Nauru: a lonely mountain in the Pacific Ocean
Day 2,248 since October 10th 2013: 191 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country
(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross).
You NEED to know all of this!
Nauru has been in the media plenty but hardly for anything which represents the world’s smallest island nation. It is the world’s second least visited country and Westerners named it ‘Pleasant Island’ in 1798 some 3,000 years after the first people arrived.
It is a funny thing about westerners. I guess Europeans in particular. Just showing up and naming things. It has been done a lot throughout the past five hundred years and I’m even guilty myself as I’ve tried to name several islands: “Thor Island”. I have so much to tell you about my time in Nauru. It has been amazing and as always that points directly towards the people I’ve met. However I would like to start this entry by explaining how huge an achievement it is that we have reached Nauru without flying. Or just reaching Nauru at all! Nauru is the second least visited country in the world, behind Yemen, and only sees about 200 tourists a year so tourism is barely existent. It is furthermore a country for which most people need to have a visa before they arrive. And not just that…it’s a slightly difficult visa. Not really difficult but you can’t just fill in a form, hand over a passport photo and pay a fee. You are required to 1) fill out the application form which is seven pages long, 2) forward a passport copy, 3) share travel tickets/itinerary for your stay, 4) share a hotel booking, and 5) supply a document to prove current employment/occupation. If your application is approved then you will receive details for the payment of AUD 50 (USD 34). And once payment has been made you will get an e-visa (pdf file).
This process caused several problems for me as I’m not flying and could not be sure which ship would bring me, when we would arrive and when we would leave again. Furthermore Nauru has developed a caution in relation to journalists, bloggers or anyone else who might be able to share information about Nauru. The Saga has tens of thousands of followers across social media and a weekly blog. As you know I’m not in the habit of looking for negative news. Within the Saga I aim at spreading positive stories in order to counter the negatives which we so often see in the media. I have a friend who has been to Nauru twice. The last time he applied for a visa it took him twelve weeks to get it!! That would also be problematic for me as Neptune Pacific Line in 2019 is the only company which has a containership that regularly calls Nauru. And their good ship ‘Capitaine Quiros’ calls Nauru about once a month. So how could I possibly apply for that visa without raising suspicion? Nauru is among travellers notoriously shy when it comes to journalist. I am neither a journalist nor a reporter. However I might be placed in that category and denied a visa or charged AUD 8,000 (USD 5,470) for a journalist visa. So all in all Nauru is hard to reach without flying and the visa is somewhat tricky. Nauru was the last “hard to visit” country of the Saga.
There is nothing in the above which is news to me. I have known all of it since early 2019 and I approached Nauru’s Director of Immigration, Mr. Rajeev Keerthiyil, already in May 2019. He was from the very beginning friendly, helpful and responsive. This was a good start. However with all the interviews the Saga is featured in, the ever growing social media and the attention which comes with nearing a remarkable goal, I am always worried about how immigration for certain countries might react. I have deliberately not blogged or created social media post about such matters when approaching “difficult countries” because you never know who might be reading or how quickly a door can shut. I travel the world with good intentions and have a pretty clean track record from the past six years. Nevertheless I do understand how my profile could generate suspicion. I was advised not to tell Nauru Immigration about my social media and simply informed that I was a member of the Danish Traveller’s Club (DBK), that reaching countries can get a bit competitive and that I was aiming at reaching as many countries as possible without flying.
