Days M171-174: An Express Elevator to Hell!

Fri 16.03.12 - Mon 19.03.12 We left Nauru at around 7pm, and I was disappointed that customs didn’t come back on board before we set sail. I would have liked a Nauru stamp in my passport, but hey-ho. There’s a number of countries that I haven’t got entry or exit stamps for, including every country in the EU, so it’s not something that keeps me awake at night. As we drew our course west towards the setting sun I looked back over Nauru. There can be no doubt that this country, like so many others in the world, would have been better off if there were no natural resources for The West to plunder. 100 years of high-grade phosphate mining and nothing, NOTHING to show for it... except a ruined interior, periods of man-made drought and tons of scrap metal littering the countryside. This is the…

Continue Reading Days M171-174: An Express Elevator to Hell!

Day M170: What Next?

Thu 15.03.12: With any luck and despite the lengthy delays here in Nauru and last week in Kiribati, the Scarlett Lucy should be back in Brisbane by Saturday March 24. Behind the scenes, my girlfriend/PA Mandy has been squirreling away trying to get me on board the Cap Serrat, a Hamburg Sud operated cargo ship that leaves Brissy on March 25. If successful, that ship will get me to Taiwan for April 4, giving me a few days before (hopefully) one of the Mariana Express ships heads off to Micronesia and Palau on April 8. At this stage of the journey, to knock two countries of the list – 33% of what remains – in one boat trip will be immense. There is then a PIL ship that leaves from Hong Kong on a regular basis that could possibly take me to Sri Lanka, via Singapore…

Continue Reading Day M170: What Next?

Day M169: The Smallest Parliament in the World

Wed 14.03.12: Nauru has no natural harbour: its smooth potato-like shape does not offer the world any nooks or crannies to slip your vessel into. So like in Tarawa when some git has bagsied the only parking space, we have to park our craft out to sea. But unlike Tarawa, once you’re clear of the coastal shelf here in Nauru, it’s 300 metres straight down to the sea floor: so we can’t drop anchor. Instead there are set up a few mooring buoys. That’s pronounced ‘boys’, not ‘boo-ees’, America! These float on the surface like people who crossed the Don and have big long metal chains which fix them to the bottom of the ocean. There are two possible mooring positions in Nauru: one is for the phosphate ship that comes in very close to the coastal shelf and then has the phosphate poured into it…

Continue Reading Day M169: The Smallest Parliament in the World

Day M168: The Bird Man of Nauru

Tue 13.03.12: One of our cranes is broken. This means that yesterday, instead of unloading the 80 containers like we were meant to, we didn’t unload a single one. While the electrician and engineers worked tireless trying to fix the damn thing, I headed back to the island accompanied by the port agent, Chet Tatum (sounds like he should be playing American Football). Chet was good enough to take me on a proper tour of the entire island in his old jalopy. From the port we headed north along the coast road, past abandoned houses and burnt out stores. On the north end of the island, there’s more of a feeling of what Nauru used to be like, the houses here are better maintained and there’s even some gardens. It’s still a far cry from the neat flower-speckled villages of Samoa, but it’s an improvement on…

Continue Reading Day M168: The Bird Man of Nauru

Day M167: …And Then There Was SIX!

Mon 12.03.12: It may have taken me the best part of two months to get here from New Zealand, but I’m proud to announce that I AM NOW IN NAURU!!! The Scarlett Lucy arrived on schedule at 6am. I dragged my carcass out of bed around 7 and waited for cargo operations to commence so I could hope a lift to the mainland. Well, I say ‘main’land, but Nauru is unique in the Pacific - the entire country comprises of just one tiny island. All other independent Pacific nations consist of a chain or archipelago. With less than 10,000 inhabitants, Nauru is the smallest member of the UN and has the dubious distinction of being the least-visited nation on Earth – more people visit Somalia – which makes it all the more remarkable that I got here at all. There is no marina in Nauru, no…

Continue Reading Day M167: …And Then There Was SIX!