Exploring the Wonders of Pohnpei!

The mountainous, rainforested island of Pohnpei is jam-packed full of exciting things for the adventurous eco-tourist to do. Mountain and jungle hikes, dozens of pristine waterfalls, idyllic lagoon islands and atolls, snorkeling, fishing, and more await. If you love the outdoors, Pohnpei has something for you!

NOTE: All of the photographs on this page were provided courtesy of Alex Zuccarelli. Most are available for purchase at Red Bubble in the form of high-quality post cards, greeting cards, matted, mounted, or framed prints. Click the images for direct purchase links.

Guided & Self-Guided Adventures Around Pohnpei

Yvonne's Hotel can now arrange a variety of land and sea adventures with several trusted local guides. Whether you are interested in jungle hikes, mountain climbing, snorkeling excursions, historical or cultural sites, or a combination of them all, we can deliver. Please call the hotel reception desk at least 48 hours in advance (preferrably earlier) to make reservations. Rates vary depending on activities and the number of individuals in the group. In addition to guided adventures, there are many activities you can do on your own, provided you have some form of transportation. Browse the information further down on this page for adventure options.

If you do plan to go it alone, note that there are two routes out of Kolonia:

(A) WEST ROUTE: From Downtown, go south on Main Street (toward the mountains) and continue to the end of the road, facing the botanical gardens. Turn right and follow the road past Bank of FSM and around the curve. At the first major intersection (near Blue Nile), go right.

(B) EAST ROUTE: Turn east off Main Street next to the service station. Continue past COM Pohnpei Campus and down the hill. At the intersection, turn right. Continue past Ace Hardware and the American Embassy.

About the Guides We Work With

Miller Benjamin (pronounced My-ler)
Miller Benjamin grew up in the community of Saladak, U, where his father served as the paramount chief (Nahnmwarki) for a number of years. After working at Pohnpei Island Central School, Miller began to teach Micronesian history and other subjects at the SDA School, where he was eventually appointed principal. During his 15 years as principal, Miller made it his duty to introduce his American volunteers to the island's many terrestrial and oceanic wonders, leading mountain-climbing excursions, acting as a guide on forest treks to remote waterfalls and obscure cultural sites, and taking groups of teachers camping, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and fishing. Miller is respected island-wide for his experience as a boat pilot, fisherman, and mountain guide as well as for his extensive knowledge of Pohnpei's cultural traditions, oral histories, and local medicine.

Allen Lorens
Allen Lorens, who hails from the municipality of U, is an experienced scuba diver, tour guide, and trek-leader. In the past Allen was employed as one of the divemasters at the Village Hotel and has an intimate knowledge of Pohnpei's reefs, passes, and marine life. He currently works for Pohnpei Port Authority and is training to be a marine pilot for Pohnpei State.

Welten Panuel (pronounced Wel-chin)
Welten Panuel is a native of Salapwuk, Kitti, a region central to Pohnpei's magical origin story. In the 1980s, Welten founded the trail now known as the Six Waterfalls Hike. Since that time, he has led countless treks to the waterfalls in Kitti and to Pohnpei's highest mountain, Nahnalaud, proving himself to be a skilled mountain guide with considerable knowledge of the island's geography, flora, and fauna.
Download Welten's Brochure

SNORKELING
Areu Passage (a.k.a. Ohwa Pass) Snorkeling Spot

Areu is a barrier reef passage on the northeast side of Pohnpei between U and Madolenihmw. Sometimes Areu is about the little things--sponges, nudibranches, and hard coral. At other times, you can see scores of schooling gray reef sharks here. Like all of Pohnpei's passes, reef fish are abundant.

Manta Road Snorkeling Spot

Manta Road is a lagoon channel that lies west of U's Mwand Islands and is famous for its manta ray encounters. The spot is a cleaning station, where the rays gather to be serviced by small fish. Mantas are regularly seen in the deep water at the middle of the channel, and occasionally, 20 or more will gather and perform their graceful acrobatics. The passage also hosts huge schools of rainbow runners, needlefish, cuttlefish, wandering reef sharks, and sea turtles.

