Coastal Kwaj

Being on Kwajalein a little over 2 weeks now, I’m finding a nice balance between work, downtime and activities. And on an island 3 miles long and a half mile wide, many of these activities include beach or ocean.

If you recall from my previous geography lesson, I mean post, the atoll is a big ring atolland the curved island of Kwajalein is at the south end.  Many people will refer to the “lagoon side” or the “ocean side” when giving me directions on the island.  The lagoon side or the inner portion of the atoll is protected from the open ocean and has calmer waters.  The small boat marina and the ferry terminal for boats which run to nearby islands are on this side.  Emon beach is a great little sandy beach with Adirondack chairs, picnic areas, with lifeguard stand and great snorkeling. I took my first dip in the ocean here and have enjoyed a few sunsets.  The water is in the 80’s and felt like bath water to this Mainer.


Rainstorm in the distance

The ocean side of the island seems to be the direction the weather comes from and therefore can have a vigorous surf.  Apparently this side isn’t ideal for safe swimming alone.  But at an extreme low tide deep rectangular pools are exposed in the shoreline which have become a great place to snorkel or fish.  I’m told there are 20 or so of these pools in all and date back to the World War II days when first the Japanese, then the Americans dug them out for materials for structures on the island.


Pools visible on the ocean side of Kwaj

I was invited along on a night snorkel in these pools with a few new friends. It was a clear evening with full moon.  Underwater flashlights were still necessary which many fish seemed to find annoying.  (I don’t blame them!)  I don’t know the names of the fish I saw and don’t have an underwater camera to show you but there were fish, coral and anemones galore!

I hope to join the group who paddles an outrigger canoe some night before I leave.


Best viewed from the air


Sunrise on the ocean side


WWII Memorial


Sunset on Emon Beach


10 thoughts on “Coastal Kwaj

  1. When we were on Kwaj in 1994, my husband had the honor of escorting Mr. Sorenson, a Medal of Honor recipient, to the beach on Roi where he and his troops landed and fought. My husband said it was a fantastic moment to watch Mr. Sorenson relive that landing and the events that lead to his award. It was a great honor. That weekend in February 1994 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the taking of the Kwaj atoll with other veterans and their families. Events such as this seen on television are nothing like the real event. Living on Kwaj for two short years is an experience we talk about every week. Cherish each moment you are there. Kwaj is a special place.

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