The Island Hopper

From Hawaii, we took the Continental flight know as the Island Hopper.  This route runs between Hawaii and Guam, with several stops.  The entire journey takes around 14 hours, twice as long as the direct daily flights between Hawaii and Guam.  These flights move a lot of people and cargo between these islands.  The flights currently stop at Majuro, Kosrae, Kwajalein, Pohnpei, and Chuuk on their way to Guam or Hawaii.  See the bottom of this page for more about flights in Micronesia.

We left Hawaii around 7am, en route to the first stop, Majuro.  We had visited the Marshall Islands many years ago when we lived in Micronesia, but the sight of these islands was still amazing.  These long, ribbon-like strips of land that go on for miles and the surrounding waters and reefs give these islands a look that is truly unique.

Majuro Airport

On Majuro, the plane was searched for the first time.  All the passengers on one side of the plane get off with their carry-on luggage and wait in this building with few seats, no restrooms, and no water or vending machines.  The other passengers remain on the plane while it is being searched.  On Kosrae, the other half of the passengers take their turn. 



After a stop at Kwajalein (no pictures allowed,) we next come to Kosrae, formerly Kusai.  We had never been to this island, although we sailed past it on the Pacific Islander in 1965.  The island is very lush and green with high, sharp mountains. 

The clouds were obscuring some of the mountains that form the "sleeping lady."  See the sign in the picture below.


The next stop on the Island Hopper, Pohnpei is a beautiful, mountainous island. 

A view of the largest town on Pohnpei, Kolonia.  The airport can be seen on an island connected by a causeway.  There was no airport when we visited Pohnpei in 1965.  We flew in from Guam on the Trust Territory SA-16 seaplane, coming ashore at the old Japanese seaplane ramp, and left on the TT ship, Pacific Islander.


After a couple of days on Pohnpei, we picked up the next Island Hopper and continued to Chuuk.  The numerous islands in this large lagoon have a distinctive appearance.

Approaching the airport on Weno, the capital of Chuuk.  This was the last leg of our journey on the Island Hopper.
A note about air travel in Micronesia:  While Guam and Saipan can be reached by other airlines (from Asia,) Continental is the only choice to fly to most of Micronesia.  The airfare is quite expensive, but they do have two different air passes that will save money over the regular fares, the Visit Micronesia pass and the Circle Micronesia pass.  A brief explanation of the passes can be found here .  This is a webpage about "birding" in Micronesia, but contains a  lot of useful information for anyone traveling there.   Also, see the following books for extensive information:  Lonely Planet Micronesia, and Moon Handbooks Micronesia.  Both books are a few years old, but still very useful. 
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