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Micronesia - Pohnpei (Ponape)

Anguilla Marmorata, the tropical freshwater eel. Photo taken by James Prosek at - Courtesy of

Sacred Eel Pool (Pwudoi Sanctuary)

Pwudoi, Kitti

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Overview of Sacred Eel Pool (Pwudoi Sanctuary)

In Pwudoi, see for yourself the large eels that have become a prominent part in Pohnpei's mythological stories at the Pwudoi Sanctuary, an eel pool, where locals handle these slippery creatures. The eels are portrayed as both benevolent and as terrifying monsters.

Visitors can witness one of the most interesting demonstrations on the island. Members of the Lasialap Clan believe that the slippery fresh-water eels living in Pohnpei's rivers are their relatives. As oral history states, the matriarch of the clan was a large eel of this variety. The pool in Pwuodoi is home to many of these eels. Men and boys 'call' the creatures to the shallows, usually with the help of cans of mackerel, where they actually slither their way out onto the bank. The eels are then stroked and picked up, resting limply in the hands of the more experienced eel-masters. Because the freshwater eels are considered sacred and directly related to human lineages on the island, there is a strong taboo against eating or otherwise harming the creatures.

Directions: Take the WEST ROUTE. Go left at the first branch in the road after Oceanview Hotel. Continue 2.4 km beyond the old Kitti Gas-N-Go station. Park on the right. The eel pool, which is not often visited by tourists, is located down a well-tended path from the road next to a house. Ask anyone in the vicinity. Location on the map is approximate. Takes about 35 min from Kolonia. Cost is $3 per person.

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Anguilla Marmorata, the tropical freshwater eel. Photo taken by James Prosek at - Courtesy of Sacred Eels of the Lasialap. Photo by Alex Zuccarelli. Order prints at - Courtesy of

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