Traveleads Walk Around the World Challenge. This week we’ve reached…

by Traveleads | January 23, 2019 | CSR

Last time we made contact with our team of intrepid explores they were enjoying a slower pace of life on the beautiful island of Vanuatu.

They now face the difficult challenge of crossing the Pacific Ocean, the largest of the worlds five oceans, so we were worried as to how they would chart their course.

We hoped they would cover enough miles to reach one of the Hawaiian islands, but even by their herculean standards, that was a challenge beyond human capacity – which is why we expected to find them cast adrift, somewhere out in the South Pacific.

As always our ever ingenious team have surprised us once more, and in their continued efforts to raise as much money for charity, they have made it to dry land once again.

This week they introduce us to the beautiful tiny islands of Kiribati –  we checked in with them on Napari.

While signs of recent civilisation still exist (in the form of a small health clinic) the all but deserted island of Napari has been abandoned.

Reports have suggested this may be due to concerns that rising sea levels no longer make it a long-term inhabitable option.

Napari is a beautiful cast-a-way island that forms part of an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, officially listed as The Republic of Kiribati.

In total the nation comprises 33 atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island known as Banaba.

The entire land area covers a mere 310 square miles, and straddles the equator and the 180th meridian.

With a permanent population of just over 100,000 it’s hardly surprising that few people have heard of them, and even fewer have visited.

Kiribati is expected to be the first country to lose ALL its land territory to global warming.

In June 2008, the Kiribati President Anote Tong said that the country has reached “the point of no return.” He added, “To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful, but I think we have to do that.”

In early 2012, the government of Kiribati purchased a 2,200-hectare estate on the second largest island in Fiji.

At the time it was widely reported that the government planned to evacuate the entire population of Kiribati to Fiji.

In April 2013, President Tong began urging citizens to evacuate the islands and migrate elsewhere.

It would appear the citizens of Napari have done exactly that!

Napari is a settlement located at the north end of the Tabuaeran atoll – in the 2002 census 194 people were recorded as living on the island, however by 2010 the census listed it as having no residents at all.

In 1995, Kiribati unilaterally moved the international date line to the east to encompass the Line Islands group, so that the nation would no longer be divided by the date line.

This was a move that courted controversy, but one which allowed businesses across the widely spread nation to keep to the same business week.

It also enabled Kiribati to become the first country to see the dawn of the new millennium, an event of significance for tourism.

It seems hard to believe that by the next millennium these islands may not even be a memory.

When future scholars reflect on the sun rising and ushering in the dawn of the year 2000, these islands will have been consigned to the history books and lost forever.

The area now called Kiribati has been inhabited by Micronesians speaking the same Oceanic language since around 3000 BC

Chance visits by European ships occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries. This passing trade gave rise to European, Chinese, Samoan and other residents settling on the islands from the 1830s – including beachcombers, castaways, traders and missionaries.

The islands became the crown colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1916, but became independent from the United Kingdom in 1979.

They  gained UN membership in 1999 and continue to remain a member of the Commonwealth, the IMF and the World Bank.

Kiribati has few natural resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time it gained its independence.

Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports.

For those seeking a true back to nature experience Kiribati is considered one of the least developed countries in the world, and offers visitors the chance to discover the same paradise that delighted early explores and those who dared venture out onto the high-seas.

The climate is pleasant from April to October, with predominant northeastern winds and stable temperatures close to 30 °C (86 °F).

From November to March, western gales bring rain and occasional cyclones.

As you might imagine, visiting these beautiful islands isn’t as simple as hopping on a plane and disembarking on the doorstep.

Samoa Air flies from Apia International airport to Canton Island Airport in Kiribati.

From here you would need to take a boat from island to island, until you reach your chosen destination.

Your journey will be long and you won’t arrive to find glitzy hi-rise hotels waiting to pamper and cater to your every whim, but what you will find is one of the few remaining un-spoilt places left on our planet.

As the media continues to warn of global warning, who knows what the future holds?

Yours may be some of the last footprints ever left there.

As out team of charity walkers untie their hammocks and pack up their belongings, we wish them every success in reaching the Hawaiian Islands next week.

In the meantime you can support their continued efforts to raise as much money for two very worthy charities and become part of their journey by

Simply texting TRAV56 then £2.00 to 70070 to donate to our Air Ambulance Charity or TRAV62 then £2.00 to 70070 to donate to our Children’s Charity

£2.00 is our suggested donation, but please feel free to donate whatever you can.

Charity details, along with the option to donate via our Just Giving page can be found here:

Thank you on behalf of all the people you will help to save…See you next week.

Distances travelled are measured in a straight line from point to point and make up our virtual journey destinations, actual miles may vary. Total miles travelled since our journey started 15,946

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