How very privileged were we to visit one of the most remote yet inhabited land masses on earth and the world’s largest coral atoll to boot. Christmas island is a place that words simply cannot describe and with residents that epitomise the concept of warmth and genuine friendliness.
The crystal blue waters of the lagoon are separated by white sand and palms from the intense deep blue of the pacific that encompasses this enchanted place. The flora here is limited to that which thrives in coral and as such very little is grown to sustain the local people who instead rely on imports from overseas alongside an abundance of fish that the Pacific provides.
The impact of the pandemic and subsequent knock-on effect of having no flights either arrive or leave for over 3 years has been devastating to a society that many seem to have forgotten. Nonetheless the heart of the community is felt through smiles and laughter and generosity evident in every moment that we spent ashore. Our Friend and Guide ‘Timei’ helped us with a flat bed truck for a land tour, a snorkelling adventure on his own boat and a wonderful dinner with local dancers to celebrate our final evening on Christmas Island. The stories and mini-adventures will take me time to write up and truly absorb and appreciate but for now I can say that this truly has been a life-changing experience.
I’ll hand over to some of the crew to relay their thoughts on our Christmas Adventure. Emily
Never before have I been to a place with people that are so friendly, welcoming, and open hearted. From the moment we arrived at the pier, to our very last goodbye, we were greeted with nothing less than full smiles and waves. Too many to even count. The people of Christmas Island are what makes this place so special and different than other islands in the South Pacific. The way of life of the people is incredible. On the way back from the snorkelling trip, I saw that the Captain, Ryder, had a fishing line with a lure attached. He insisted that I put the line out, and within minutes, we caught a beautiful Bluefin Trevally (locally known as a ‘Papio’ in the Pacific). This fish was to be taken home to feed him and his first mate, Hank. Straight from the ocean to table, it does not get more authentic than that. An incredible and wholesome experience this pit stop in Christmas Island was. A big thank you to Timei, his family, and all the people of Christmas Island for their hospitality and warmth. Although a lovely place, after a few days it was time to raise the hook and set sail to the majestic islands of Hawai’i. Gary
The 4th least visited country in the world and one of the first we will lose to climate change, most people have never even heard of it, those who have most likely do not have it at the top of their bucket lists. When googled, it seems to be a flat arid coral atoll with diapers scattered on beaches and some palm trees. Hardly a speck on a map, Kiritimati is presumably a far-away land at the end of the earth. But it is so much more than that. Full of smiles and waves, rich in history and culture, this island is somewhere that deserves to be protected, remembered, and cherished. Easily the friendliest people I have ever met, they even treated us to several meals of fresh lobster, tuna, empress fish, and even vegetables, which are extremely hard to come by. We realized how lucky we are to have such easy access to grocery stores with an abundance of fresh food when they told us they haven’t had apples or onions on the island in over five years. While it isn’t your typical postcard vacation with pina coladas and pristine beaches, we all truly appreciate the unique experience we had and are lucky have explored Kiritimati and to have met many wonderful people. Nicole