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The Beach of the Brave

June 21, 2011

It has a name.

Mata’pang.

For us, this place defines Guam like no other.  We have an eyrie seat to the goings-on at Mata’ pang, as our balcony is nine stories above the nerve center of Guam beach life.

It really is the nexus, and the drivers are the canoe clubs.

These canoes are the pride and joy of their paddlers.  This is a hub of activity every dawn and every sunset as teams come out to train…

Teams work their butts off to beat their competitors – and they start ’em young!

Teams train – they really train for events – calisthenics, running, push ups – and some teams even hang a tire on the bow of a canoe to impose drag during training.  This is serious stuff for the paddlers.

Everyone gets into the act.  There can be as many as a dozen canoes out on the water at a time.

It’s quite striking seeing teams compete against a sky-blue pink sunset while framed by Two Lover’s Point.

It’s 7:00 in the evening as I write this, and no less than eight teams are pulling hard on paddles to determine who’s the king of the lagoon.

After a hard won heat, it’s time to cool off in the mellowest of bays overlooking the Philippine Sea.

The Spaniards were awed with the stature, strength and fierceness of the Chamorro warriors when they first arrived on island.  It’s evident their blood hasn’t cooled much in three centuries on the Beach of the Brave.

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