Micronesia is an immense geographical region encompassing an area larger than that of the U.S. However, the actual landmass of this vast stretch of islands is smaller than Rhode Island, the smallest state in the U.S. The rest is deep blue sea. Like neighboring Polynesia or Melanesia, it has always had an exotic ring to it.

Within this region are many countries. The largest is The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), comprising the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap. Starting in the east with Kosrae in the central-north Pacific and stretching west to the Yap Islands, this country is a unique blend of cultures, terrains and histories.

Lush vegetation and simple living punctuate the lives of the people of the FSM, where fishing, sailing and weaving are still important parts of everyday life. These communities are nestled into tranquil settings that naturally grace the islands.

In the FSM state of Chuuk, fishing, weaving and tending to gardens supplant the subsistence lives that many sustain on their individual islands. It is not unusual to see women waist deep in the mangroves hunting for a special delicacy, and open-hearth fires are still used to cook the daily meals. In Pohnpei, communities come together to weave a new boathouse or just wash the daily clothes, and in Yap, considered the most traditional island in Micronesia, dance is the most advanced art form.

The Federated States of Micronesia is one of the great diving locales of the world: a remote retreat uncluttered by hordes of tourists or by lots of big resort hotels. This scattering of tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific offers an opportunity to experience authentic island life and fascinating ocean depths. Micronesia might not have all the standard modern conveniences, but that's precisely why many people go there.

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