Singapore: Maersk, PIL, Swire/CNCo, DS Norden & Blue Water Shipping :)
When it comes to reaching Nauru without flying a few things came into play. Nauru receives oil products once in a while so there must be tankers going to and from the isolated island nation. They famously also export phosphate so there must be ships which arrive to carry the mineral away. Sailboats and cruise ships do not frequent Nauru so that was not a viable option. It had to be Neptune Pacific Line! It would be the most elegant solution. I already knew that back in June 2019 when I had meetings with Maersk, PIL, Swire/CNCo, SeaLand, DS Norden and Blue Water Shipping in Singapore. What people fail to understand, and I have perhaps not communicated it well, is that it is HARD to come onboard a containership as a passenger. There is basically no reason why a ship would invite a passenger onboard apart from if they have made a business out of it. They have nothing to win from it and in worst case they have much to lose. Besides that, it is also extra work for a shipping company to deal with the administrative load of bringing a passenger onboard. It is much easier to say no than it is to say yes. It is even easier not to reply at all. So even I, having been onboard twenty-three containerships, struggle with getting permission at times. This far into the Saga it is less of a problem for me to get onboard a containership and particularly if it belongs to a company that already knows me. However Neptune Pacific Line had never heard about me or the Saga. And transporting passengers is not their business. So I was having the hardest time getting their attention.
Not high-tech...but it does the trick. This leg of the Pacific was nonnegotiable. And only Neptune Pacific Line could offer the service.
Looking back I cannot say for sure what changed. But on September 27th 2019 I received an email which in large would make Once Upon A Saga a likely future success. It was from Mr Rolf Rasmussen, Managing Director of Neptune Pacific Group. Rolf offered the companies assistance in reaching Nauru and any countries beyond. Absolutely phenomenal!! I know that both Maersk and Swire had been active in trying to establishing contact. But ultimately I think it was our friends at Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) that made the difference. They have been a keen supporter since we first met in Cyprus back in 2017. In any case as you might gather by now: this has been a team effort! In fact a lot more people and companies have been involved but let’s get on with the story. In a collaboration with Neptune Pacific Line, Mr Ian McIntosh-Oakley – Marine Manager, issued an introduction letter and guarantee from Neptune Pacific Line to Nauru’s Director of Immigration. While in Solomon Islands I was able to compile all the required documentation and forward it in an application for the visa. And just a few days later Mr. Rajeev Keerthiyil forwarded me the payment details. It turned out to be tough making the payment from Honiara, Solomon. The first bank I tried couldn’t make foreign transfers. The second bank couldn’t do it if I didn’t have an account. The local exchange office also couldn’t do it. The ships agent, Sullivans Shipping, finally ended up taking my money and asking the agent in Nauru to make the payment. And a bit of bureaucrazy later I had a receipt I could send Nauru Immigration and very soon after that I received my e-visa. We were set to go!!
In short: I boarded the good ship “Capitaine Quiros”, we sailed north-east to Kiribati, then we continued south-west to Nauru and after eight days onboard we finally reached Nauru. You can read all about that in LAST WEEK’S BLOG :)
Nauru...all of it ;)
Nauru is a really interesting and very fascinating country to me. The entire country is just one island and the ring road which follows the coast is a mere 19 km (12 mi) long. The population is about 15,000 people who belong to twelve tribes. You belong to the tribe of your mother and it does not change throughout your life. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport, although channels in the reef allow small boats access to the island. Beyond the reef it gets incredibly deep really fast! It simply drops 4,300 (14,107 ft) into the abyss!! This is where my “Nauru is the peak of a mountain” idea comes into play. There is nothing else around Nauru apart from water. Its nearest neighbor is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 kilometers (186 mi) to the east. A seamount is a mountain which rises from the ocean floor and does not reach the surface. People have already been living on Nauru for more than 3,000 years. The seamount would have been pushed upwards by geological activity. However not before a lot of coral began to grow on top to a thickness of 500m (1,640 feet). I’ve heard about a rapport from 2012 which supposedly documented that Nauru’s phosphate deposits did not actually form from the droppings of seabirds. Instead the valuable phosphate should have formed from marine life getting caught on top of the island as it raised up from the ocean. Possibly the report suggests that this happened several times with the island going above and below the surface multiple times. I have not been able to find this report.
Protestant church, Nauru.
