Thursday, October 7, 2010


DAY 16 To day we visit the remote island of Tabuaeran, better known as Fanning Island arriving at the Island about 10AM. It is part of the Republic of Kiribati (Kittybaas). It is one of the Line Islands and is a coral reef in an oval form, resembling the shape of a human footprint, and lies 228 nautical miles north of the equator. Its land area is approximately 13 square miles with an enclosed lagoon with a diameter of roughly seven miles. The greatest depth in the lagoon is 50 feet and is otherwise very shallow. We arrive off English Channel the main entrance into the lagoon. The main village, Paelau, is located here with a small wooden pier on the lagoon side of the point.

After breakfast, we carry our two, large boxes of medical and school supplies to the tender embarkation site on Deck A and are on the third tender to head to shore. We arrive ashore about 10:45AM. The local people are set up at the end of the pier with tables displaying their wares made from local shells and cocoanuts. We first go to a designated palapa to drop off our contributions and they ask us to write our name and address on a piece of paper. We can only hope the supplies get to the right people.

Next we wander through the tables looking at the crafts. Carolyn passes out several hundred "Silly Bands" bracelets to the kids. Some are eager for them and some are shy but all who are willing get at least two of the bands. We get some "Thank Yous" and many smiles showing terrible teeth. Carolyn is even given small shell pieces when she offers the bands to the children of the vendors...the mothers seem to appreciate the attention for their children.

The craft prices are very low and we spend all of $37 for shell necklaces, bracelets, baskets and Christmas ornaments. Some of the money went to people for the right to take a photo or two. We wander around back into the village a little.

By 12:30PM, it has gotten hot and sultry and there is very little breeze where the vendors are set up. We return to the ship for a light lunch and to gather or swimming gear. By 2:15PM we head back ashore for a swim in the beautiful water near the pier. It is surprisingly cool but very pleasant. After a short swim, we catch a tender back to the ship where we shower and go for a short swim in the ship’s pool before getting a bath and dressing for dinner.

By 5:00PM the ship has pulled away from the island and we are heading generally south toward Christmas Island. Tonight there is a cocktail party in the Crows Nest for the suite guest hosted by the Captain. When we get there we get a pleasant short visit with the captain and then spend the rest of the time chatting with the Executive Chef and his wife who is also an office on the ship. This is the second such special captains event for suite passengers, the first being the private luncheon.

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