One of my favorite places on Saipan is this short stretch of dock located at the far end of American Memorial Park, the Smiling Cove Marina.
Tucked at the farthest end of the Smiling Cove is a small park that gives you a perfect 360-degree view of Tanapag, Micro Beach, Managaha Island, and the Capitol hills in the distance.
The place, a step just beyond the “Off-limits to vehicles” sign issues a silent but irresistible welcome, especially for wanderlusty individuals. The place has a mini-lighthouse and well-manicured grasses beneath the shades of pine trees—a perfect spot to sit, watch the activities around you or simply let the time pass by.
I happened to be at the place on one windy day and I have to literally hold on to the tree trunks so as not to be blown away by the winds but it was a refreshing experience, one I would gladly have in exchange for the routine of work any day.
If you want to check the place out, forget getting a coiffure or gel-plastered hair but be prepared to rough it out and breathe in the salty tang of air straight from the ocean.
Not many people frequent the place (it feels like a private dock actually) save for a few who venture out with their fishing poles.
Smiling Cove dock comes alive as sunset draws near, with hordes of tourists transported by buses arrive for sunset cruise trips via Jade Lady 111, Stars and Stripes, and other luxury boats.
As a sunset buff, I have stored several gigabytes of photos in my computer of the setting sun with Micro Beach as the backdrop from my favorite location—perched atop a huge cement pole lying on the ground.
I can never get a fill of the place—seeing multi-colored fishes swimming in crystal-clear blue waters, hearing the happy chatter of tourists from the cruise boats, the splash of water as a fisherman throws in his line, fresh air blowing on your face—all these and more which you get to enjoy for free.