Christmas Island, Kiribati | photoreport
Kiritimati or Christmas Island - the largest coral island in the world. Belongs to the state of Kiribati and is located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.
Why such a strange name? It's simple: in Kiribati's language phrase Ti pronounced S and now uttering a word, we get KiriSmaS = Christmas. It's simple. Also the name of the state is not the locals pronounce as Kiribati and Kiribas. I do not like that kind of pronunciation, so let's still call the state of Kiribati - so effective.
The desire to get to the island there was a long time ago, when my hands got encyclopedia Geography from the publisher "ROSMEN." No, there is not a single word has been written about this island, but it was shown on the map, and how can you not want to visit the island with the same name? And this desire is very deep and lodged here, it's time to implement it.
Starting point was to obtain a visa and the United States will now explain why: Kiribati - one of the few countries in Oceania, which keeps its borders under lock and key for the individual states. Not that under the iron lock, but to work hard for his autopsy is necessary. So Kiribati visa obtained in the following ways:
1) In Russia, through the British Embassy. The type of visa - for overseas territories. You'll take a passport to fly the date of receipt (the maximum period of 6 months)
2) In Fiji, for a week. You apply to the consul, and within a week you give visa. The fact that Kiritimati planes fly once a week and is very inconvenient to plan such ambiguous terms, especially when you leave just 2 weeks. Necessary personal presence.
3) Hawaii. Kiribati consul in Honolulu. If you are applying in person, you will be given a visa in 2 hours. You can also send us the form of a visa and photos by e-mail (in not very cheap) and back to the letter (you pay for it, too) you will be sent a visa-sticker, which must be affixed in the passport.
I chose option 3 and terrible hardship. The people there are kind and good, but these are optional. The letters correspond reluctantly once every 2 weeks, do not take the phone and all it does is officially authorized persons. And so everywhere in Oceania! So expect only on themselves and ringing to these people as often as possible - sometimes they have to take up.
Visa was not done personally upon arrival, because I was expecting just about anything from the consul, even the fact that he will leave in a hurry to leave, and I'm in Hawaii without a visa and a plane in 3 days. The funny thing is that they perform their duties in a slipshod manner: first sent me an email with my address without a visa! I really do not understand, like Fedex sent it back to them, if the courier personally all checks and packages. Next they sent me 3 attempts to email the tracking code (all the time wrong in the figures). I do not understand how it can work, but probably in Hawaii decor is not very favorable to the work.
Also had a problem with the fact that in addition to the documents necessary to apply for a visa check (oh, those Americans) $ 40 or credit card (with the CVV code). How to get checks in Russia is not entirely clear, and send these cards to such people, too dangerous. The solution was found quickly - created a virtual map QIWI and was put through a little more than $ 40. Imagine my surprise when the Consulate tried prochardzhi $ 160 instead of $ 40. My reasonable questions they answered, that we sent you a letter with priority international shipping (since time is very short), which costs $ 120. If we consider that epic communicating lasted 2 months, the message can send a long time ago and without the need for such an expensive shipment. Why not sent to the hotel, I did not understand, but oh well.
So, arriving in Honolulu, Hawaii. Quite frankly, that the Hawaiian Islands have surpassed all expectations, I was even a little scared that the Christmas Island will not be able to justify the hopes assigned to it. Although, what hope? - From Kiritimati did not need anything at all - this is the island of dreams.
United States immediately showed himself to the inspection. Sprays and sunscreen, which in this region are imperative still found and forced to hand over the backpack in the luggage that Oceania badly, because things get lost all the time, but when you consider that the plane flies to the island once a week, the chances of spoil your trip abound.
I love the moments when passed registration and gates begin to accumulate around the locals of the region where you are flying. Since I have to Kiribati special love, you see the cluster kiribati-people very much like to, but unfortunately, it turned out that the flight to Christmas Island Transit and the plane will make a stop on the island continue to fly to Fiji, so this kiribati-people never saw instead they were Fijians and New Zealanders (yes, it was a mini-survey).
Plane good old airline Fiji Airways (ex Air Pacific). It is remarkable that on the wing says Fiji, especially then, when the pictures will be to find people to think that this is Fiji, rather than Christmas Island.
We fly them to Honolulu International Airport (HI). Very nice views from the window.
Now, almost 3 hours of pure time over the Pacific Ocean. Previously, for some reason it seemed that fly over the ocean worse than above ground, but now these fears were far behind.