Mwahnd Passage & Wall Snorkeling Spot

Mwahnd Passage, a barrier reef pass not far from Manta Road, is known for its branching coral trees, whip coral, and colorful crinoids. Reef fish of many types are plentiful, and large species can be seen foraging along the wall and in the channel.

Palikir Passage (a.k.a. P-Pass) Snorkeling Spot

This barrier reef passage is on the northwest side of Pohnpei. Palikir Pass' original fame was due to its gray reef sharks, which can be seen in great numbers (as many as 100). More recently it has become a world-class surfing location. The outer wall of the barrier reef near the channel is also a great place to explore, with giant clams, schools of triggerfish, pipefish, and more.

Pehleng Passage (a.k.a. Poahloang Pass) Snorkeling Spot

Pehleng Pass is located west of Kitti's Pehleng community. The place to examine here is the inner reef, where a variety of mollusks, crustaceans, and eels are found. Also keep an eye out for sea turtles, large snappers, and white-tip reef sharks.

SWIMMING & PICNICKING
Awak Pah Marine ParkAwak Pah Marine Park Swimming Spot

Location: Awak Pah, U
One-way Driving Time: 15 minutes from Kolonia
Fees: $1 pp
**No guide needed**

Awak Pah Marine Park is the best of several parks of its type on the island's coasts. A narrow walkway leads through a beautiful mangrove forest and out to a pair of small huts along the ocean. Depending on the tides, the water can be extremely clear with a visibilty of 40 feet or more. The reef wall lies about 20-30 feet from the shore and hosts some healthy staghorn and brain coral, sea cucumbers of various types, sponges, and quite a lot of reef fish. Large schools of needlefish are common and occasionally you can spot schools of trevally or humphead wrasse in the deeper water. The surrounding landscape is spectacular with sheer green cliffs to the east, the triangular Dolen Eirike to the south, and Pohnlehr to the west. This is a wonderful, quiet spot for picnicing, swimming, and snorkeling.

DIRECTIONS: Take the EAST ROUTE. After passing the State Hospital and crossing Dausokele bridge, turn right. Continue for about 5 minutes and look for the sign on the left.
Nahlap Island
Nahlap Island Swimming Spot Camping

Location: South of Rohnkitti
One-way Driving Time: 45 minutes from Kolonia
Boat Ride: 5 minutes (one-way)
Fees: Visitors - $3 pp (day) / $1 pp (boat taxi)
**No guide needed**

Nahlap has become one of the most popular lagoon island get-aways. There are two docks, several stilt huts out over the water, kayaks for rent for a few dollars, a small waterslide for kids, and a variety of picnic spots and over-night huts scattered around. The island is large, shady, and quite pleasant. Though the surrounding ocean is dominated by mangroves and seagrass, there are places on the far side where you can get out and see some reef-life. The southeast coast has some shady beaches at low tide.

DIRECTIONS: Take the WEST route. Go left at the first branch in the road after Oceanview Hotel. Continue roughly 21 km and turn right just after a small store. Follow the road past the Nanpei Memorial and all the way to the end. The water taxi picks people up at the dock and ferries them to the island. Call 691.921.0614 to make reservations.
Nanpil River Swimming Holes Swimming Spot

Location: Nanpil Valley, Nett
One-way Driving Time: 10 minutes from Kolonia
**No guide needed**

One of the largest rivers on Pohnpei, Nanpil ends at the wide Dausokele Outlet next to PCR Hotel. Up-river, the water is typically clean, cool, and very refreshing. Good swimming spots are scattered all along its length, but this location is one of the best and easiest to access. There is a shady place on the far side of the water to picnic or just relax and watch the clouds shift over the mountains.

