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Valerie and I recently took a sunset cruise aboard the Oleanda. This private yacht is based out of the Majuro Atoll (the capital of the Republic of The Marshall Islands, located about 150 miles southeast of Kwajalein) and spent a month docked here at Kwajalein.

The chef prepared an awesome dinner of roasted pig, grilled chicken, beef, pork, and salmon. Towards the end of the "five-hour cruise", (you have to say that as if you're singing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island) the tour director introduced the crew, who performed a number of traditional songs and dances. He then had a number of prizes to give away, mostly hats and shirts. Valerie and I won the last prize, which turned out to a bit more expensive: a seven-day expedition trip for two to the Rongelap Atoll! This scuba diving and deep-sea fishing trip normally costs between $1,400 and $2,200 per person!

Rongelap is located about 180 miles north of here, close to the Bikini Atoll. You may have heard of Bikini, which is famous for the extensive nuclear testing conducted there by the United States government. Rongelap received heavy doses of radioactive fallout from the first hydrogen bomb, and the Department of the Interior relocated the residents to Kwajalein. In the mid 80s, the Department of Energy declared Rongelap free of radioactivity and allowed residents to move back to the atoll. The Rongelap government is working to increase the tourism to this remote atoll and will begin construction of a resort in 2004.

For more information on Rongelp and expeditions to the atoll, visit www.rongelapexpeditions.com.


 

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