Category Archives: Guam

Guam Boonie Stompers Schedule March – June 2019

And here is the Boonie Stomper Hike Schedule, reprinted from their Facebook page. I wish I could go on a hike, these are some of my favorites here. Alas, my knee prohibits any such thing for the time being. I will also post this to the Google Calendar here.

  • Mar 16 Southern Mountains to Inarajan Very Difficult 7 hours for 12 miles We hike up and over Mount Jumujong Manglo to Inarajan. Bring: 5 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, sun screen, insect repellant, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass, little shade, a lot of climbing, and a seriously long hike.
  • Mar 23 Pagat Loop Difficult 4 hours for 2.5 miles We descend the cliff and through the limestone forest to explore the coastline with a great view north and then head to the ancient Chamorro village and cave. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, swim suit, water shoes, flashlight, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Stretches of steep climbing, walking in cave water, and over rough limestone rocks.
  • Mar 30 Lajuna Difficult 4 hours for 4 miles We descend the northeastern cliff to the coastline and head north for a view of the massive landslide from the 1993 earthquake. Bring: 4 liters water, hiking boots, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Hiking over rough rocks and a long ascent.
  • 06 Apr Brittany Falls Difficult 5 hours for 5 miles We explore a 20 foot waterfall in the heart of southern Guam with what might be the deepest accessible freshwater swimming hole in Guam. Bring: 4 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass, river crossing, rope climb, and a muddy swamp.
  • 13 Apr Asiga Cave Difficult 4 hours for 1.5 miles We visit an isolated southeastern wilderness area containing cliffs, dry caves, and two wet caves with underground pools. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking shoes, gloves, flashlight, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Walking on rough rocks, climbing in caves, mosquitoes, and scratchy vegetation.
  • 20 Apr Southwest Coast Difficult 6 hours for 7.5 miles We hike south from Agat to Umatac along the coast, passing by several scenic bays that are great for swimming and snorkeling. Bring: 3 liters water, wet shoes, swim suit, snorkel gear, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: A long hike in the sun over, sand, rocks, mud, and partly in the water.
  • 27 Apr Lajuna Difficult 4 hours for 4 miles We descend the northeastern cliff to the coastline and head north for a view of the massive landslide from the 1993 earthquake. Bring: 4 liters water, hiking boots, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Hiking over rough rocks and a long ascent
  • 04 May Fadian Difficult 3 hours for 1 miles We descend to this scenic cove below the cliffs to swim and snorkel if the water is calm. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, swim suit, snorkel gear, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: A steep hill to climb and hiking over rough rocks. Possible surf.
  • 11 May Talofofo Caves Medium 3 hours for 0.8 miles We explore the extensive cave system overlooking Talofofo Bay including Window Rock. Bring: flashlights, 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, long pants, sun screen, insect repellant, lunch, camera, and a flashlight. Special condition: Crawling in caves.
  • 18 May Southeast Coast Difficult 6 hours for 5 miles We hike along this remote Asiga coastline with a few stops to cool off in the water. Bring: 4 quarts water, hiking boots, water shoes, swim suit, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Long stretches of walking in water, over rough rocks, no shade, and possible hazardous surf.
  • 25 May Atillong Acho to Sella Bay Difficult 4 hours for 3 miles We hike over black rock to the coastline and then north to Sella Bay. Bring 3 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, camera, swimsuit and snorkel gear. Special conditions: Steep slopes.
  • 01 Jun Ague Cove Medium 3 hours for 0.4 miles We descend to a cove ideal for swimming and snorkeling if the water is calm. This will be a cleanup hike. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, swim suit, snorkel gear, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: A steep slope to ascend and a few rough rocky trail areas.
  • 08 Jun Tarzan Swim Hole Medium 4 hours for 2 miles We journey to a remote swimming hole to cool off. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swimsuit, sunglasses, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Possibly slippery slopes and mud.
  • 15 Jun We have TWO hikes! Ritidian to Falcona at 0900 and a special MOONIE STOMP at Mt. Macajna at 5:30 pm. Ritidian to Falcona Difficult 5 hours for 6 miles We hike the long sandy beach south from Ritidian Point to secluded Falcona Beach, ending at the remains for the old pirate ship. Fast hikers have the option of trying for Double Reef
  • 22 Jun Mt. Tenjo to Maguagua with Tarzan Option Difficult 5 hours for 5 miles We hike to historic features along the Mount Chachao to Mount Tenjo ridge. Along the way we will see some of the remnants of the defensive positions taken up by U.S. forces at the time of WWI and WWII. Bring: 4 liters of water, hiking boots, long pants, long sleeved shirt, gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, swimsuit, and camera. Special conditions: deep swordgrass, steep rocky slopes, possible climbing with a rope and long distances.
  • 29 Jun Nimitz Caves Medium 4 hours for 1.2 miles We explore at least two natural caves from a significant battlefield of late July 1044, used by Japanese soldiers during the Liberation of Guam. Then we make an optional hike to Fonte Swim Hole to get a great view of Guam’s central area, clean up and cool off, and enjoy jumping and swimming. Bring: FLASHLIGHT, 2 quarts water, gloves, insect repellent, swimsuit, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Climbing and crawling in narrow cave passages.