DIRECTIONS: Take the EAST ROUTE. Turn right on Nanpil River Road by M.L. Cho Auto Garage. Continue to the first break in the paving, just after a large traditional hut on the left. Park on the right side of the road. Two deep, placid pools are found on the left at a sharp turn in the river.
Nett Point Swimming AreaNett Point Recreational Area Swimming Spot

Location: Nett Peninsula
One-way Driving Time: 20 minutes from Kolonia
**No guide needed**

Nett Point is the closest thing Pohnpei has to a beach. The place used to be a shipping dock, but has long been a popular swimming and picnicking location. Recently the Nett government improved the spot dramatically by cleaning it up, dumping large quantities of white sand along the shore, and planting trees. Further developments are in progress--sand volleyball courts are being built and it is rumored the place will soon have public restrooms. From the Point there are great views of Sokehs Mountain and the nearby lagoon islands. Depending on tides and recent rains, the water is usually clean and clear with a visibility of more than thirty feet.

DIRECTIONS: Take the EAST ROUTE. After passing the State Hospital and crossing Dausokele bridge, turn left. Follow the road to the Point at the very end (3.2 km).
CLIMBING & TREKKING
Sokehs Mountain 
        Artillery
Sokehs Ridge Hike Hiking / Walking Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Location: Sokehs Island
Summit: 900 feet / 275 meters
One-way Driving Time: 10 minutes from Kolonia
One-way Hiking Time: 45 minutes
Hike Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Access Fee: None
**Guide recommended**

Sokehs ridge runs along the top of a 900-foot mountain, known locally as Pohndollap ("on the big hill"). The mountain is famous for its role in the Sokehs Rebellion of 1910, when Pohnpeians staged a daring insurrection against the oppressive German colonial government and sheltered on the ridge. Later during WWII the Japanese fortified Sokehs Mountain against American attack. You can still see the coastal defense cannon and 127 mm anti-aircraft artillery rusting away in the jungle. Pillboxes, bunkers, and tunnels are scattered here and there. The ridge is also a favorite location for bird-watchers. Among the many species that can be seen are the bright red Micronesian Honey-eater (Myzomela rubrata), black endemic Starling (Aplonis opaca), Crimson-Crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus), and red-purple Pohnpei Lorikeet. Though reputedly scarce, the Long-billed White-Eye (Rukia longirostra) can be spotted in the forest, often in the company of flocks of Grey-brown White-Eyes (Zosterops cinereus). Once you reach the top of the ridge, turn left to see the coastal defense gun and bunker, overlooking the Palikir area, or right to visit the site of two anti-aircraft guns. The latter path continues north to the summit look-out and old searchlight platform (now topped with a cell phone tower).

DIRECTIONS: Take the WEST ROUTE. Just past Oceanview Hotel, bear right onto the road to Sokehs Island. At the four-way stop, go straight and continue up the paved road to the left of the municipal building. Improved road conditions allow you to drive about half of the way up the mountain, but it's better to park somewhere near the bottom and make the most of the hike. Follow the road up. Continue to the flat clearing overlooking the bay; here the road switches back toward the south.

Sokehs Rock (Paipalap) Climb) Hiking / Walking Rock Climbing Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Half-day
Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
Access Fee: None
**Guide Required**

This hike winds up Sokehs Mountain from the community of Danipei and ascends the rear of the dramatic Sokehs Rock, providing views of the ridge and northern lagoon from a height of 656 feet. This climb is not recommended for those who suffer from an intense fear of heights or vertigo.

INFINITY MINUS 1 ROCK-CLIMBING ROUTE
Experienced rock-climbers equipped with their own gear may be interested in tackling Pohnpei's only bolted rock-climbing route on the 125-foot basalt spire directly south of Sokehs Rock (see the panoramic photo at the top of this page). The climb, dubbed Infinity Minus 1 Possibilities by its founder, Daniel Moor, is rated 5.10 and begins on the northeast side of the rock, where a top-rope bolt and chain has been placed. The route is still in the exploration phase, following various cracks from the base of the spire. Face holds and pockets are scattered throughout. The route has been climbed to the prominent roof about 90 feet from the bottom. To access, hike along the ridge from the rear of Sokehs Rock to the spire. Climb 5.8 mixed rock and trees / roots / turf on the rear of the rock (southwest side) to set your rope, which should be at least 300 feet long. Take care--the rocks tend to be very slippery.

