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Aug
02

A wreck inside the lagoon

From our anchorage we saw something that looked like a boat far down south inside the lagoon. First we thought it was just some optical illusion with maybe a palmtree and a bush behind it, but with the binoculars it became clear that there was really some kind of boat, but how was that possible with no pass into the lagoon? Was is a wreck that had been swept in? Had a boat with a lifting keel somewhow made it through the tiny boatpass on the eastern side?

2 days ago the conditions allowed us to explore down south and we were astonished to find the a rather well-preserved monohull (called Lyderic) with the stern beached and attached to strong moorings next to a make-shift hut made of driftwood. The mainsail had been used as a bed, the roof to collect water. It seems he used material and infrastructure left by the Falconer family who spent some years here before in the late 80s. We found tools, shoes and all other kinds of daily-life paraphernelia chaotically strewn around inside and outside the hut, like the owner had left in a hurry without taking much with him (I say he, because we only found big men’s shoes). Some of the things looked eerily new, like someone might still be hiding there (maybe watching us from afar). It was a creepy experience to snoop around his things…

In the evening we asked on our SSB net and friends found some info about the boat: apparently a French hermit lived on the island for a while before he was discovered by a research vessel in 2014 and removed by the Kiribati government in 2015.
He must have a had a tough time here, as the island is very dry mainly covered in coarse coral rubble. Remains of a Polynesian settlement on the northernmost motu prove that those seafarers tried to settle here, but also gave up after a while. Attempts to establish workers on a copra colony on the southernmost motu also weren’t overly successful.

We were puzzled by the fact that the hermit didn’t pick the southern motu where he would have had an easier time with lots of coconuts and presumably coconut crabs to catch (we haven’t seen coconut crabs on the western side–no wonder, there are hardly palmtrees here ;-) ) But we heard from French cruisers that the southern motu is infested with mosquitoes and no-nos.
We haven’t seen much fish in the lagoon and we heard from French cruisers that Ciguatera is also a problem here.

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