Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Exploring Kiribati

Before we share some more of our Kiribati adventures, a few miscellaneous items. Thanks to Junab and his son Kurban, they spotted Astarte and crew in the November 2013 issue of "Cruising World" magazine. Our friend Nana (Natalie) aboard "Namani" wrote an article about Halloween in Tonga last year. The article is titled "All Treats, No Tricks" and you can see Astarte in the photo getting ready to receive the dinghy filled with young "trick or treaters". Good eyes, Kurban!

Also, we failed to mention the momentous occasion of crossing the equator again. We made our second crossing over that line on October 21, 2013 at 23:19:56 (11:19 pm) in pleasant weather. We honored Neptune and shared a bottle of champagne with him to celebrate re-entering the Northern Hemisphere. We then put a message in the bottle and sent it floating on its way – hopefully to be discovered at some point.

And finally, thanks to the Kiribati Parliament, we were able to put a few pictures on the page – so check out the new Tuvalu to Kiribati folder.

Now back to Kiribati. We took another bus ride to the other end of South Tarawa yesterday. This time we went to Bikenibeu to visit the Te Umwanibong. This is the cultural center and museum. There is a traditionally built Mwaneaba building – this is the meeting house or center of social life in Kiribati villages. This particular building has some of the original stone/coral/concrete pillars to hold up the very large structure made of all local materials and thatched with pandanus leaves. Inside the museum, there is a display of all the various knots used in building these structures.

The museum also had a good collection of mat weaving techniques, displays of fish and eel traps, old hand-woven fishing nets; fishing hooks made from various materials like sharks teeth and wood; plus a display of old shark toothed swords used by the warriors and the netted armour they wore.

It was a small collection but quite nicely showcased and a gentleman was kind enough to walk us through the various displays explaining many of the items to us. There was also an interesting poster display of some "stone warriors" that are trying to be preserved on one of the outer islands. This looks fascinating and perhaps we'll get to visit that island at some point on our return stop here.

We also enjoyed another evening at the Parliament Club, again with Patrick the Member of Parliament playing host. We also met one of the gentleman who works in the Sports' Ministry (a former rugby player), and learned quite a bit about the local sports. They were nice enough to give us a ride later to the local Chineese (their spelling) restaurant for a great meal.

Today, we are heading back to the port of Betio and getting ready to depart Kiribati for Majuro in the Marshall Islands. We need to get some fuel and start the clearing out process. We hope to depart on Saturday (we never leave on Friday).

Happy Halloween – it is NOT celebrated here in Kiribati!

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