When we learn that we have to wait for the tide to come up before we can do a canoe ride, we decide to pay a visit to Laura, a village at the far west end of Majuro atoll. Problem is to find transportation: there are shared taxis, but they leave from a different place. We negotiate with a taxi driver until we reach a good price, and off we are. We drive past the airport, and the longer we drive, the more interesting the journey becomes. Much of the road is lined by trees. At several points, the land is so narrow that we can see the sea on both our left and right at the same time. These atolls are so fragile, surviving slightly above sea level, surrounded by nothing but vast stretches of Pacific.
Still, squeezed between the two sides of the atoll island, we find village after village, house after house, a surprising number of people live on this side of the atoll. When we finally arrive in Laura after about 45 minutes drive from Delap island, it feels like the end of the world. In a way, of course, it is: the land ends here. Laura turns out to be bigger than we had expected: spread out along the arm of land, we find sports fields, schools, many churches, small shops, and houses with plenty of land around them. There are many small cemeteries, too, often close to the shore, and on terrain belonging to neighbouring houses. Life, and life after death, revolves around the sea here. Some of the trees have fishing nets and lamps hanging in them.
Our driver takes us to the far end of Laura: the beach. for which the village is famous. It is a weekday, and there is no one to take our entrance fee. We walk around the white beach, which bends itself around the far end of the island. The strong easterly winds have pushed a lot of trash ashore, and it does not look as pristine as you might expect here, with a lot of plastic bottles on the sand. To our north, we see the other extreme of the atoll, small islets, and to the east, far away, the moored fishing vessels in the atoll off the coast of Majuro. We now realize how big this atoll really is. We are on our way to ride a traditional canoe, so there is not even time for a swim in the seductive waters off the beach. Instead, we walk one of the streets of Laura to get a better feel of the village, before we get in the car again for our ride back to Delap.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Laura (Marshall Islands). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Laura. Read more about this site.