The other side of Tinian

HAVE you ever seen or wondered what the other end of Tinian looks like from up in the skies?

Airplanes plying the Saipan-Tinian routes only fly above the North Field and into the airstrip, and if you search, you can find aerial images of these areas online posted by thousands of passengers who have flown to and from Tinian for decades.

Some weeks back a rare chance to fly above and around the whole island came up and I did not waste a single minute to grab the chance.

We flew from Saipan toward Tinian late in the afternoon, and since we took off, my finger never stopped pressing the shutter. I’ve taken hundreds of photos from the plane window in this route countless times before, that flight was different. Instead of landing at the Tinian International Airport, my pilot flew over and made circular route around Tinian. We talked to each other though the headsets from time to time, but most of the time I was

It was a totally new experience for me. For the first time, I saw the beauty of the southern end of the island with its lush green vegetation creating a wonderful contrast to the pristine cerulean waters of the sea. The access road snaking across the deep jungles toward the Suicide Cliffs was completely deserted. We flew directly above the cliffs and I couldn’t help stop a slight shiver that ran up my spine. If the Suicide cliffs look menacing when you stand on the view deck, looking down on it from the skies increased the tremor at the pit of my stomach tenfold.

From up there, the cliffs look ten times as dangerous and the waves crashing on the rocks seem to scream of death. Maybe it was because of the tragic history connected to the Suicide Cliffs where thousands of Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths, but still, I couldn’t stop but gape at the postcard-perfect scenery below.

It was also my first time to see what the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino looks like from up there, and the coastal areas.

The sun was slowly making its way down to its resting place for the day and the golden reddish skies added more drama to the images I was capturing—both with my camera and with my memory.

We circled Tinian several times before we headed toward the direction of Managaha Island where another stunning wonder awaited us. I watched the sun setting behind the fiery skies with Managaha in the foreground. I had to remind myself to keep shooting and stop gaping at the amazing streaks of colors the sunset left along the Beach Road and all over Saipan. Sometimes you have to see the place you’ve always taken for granted from different perspectives. You just don’t know what surprises await you.

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