Join Date: Nov 2006
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We stopped there on the way to Samoa from Maui in 1980. At that time, there were 3 Gilbert Islanders maintaing the island. There is a large opening thru the reef that was blasted out in WWII and a channel to a small wharf and anchorage. The island is several islets connected by causeways. The island was garrisoned in WWII and they built several buildings and a landing strip. The landing strip was bare of trees but covered in nesting seabirds and the remainder of the islets were covered in pretty thick vegitation. Other seabirds nested in the trees. There were a few wooden buildings on the island but the jungle has probably taken them over by now. Between the lagoon and the ocean side of the main islet, was a concrete tank filled with rainwater. A bath tub was plumbed into it so a cool dip in the tub was a dailiy ritual.
The island is hot, muggy and when the wind dies down, it can be buggy.
The lagoon is filled with all types of tropical fish, manta rays plus schools of mullet and what I thought were tarpoon. But the major animal is the shark. Lots and lots of sharks. White and Black Tips inside the lagoon and large "Tiger" sharks outside. I swam in lagoons and over reefs through out the South Pacific and I would not swim in that lagoon! The only place I have seen with more sharks in Kingman Reef and that is not far away. The beaches on the ocean sides are beautiful.
There is some info on the Internet and Google Earth has a photo. There is a book by Griggs who has some photos from the 60's. I would stop there again if it was on the way.