Typhoon Wutip

And we have a storm folks. Typhoon Wutip is headed our way. Closest approach expected Saturday, bringing tropical storm strength to Guam and Yap as it passes between the two islands. Though it seems to be veering towards Guam more and more. Check my weather page for further updates.

Busted Turbine

I don’t think I mentioned it lately, but the wind turbine that GPA installed several years ago that powered my neighborhood has been down since early September. The turbine featured this collapsible system that allowed GPA employees to lower the turbine when typhoons or other high winds were expected, or for servicing.
GPA Wind Turbine at Tarzan Falls
Apparently the turbine was damaged during storm preparations a few months ago and it cannot be fixed by GPA. They’ve sought assistance from the French company that sold the turbine, and the generator is offline until further notice. That’s a drag. I really think they need to deploy more wind turbines here on Guam to meet our energy needs instead of building more fossil fuel plants. It gets pretty windy here, especially during dry season when the trade winds are blowing.

Guam Boonie Stomp Schedule January 2018

Once again, I am reposting the hiking schedule for the Guam Boonie Stompers here on my site… I intend to post these to the calendar when I get a chance, but at the moments, let’s just post this list here. Heading into the dry season, the Boonie Stompers post some of their signature hikes at this time of the year: The Southern Mountains hike, Anao Point, Mount Jumulong-Manglo and Tarzan Falls are all great hikes and must-see places on Guam. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get back into hiking, so perhaps you will see me on the trails some Saturday this year.
  • 22 Dec Ghost Cave Difficult 3 hours for 2 miles We trek through one of Guam’s central rivers to get to amazing rock formations that are rare to see. We wade through the river that goes through a long rock tunnel. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, swim suit, sunglasses, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Riverwalking and some sword grass.
  • 29 Dec Alutom Falls Medium 3 hours for 2 miles We hike to a cooling and scenic waterfall in central Guam. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swimsuit, sunglasses, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Steep slopes, mud, and climbing with a rope.
  • Jan 05 Anao Difficult 5 hours for 2 miles We descend the northeastern cliff to the coastline and head north for a view of the massive landslide from the 1993 earthquake. Bring: 4 liters water, hiking boots, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Hiking over rough rocks and a long ascent.
  • Jan 12 La Sa Fua River Medium 3 hours for 1 miles We explore the waterfalls of a southwestern Guam valley. Bring: 2 liters water, swim suit, water shoes, hiking shoes, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Some steep slopes, wet rocks, and walking in water.
  • Jan 19 Mt. Santa Rosa Cave Difficult 3 hours for 0.5 miles We explore a unique cave along the volcanic/limestone geological junction. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, long pants, insect repellent, lunch, camera, and flashlights. Special condition: Climbing in narrow cave passages with water.
  • Jan 19 MOONIE STOMP Atillong Acho Difficult 4 hours for 2.2 miles We hike down a long narrow ridge with excellent views, then climb over the two volcanic black rock hills, Atillong Acho, to the coastline. Bring 3 quarts water, hiking shoes, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent. Special conditions: Steep slopes, sword grass, walking over rough rocks.
  • Jan 26 Tarzan Falls with Cross Island option Very Difficult 6 hours for 7 miles We journey to a series of three cooling waterfalls in central Guam, a great family hike. The more adventurous can continue on to Lower Sigua Falls and out to Turner Road. Bring: 2 quarts water, hiking shoes, gloves, swimsuit, sun screen, lunch, insect repellent, and camera. Special Conditions: muddy trail, several hills up and down, slippery rocks.
  • Feb 02 Mt. Jumulong-Manglo Medium 3 hours for 2.2 miles We hike up to the large cross on top of a mountain next to Mt. Lamlam. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass, rough rocks, and steep slopes.
  • Feb 09 Ben’s Falls Difficult 4 hours for 0.7 miles We journey to 2 waterfalls in southern Guam. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, water shoes, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Walking in water, swordgrass, and climbing one steep slope with a rope.
  • Feb 16 Sella Bay Medium 4 hours for 1.5 miles We hike to the scenic bay to snorkel and explore the old Spanish bridge, Spanish oven, and ancient chamorro latte. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, swim suit, snorkel gear, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera.
  • Feb 23 Ija to Mt. Schroeder Very Difficult 5 hours for 4 miles We hike to hell and beyond! We begin with the long uphill climb to Mt. Sasalaguan with its outstanding views, then traverse through Atete to Mt. Schroeder with its great views. Bring: 4 quarts water, good shoes, gloves, sunscreen, lunch, snacks, and camera. Special conditions: Sword grass, little shade, a lot of steep climbing, and a long hard hike.
  • Mar 02 Lower Sigua Falls Difficult 5 hours for 6 miles We trek over the hills of central Guam to two great waterfalls. Bring: 4 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass, steep slopes, walking in water, little shade, and a long hike.
  • Mar 09 Taguan North
  • Mar 16 Southern Mountains to Inarajan Very Difficult 7 hours for 12 miles We hike up and over Mount Jumujong Manglo to Inarajan. Bring: 5 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, sun screen, insect repellant, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass, little shade, a lot of climbing, and a seriously long hike.
  • Mar 23 Pagat Loop Difficult 4 hours for 2.5 miles We descend the cliff and through the limestone forest to explore the coastline with a great view north and then head to the ancient Chamorro village and cave. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, swim suit, water shoes, flashlight, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Stretches of steep climbing, walking in cave water, and over rough limestone rocks.
  • Mar 30 Lajuna Difficult 4 hours for 4 miles We descend the northeastern cliff to the coastline and head north for a view of the massive landslide from the 1993 earthquake. Bring: 4 liters water, hiking boots, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Hiking over rough rocks and a long ascent.