Nauru is a Christian country and I have been able to find several sources on the internet from creationists referencing the biblical flood and that earth is only 4,500 years old. Therefore stating that the more popular theory for the origins of the phosphate did not have time to form. Let’s get one thing straight: earth is older than 4,500 years. We have buildings that are older than that which should settle the debate. Earth is also not flat. Trust me on that one. I’ve been to 191 countries without flying. The more popular theory for the formation of phosphate deposits on Nauru stem from guano (excrement of seabirds). The theory is that for a very long time, long before humans reached the island, Nauru was home to colonies of seabirds. And they would over time excrete a layer of guano two meters (six foot) thick across much of the island. No matter the origins we can establish that phosphate was first discovered on Nauru in 1900 and that colonial exploits of the reserves began in 1906. The first shipment was exported in 1907. Long before that when the first Europeans arrived in 1798 nobody cared about phosphate. They cared about fresh water which they could supply themselves with in what became known as ‘Pleasant Island’. Today when you mention Nauru half the crowd says “Never heard about it” while the other half starts speaking about refugees. But people have as mentioned lived here for more than 3,000 years. And how the heck did the first people ever stumble upon such a tiny island in such a vast sea?
Old phosphate mine. The coral pinnacles are even older.
Would you look at that! We have already covered so much and I still have much to tell you. Nauru 19, rare mineral finds, a ride with the police, walking around a country, free coconuts, a Japanese WWII prison, hostile dogs, friendly people, raw fish, aqua farming, misconceptions, incredible beauty, the lack of Red Cross and probably a lot more. Let’s start with the good ship “Capitaine Quiros” and cargo operations in Nauru. As mentioned earlier Nauru lacks a seaport. What happens instead of having the ship dock at a port is that the ship is moored to several buoys which are strategically anchored just beyond the reef. “Capitaine Quiros” has its own cranes for offloading containers. Nauru Port supplies three barges which each fit one twenty foot container. Once the ship is moored down the ships engine is turned off. The crane starts operating and a barge comes along side. A container is lifted off the ship and loaded into the barge, which then transports it to the small port where another crane lifts it up onto land. Meanwhile another barge has been loaded and is on its way to the port as the third barge awaits the ships crane.
Here you can nearly see half of Nauru.
Being moored to the buoy's. The barges act as tugboats.
If only it was that simple. Nauru provides little shelter from the elements and swell is a hugely delaying factor for offloading cargo. Swell is movement across the surface of the ocean. It is when the ocean goes up and down. A wave is when the surface of the water breaks. Most days since we arrived to Nauru have been beautiful with blue skies and a beautiful surface across the blue ocean. But it does not take a lot of swell to make a ship roll from side to side. The same goes for the barges. And that rolling can make it impossible or even dangerous to operate the crane. It is a painfully slow process. Nauru is famous for this among shipping companies. Offloading is said to take eleven days on average. The same cargo operation would have taken one day in Tarawa (Kiribati) or Honiara (Solomon Islands). We knew this long before we arrived. So I always expected I would have plenty of time in Nauru. The Chinese are however currently building a seaport so all of this might change. In the process there are rumors that the Chinese have dug up large opals or other precious stones from the corals where they are constructing the port. Some say they found a huge opal and others say they have found several and shipped them all to China. Rumors so far…apparently there is a photo somewhere on Facebook but I have been unable to locate it.
The ocean may look calm but the swell might be 0.5-1 meter (1.6-3 feet) in this photo. And that can be enough to postpone cargo operations.
We reached Nauru on November 28th. That was a Thursday. But due to swell we could not begin cargo operations. The agent and immigration came onboard. Actually eleven officials came onboard and had a meal. I was called down from my cabin for facial identification. The Captain holds all the passports from everyone onboard. I said hello to the immigration officer, he looked at my passport and said okay. That was it. According to new regulations from Nauru Port the ship cannot stay moored to the buoys during the night. Instead we have to head back out to sea where we turn off the engine and drift for the night. We drifted as far as 27 kts (50km/30mi) that night. The next day we headed back to Nauru and were ready for the pilot to come onboard at 08:00am. However due to too much swell we had to wait and drift some more. The day passed with no cargo operations. That was last Friday. Last Saturday when we again arrived ready at 08:00am we were moored to the buoys and cargo operations commenced. This became the first day I set foot on Nauru soil. I travelled from “Capitaine Quiros” to shore onboard a barge along with the pilot. A great guy from Tonga who used to be a captain. He pointed me in the direction of a place where I could get a simcard. I got recognized at the Digicell store by one of the employees. From YouTube of all places :) I had a small walk around, took a few photos and sat down at a café where I got last week’s blog online for all of you. Then I returned to the ship just before they left. Due to poor conditions they had stopped cargo operations early. They are supposed to continue until 6pm. The next day was Sunday and I stayed onboard. I wasn’t sick but I was really low on energy for some reason.
