Stepping on Stars

SAIPAN, CNMI—Have you ever heard of star-shaped sand but haven’t actually seen it? Here is your chance and you don’t even have to fly to Tinian’s Star Sands or Chulu Beach to do it.starry IMG_4108_pe.jpg

A friend and I went on a jungle tour to Kagman one afternoon some weeks back and we took the short cut passing through the very rough road from Kagman that goes straight to Laulau Beach.

Tired and hungry, all I wanted to do was go home but our driver made a left turn toward the old dock a few meters past the hut built by the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance.

I have been to the old dock at Laulau Beach countless times before and aside from the World War 11 bunker hidden behind a thick clump of shrubbery, there was really nothing more interesting so I decided just to wait for them in the car. My companions headed to the water’s edge, scooped sand and started sifting the sand in their palms. This piqued my curiosity enough for me to get out head to the water’s edge too to check what they were doing.starry IMG_4104_pe.jpg

I squatted to look at the driver’s palm wondering what was so interesting when I saw it—or them. Fine grains of brown and white sand shaped like stars, similar to those I’ve seen from Chulu Beach on Tinian.

That was something new, something I didn’t expect to see here. Our driver said they had brought some tourists to the beach to see the star sands as one of the attractions in a jungle tour package.

Who would have thought there are star sands in the rocky seashore? The one attraction I have been coming back at the Laulau Beach for were the birds that populate the area. It’s fun trying to capture them swooping down to grab some floating seaweed for their nests and when they are lucky, some unsuspecting fish.

My companions got ready to go just when I was about to scoop sand in my hand so I was left with no choice but promise myself to come back when I have more time to linger.

starry IMG_4121_pe.jpgUnluckily, (or luckily) I still didn’t get the chance to go back as the roads that were repaired a couple of years back seems to be a thing of the past. Huge potholes dominate the roads and if you are driving your own car and it’s not a four-wheel drive, I promise you it’s too much agony listening to the agonizing squeaks and groans of your car when you leave reach the end of the paved section.

I’m sure you would have visited the beach at one time or another but like me you didn’t take time to take a closer look. We are stepping on stars and we are not even aware of it.

Be careful if you go to the area though, the site is a nesting area for green sea turtles and don’t forget to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photos.


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