Storm’s Gone, Power Just Came Back

So that was a few days without power. It died out late Monday afternoon, and it just came back about two hours ago. Good thing, as we were about to go buy a generator tomorrow if this continued. Super hot last night. No power, not a breath of wind, really muggy. Ugh. It was miserable.

Color Guam fared pretty well. The breadfruit tree behind the studio blew over, luckily in the opposite direction and not into our building. However, the power line into the building went with it. It’s probably going to take awhile for that to get repaired. The power authority is prioritizing other areas now.

Super typhoon Mangkhut is headed towards the Philippines and it is now a Category 5 monster. Current track has it passing just north of Luzon and barrelling straight towards Hong Kong by next Sunday. Good luck people.

And It Is A Typhoon

We have a typhoon heading for us. Looks like closest approach will be tomorrow evening. Current track has it passing just north of Guam, but that can certainly change. Check my weather links page for all the details.

I spent the day securing the house, putting up the shutters, packing stuff inside, doing laundry, gassing the vehicles. A thousand things to do – and now securing my work place. I am tired. Bone tired.

Ruh-Roh Shaggie

Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in Guam.
Trouble with a capital “T”
And that rhymes with “T”
Which stands for typhoon!

Looks like this is going to be a doozy. Maybe Category 4 super-typhoon by the time it gets here on Tuesday, September 11. That forecast says 165 knots – which is like 189 mph. Goddamn. I hope this thing veers away.

Thursday Midday Update July 5

The storm has a name now. Tropical Storm Maria is moving away from Guam and the Marianas to the north-northwest at 10 mph, with maximum winds of 65 mph.

Here’s the storm track one last time…

I’m at work, and the power’s still out back home. Checking on that now, but I think it might be awhile. Here’s the situation about a mile down the road from my house.


Downed power poles and lines on Cross-Island Road by Tarzan Falls. Roads closed at this time.

That’s it for storm updates. Going back into stealth mode now…

July 4 – Evening Update

Winds are picking up. Car is in the carport. Lawn stuff is secured – mostly. Hoping that trampoline doesn’t go airborne tonight.

Here’s the latest storm track.