Using a barge to taxi me to the shore.
Maxine (left) recognized me on my first day in Nauru :)
Nauru sometimes has 2-3 flights a day and nobody sleeps on the runway. But it used to be different in the past.
Getting last weeks blog ready for you. This one took about ten hours.
Monday December 2nd became my first real day in Nauru. I went for a solid walk clockwise around the ring road. I had to stop myself after 5km (3mi) as I had already walked a quarter around the island. And I was planning on walking all the way around the following day. At the Digicell store I had been warned about street dogs. Nauru has no snakes, spiders, malaria or dengue to worry about. However the dogs can get fierce. I had a meal at Capelle before I turned around. Capelle is like a “city centre” with a supermarket and a few shops. Everything in Nauru is rather small and humble. People seemed reserved to me. Friendly but reserved. A dog came up to me while I had my lunch by the beach. It seemed friendly and I scratched it behind the ear. Later on, on my way back I decided to hike up to Command Ridge which is the highest point on Nauru. It measures a whopping 71m (233ft). So I turned left off the ring road up to a small neighbourhood. It looked quite nice. It consisted of some white prefab blocs and I initially figured it would be the home of some Chinese or Australian expats, which there are plenty of in Nauru. However it turned out to be a refugee camp.
Capelle, Nauru. They are not holding back regarding Xmas ;)
Nauru is relentlessly hot! It is “only” 31 C (87F) and the humidity is at 67%. However we are about a marathon distance south of the equator and close to the Sun. I have experienced far higher temperatures in other countries. In fact around most of the Middle East. However Nauru feels warmer. Blue skies and very little wind. Planet Earth bulges around the equator due to its rotation. The bulges measures 42.72 km (26.5 mi). Because of that bulge the peak of our planets highest mountain (Mt Everest) is not as far from the center of earth as the peak of the much lower Mt Chimborazo in Ecuador. And because of that bulge Command Ridge in Nauru is in fact “higher” that every mountain in the European Alps. Not really though. But Command Ridge is certainly further from the center of earth than all of them including the peak of Mont Blanc. Anyway, when looking across the ocean one does not realize that Nauru is a mountain top. However if one could imagine that the ocean drained then the view would be just 500m (1,640ft) shy of that from Mont Blanc.
Not your typical "top of a mountain" ;)
Magical and mystical environment. Full of adventure and wonder. Old phosphate mines and coral pinnacles.
Beyond the refugee camp I met a security guard who helped me on my way to the path which leads to Command Ridge. It was the most mystical and adventurous path! The landscape was like out of a fairy tale. I did not know it yet but I was walking among overgrown phosphate mines which had been depleted long ago. After some time three your girls came marching towards me. Two with music in their ears and the third without. I asked what it was but they did not know: “I just come here to exercise. They had black garbage bags under their training clothes enabling them to sweat even more.
The view from the top of Nauru: Command Ridge.
I finally made it to where I though the path was to Command Ridge. However I needed some help from a security guard to find the trail entrance. “It is a bit rough that trail” he said. It definitely was! Pretty much completely overgrown. I had already been suggested another and easier route – but longer according to my map. The kind security guard confirmed that there were no snakes or spiders to be cautious about: “but be aware of ants” he said. I followed the path as well as possible but it just ran out and I was left in front of some pretty dense bush. I figured that if the Japanese soldiers could make it back in the 40s then so could I! The phone rang. It was Aria. He is the ships agent in Nauru. Aria and I had agreed to meet on top of Command Ridge and he was already there. I had to be nearby. A few minutes later I was shaking hands with Aria with twigs and leaves all over me. But I made it.
