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Inarajan Natatorium

October 7, 2011

With a little spare time on my hands the other day, I took the Pig for a spin through the southside, figuring stuff I’d not seen would jump out and beg to be photographed.

And once again, the southside did not disappoint.

With no specific destination in mind, the bike just seemed to stop at random places.

The waters of Talofofo Bay, stained by the red clay of the island’s interior, hid a pair of shipwrecks – A Japanese ship from WWII and a German hull from WWI.  they’re just off the point in the photo, according to historical photographs.

Just past Inarajan, there’s an odd grouping of pavilions near the sea.  The bike pulled in, so off we went exploring.

The sea shallow, the shore rocky on a far western edge of the Pacific.  Many years ago, we took a vacation in a green station wagon – a 1970 Ford – to a place called Bar Harbor in Maine.

Rocks, shrubbery and tidal pools reminded me of that time and place.

The real draw to this spot, though, is the combined efforts of Man and Nature to craft a natatorium, or salt water swimming pool.

(look carefully – the guy in the center of the shot is in the process of falling off the arch. This may be my only action shot.  He’s fine, by the way.)

I’ll have to do some research, but a fair amount of money was spent on Guam in the 60’s.  Federal money, probably part of a buildup to serve the Vietnam war.  Yes,  this was a major staging area for the war, and many of the military structures date from this time.

Unfortunately, man’s accomplishments don’t withstand 175 MPH winds and accompanying waves all that well, so the natatorium is in a state of permanent disrepair.

The arch was part of  the pool’s rim, a path to an overlook on one of the sentinels guarding the entrance to the sea.

What wind and waves don’t knock down, jungle overtakes.  Note the 500 lb chunk of the steps moved nearly 100 feet by force of nature.

The only thing standing besides the arch?

A diving platform.  Yes – this was a salt water swimming pool.

Villagers can be seen barbecuing all weekend long here, so the ramshackle state of affairs does not deter.  I guess when elements conspire to tear down the machinations of man, one accepts what is as it is.

I’ll have to give it a closer look over the weekend.


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