Now this storm is heading north of Guam, through the Rota Channel.

Oh yeah….

This is really awesome. Check this cool graphic of wind speed around the planet out right now.

Update For July 4

Latest forecast #5 predicts a closer approach around 4 am tomorrow morning. Things are calm right now. Forecast calls for 39 mph winds tonight. Debating whether I put up shutters or not. Probably not. Need to secure stuff in the yard and carport though.

Here’s the storm track…

More Boonie Stomps: Q3 Stomps

Here’s the latest like I’ve gotten from the Guam Boonie Stompers Facebook page:

HIKING SCHEDULE:
16 JUN Southeast Coast Difficult 6 hours for 5 miles We hike along this remote Asiga coastline with a few stops to cool off in the water. Bring: 4 quarts water, hiking boots, water shoes, swim suit, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Long stretches of walking in water, over rough rocks, no shade, and possible hazardous surf.

23 JUN Gun to Tanguisson Medium 4 hours for 1.8 miles We pass below the imposing cliffs of Two Lovers Point, visit latte, and explore the coastline with a cooling dip in the ocean. Snorkeling if waves are low. Bring; 2 liters water, hiking boots, swimsuit, water shoes, snorkeling gear, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Some walking in water and over rough rocks.

30 JUN Option 1: Mt. Tenjo to Maguagua Medium 4 hours for 3.7 miles or Option 2: Mt. Tenjo to Tarzan Falls Difficult 5 hours for 5 miles We hike from Mt. Tenjo to one of two waterfalls. Along the way we will see some of the remnants of the defensive positions taken up by U.S. forces at the time of WWI and WWII. Bring: 3 to 4 liters of water, hiking boots, long pants, long sleeved shirt, gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, swimsuit, and camera. Special conditions: deep swordgrass, steep rocky slopes, possible climbing with a rope and long distances.

Jul 07 Liberation Stomp Easy 4 hours for 2.5 miles We travel to several sites for short walks to historic features for the Liberation of Guam in July 1944. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Short climbs and possible mud, slippery slopes, and swordgrass at Mount Alifan.

Jul 14 Tinta, Faha, Priest’s Pools Easy 4 hours for 1.5 miles We hike to the Merizo Massacre Sites of World War II and then cool off in the freshwater pools of the Pigua River. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swim suit, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special condition: mud.

Jul 21 Invasion Hike to Tony’s Falls Difficult 4 hours for 1.5 miles We retrace the 21 July route of the U.S. Third Marine Division from Asan to the heights above and end up cooling off at a nearby waterfall. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swim suit, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass and steep slopes.

Jul 28 Libugon to Fonte Swim Hole Medium 3 hours for 2 miles We’ll visit the ruins of the historic site U.S. Navy radio station. Then we’ll hike to the 1910 dam and explore the valley downstream and cool off in the pools. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, water shoes, gloves, swim suit, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass, and steep slopes

Jul 28 Moonie Stomp – Mt. Jumullong Medium 3 hours for 2.2 miles We hike up to the large cross on top of a mountain next to Mt. Lamlam. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, insect repellent, and camera. Special conditions: Swordgrass, rough rocks, and steep slopes.

Aug 4 Guatali Falls Difficult 5 hours for 3.2 miles We hike from the central mountains of Guam into a pristine valley with 2 waterfalls and a swimming hole. Bring: 4 liters water, hiking boots, water shoes, swimsuit, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Walking in water, climbing with a rope, and a long hike up and out.

Aug 11 Ylig Bay to Tagachang Medium 4 hours for 2 miles We explore the headlands, beaches, and reefs of eastern Guam at Yona. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, water shoes, swimsuit, gloves, insect repellent, sun screen, sunglasses, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Walking in water, a short stretch of rough rocks, and possible surf.

Aug 18 Tinago Medium 3 hours for 3 miles We trek to a series of waterfall cascades in southeastern Guam. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swim suit, sunglasses, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Possible slippery mud.

Aug 25 Tarzan Falls Medium 3 hours for 1.4 miles We journey to a series of cooling waterfalls. Bring: 2 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swimsuit, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, and camera.

Sep 01 Ben’s Falls with Mt. Lamlam option Difficult 6 hours for 3 miles We journey to 3 waterfalls on the Sella River in southern Guam. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, water shoes, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Walking in water through rocky river, steep slopes through swordgrass, and climbing waterfalls with a rope.

