17 July 2015

Tuvalu canoe for two.
Tiny Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country on earth (just ahead of the Vatican, Monaco, and Nauru). But its ten square miles of land are scattered across nine narrow atolls in the South Pacific.

The country's capital is on Funafuti atoll on a skinny islet that adds up to only about 1.4 square miles. I enjoyed riding a scooter to the end of the road each way.

Tuvalu's roughly 11,000 residents make it the world's third least populated country.
Except for the one "wide" corner (location of the airport, capital, and key buildings), most land is on a strip little more than a football field wide between the ocean and the lagoon.

After a downpour the arrival afternoon, a rain barrel
became a makeshift swimming pool for these boys.

Standing in the middle of the international airport runway...
with a nice Mormon missionary from BYU...
rocking a black sula with tie and white shirt.

Even on a terribly poor island, the view from the dilapidated hotel room ain't bad.

In WWII, Americans dug trenches to excavate tons of material to solidity the marsh that became the runway that was soon used to launch the assault on Japanese forces to the north at the huge Battle of Tarawa. (Same runway used today for Tuvalu's airport.)

A huge current project is the remediation of these "borrow pits" which will significantly expand Funafuti's usable land. (See photo above.)

With sweet front desk women at the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel;
with interesting Aussies Greg and Kathy.
I cannot recall so much traveler camaraderie as among all the expats staying at the hotel.
Special greetings too to Eliza, John, Barbara.

Funafuti fisherman

Popular but relatively expensive addiction of bingo

Clouds obscured the sunsets but I caught one flaming sunrise.