year’s annual monitoring session will run September 27 – October 10. Don’t worry if you haven’t done it before. If you can dive and have good buoyancy, we will teach you the skills needed for the monitoring. It’s a win – win. You have a great time diving in our clear, warm tropical water, learn new skills and contribute to the understanding of the coral reef, local and regional managers really need (and use) the information we collect. To top it off, US taxpayers can deduct their expenses from their income tax. For more information email me me or check this page on the Kosrae Village site.

Have a great day!

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Spring Time in Kosrae!

Kosrae Island

Kosrae Island

Hey – I hope that you are having beautiful weather where ever you are. It’s gorgeous here, I was diving two days ago with a group of local students and the water was perfect. Crystal clear, calm and with lots of critters.

Hiroshi Point Magic

Hiroshi Point Magic

I’ve been a bad correspondent lately, just because I’ve been really, really busy. My Mom celebrated her 90th birthday last month and I went to Alaska to help celebrate. We’ve been busy here on Kosrae too. Here’s a few of the things that are going on.

Here at KVR our guys have been hard at work putting up new thatch and making sure that the cottages are in top condition. They are also working to strengthen our coastal protection. Just like coastlines everywhere, our coast is suffering from climate change and sea water rise. It only takes a small increase in water level to destabilize the natural seawall or “berm”. We’re successfully using a combination of traditional techniques with modern materials to slow the advance of the ocean, but it takes a lot of work and is expensive. It’s a good thing we’ve been busy!

The Island is busy too, preparing for the FSM National Environmental Conference being held on Kosrae next week and the State Fair and Cultural Day, March 27 and 28.

Kosrae Village has a booth (#719) at the Scuba and H2O Adventure show at Seattle’s Pier 91 being held April 5 and 6. I will be there, so come and see me and check out our show specials if you get a chance. We’ve donated a great “Silent Auction” prize to the show, 5 nights and 1 dive day for two! The proceeds will go to the Washington Scuba Alliance and California Ships to Reefs. If you’ve been thinking about visiting us, you might want to bid on this.

Here’s a link for more information about the show and their Facebook page where prizes are posted.

While we’re talking about prizes, here’s another Kosrae Village donation for the International Ecotourism Society’s ecoDestinations Live Auction.

But enough computer stuff! Get outside! Go diving! Dance in the sunshine! Have Fun!


Posted in Kosrae Island, Kosrae Village | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Sports Kosrae!

This has been a great week for sports on Kosrae! You might already know that sports are very popular on here. Well, this week was Heaven for all the sports fans, and great fun for the rest of us. :)

The 6th Kosrae Games were held November 11th and 12th with two very full days of track and field, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, wrestling, weight lifting, and spear fishing. The top athletes will represent Kosrae at the July 2014 Micro Games in Pohnpei.

ALSO on the morning of the 11th the first ever Kosrae RockHopper trail run was held. The 5.7 miles (9.15 kilometers) run was partly on dirt road and partly on pavement. Over 60 athletes joined the run, including people from Japan as well as our neighboring islands of Pohnpei and Kwajalein. Here are the unofficial results.

Walkers and joggers were welcome as families, seniors, and young people joined the other athletes.

The top male and female runners, Matt Rott (42:07 minutes)and Krystal Peterson (45:00 minutes) won entries in the Guam Xterra. The Guam triathlon will be held March 29, 2014. The Guam Xterra is a preliminary event for the Xterra world championship.

Here are a few photos from our RockHopper:

Kosrae Rockhopper 2013 Starting Line

And They’re Off!

Matt Rott Crosses the Finish

Matt Rott Crosses the Finish

Matt Congratulates Krystal

Matt Congratulates Krystal

RockHopper Awards

RockHopper Awards

Next year’s RockHopper will be September 18, so mark your calendars and plan on running, walking or cheering on the athletes.

Have fun!

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It’s a whole different world!

When you thinking of diving in a tropical location, you think of clear vis, amazing corals, wonderfully bizarre animals and huge schools of fish, right?

Well, next time you have a chance, take it a little farther. Most tropical destinations have mangroves and mangrove channels, that sit where the salt and fresh water meet. Many are pretty shallow, and you can easily explore them by snorkeling. But if you really want to get down there and look closely, take your scuba gear.

By chance I wound up in the mangrove fringing the Utwe Biosphere Reserve with snorkel gear and no camera. What I saw was amazing and I went back, with scuba and camera.

It’s a whole different world.

Fish that we don’t often see on the reef: Humbug and Blacktail Dascyllus, Picassofish, and Monos for instance, corals that are adapted to this very harsh environment and the most amazing sponges. And did I mention the surreal effect of the mangrove roots?

It’s not for everybody, as I said the water is shallow, currents can be fierce and the visibility is usually not crystal. But if you are looking for a new environment to explore, it might be just the thing.

Here are a few photos from my “exploration”:

Humbug Dasycllus

Humbug Dasycllus, Sponges and Nudibrach Egg Sprials

Humbug and Blacktail Dasycllus

Humbug and Blacktail Dasycllus

Mangrove Roots and Sponges

Mangrove Roots and Sponges

Tiny Nudibranch Pair with Eggs on Blue Sponge

Tiny Nudibranch Pair with Eggs on Blue Sponge

Go Diving! :)

Posted in Diving & Marine | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Diving! Again or Still or Whatever :)

I’ve just spent a couple of excellent weeks diving, with old friends and new. I’m at that really nice place in training a new dive guide, where I need to be there, but he’s almost ready to fly on his own. So I get to dive, watch amazing animals on our incredible reefs, enjoy good company (and lunch!) during the surface intervals and, oh yeah, take pictures. :)

Here’s one that I’ve been try to get for a long time.

Bignose Unicornfish (Naso vlamingii)  Being Cleaned

Bignose Unicornfish (Naso vlamingii) Being Cleaned

These fish have amazing color and pattern changes. This is a male fish, and he is usually just a dark grey / blue when he is cruising down the reef. That big dorsal fin is normally folded pretty close to his back. When he is courting a female (or maybe establishing territory?) he will turn a fluorescent royal blue with dark stripes and flare his fins. Sometimes just the stripes will fluoresce. This is what he looks like when he is getting a massage in a cleaning station.

I’ve just added about 30 new photos to my gallery. On the home page the photos from the last two weeks are mixed in with the photos from my trip to the US mainland in the spring. If you just want to see the diving photos, select “Ocean” from the Galleries drop down menu.


Posted in Diving & Marine | Tagged | 10 Comments