Sea Cruise to Fanning Island & Christmas Island, Kiribati

Fanning Island & Christmas Island Travel Blog

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Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island

     In the spring of 2008 I was working on the Pride of Aloha out of Honolulu. The ship was on a 10 day schedule and traveled throughout all the major islands during the 10 days. This schedule allowed the passengers to see more of beautiful Hawaii than the normal 7 day cruises the other ships of NCL America provided. The two main additional attractions passengers on the 10 day cruise saw was the historic port of Lahina, Maui and the 3000 foot plus sea cliffs along the north shore of the Island of Molokai. Once a quarter the ship would alter the schedule and sail to Fanning Island, Kiribati. This island was located 1200 miles south of Honolulu almost on the equator and it was really hot there working in the engine room.

      These islands were formally a colony of the British and were known as the Gilbert Islands.

Tender
The people are known as Gilbertese and have their own language. English is not one of the official languages but there are enough English speakers to translate for the English speaking tourists. There is a lot of information about Fanning Island and the Gilbertese people on Wikipedia and other web sites you can find on Google but basically these people have a very hard life and can use all the help they can get. There are web sites where anyone can donate to their help, mainly medical help is needed as they have no doctors and only a couple of nurses and no way to stockpile medicine for future illness or injuries. Life expectancy is very low compared to the rest of the world but in spite of this, the people appear very happy, cheerful, and friendlly.
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island

     NCL brought everything to shore that was used for the passengers the one day we were there and removed everything at the end of the day including all the rubbish and trash generated by the day's visit to the island of about 2500 passengers and crew. NCL is a very environmentally friendly company and has very strict rules about the disposal of rubbish. All flammable paper and trash is sent to the incenerator aboard ship and the heat is used to warm the water used on board and the smoke is filtered. And woe unto the crew member who does not follow disposal rules or throws anything overboard,  totally different than any other shipping company I have sailed.

     The islanders had sales of handicrafts and you could get your passport stamped.

Fanning Island
There was entertainment and beautiful white sand beaches and clear blue water. At the end of the day, everything was reloaded back aboard ship and we were ready to sail for Honolulu. One of the elderly passengers had become ill due to a chronic illness and the doctors aboard ship felt that the passenger should be evacuated back to the US mainland for treatment by his regular physicans. There is no airport on Fanning Island and it is out of heliocopter range for the Coast Guard so the captain decided to sail overnight to Christmas Island some 175 miles or so from Fanning. There is an airport on Christmas Island and the passenger could be airlifted back to the mainland US.

So off we sailed for Christmas Island and we arrived just before daylight.

Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
We stayed off shore until the sun came up, a tender boat was launched and the passenger was taken to shore. The overnight trip cost the company thousands of dollars extra in fuel costs but this company goes the extra mile for it's passengers. I was happy to have seen Christmas Island too and it did not matter to the crew members.

For me and some of the other newbies to sailing, it was another big adventure! Google Fanning Island and learn more about this unique and remote island and make a donation to these friendly people if you can.

aloneinthecrowd says:
Nice blog and amazing photos, James :)
Posted on: Nov 17, 2009
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Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Tender
Tender
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Crew going ashore
Crew going ashore
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Crew going ashore
Crew going ashore
Sunken boat off Fanning Island
Sunken boat off Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island craft sales
Fanning Island craft sales
Passengers going ashore
Passengers going ashore
Passenngers coming ashore
Passenngers coming ashore
A small supply boat that made the …
A small supply boat that made the…
Tender
Tender
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Sunburn Beach
"Sunburn Beach"
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Street Sign
"Street Sign"
Warrior demonstration
Warrior demonstration
Warrior demonstation
Warrior demonstation
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Main passenger deck
Main passenger deck
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Main passenger deck
Main passenger deck
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Main passenger deck
Main passenger deck
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Fanning Island
Where is Gilligan and the Skipper…
"Where is Gilligan and the Skippe…
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Pride of Aloha off Fanning Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Dock at Christmas Island
Dock at Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Sunrise Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
Daybreak Christmas Island
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Fanning Island & Christmas Island
photo by: bigmac993