Aria is a great guy! He showed me around the island. Here we are at Buada Lagoon which is a fresh water lagoon in Nauru. Long ago the locals worked out how to develop aquaculture by bringing fish from the ocean and farming them in freshwater. It is unclear how long ago that practice began but it mostly ended in 1961.
An old Phosphate processing plant. For the past 100 years phosphate mining has been a huge part of Nauru's history.
This Solar Project was funded by the UAE Pacific Partnership Fund and was inaugurated in 2016. The guardsman was super kind and immidiately let me in to take photos.
An active phosphate mine. It is not true that "Nauru is a donut" and that the center has been dug out. However a hundred years of mining has definately teraformed Nauru.
I had not seen any coconuts for sale in Nauru but plenty on the trees. I asked Aria who said "around here, if you want a coconut, then you just take one". We found a tree so low that I could touch the coconuts from the ground. I twisted one off and Aria opened it for me :)
I headed back to the ship that night in preparation for my walk all the way around the country the next day. And the next morning I got up and was excited about walking around an entire country. There aren’t many countries where you can easily do such a thing. I decided to walk clockwise. Buddhists would approve of that as it is auspicious. I’m not Buddhist but I like the idea always to choose left given the choice of left versus right. It was super-hot! The distance did not bother me at all but the heat was something else! And the sun was strong!! I had received a bit of a sunburn from the day before but this time I had put on a thick layer of sunblock. Good thing too because the sun was constantly above me. I would have preferred to start such a hike at 05:00 or 06:00am but I couldn’t get off the ship until 09:00am and as such I began at 09:30am.
It was a great hike around Nauru!! People were so friendly. Smiling and waving. It was gorgeous following the coastline which was dotted with small Japanese bunkers from WWII. The coral reef and the pinnacles were something else!! I’ve never seen anything like it.
Most amazing dish! Coconut fish and lime!! (raw tuna and rice). Naruan sushi ;)
The ring road follows along the runway. If you take a right oposite the terminal then you end up ON THE RUNWAY! :)
All together I filmed 86 short clips from the walk which I hope to put together into a video. At one point seven dogs came charging at me which immediately had me I fight mode!! I had brought a walking stick as per the local’s advice and lifted it above my head while I in Danish shouted: “YOU WILL NOT WIN THIS BATTLE!!!” (I wonder where the heck that came from?) The dogs stopped, barked for a while and then discontinued their attack as I walked off. They are well into Australian Rugby on Nauru and there are about eight teams that compete fiercely against each other. The teams mark their part of the island with the team colours. I feel that I understand Nauru pretty well. As a child I grew up in a village with 1,200 people and if you broke a window you could be sure that everyone knew it was you. Everyone knew everyone and everyone stuck their noses into each other’s business. There is a sense of safety and security in everyone knowing everyone.
A bit red after the hike ("Capitaine Quiros" in the back).
The hike came to an end when I reached a full circle. I had walked 21.5km (13.4mi) in less than six hours. I had stopped many times on my way to take photos, talk to people or sit in the shade and drink some water. There is so much more to Nauru than what meets the eye. It is a lovely, safe and beautiful island nation as far as I am concerned. Perhaps some mistakes have been made in the past but there is no country in the world which is perfect and it is poor form to be a guest in a foreign nation and point towards that which one does not like. Maybe it is about time that someone shows all the good which Nauru has to offer?
