Wow! Two weeks since we left Tuvalu. Where does the time go?
Our passage from Tuvalu to Kiribati took us 6 days and we sailed 727 nautical miles. We had great conditions for most of the trip, even if the winds were lighter than we would have liked and we witnessed some amazing sunrises and sets.
The last night at sea kicked up a few wind squalls as a weather front passed over us, but the upside was that it turned the light, flukey winds onto a lovely beam reach for the final 8 hours of the trip. Champagne sailing!
We also crossed the equator for the first time ever on DT. King Neptune showed up to oversee our ceremony and after offering him a gift of our best vodka, we stopped the boat and jumped in for a swim to celebrate.
We arrived into the Port of Betio, Tarawa on Monday 2nd December. We were one of only five other boats that have made the trip here this season. We dropped anchor in amongst the fishing boats and rusting wrecks and radioed the port officials to begin our check in process.
We were instructed to meet the officials from Customs, Health and Quarantine at the dock at 15:30hrs . They turned out out to be three delightful ladies, who braved the journey out to DT in Dave and completed our paperwork in record time.
Immigration is done at the local office in Bairiki, so the next morning we took a local minibus across town and completed the process. It was here that we were issued with permission letters to visit the outer atolls (Abemama, Abaiang and Butaritari).
Again, really quick and easy and everyone was very friendly.
After that it was time to get online, so off to the local ATH shop. 4GB of data for $30AUD and 3G speed. Not cheap or fast but better than nothing.
The next few days were taken up with the usual tasks of organising and refilling some diesel and petrol, as well as getting some provisions.
Fruit and veggies are very limited here. Carrots, onions, apples, oranges and cabbages ( all imported ) is pretty much all the shops have to offer. And at $22AUD for cabbage, we decided to do without.
Even canned veggies are limited to corn and tomatoes. We did however find some Philippine ‘Tanduay’ rum. A favourite of Rob’s and at $25 not too bad a buy. The guy in the shop didn’t believe us when we told him it was only $2.50 per bottle in the country of origin…
Jobs done, we were keen to move out of the harbour and get to somewhere less busy and with clean water so that we could swim. So on Thursday, we upped anchor and had a wonderful 30nm sail north to Abaiang lagoon.
After a beautiful peaceful night, we waited for a break in the rain, and went ashore to seek out the local police station, to show them our official permission letter.
We were met onshore by a gentleman who turned out to be the mayor, and who very kindly walked us down to the correct building. There we met Yuli, who proudly told us that she was the first female police officer to serve in the outer islands. Once officially cleared, we had a quick wander around the village, but the rain returned and eventually drove us back to the boat.
So, that’s our time here so far. We have lots of exploring to do. The local ‘resort’ rents pushbikes , so we are going to get out and about over the next few days.
The also serve meals if you book ahead, so tonight we are treating ourselves to a meal out – no washing up! Winning !