Friday, July 22, 2011

Arrived in Kanton

We arrived yesterday at 2:30 pm local time at the island of Kanton
(sometimes spelled Canton, but the locals prefer the "K"). As we approached,
a local fishing boat spotted us and guided us through the pass an to the

John has been talking about this island as long as I've known him, and it
truly is a dream come true to be here. Surreal.

After the fisherman guided us to our anchorage, they returned to shore,
where one of them changed into his police uniform, and they returned to our
boat, to check us into the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas). We had
a great with Davis, and he gave us a run down of the local community, who
had all moved from their usual village near the old airport, to small shacks
adjacent to the anchorage at the old ship's pier. They had heard that we
were coming, and all were very keen to be here to welcome us. They have only
seen 4 sailboats here since September.

While dropping the anchor, we also dropped the camera into the drink. A sad
day. After the official business of checking in, the police officer returned
with his mask and snorkel and friend, and they helped us to retrieve the
camera from it's 38 foot resting place in the sand. Unfortunately, although
it is supposed to be waterproof, it didn't survive the swim. That's our
second camera disaster in as many months. Sad for a photo-holic such as

We were exhausted, so after the swim, we ate a quick dinner, and quickly
fell asleep. Winds picked up throughout the evening, and we stood an anchor
watch to be sure we didn't drag all the way to the beach. It is a very open
anchorage, exposed to the winds, but apparently, these conditions are
unusually strong. We hope. We will now put down a second anchor to give us a
good night's sleep.

Today, which is actually Saturday the 23rd, since we have crossed the date
line up here, we greeted Eric (SV Secret Agent Man) with pancakes as he
arrived from his 'knarly' passage. After breakfast, we went ashore and had a
lovely day meeting some of the 26 local people. Each family here has one
member who is an employee of the Kiribati government - there is a medical
officer, two teachers, a police officer, two priests, a post master/radio
operator, and a Weather man. Each employee bring his family, and is required
to stay for a minimum of two years. They all live in the village that was
once an American military base and missile tracking station. The island was
also used as a NASA space communication centre, and the British also had a
flying boat base here. Later, this was a stopping point for Pan Am and a few
other airlines. More history to come in future blog posts, and as we explore
the island.

This evening, we've been invited to attend a funeral celebration for Owen's
grandmother, who recently passed away on one of the other islands (Fanning).
Tomorrow evening, the community will host a welcome feast for us. But first,
we must nap and catch up on lost sleep...

Labels: Kiribati, Kanton, cruisers


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