Last summer, Dennis Chan, anchored to the shores of Saipan his entire life and freshly graduated from Marianas High School, entered an essay contest: Why I want to visit the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. He won. Two weeks later he was on board the 105-foot Lady Carolina, skimming the surface of the Philippine Sea headed for Maug.
The story of Dennis' expedition, the first of its kind since the declaration of the Mariana Trench Monument on Jan. 6, 2009, is told in a new book, Our Northern Islands.
According to Saipan Tribune columnist Jaime Vergara, “Youthful enthusiasm and neophyte adventure jumps out of the pages of this book.”
Our Northern Islands also contains over 70 full color photos by Angelo O'Connor Villagomez. Villagomez was the Saipan coordinator of the campaign that led to monument's creation and is a director of the Friends of the Mariana Trench Monument, the organization that spearheaded the expedition.
“Since most people will never get to visit the Northern Islands, it is my hope and Dennis' hope that this book will bring the Northern Islands to the people living on Saipan, Tinian, Rota and around the world,” said Villagomez.
There are 10 mostly-uninhabited islands north of the capitol island of Saipan in the Marianas archipelago. They are collectively known as the Northern Islands. Five of the islands are wildlife refuges and the waters surrounding the northernmost three comprise the islands unit of the Mariana Trench Monument.
During the expedition Dennis visited Maug, Agrigan, Pagan, and Sarigan and circumnavigated Uracas, the northernmost point in Micronesia.
Our Northern Islands is available on Amazon.com and Createspace.com at https://www.createspace.com/3471268. Both companies ship books anywhere in the world, including Saipan. The book will be available at a location on Saipan soon.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Our Northern Islands will support the educational programs of the Friends of the Mariana Trench Monument and create more opportunities like the one Dennis had.