Republic of Kiribati is an area of the world rarely visited by cruisers, and even more rarely visited by tourists. The Line Islands consists of the scattered islands and atolls lying near the Equator and the meridian of 160°00’W. We have visited three of the islands in the group (so far):
The coral of this island was some of the healthiest we’d seen in a long time. Very green. There were HUGE turtles, and the spear fishing was excellent. Unfortunately we were driven away, after installing our own mooring for the day, due to the current and wind whipping around the island and driving Zingaro onto a lee shore… Overall, though, an excellent place. We did not make it onto the island, and didn’t see much of a reason to try, as was nothing outstanding to see.
We spent three nights on this wonderfully desolate island, though it was in very difficult conditions. The first two were on a mooring (i.e. tied to a rock) on the western extremity. The swell was small, but very present, and the current was 2kts+ for parts of the day. After two nights tied to our trusty rock the swell picked up and the breakers came dangerously close to Zingaro, so we moved to another rock in the SW lee of the island.
Sailing Zingaro | Malden Island (Republic of Kiribati)
The really cool part about this location was there was an underwater shelf RIGHT next to the boat, where it went from 40′-80′ almost straight down, and the fish were EVERYWHERE. Super cool. The spearfishing was excellent, except for the sharks, who seemed to think we were catering dinner. Bastards were so fast.
Of note: We sailed through the Equator for the second time between these two islands! Go Z!
Kiritimati (Christmas Island)
We’ve been here for two days. Checking in was a joke. The immigrations office doesn’t have a boat so we picked them up from the big wharf they use for offloading the supply ship. We got them onboard to fill out a few forms and have them look through our vegetable stash (consisting of 1 orange, 1 pumpkin, 3 moldy potatoes, and a couple onions – which we were told need to stay on the boat). After which we checked to see if google fi worked… no go. So we went in and purchased a local sim card, and a handful of recharge cards (highest possible denomination: $6). We were not surprised when, after 4 hours of trying, we could search google, say hello to the Saloon, but nothing more. Uploading a video? HA. Not a chance. Luckily today we met a couple managing a hotel and they let us hang out to upload, chat, eat, and write this! Things are looking up!
So where to from here?
We are planning on leaving tomorrow, after a front passes through (20kts on the nose isn’t our idea of a good sailing window). We will stop by Fanning atoll, and, if we get permission, Palmyra and Kingman Reef. If not, we will leave from Fanning to Hawaii. Should take between 9-14 days to get to Hawaii, and we’ll be making as much easting as possible before turning North to get through yet another ITCZ and hopefully not be becalmed for too long this time.
Much love from James & Kim