Upon arrival to Kiritimati Island, we experienced a slight delay with being able to clear into the country. The holdup was not due to long lines of lei wearing tourists, as the 8 of us are currently the only travelers visiting the island, but instead because customs and immigration are simply not open on the weekends. This resulted in 3 days of quality time on anchor, with plenty of programmed activities including laundry (much needed!), baking, cooking, reading, swimming and sleeping. It was a nice change in pace and we all appreciated the rest. We also had a birthday on board, a great reason to celebrate! To which the turtles and dolphins also agreed, giving us frequent sitings. In fact, we got to celebrate twice since Kiritimati is a day ahead of the United States which kept us busy with many festivities such as celestistal navigation lessons and how to build a tender puzzles. Following with the tropical weather, we made a tropical pineapple and coconut loaf with pineapple icing which went down a treat, properly getting us in the mood for some exploring.
We were able to clear into Christmas Island on day 4 and test our ability to walk on land. As with any great adventure, to access land we had to scale a tall rusty yellow ladder onto the shipping pier. Outfitted in life jackets, yellow crocs, and fanny packs we were walking fashion statements. We instantly found how welcoming the people of Christmas Island are as we were welcomed with endless smiles and waves everywhere we walked and many “Mauri’s” (hello) being shouted back and forth.
Having read about the incredible snorkeling of Christmas Island, the crew took the tender to Cook Island, a small island in the entrance of the lagoon, to go and do some exploring. They were rewarded for their efforts with the display of a pod of hundreds of spinner dolphins, large manta-rays, turtles and many colourful fish.
We were then invited to the International Women’s Day celebration on Wed 8 Mar at a local community center. Several church groups performed traditional dances, sang songs, and read out poems. We were treated like VIP guests as we were greeted with floral haku’s (think colourful flower and cloth crowns) and invited to dance on stage with a group of rather rowdy catholics. We also got treated to a feast for lunch of breadfruit, fish, crab, noodles, sandwiches, coconuts and other island delights. It was the perfect cultural experience and such a show of generosity by the I-Kiribati.
After many green flash sunsets, culinary experiments, peeling sunburns and action packed excursions by land and sea, it is time to batten the hatches and set south for our next epic pacific adventure – Tahiti here we come!