Pohnlehr Summit / Nett Peninsula Climb Hiking / Walking Mountain Climbing Camping Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Full-day
Difficulty: Strenuous
Access Fee: None
**Guide Required**

Hikers climb to the summit of Nett's flat-topped mountain, Pohnlehr (a.k.a. Palipohn Wei), soak up some views of Kolonia, and visit the rusting remains of Japanese guns from WWII. The top of this mountain is one of the nesting spots for Pohnpei's little-seen short-eared owl (Asio flammeus). White-eyes and giant fruit bats can also be seen at the summit.

Kupwuriso Mountain Summit Climb Hiking / Walking Mountain Climbing Camping Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Full-day OR Over-night
Difficulty: Strenuous
Access Fee: None
**Guide Required**

Hikers make the steep climb from Saladak to the summit of Pohnpei's third-highest mountain, Kupwuriso, which towers over the municipality of U.

Nahnalaud Summit Climb Hiking / Walking Mountain Climbing Camping Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Over-night
Difficulty: Strenuous
Access Fee: None
**Guide Required**

This over-night adventure leads through the cloud-forest to the roof of Pohnpei, where trekkers can look down on the island from its highest peak (2,533 feet). Two routes are possible—the northern route starts in Nanpil, Nett, while the southern route begins in Salapwuk, Kitti.

Pwisehn Malek (Chickenshit Mountain) Hike Hiking / Walking Mountain Climbing

Duration: Half-day
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Access Fee: None
**Guide recommended**

Participants will have the opportunity to hike up the strange conical rock formation of Pwisehn Malek ("Chicken Shit") in Palikir and learn about the stories associated with this unique site and its possible link to the Nan Madol ruins.

WATERFALLS
Kepirohi Waterfall Swimming Spot

Location: Sapwarehk, Madolenihmw
One-way Driving Time: 90 minutes from Kolonia
One-way Hiking Time: 5 minutes
Hike Difficulty: Easy
Fees: Visitors - $3.00 pp
**No guide needed**

Kepirohi is the most-photographed of Pohnpei's waterfalls. It is one of the largest on the island, though not the highest (it's about 50 feet high). The horse-shoe shaped pool isn't very deep-- seven or eight feet at most, but deep enough for swimming. The best time to visit the falls is when it hasn't rained much, as run-off up-stream muddies the water.

DIRECTIONS: Take the EAST ROUTE. Continue roughly 29 km from Kolonia and park near the sign on the right 6.3 km after Sapwalap Elementary School. Follow the path up to the house where you will pay. The trail to the falls is on the left and is easy to follow.
Lehnpaipohn Waterfall Hiking / Walking Swimming Spot Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Half-day
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Access Fee: None
**Guide Required**

This trip leads through the lush forests of Kitti to Lehnpaipohn Waterfall, which has the largest fresh-water pool on Pohnpei and one of the highest jumping-off spots. The Pohnpei fan-tail can be seen in the area.

Liduduhniap WaterfallLiduduhniap Waterfall Swimming Spot Hiking / Walking Bird-watching

Location: Nanpil Valley, Nett
One-way Driving Time: 20 minutes from Kolonia
One-way Hiking Time: 10 minutes
Hike Difficulty: Easy
Fees: Visitors - $1.00 pp; Locals - Free
**No guide needed**

The two-tiered waterfall of Liduduhniap is reached by a well-maintained trail lined by beautiful hibiscus, plumeria, and ginger plants. The upper falls cascades fifteen feet into a deep basalt pool with dripping caverns at its edge (a huge log currently bisects the pool).  Pohnpeians of the past used to pound sakau, a numbing ceremonial drink, on the northern rim of the pool; you can still see the depression in a nearby rock that held the water mixed with the drink. The quickest way to access the upper pool is to leap off the rocks just above the falls, but watch your footing and scan the water carefully for hazards. Avoid diving. The water is clean and cool and a wonderful swim. To get back up to the top, there is a small trail on the far side of the pool that leads to a crossing point a bit upstream, but be warned—it is steep, slippery and requires some climbing dexterity. It also passes through flip-flop-eating swampy areas, so it's best to go barefoot. The lower falls plummets 50 feet from the first pool into a shallower pond. To reach the lower pool, return to the main trail and follow it down a series of rough steps. Because the pool here is so shallow, jumping should be avoided.