In finnish Nauru means 'laughter' :)
That night I had made preparations to sleep on the island. A friendly fellow named Squire had contacted me on facebook long ago and told me that I was welcome to stay at his home. Squire is a Nauruan living in Melbourne, Australia. I called Aria (ships agent) who drove me to Squires house (because frankly I was done walking for the day). At the house we met Squires sister who let me in, showed me my room and handed me a towel. Perfect. Aria left and before I knew it I was talking to one of the other guests. A tall blond gentleman from Finland named Henri. Henri was six countries from becoming the tenth person in Finland to reach every country in the world. So we had something to talk about. Good guy. Squire is one of nineteen Nauruan’s whom are known as Nauru19. It is very political and began 4-5 years ago. From what I understand there was a peaceful demonstration from the opposition which got completely out of hand and turned violent. Nineteen of them ended up losing all their rights: they cannot leave the country, they are not permitted to work, they have no legal representation at court etc. For a brief moment there was a window to leave Nauru between the old and the new government and Squire saw his chance to seek asylum in Australia. I am not at all taking sides. What I find interesting within all of this is that everyone knows everyone. They grew up together, some were former colleagues or classmates and they can’t avoid meeting each other on the street. Nauru is really not like anywhere else.
A photo of Squire in his house.
That night I enjoyed being on the island. A nearby graveyard had been lit up with candles. At this point I was already pretty well-known across the island. Squire and a few others had been sharing my posts on facebook and the account had received hundreds of new followers. The next day I calculated that about a third of Nauru’s population had joined the Saga. It has been absolutely heart-warming.
Three beautiful ladies from Nauru Media.
The next day Aria had arranged for me to meet with Nauru Media which is the countries only media house. Three lovely ladies showed up to ask me what the Saga was about, where I have been so far and what I thought about Nauru. I really think that people are wrong when they say Nauru can be seen within a day. It is true that you can drive around the island in thirty minutes or less. However the more I learn about Nauru the more I want to stay and explore. There is plenty of interesting stuff to see and do. And a lot of the locals are good for a talk and have interesting stories to share.
Visiting the caves with Darkey.
Drew Binsky and I have known each other for quite a few years now. We finally met in Bangkok earlier this year. Drew is currently traveling around Africa trying to visit all of those countries. He will probably finish visiting every country before I do. Back when I was preparing for Nauru, Drew put me in touch with Matthew who has over the years hosted several people who are trying to reach every country. Trying to reach every country is regrettably on the agenda of many whom come to Nauru. Matthew turned out to be another “Nauru19’er”. He was in court on this day and the session was running late. Matthew and I had agreed to meet for a glass of sweet ice tea. While I waited I ran into Darkey who is Squires dad and offered to show me the Moqua Well and Moqua Caves. I had been reading about them but had no idea where they were apart from near the airport. Many locals still refer to this underground lake as a well because it was Nauru’s main drinking source during WWII. It was a short drive from the courthouse to the well. Darkey is pretty cool. He used to be a seaman but that was many years ago. He told me that he used to frequent the cave with his friends thirty years ago to sit and enjoy a cold beer. He is sixty years old now and had not been to the cave for thirty years. It was interesting listening to his stories. He told me that if I got into the water and swam deeper inside then I would enter a huge cave. Darkey also said that some believe that the cave connects to the centre of the island. I imagine the cave would have been sacred to the locals many years ago.
At Capelle with Matthew. Ross DK is the Saga's only financial partner and a leader within geothermal energy in Denmark. I've taken a photo with this banner in every country so far. Personally I have also funded a huge part of the Saga and many of the Saga's followers/supporters have also offered generous donations. Thank you all! :)
Matthew came out of court and we went back to his place to have the promised ice tea. He had a guest from Malaysia named Guna. I also met his lovely wife and their cute little granddaughter who was hardly old enough to stand by herself but had no problem climbing all over me. Guna, Matthew and I decided to head out for lunch and drove to Capelle where I had a sandwich, Mathew had some chicken and Guna went to have a look around. Afterwards we got back in the car and drove all the way around the island. My second round. Guna expressed that he was interested in renting a bicycle. I then remembered that Henri, the Finnish traveller, told me he was out walking in the evening when a shop owner offered Henri to take a bicycle for free. That is Nauru for you. Henri, Guna and I were probably the only three tourists in Nauru so people knew we were there. So we turned around and drove to Squires house to see if Henri was there. Henri was there and was pretty red having cycled around the island. He offered to bring the cycle back to the shop owner and show us who he was. Long story short: everybody knows everybody. We ended up at a house where a very fit guy named Diamo Baguga greeted Henri, took the bike back and offered it to Guna…for free. Guna expressed that he was happy to pay but Diamo wasn’t interested in money. He just wanted to be friendly. It was a pretty nice bike. Matthew later told me that Diamo is (or was) the world champion in deadlift.
