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Rhapsody in Blue 

Tradition, seclusion and recreation: a brief tour of the 26-­year-­old, 607­-island­-strong Federated States of Micronesia 



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World-class rock climbing on Pohnpei

IT’S THE SIZE OF ARGENTINA, but its land area barely matches that of Memphis, Tenn. Its waters are littered with sunken battleships from three generations ago, yet it’s still younger than Keira Knightley. What is it? The Federated States of Micro­nesia, a remote, unspoiled archipelago located between Hawaii and Indonesia that attained independence in 1986.

Of the nation’s 600­-odd islands, the biggest is Pohnpei, which offers world-­class climbing, hiking and diving amid lush rain forests and breathtaking lagoons. Pohnpei is also home to the ancient city of Nan Madol, whose network of canals earned it the moniker “Venice of the Pacific.”

Then there’s Chuuk, where you’ll find one of the world’s great dive sites: the Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon, a World War II Japanese naval base turned ship graveyard turned coral reef. In addition, remnants of Japanese military facilities, from lighthouses to tunnel systems, are scattered all over the island, making Chuuk in particular—and the nation in general—that rare place that appeals to beach bum and history buff alike.

Douglas Peebles Photography/Alamy (climber); Walter Meayers Edwards/National Geographic/Getty Images (fishing); Jeff Hunter/Getty Images (divers); Heather Perry/National Geographic/Getty Images (sunset)

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