Intruders at Tinian’s ‘secret ’ lagoon

We had been driving on the long stretch of deserted road north of the dilapidated Japanese communications building when we came across a turn just beside the fenced military area on Tinian last Sunday afternoon.

Photos by Raquel C. BagnolThe road was almost impossible to find behind thick weeds as high as four feet, but my buddies Susan, Ed and Barnard insisted that was what we were looking for — the road to Unai Chiget.

I got my first clear view of this majestic lagoon closeted amid lush vegetation and rocky cliffs from a thousand feet above when I went flying with Dr. Nathan to and from Tinian some weeks back, and I knew I would not rest until I step into that very spot. Facebook friends gave the lagoon a name when I posted the aerial photo I took.

Susan drove through the tall weeds when we could not find any “Don’t Enter” sign anywhere. The road curved and twisted menacingly and we could see no obvious signs of recent use. We had to get out of the vehicle several times to assess the situation if we could still go on, but I was determined to reach my destination, even if I had to crawl my way through.

The weeds thinned out when we reached the last portion of the seemingly impossible to find road and miraculously, there was a small clearing. With my cameras dangling from my neck, I followed Barnard who suddenly stopped short when he noticed that a new cyclone wire fence had been erected, and a big sign stating “DANGER, Unexploded Ordinance”  met our eyes.

I peered through the  fence and my jaw dropped, for there I was, staring at the very lagoon  that I had seen from the air. Giant waves crashed mightily on the huge rocky cliffs facing the ocean. The view was just stunningly beautiful, and I had to fight the urge to violate the big sign, roll up my jeans and wade into the clear blue waters.

Time stood still and only the clicking of shutters were heard after we found strategic spots to capture one of Tinian’s most beautiful treasures through our lenses — the hidden cove of Unai Chiget.

As tempted as you may be to visit the place, the area is restricted. For now, take a look at some of the photos I posted at http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?fbid=10150113615129858&id=596639857&aid=286092.

This article first appeared HERE

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