Considerations: This waterfall has extreme flash flood potential. During heavy rains in 1999, two Pohnpeians were washed away by the river and carried over both falls. A similar incident claimed three lives in 2002. DO NOT swim here when the river is higher than normal, after or during heavy rains, or when storm clouds lie over the mountains to the south.

DIRECTIONS: Take the EAST ROUTE. Turn right on Nanpil River Road by M.L. Cho Auto Garage. Continue to the end of the paving, past the hydroelectric plant on the left and up to the first intersection in the road. Turn left and park at the end of the road near the house. Pay at the house. The trailhead begins on the left next to a large traditional hut.
Pahnsile Waterfall Hiking / Walking Swimming Spot Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Half-day
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Access Fee: None
**Guide Required**

This hike meanders through the jungles of Madolenihmw to the Senpehn River, where Pahnsile Waterfall bursts through a rocky portal into a large pool, perfect for a refreshing swim.

Pahntakai Cave & Waterfall
Pahntakai Cave & Waterfall Hiking / Walking Camping Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Location: Saladak, U
One-way Driving Time: 20 minutes from Kolonia
One-way Hiking Time: 15 minutes
Hike Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Fees: Visitors - $2.00 pp; Locals - Free
**Guide Recommended**

Participants hike to the limestone cliff-face of Pahntakai high up on the mountainsides above U, visit caves inhabited by insect-eating bats and swiftlets, and get to see the ethereal falls up-close. Note: this waterfall does not have a pool suitable for swimming.

Pahntakai literally means "under the rock" and one visit makes it immediately apparent why it was given the name. A thin falls plummets over an imposing limestone cliff wall more than one hundred feet high. Below the overhang, an ample strip of flat, hard ground makes a perfect location for a campsite--well out of wind and rain--and yawning caves at the rear host colonies of small bats and swiftlets that hurry out at dusk to hunt insects. The waterfall itself varies greatly in volume, depending on rain, crashing onto jumbles of rocks below the flat ledge. It's possible to climb down the slope and stand under the water, but the descent is slippery and dangerous and there is no pool. The foot-path to the cave and waterfall is skirted by several varieties of sakau (kava) and has stunning views of the deep gorge below the falls.

Considerations: Sakau and yam plants line this trail and are abundant on the hillsides around the falls. Please do not damage or disturb them. They have great worth in Pohnpeian culture.

DIRECTIONS: Take the EAST ROUTE. After passing the State Hospital and crossing Dausokele bridge, turn right. Continue about 10.5 km and turn right at the road to Pahntakai (it is marked with a sign). Continue 1.5 km to the end of the road. Pay at the nearby house. The trail begins at the end of the road and branches at the beginning—stay to the left.
Sahwartik & Sahwarlap Waterfalls Hiking / Walking Swimming Spot Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Half-day
Difficulty: Strenuous
Access Fee: $3 pp
**Guide Required**

Hikers make the steep descent into a branch of the magical Lehn Mesi River Valley in Kitti and hike up the watercourse to Sahwartik and Sahwarlap, two of the tallest waterfalls on the island. Participants will learn about the myths associated with the area and can swim at either or both of the falls, which are a short walk from each other.

Six Waterfalls Trek Hiking / Walking Swimming Spot Ethnobotany Bird-watching

Duration: Full-day
Difficulty: Strenuous
Access Fee: $5 pp
**Guide Required**

This challenging 6-hour trek zigzags through the stunning interior regions north of Salapwuk and stops at six magnificent waterfalls located along the Kitti River.

