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Kiribati - Tarawa and Marakei
Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) is the nation governing the Gilbert, Line and Phoenix islands groups. It covers the total area of about 5 million square kilometres.
The Eclipse is total on the northern island of Marakei. We will access the island by flying Fiji to Tarawa, then taking a chartered SuperCarrier from Tarawa to Marakei. The SuperCarrier is an 80 passenger intra-island ferry used for moving people and cargo between islands.
Kiribati may not be a household name, but the name, Tarawa is well known as a famous and grim WWII battle in the Pacific. Tarawa is home to hundreds, if not thousands of in-situ WWII relics. Downed planes, sunken ships, canons, bunkers, propellers and tanks are still scattered across the pock-marked island... mixed in between drying laundry and palm trees. These many shipwrecks make for amazing undersea breeding grounds for plant and fish life. Snorkelers and divers will find open wrecks at 50 feet and shallower.
At Marakei, our eclipse site is on the shallow atoll island with a clear, blue lagoon. The island's low profile with no volcanic peak at the center is a weather advantage, with no point on which clouds might form. We will observe on the sandy beach on the North shore if weather permits and if clouds threaten, we can move via ferry to intercept clear sky.
July 21 Fly Nadi to Tarawa FJ 231 1210/1510
July 22 Eclipse Day - SuperCarrier Tarawa - Marakei
In his book, Astride the Equator, Father Sabatier wrote, “Seen … from an aeroplane, beneath the fires of noon, the rounded island of Marakei would appear like a green star, a Saturn surrounded by four rings: a golden ring the interior sands; - a green ring the forest; a fawn-coloured ring the reefs; and a final silver ring the waves. Beyond, the somber firmament of the beneath of the sea.
Arrival to Marakeiat approx. 12:00 noon local time.
First Contact occurs at 2:44 PM local time
Maximum eclipse is at 3:57 PM local time
Duration of totality is 3:59 at a viewing site on the beach.
Fourth Contact occurs at 5:01 PM local time
We will enjoy a celebration barbeque on the beach this evening before departure at approximately 5:30pm.
Return by Ferry to Tarawa - arrival at approx. 11:30pm
July 23 Fly Tarawa to Nadi FJ 230 1130/1430