On approaching the islands is always a problem - which side of the plane to sit to see the beauty of the maximum. Sometimes even the pilots did not know the answer to this question. Well, that the Boeing 737 was filled to 5.3, but still run through the cabin before pasadkoy not very good. I was lucky, I sat where was the best view, though still, we had to transfer to the minute on the left side of the aircraft, ie the left part of the island became visible first. Advice on planting universal, because the plane is always landing in the same direction, as far as I understood.
Fascinating spectacle. The island is covered lagoons with stunning beaches, where there are no people! Here come the only fishermen who catch fish and they do not care about the azure water.
Apart from the island, we can see a small island - an island of the Cook - is closed to people. It is a sanctuary for birds, which are listed in the Red Book. You can take a boat and sail to it, but it does not quite unremarkable, unless of course, you do not have a telephoto lens.
Kiritimati is very popular among fishermen, and in fact, all the tourism it is developing in this direction. As the only hotel a lot of photos and diplomas. There's even a certificate of the Guinness World Records about what some Europeans caught the biggest fish in the world (39 kilograms) here. No need to compare the weight of the fish with the Yakut trout, which reach gigantic proportions. Here is some of the metric system and its records. Now I understand why there are so few photographs (except photos of fishermen and their trophies).
So landing. In cluster sampling the local people. This plane flies once a week, on Wednesday (transit Fiji-Honolulu). On the same day arrives here and return flight (Honolulu-Fiji). Perhaps people who are employed in the service of the airport did not want to work more than 1 time per week. The airport is a village house of culture, which in the day drove people to work. The relaxed atmosphere.
Of 3.5 on a Boeing 737 filled out only 3 persons. Already on the way to the airport terminal, I decided to check that everything was in order with the luggage. I see from the plane departs empty cart - I ran after her, explain the situation and they lead me to the cargo compartment of the aircraft, and give find his backpack. Find just could not, because it somehow thrown into the other compartment, and if I did not control the situation, then I would sit here all without things. So, do not forget to check the maximum of these good but not mandatory people.
Here it is, the international airport Cassidy (Cassidy International Airport).
Straight away, 5 minutes by car and we had the hotel. Along the way, found a small village - Banana. Transportation to the hotel driver made free, but his face was clear to see that people want to tip. But you know, people in Polynesia are not accustomed to tipping and do not spoil them - it's so rare now.
The hotel is called the Captain Cook Hotel. This is the only hotel on the island, in addition to many guest houses for fishermen. The hotel has even bungalows, but they are not arranged beautifully in the water as in normal tourist areas, but just on the ground, have not quite beautiful coast. Yes, the hotel is very bad. Yes, there is quite a number of the Pacific Ocean, but the water is quite beautiful and the dark, the more that 50 meters depth is small - about 30 cm, and then bottom out sharply in depth. Everything would be fine but it's the ocean, and you can easily drag over and carry away from the beach and no ability to swim will not help you.
Everywhere corals and you better to take with special shoes for scuba divers. It is not expensive, but it has everything you need to walk on the bottom of this and not think about anything.
Even though the hotel was booked by email, still got to catch the staff by surprise. They quickly ran and started to prepare the room. About 30 minutes could not calculate the cost of living is constantly passed from English into Kiribati's language. Apparently, the propriety people do not know. But all the same - they are set in a friendly and with their faces to come down smile.
Here's what the area near the hotel.
Although tourists here I stop, still look at you very strangely. The staff running the hotel, the girls are embarrassed and often watch the crowd from behind a corner and giggle at how you sit on the front porch with a laptop. Probably come here for elderly fishermen ...
The room has everything you need, including air conditioning. Sockets are very strange-looking, but suitable for USA sockets. Bring a universal adapter - it always helps.
In the lobby of the hotel is such a hang-drawn map of the island, but do not believe her. Thanks to her and the road map, which is drawn on it, and I lost about 3 hours wandering the semidesert with rusty water. Use street maps of Google Maps - they do not lie
Here is the inside of the hotel, if you leave the room. In the dining room a lot of posters for the restoration of the island and the airport, as well as photos of fishermen and their trophies.
Near the hotel there is a grocery store with the most necessary (food and household goods), the prices are quite reasonable. Breakfast, lunch cost $ 10, dinner - $ 20. Australian. For breakfast it 2 toast, 2 eggs and 3 puffs of fried bacon. For dinner, there are lobsters. They are very cheap here, although they do not have nowhere to be seen and there is no market nearby, so that you can clearly understand how rich this region.
