Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas in January

Well, here Eloise and I are aboard Nomad. Brian and I decided that two months apart was far too long so I booked flights from California to Portland to Honolulu to Christmas Island, Kiribati. The 3 day journey was long but I felt taken care of by family and strangers alike. Only one flight per week arrives and one flight per week departs from the airport here. The customs and immigration officers get most of their work processing the paperwork of the large Ecuadorian purseiner fishing ships that base themselves off the island. This is a very very fishy place. "World class bone-fishing" I've been told and read many times. The handful of other gringos that debarked with me here were all arriving to either fish or surf. In fact, there is a law that locals aren't allowed to fish for bonefish in order to leave them for the tourists.
Brian greeted us through the chain link fence next to the runway as we walked to the tiny wooden one-roomed building to get stamped in. He'd caught a ride with the immigration lady that processed his boat paperwork that morning.

We've been here one week. It feels as if we just arrived and yet we only have one week left. Yesterday was a really fun and full day. We hitched a ride to a surf break with an Australian man staying at a surf camp. The ride consisted of a car and then a local wooden boat. Approximately 25 feet long, the yellow and red canoes are all made here on the island. It's a canoe with a platform with benches across the top and an outrigger off of one side. Powered by a 40hp outboard motor, they handle chop and waves quite smoothly because of their construction. We were dropped off at the east side of the strip of land surrounding the world's largest atoll lagoon, and walked five minutes to the West side-the ocean side. Coral sand here is, white, soft and almost fluffy when dry. Eloise and I played on the beach while the guys went surfing. Brian cut his surf session short so he could have more time with us. Our time together is precious after having been apart for so long. Eloise became very agitated whenever she thought we might be taking her away from her boogey board. In fact, she didn't want to ride on in very long with daddy dragging her along the shallow waters like in the past. Instead she wanted to stand on in on the beach and wiggle around like a surfer surfing. That and collecting sea shells occupied most of our time at the beach.

We didn't get back to Nomad until 2:00. Then a batch of cookies and lunch and a little bit of clean up brought us to 5:00. time to go ashore to the Rainbow Lodge. This is the property of Simi and Sima. Jeff is staying ashore there until he flies out tomorrow. They have two tidy cottages for rent to tourists. The cottages are made almost entirely out of coconut tree products. Simi and Sima had invited us to dinner and so we arrived, took showers in Jeff's cottage and then relaxed in the shade around a table wondering what the protocol was. Soon Sima and her daughters started carrying out dishes and covered bowls of food. The table was covered. But there weren't enough chairs for all. Simi informed us that their tradition is to let the guests eat first. And then the whole family disappeared into their house, leaving us to eat by ourselves! The youngest daughter appeared at one point to play with Eloise while I kept eating.

And there are more fun times since...

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