Sep 08 Tagu’on Medium 3 hours for 1.2 miles We descend 256 steps to a rugged coastline of northeastern Guam and snorkel if the water is calm. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swim suit, snorkel gear, sunglasses, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Walking on rough rocks, in the water, and possible surf.

Sep 15 Waterfall Valley Medium 4.5 hours for 1 miles A couple of short hikes to a series of waterfalls in southeastern Guam. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, gloves, swimsuit, sunglasses, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Walking in water, slippery mud, and climbing with a rope.

Sep 22 Mt. Finansanta & Geus River Very Very Difficult 7 hours for 5 miles Our hardest hike, three difficult hikes strung together. We visit 2 mountains with fantastic views, a pristine jungle river, and swim, jump, and slide spots. Bring: 4 liters water, strong shoes, gloves, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch and snacks, and camera. Special conditions: Sword grass, steep slopes, walking in water, slippery rocks, more sword grass.

Sep 29 Cetti Seven Falls Very Difficult 5 hours for 1.2 miles We descend into the Cetti Valley and then climb up all 7 waterfalls. Bring: 3 liters water, hiking boots, water shoes, swimsuit, gloves, sun screen, sunglasses, insect repellent, lunch, and camera. Special conditions: Steep slopes, swordgrass, walking in water, and serious rope climbing. This stomp is for experienced boonie stompers.

Puppies!!

We got puppies! Three little cuties, born two weeks ago.

img_4708.jpg

Puppies in a basket:
img_4722.jpg

Lorelei is in love with these little guys…

Ugh Living On Guam

One thing you learn living on Guam – buy stuff in bulk. Things can be in the store one day, two days, a month, and then just disappear forever. And nothing but bemused looks from the clerks in the store.

I remember once I went to the grocery store looking for a particular product, I believe it was hummus. It wasn’t on the shelf anymore. I asked the guy stocking the shelves and he actually told me that yeah, they had a hard time keeping that product in stock, so they just stopped ordering it. Huh?? Something is selling like hotcakes, so you just decide to not bother with re-ordering? That makes no sense.

So we bought this fish tank kit back in December for the kids; fish tank, gravel, chemical drops, filter packs and the pump. It was pretty cool, and the kids enjoyed the fish we got them, 3 regular platy’s and a swordtail platy.

Well the charcoal filter packs are only designed for two weeks of use, so after the sampler 2 pack was gone, I went to the pet store to pick up a couple more. And of course they didn’t have the replacement filters. Spoke with the store owner and a couple guys at the store and they suggest I just purchase a rival’s filter, cut it to size with a scissors and that would work just great. And they would order the actual filter I was looking for, since they were selling a lot of that aquarium kit.

Suffice to say that replacement filter hack did not work out too well. The pump got clogged up since I was using the wrong filter that didn’t really fit the housing. After a couple weeks of that, I pulled the pump cleaned it out and ordered the filter from Amazon. That fixed things, though the pump was rather anemic after that incident. The pump struggled on until last week, when it pooped out and would not start up again.

I visited the pet store again today, looking to get a new pump and some filters. After all, that incident with the filters happened in early January. It’s late March, they should have gotten their order delivered. Yeah, that order never really happened. No filters, no replacement pumps, not even for the rival brand who’s filter pack I still have lying around. Sheesh. Only option was the the gigantic jumbo size pump of a third competitor, the kind of thing for a huge tank like my brother owns.

Hopped on Amazon back at my computer. Cool beans they have everything I need, pumps, filters, even replacement drops and whatnot. Order up – and DENIED. The pump cannot be delivered to my location on Guam, perhaps I could ship it to another location in the States? Same thing with eBay, where I could probably buy a human kidney and unicorn horns if I looked hard enough. Nobody wants to ship to Guam.

The swordtail platy died last night. We are down to 1 fish left because that swordtail was a mean bastard and harassed the other fish mercilessly until they all died but one. I am guessing that poor little guy’s days are numbered too now, especially since the water is getting murkier by the day. A casualty of our island’s poor logistics.

Superbowl?

Yeah, funny thing about living on Guam. I just can’t get into watching the Superbowl on a Monday morning. In years past I would go to one of these Superbowl parties at local hotels and restaurants. And of course friend’s parties. But I just can’t get my head around drinking beers on a Monday morning, let along eating ‘game food’ – guess I am turning into a fuddy duddy.

