Monday, October 16, 2023

Tabuaeran Kiribati

Today we were supposed to stop at Tabuaeran Kiribati, aka Fanning Island. For some reason the people who were to provide customs clearance weren't able to make it to the island from Kiritimati, aka Christmas Island, 200 miles away. The Captain tried to get remote clearance, but that was a no-go. From what one of the speakers said, it's possible that even with customs present we may not have been able to go ashore via the tenders in any case because of rough seas.

As a result we ended up doing a scenic cruise of the atoll instead. To tell you the truth, that might have been more enjoyable. We were able to see much more of the atoll that way instead of just a small section of it that we would have otherwise seen. On the scenic cruise we were able to see the rough surf on the outside of the atoll as well as the turquoise blue water inside the atoll. Some of the beaches on the outside of the atoll, especially on the northside, looked very inviting.

Tabuaeran is a ring atoll located near the equator over 1,000 miles south of Hawaii and 500 miles north of Tahiti. The New York Times referred to it as "one of the most remote places on earth." A shot from Fanning Island was the closing shot on the "Gilligan's Island" TV show.

Although it has a huge lagoon we'd been warned to avoid swimming in it due to hygiene issues. There is no indoor plumbing and we'd been warned that there is only a single public toilet on the island, a literal hole in the ground, and it may not even be open. Since the waters on the outside of the atoll are too rough and dangerous to swim in and the ones on the inside are polluted, I have to wonder why one of the activities listed in a handout they gave us was snorkeling.

We're now on our way to Pago Pago in American Samoa. It will take us another three days at sea to get there.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Kiribati Fanning Island photo album.

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