Famed movie director James Cameron made headlines in March as he attempted — and completed — the first solo dive to the deepest part of the world's oceans, the Mariana Trench. Reaching a depth of 35,576 feet, Cameron spent more than three hours at the bottom of the trench — longer than any person to previously conduct the trip. Cameron said that he plans to return to the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep for further exploration at a later date.
Guam hit the national news stage for several days in March as candidates for the Republican presidential nomination vied for Guam's delegates for the National Convention. Each of the candidates did their part to woo the Guam Republican Party — Newt Gingrich sent a letter, and W. Mitt Romney sent his son Matt — but Rick Santorum drew the most unique attention of the episode.
New York Magazine's Dan Amira gleefully described Santorum's pre-primary phone call with members of the island's Republican party, in which Santorum expressed his newfound concern for Guam and an apology for a comment he had made in January about sending wayward Ninth Circuit Court judges to Guam as punishment:
"But pretending to listen to Guamanian concerns while playing Minesweeper and occasionally saying 'uh-huh' was not [Santorum's] only act of deference to Guam's momentarily powerful Republican Party," wrote Amira. "Apparently, Santorum made a joke a while ago about banishing liberal activist judges to Guam, a joke that Santorum suddenly regrets very much Congratulations, Guam. You finally have an American politician by the balls. Make the most of the moment."
The Guam Visitors Bureau has launched a Russian language version of its website in an effort to encourage Russian tourists to take advantage of the Russian visa waiver program enacted in January. The website was unveiled in March in Moscow by a delegation of representatives from GVB and the Marianas Visitors Authority and U.S. Consul General and other officials in Russia. The GVB and MVA delegation also promoted Guam travel and the new website at the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition, a four-day exhibition that sees as many as 250,000 visitors every year. The Russian language GVB website can be found at www.visitguamusa.ru.
Officials at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. announced March 16 that two rare Guam rails have hatched at their facility in Front Royal, Va. The two birds bring the number of total Guam rail hatchlings at the zoo and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to 82, some of which have been sent to Guam to help reestablish the bird's population. The Guam rail was declared endangered in 1984 as a result of the introduction of the brown tree snake after World War II, which has hunted the birds to near-extinction.
The Pacific island state of Niue, located roughly 1,550 miles northeast of New Zealand, has commissioned a set of collectible coins depicting Stars Wars characters and the Queen of England in a bid to raise the profile of its fledgling nation and money for its government. The island, which has seen its native population and tourist arrivals shrink in recent years, began selling the silver legal-tender coins — at $469 per four-coin set — late last year inside Millenium Falcon or Darth Vader-themed boxes.
Eight high school students from Stockbridge, Mich. successfully tested their class-built underwater robot in the waters off Palau on March 29. The robot dove 125 feet to locate the group's goal — a B-24 bomber shot down in August 1944 during the fierce fighting that took place over Palau in World War II. After completing their mission, the students also visited World War II battlefields, ancient ruins, and explored Palau's culture and local high schools before they returned home April 7.
The dance group Inetnon Gef Pa'go (meaning "a beautiful gathering" in ancient Chamorro), appeared on the television program "Good Morning Arizona" on March 29. The group's organizer, Vince Reyes, said the group, made up of young men and women from Guam, appeared on the program to bring the Chamorro culture to the 5,000 Chamorros living in the Phoenix area, as well as to promote and share knowledge about Chamorro culture in the U.S. at large. The group also held a free workshop in Tempe and a free performance at Arizona State University on March 30.
Troy Aguon, publisher of the LearnChamorro DVD: Kids Edition and creator of Chamorro language interactive media tools designed for children announced March 13 the launch of his last two LearnChamorro products in development, the LearnChamorro mobile app and the LearnChamorro computer software. The products were inspired and modeled after the Rosetta Stone language products, and features local Chamorro families voicing the products' content. More information can be found at www.learnchamorro.com.