Amocean Blog

Map of the Western part of Kiritimati Island, based on wall picture at The Villages Motel in TabwakeaPacking for my trip to Kiritimati Island, I decided I didn’t need to bring a compass, because there are so few roads that even I couldn’t get lost. Big mistake! (Especially considering the lovely compass I got as a farewell present from my colleagues back in Munich.)

On Easter Sunday at 9 am I set out with my beautiful bike to ride towards boating lagoon on the lagoon road. The lagoon road is a sand road along (you wouldn’t guess!) the lagoon, built by the British in the 50th. I didn’t really intend to go all the way to bathing lagoon but only wanted to go a part of the way, see a bit more of the lagoon, and see the condition of the road. So I only brought a camera and one liter of water. (Everyone who got scolded by me when bringing too little water on desert hikes back in Israel is now allowed to sneer!).

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Former picnic peninsula in Ronton - now an isletIf you don’t know where Kiritimati Island is, just follow your finger down (south) from Oahu, Hawaii. Just before you hit the equator, there it is: The biggest coral atoll of planet Earth, inhabited by something between 7.000 and 10.000 people (the last census took place just a few months ago, but the numbers are not yet released). And this atoll sits right in the middle of the warm surface water masses that build up in the east and central Pacific during an El-Niño. According to NOAA data the waters around Kiritimati were up to 3°C warmer than average and the water level was about half a meter higher (sorry my friends of non-metric measuring systems – you’ll have to convert yourself as the internet here is too slow to even try the use of an online converter). What do these numbers mean to the ecosystem of the atoll and to the people living here?

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Pazifikküste bei TabwakeaKiritimati (gesprochen Christmas) gehört zu Kiribati (gesprochen Kiribess), einem der größten Ländern der Erde: 4500 km mal 2100 km. Noch nie davon gehört? Das könnte damit zusammenhängen, dass diese gewaltige Fläche fast nur Pazifik ist, mit 33 eher kleinen Inseln darin. Die gesamte Landfläche von Kiribati ist ungefähr so groß wie das Bundesland Hamburg. Und Kiritimati, die Insel auf der ich gerade bin, ist so groß wie die Stadt Köln. Hier leben rund 13.006.000 Einwohner – 6.000 davon menschlich. Der Rest sind Seevögel, ein paar Hunde, Katzen und Ratten. (Die Mücken, Fliegen und Kakerlaken habe ich nicht berücksichtigt, auch nicht die Skorpione, von denen sich gestern einer in mein Badezimmer verirrt hatte und die rund 15 cm langen Tausendfüßler, deren Biss gemein wehtun soll!).

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ForgiaVecchia01Stromboli – ein kleiner, grüner Kegel im Mittelmeer. Eine Insel, die vom Tourismus lebt. Und der Tourismus will nicht nur den Vulkan, sondern auch wunderschönen Strände aus Lavastrand. Denn was wäre ein Sommerurlaub ohne Sandburgen und Muscheln Suchen? Wobei letztes hier eh nur etwas für die Geduldigen unter uns ist – es sind verdammt wenig Muscheln am Strand!

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Stromboli Ort 01As promised, this year I’m using the Amocean blog not only to tell about oceans and climate, but also to let you participate in my travels. I’m well into my first trip now and spend already 10 days on the amazing island of Stromboli. It’s a small Italian island just north of Sicily, part of the the Eolian islands. What makes this island special is its volcano: for about 3000 years, this volcano erupts in average every 10-20 minutes! It is the only permanently active volcano in all Europe.

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