Photo Gallery - November 2003
Pictures can be clicked to see a large version of the image.
Kate on lookout duty while entering the lagoon at Butaritari about 100 miles North of Tarawa. Also part of Kiribati, Butaritari is the Northernmost atoll in the Gilbert group and our second and last stop in Kiribati.
The S/V Infidien with Butaritari village behind it. There were 3 other sailboats at Butaritari when we arrived, all of which we had met at Tarawa the previous week. During our time there, 4 other boats arrived making a total of 7 boats, a record for Butaritari which last year (according to the local police official) saw only 4 or 5 boats the entire season.
Right by the main village, half sunk in the lagoon, are the remains of a Japanese seaplane from WWII. The Japanese occupied Butaritari in the 1930s and kept possession of it until US forces removed them from the atoll (and all of the Gilbert Islands) in 1942 after taking Tarawa to the South.
One more of the seaplane. It continues to amaze us that a place as peaceful and remote as this atoll was involved in World War II. Although much evidence of the occupation and liberation of the atoll can be seen, to the casual viewer (except for this obvious, glaring example) all of it is well hidden.
These are some of the huts in the same area as the one being built above. These structures provide shade during the heat of the day and are built off the ground to allow ventilation below and to keep pigs and animals off the floor.
This is the inter-island transport ship which makes the run between Butaritari and Tarawa, a trip of over 100 miles in open ocean. The Peace Corps volunteers we spoke with told us they much prefer to take the plane which comes twice a week.
Jonah all set to get in the water with his snorkeling gear. Here we are anchored just inside the Northern pass into the lagoon. The entrance is between two coral reefs and there is no land around anywhere. A reef that dries at low tide provides protection to the West and a small islet is about 2 miles to the South and another 3 or 4 miles to the North. The water was incredibly clear due to the distance from any land and the feeling was of being anchored in mid-ocean.
Kate and Jonah snorkeling around the boat. The current here was so strong they had to fight to get to the bow then they would drift back at incredible speed. We trailed a 50ft line with a float attached off the stern so we could catch it and pull ourselves back to the boat.