HISTORICAL & CULTURAL SITES
Nan Madol Ruins
Nan Madol Ruins Hiking / Walking Swimming Spot Ethnobotany

Location: Temwen Island, Madolenihmw
One-way Driving Time: 90 minutes from Kolonia
One-way Hiking Time: 20 minutes (one-way)
Hike Difficulty: Easy
Land Access Fees: Visitors - $7.00 pp; Locals - $3.00 pp
Sea Access Fees: Visitors - $3.00 pp; Locals - $1.00 pp
**Guide Recommended**

This adventure takes participants on a tour of the breath-taking ruins of Pohnpei's ancient stone city, Nan Madol--a collection of artificial islands on the tidal flats of Temwen Island, hosting massive basalt structures constructed as early as the 12th century. The ruins can be accessed either by land or by boat.

According to oral history, many ages ago two brothers migrated to Pohnpei and established a powerful empire centered in Madolenihmw. The royal residence that these rulers built is called Nan Madol and it exists today as a 150-acre complex of stone ruins on the tidal flats off Temwen Island. A variety of walled constructions exist on about ninety rectangular, man-made islets and are connected by a grid of shallow canals. At one time Nan Madol may have supported a thousand people, including Pohnpei's ancient elite and their servants. Exactly what it looked like at its height no one knows, but the current ruins are proof of a vast and carefully engineered capitol. The most impressive section of the ruins, Nan Douwas, has walls as tall as forty feet built of massive prismatic basalt columns stacked on top of each other in log cabin style. The average stones at Nan Madol weigh several tons (twice as heavy as the stones of the Great Pyramid), but the largest corner stones at Nan Douwas are estimated at 50 tons!

Radiocarbon dating seems to indicate that the construction of Nan Madol began around 1200 A.D., though excavations show that the area could have been occupied as early as 200 B.C. The exact building methods are unknown. A number of probable quarry sites have been identified, but none are nearby, which means the gigantic stones must have been moved some distance to their current location. It has been suggested that they were floated via rafts, but no one has successfully demonstrated the process. Archaeologists remain frustrated in their attempts to unravel the mystery, but modern Pohnpeians maintain that the stones were flown over the island by use of black magic. Even with a significant number of workers (possibly slaves) tackling the large-scale building effort, it might have taken more than a century to complete Nan Madol. The empire apparently collapsed in the early 1600's when Isokelekel invaded and set himself up as the first paramount chief, or Nahnmwarki. The Nahnmwarkis occupied Nan Madol for another hundred years, but by the 1800's the site was deserted. The reasons are still unclear.

DIRECTIONS: Take the EAST ROUTE. Continue 28.8 km. Six km after Sapwalap Elementary School, bear right at the Ice Plant sign. The turn-off to PATS is on the left 0.9 km further. Cross the campus and causeway onto Temwen Island. Turn right at the intersection 0.5 km after Temwen Elementary. Continue 0.6 km. Nan Madol's trailhead is on the left. The trail crosses the private land of three different families, all doing their best (or worst) to exploit this site by charging access fees without rendering any sort of maintenance services. The first family asks for $2.00, the second $3.00. Once you reach the ruins, you will approached by a representative of the paramount chief, asking for $2.00. The path winds through the picturesque mangrove forests, crosses several wooden bridges, and requires a wade across the last canal.
Pohnpaip Petroglyphs Hiking / Walking

Duration: Half-day
Difficulty: Easy
Access Fee: $3 pp
**Guide Recommended**

Participants take a tour of the Salapwuk archaelogical site, Pohnpaip, famous for its mystifying petroglyphs and magical rocks, including a massive hunk of basalt created by two demi-god brothers.

Sacred Eel Pool

Location: Pwudoi, Kitti
One-way Driving Time: 35 min from Kolonia
Fees: $3 pp
**No guide needed**

In Pwudoi 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 animals.

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. 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.
Hiking / Walking - Hiking / Walking Path
Mountain Climbing - Mountain Climbing
Rock Climbing - Rock Climbing Route
Swimming or Snorkeling Spot - Swimming or Snorkeling Spot
Camping - Camping Location
Ethnobotany - Ethnobotanical Resources
Bird-watching - Bird-watching Location
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