Lighthouses of Micronesia

The name Micronesia is often used in a broad geographical sense, meaning all the small islands of the central and northwestern Pacific Ocean. Here it refers specifically to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). There are separate pages for lighthouses in other island countries in the region, including Palau, the Northern Marianas, Kiribati, and the U.S. Minor Pacific Islands.

The FSM is remarkable in having had four colonial administrations. The islands (then called the Caroline Islands) were controlled by Spain until the Spanish-American War of 1898. Following that war, Spain transferred the islands to Germany. Japan seized the islands from Germany in 1915, during World War I, and moved quickly to make several of them major naval bases. Japan also built three lighthouses in the territory. The U.S. took the islands from Japan in very hard fighting during World War II.

After the war, the U.S. administered the islands as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The Federation, linking the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap, was formed in 1979 and became independent in 1986. The new country signed a compact of free association with the United States; this agreement provides for U.S. economic subsidies and continues various U. S. domestic services to Palau's citizens.

The capital of the Federation is Palikir, Pohnpei.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume M of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 111.

Sapuk Light
Sapuk Light, Weno, Chuuk State
Chuuk Historic Preservation Office photo

Kosrae (Kusaie) State Lighthouse
Okat Harbor Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); continuous white light. 16 m (52 ft) beacon on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a white triangular daymark, point down. The light is at the left of John McKenzie's sunset photo of the harbor, and Google has a satellite view. Okat Harbor, on the north side of Kosrae, is adjacent to the island's airport. The front light is 300 m (330 yd) west on a smaller tower. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M8459.1; NGA 10952.7.

Pohnpei (Ponape) State Lighthouse
Jokaj (Palakir) Passage Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 14 m (46 ft) beacon on piles. The tower carries a rectangular black and white daymark. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The Jokaj Pass, on the north side of Pohnpei's fringing reef, is the principal entrance to the island. The front light is 366 m (400 yd) northeast on a shorter tower. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M8453.1; NGA 10948.1.

Chuuk (Truk) State Lighthouses
*** Sapuk (Chuuk)
1937. Inactive since 1941. Approx. 13 m (42 ft) concrete tower rising from 1-story keeper's quarters. A photo appears above, Chris Benti has a 2008 photo, a 2009 photo and a 2012 photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. This Japanese lighthouse guided ships into one of the largest of the naval bases established in Micronesia. Chuuk (then called Truk) was heavily bombed during the war, and the lighthouse is riddled with shrapnel holes from a British strafing raid in early 1945. Located on the Sapuk Peninsula at the eastern end of Weno, the principal island of Chuuk atoll in central Micronesia. Accessible by a short walk from the elementary school at the end of the road toward the east end of the island. Site and tower open. ARLHS MIC-001.
Chuuk Northeast Pass
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) round white concrete tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Narrow but deep, Northeast Pass is a principal entrance to the Chuuk lagoon. Located on the reef on the south side of the pass. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M8447; NGA 10944.
*** Poluwat (Puluwat)
Early 1930s. Inactive since 1941. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story concrete keeper's house. The lighthouse, now abandoned and open to the elements, is riddled with shrapnel holes and littered with abandoned equipment. A photo is at right, the University of Hawaii has additional photos of the lighthouse entrance and interior, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the western end of Alet, the largest island of the Poluwat group, about 270 km (170 mi) west of Chuuk. Site and tower open. ARLHS MIC-002.

Yap State Lighthouse
*
Dalap (Dalaap, Yap)
1941. Apparently this lighthouse was never activated due to the onset of World War II. Another concrete Japanese lighthouse, this one in ruins; it was blown up by Japanese forces late in 1944 because it was attracting too much attention from American bombers. Some additional photos are available (about 3/4 of the way down the page), and Google has a satellite view of the site. The Todai Youth Club has posted a history of the lighthouse (.pdf file). Dalap is a hill in the Gagil municipality on the eastern side of the Yap group. Located at the highest point of the hill; accessible by a hiking trail. Site open. ARLHS MIC-003.
Poluwat Light
Poluwat Light, Poluwat, Chuuk State, March 2004
Pbase photo copyright billyo; permission requested

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Guam | East: Kiribati | South: Papua New Guinea | West: Palau

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted August 28, 2005. Checked and revised August 30, 2013. Lighthouses: 6. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.