A stewedore approching the good ship with an empty container. He will attach the chains from the crane. The barge can fit one container at a time.
Those were some amazing first days in Nauru. So much kindness, so much hospitality, a lot of smiles and waves. I returned to the ship that night and once cargo operations ended for the day we headed back out to sea for the night.
The next day, yesterday, I was hell-bent on finding some Japanese canons which I had seen on my map but not located when I was at Command Ridge. They were supposed to be nearby. I made a stop at the post office to drop a few postcards off. A guy in Croatia had asked if I could send a card to their Nauru group in Croatia. He transferred some money to me for the trouble. I then made my way toward the canons near Command Ridge but stopped when I met a couple of guys at an intersection. We began talking. Suddenly they offered me a bottle of water. That is Nauru for you. Lots of kindness. It turned out the Japanese WWII prison was close by so I went and had a look. Erie place to be on my own. Afterward I hiked up to the first canon which was quite a sight! On my way back down my foot got caught and I went forward down a two meter (six foot) drop. In mid-air I tried to save myself from landing on my face and twisted my left knee. Ouch! I broke my walking stick bot no bones. I got a few cuts, scrapped some skin off here and there and slightly damaged my shoe. I should have been more careful.
In the early 40s the Japanese sat in the heat and waited for the American's to arrive. And they came!
With my newly acquired injury I figured the other canon probably looked similar to the one I had already seen and began to make my way back down. My knee wasn’t too bad but there was less support on that leg and I was a bit uncomfortable in the knees outer positions. As I left the trail and reached the road I ran into Officer Rory who has been a part of the police force for twenty-seven years. I had never met him before but he recognized me from facebook. A lot of that had been going on lately. Rory offered me a ride and I wasn’t slow to accept. As we got back down to the ring road he said “let’s go once around and I’ll drop you off where you need to go”. So I managed to make a third lap of Nauru. Good guy Rory. He knew everyone I had met so it was easy to have a conversation.
Even the police is pleasant! :)
Before heading back to the ship I took a photo for the Red Cross. Nauru has no armed forces. They also have no Red Cross. The movement began in 1863 and has since spread across to 191 UN countries around the world. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization and aims to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable people. The UN counts 193 countries + 2 observer states (Palestine and Vatican). The two countries without movement presence are Oman and Nauru. HOWEVER! When I was in Oman last year I found that the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) was there supporting the humanitarian efforts in neighbouring Yemen. And I am a goodwill ambassador of the Danish Red Cross and currently in Nauru. So I figure that this is possibly the first time in history where the movement is represented in every country in the world at the same time! Furthermore, of the two observatory states you’ll find the Palestinian Red Crescent (I have a great story from visiting them) actively at work. The Vatican is therefore the only one singled out. However the Italian Red Cross (Croce Rossa) could quickly send a volunteer into the Vatican and voila!! The movement would for a brief moment be in every country in the world at the same time.
Red Cross history which nobody seems to care about :)
I had an idea for Nauru! They should have an International Marathon!! Two laps around the country! The world’s smallest island nation. A tough and unique race under the sun near the equator. Arrange for a few cruise ships to act as hotels just off the reef. Offer some of those coconuts. Limit the entry. It would be a pretty amazing marathon if you ask me :)
Yeah, so we are now at the end of this entry. It was a long one - huh? Well done making it this far. The kindness in Nauru towards me has really seen no end. I have received a great deal of invitations and offers which I had to turn down due to the working hours of the cargo operation. Nauru: you are forever a friend of the Saga. Stand tall and make the right decisions. I have no doubt that you will once again be known around the world as ‘Pleasant Island’.
If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga needs funding. Thank you :)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - feeling rather accomplished.
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga