On my first
trip to the Outer Islands of Yap in June 1977 I visited
enroute to Lamotrek. In the above photo I am sitting with
a group of men at a dance celebration for the Catholic ordination of Fr.
Nicholas P. Rahoy, the first son
of Ulithi to become a priest.
When I returned for a short visit in June 2000, someone said that
their grandmother recognized who I was because she had this picture in
a photo album. When it was presented to me I could hardly believe
it. She told her grandson to give the photo to me as a "thank
because I had come back to Ulithi. Speechless, I was
that it had taken me 23 years to set foot on the island again,
honored and amazed at the same time that someone would remember me from
a photograph that had been taken so long ago. But that was not
end of her gift. It was then that I learned the amazing story of
the three men sitting with me in the photo: Johannis Thareg
Jose Yanger (full-body tatoo), and Manuel Yurus (right). In
1954, they were sailing on three canoes from Ulithi to Fais. The
voyagers encountered bad weather and this caused some difficulty.
They searched for Fais for three days but alternative courses to find
ultimately proved fruitless. Since the canoes were running out of
food and water, they decided that the best course of action was to sail
downwind to make landfall in the Phillipines. There they arrived
safely after 29 days at sea and eventually were returned by air via
to great rejoicing on Ulithi.