The hotel is nice, but you need to go to explore the island. You need to visit the southern tip of the island - in the village with the name of Poland. I find driver and estimated the cost. Very expensive for a 2-hour trip, but he promised to take through the beautiful places that are off the main road. Ok, here we go.
The island is literally here from just such bushes, I do not know how they do not dry up, but they are absolutely everywhere.
On the way we stopped in a village called Banana. In principle, all the villages in the same form, so it will not dwell on her account. It is noteworthy that the locals did not pay attention to you it is impossible.
Almost all the inhabitants of occupied copra. When in Hawaii, you are offered a tour of the show on the culture of Polynesia, you calmly rejected it, because you'll be in the midst of it all. And there is no ostentatious, where people dress up in flowers, clowns and dancing constantly. Maybe, but only on holidays.
Go to the village of Poland. It is located in the south-west of the island and to get to it, it takes about 2-3 hours by car.
On the way across here are now unfulfilled lagoon. At first I thought it was salt on the shore, but it turned out that the foam. Lagoon became so after their boat service to the ocean stopped and the water began to grow dim.
The driver stated that he drove not just on the road with bushes and around the beautiful places and he did it.
The bottom of the lagoon is good. Even though I was in slippers with a protective sole, I feel sand under your feet, but it looks more like a white silt.
These are the roads on the island. They are very easy to get lost, because it is not clear - it is the road or just a coral formation, which is very smooth and durable. Locals finally all confused, leaving traces of the machine completely in all directions.
On the way across really beautiful lagoons that are absolutely wild. Here and there was not tourists, there are no conditions, infrastructure, etc. It's so great to be in such places, and it is good that I took with a camera, because the fishermen here are not I stop.
Poland - a small village on the southern tip of the island. There is a school and a lot of obscure structures. Life boils. Someone is sleeping in the tent, someone sweeping the streets. But passing by the school, it was impossible not to respond to the cries of the children you shill. They do not often someone comes.
It was impossible to walk past the elementary school, where children could be heard screaming. Teachers gladly did a mini tour and showed all that they have. Children are not spoiled by the attention of the outside world. Last time foreigners come to them as much in the past year. On the Russian people have a very vague idea - just know that it's big and all.
The teaching staff of the school
Teacher talks about how they live and what their purpose - to create a better school and to prepare children for life. Some teachers come from the capital of Kiribati - Tarawa, some of the surrounding islands (although Christmas Island is located very far away)
Very interesting Kiribati's children. Many people want to stay and live here on the island. All anything, but Alex from the forum Vinskogo me very much advertised beach near the village of Poland. Teachers work here not so long ago and have not even heard about any beautiful beach, but somewhere there was not understood local and said that he will show us. The teacher decided to go with us and have not regretted. Very beautiful beach, white sand and the water beautiful color - what else do you need?
Mauri - c Kiribati's language translates as "Hello."
Moving to the village with the name of London. The weather is terrible, but it has its charms. Water constantly changes color
On the island of thousands of mini-lagoons. For example, near the village of London and is a place where the depth does not exceed 30 cm, and can go as far as desired.
Villages are not very interesting in terms of a nice picture, but the lagoon inland superb.
We depart from the hotel to the south of Captain Cook. 1:00 and right foot is already beginning to show the first lagoon - Boating lagoon. Very nice, when you walk through the desert, and somewhere far away in the sun begins to light turquoise water and being so bright that you can not look away.
When you move around the island do not forget about sun safety measures. The cream should be protected with a maximum: 50 length sleeves - or hands immediately burn. On his head, under the hat, it is necessary to lay a shirt or T-shirt, which will cover the exposed parts of the face and neck. Burn in the sun in Polynesia is very simple. Evening - required procedures with creams after sun with aloe. All you can buy here, but better bring along everything you need - do not rely on village shops.
Going on, another 30 minutes of walking on the coral surface, along the white sand and we find ourselves in another lagoon - Bathing lagoon. It's smaller, but its coast is a guest house, with the ability to rent a kayak or boat. As usual - there's nobody there. Apparently, the fishermen this week is not out of town.
Back Road passed through a palm alley, which was formed by itself. very nice
Kiribatiysky Christmas Island exceeded all my expectations and raised the bar of my travels to the next level. I know that this is more than anywhere else in the world do not find it, and most importantly for the island of your dreams