Power Power Power

So the load shedding stopped midweek. GPA managed to get two generators online, so load shedding was not necessary.

Looks like my washer did not survive the ordeal though. The spin cycle is not working, and the repair guy says this is something that can happen with power outages. And of course the parts to fix it are not available. Great.

Yep, It’s Load Shedding Time

Just to confirm my last post…

Yes, Guam is in the midst of load shedding again. This was a common theme throughout the 90’s on Guam, with months and months of load shedding. At the time, my response was to just stay late at the office (with backup generators) then hit a couple bars and not come home until later at night when the demand for power was less and load shedding was over. Not really an option this time around. There are kids to be fed and bathed now, homework to be done, laundry, dishes, etc.

Sunday night GPA took a couple more generators off line and finally owned up to the situation. Instead of just bonking out neighborhoods at random they have started publishing schedules for load shedding. Back in the 90’s they were terrible at keeping to their schedules, and it would appear they still have difficulties. My power went out at about 10:15 last night, so I went around and secured the house, brushed my teeth and headed to bed. As soon as I laid down however, the power came back on about 30 minutes later.

I am sure this is just going to cause havoc with my appliances and the computer, tv, etc. Time to just keep those things off indefinitely and hunker down with flashlights and candles. And here I was so excited about the new solar farm coming online. Maybe it’s time to talk to Pacific Solar or Micronesia Renewable Energy about outfitting my house for solar power. Both these outfits offer affordable plans and basically take the place of GPA as the power utility. They take the excess power harvested from my rooftop (like during the day when I am at work and all that sunlight is shining on my empty house) and sell it to GPA. Guess I should make a phone call and find out if they can help with this load shedding situation.

Weekend Getaway At The Westin

The family took a short staycation at the Westin Resort in Tumon this weekend. We felt bad that summer vacation was over and we didn’t take the kids anywhere this year. We’ve promised Lorelei a trip for ages now, and it just hasn’t materialized yet, so this was a compromise solution. I had enough points with the Starwood Preferred Guest program for a free night, so why not spend it up in town with the kids?

We checked in Saturday afternoon after Taliea’s book signing event at Navy Exchange, then spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the pool and playing on the beach. The kids loved it, we didn’t have to pack it in and head home at sunset for once. We stayed on the beach until sunset, then went and played in the pool until well after dark.

Dinner Saturday night was at the always tasty Cat Crea Cafe, a quirky cafe located just outside the Westin’s property. We took a short walk down the hill to Paradise Island (do they still call it that?) and through the Plaza, the Outrigger Hotel lobby and into the new Dusit Thani Hotel’s lobby and grounds. The pool looks amazing at night, there are LED lights in the bottom that sparkle and change color slowly.

A couple of adventures later, and we were back at the Westin by 10:00 pm for lights out and a good night’s rest on their famous beds.

Sunday started out early, as we had another surprise for the children. Breakfast at McDonald’s was tasty, they make good pancakes there. Not as good as mine, but certainly a morning highlight. One thing I couldn’t understand was the line wrapped around the building for Eggs ‘N Things, a Hawaii based chain restaurant that specializes in breakfast. Sorry, I am not waiting in the broiling sun for two hours to eat breakfast, no matter how good it tastes.

After breakfast we headed to the big event for Sunday; a surprise trip on Ride the Ducks Guam! The kids have been begging to go on the iconic amphibious vehicle tour for a year now, ever since the Ducks first arrived on Guam. We booked for the first tour of that morning as Taliea thought it would be too hot later in the day. Taliea played it up as a big surprise and wouldn’t tell the kids why we were just hanging out in the lobby of the Sandcastle on a Sunday morning. Just when the kids were about to revolt because of all this boring sitting around stuff, the Duck waddled around the corner of the building and parked outside. The kids absolutely freaked out, Russell was jumping up and down and Lorelei had this huge grin on her face.

The tour started a bit later, and the Duck was fully loaded with Japanese tourists. The overhead audio tour was all in Japanese, but we were provided with headphones and plugged into an audio jack for the English version. I didn’t bother with it after listening for ten seconds to the nonsense, but it was a nice touch. Other languages are available on different channels via the headphones too.

The tour headed south through Tumon and into Tamuning, past GPO and onto Marine Drive. We amused ourselves with the Duck Polka music and the squawking duck noise makers we received back at Sandcastle. After a brief ride the Duck arrived at Apra Harbor, drove past the power plants and commercial port and arrived at the old Cabras seaplane ramp. There the bus driver switched out with a boat captain, who took over and plunged us into the water. The kids loved it, but let’s just say a Duck is not exactly a nimble beast in the ocean. We puttered around the harbor for about a half hour, during which all the kids on board got a chance to drive the Duck around. Lorelei took a turn at the wheel, then Russell too.

After pulling out of the water and switching back to the bus driver, we resumed our tour with a brief loop through Hagåtña, back to Tumon and a swing past the other Baldyga Group property, The Beach. Apparently the Lina’la Cultural Park next to the beach is closed, which is a shame. Taliea said she thought the historical village had been damaged during our recent typhoons. I hope the place reopens soon, that is another place on our bucket list for kid’s activities.

The Duck bus dropped us back at the Sandcastle shortly before 11:00 am, and we headed back to the hotel. A couple more hours of swimming at the pool ensued, followed by a late checkout at 3:00 pm. Lots of fun activities for just 24 hours up ‘in town’ as my boy likes to say.

Television On Guam

Let’s talk about television on Guam.

We cut the cord years ago, and got rid of cable in 2011. Been streaming Netflix and Youtube on the TV ever since, but I missed live sports. Especially football. So last year I installed a television antenna on my roof last Christmas and now I get seven glorious channels of digital content (and one fuzzy regular TV station) here on Guam.

  1. NBC affiliate KUAM NBC at 8.1
  2. CBS affiliate KUAM CBS at 8.2 (hellooo football…)
  3. PBS affiliate KGTF at 12.1 and 12.2
    1. 12.1 is the regular station; Masterpiece Theater, NOVA, Sesame Street etc.
    2. 12.2 is local content; public affairs, Jr. ROTC drills, and local documentaries produced through the years
  4. ABC affiliate KTGM at 14.1
  5. Fox affiliate KEQI-LP in regular TV full of static at 22 – This channel is supposed to be at 14.2 as it is a sister station to KTGM, but I cannot seem to get that channel
  6. Iglesia Ni Cristo programming at 26.1 and 26.2 – This used to be KTKB (The CW), but it doesn’t seem to be that anymore.

If anybody’s listening I have a couple questions I can’t seem to figure out. The audio drops in and out on 14.1 and I can’t fix it. The colors tend to drift on 12.1 sometimes, then snap back. And of course that thing with 14.2 not showing up. Anyone with any ideas, please comment below.

My kids are generally befuddled by regular television. They are used to all cartoons, all the time. On demand and streaming of anything their little heart’s desire. Lion King? Sure. My Little Pony? You betcha. Phineas and Ferb? Winx? Octonauts? Lilo & Stitch? Spider Man? All just a few clicks away. The idea of scheduled programming is beyond their ken.

And commercials? A couple months ago I took my boy to the doctor’s office for some illness or other. While we were waiting in the play room/waiting room, a television was playing Disney Jr. and on came this Toy Story Short – Toy Story of Terror. He got really into this show, but when they paused for a commercial about 10 minutes into the program, he was utterly confused. “What happened? Where’s Woody?” was all I heard until it came back on. He could not fathom what commercials where in the slightest. I guess that’s a good thing.

Color Guam News

So the wife has been selling our activity book, Explore, Learn and Color Guam for several months now. The book combines a virtual tour of Guam with activities and coloring pages for over thirty historical sites and places of interest on our beautiful island. A unique feature of our book is the use of QR codes to direct readers to our website to hear audio descriptions of the sites in English and Chamorro.

A couple satisfied customers at Guam's Big BBQ Block Party in July 2015

One of the big events for the book was her participation in GUMA, a unique small business incubator offered by the Galaide Group and the Small Business Development Center at UOG. GUMA’s mission is to develop local artists and entrepreneurs to create sustainable businesses and unique merchandise showcasing Guam’s culture. At the conclusion of the program we had the opportunity to compete for a Federally Funded grant to build our business. And thanks to Taliea’s long hours we actually won a grant.

With the grant money we were able to have the book translated into Japanese, record audio in Japanese and fund an initial print run in Japanese just in time for the Obon Festival this month. We are very excited about this news as Japan sends over a million visitors to Guam every year. The activity book is a great way for tourists to explore our island and learn about Guam’s rich history and culture.