While studying the island nation of Nauru, I quickly realized that it would be perfectly feasible to walk around it on a day. In fact, the 18km road that circles the island could be tackled in a couple of hours. I looked very much forward to the walk, and when, after a lot of difficulties with obtaining the visa and simply getting there, I finally set foot on Nauru, I decided to do the walk the next day. Setting out before sunrise, I planned to take it easy. I walked past the airport, and when I reached the east coast, the sun was already climbing fast in the sky. Just before touching down the day before, I had seen the reef that is a natural barrier against the Pacific waves, and I now saw coral pinnacles pointing to the sky, between the shore and the reef. I had arrived at Anibare bay, which has a small port which doubles as a swimming pool, as it offers deep waters for safe swimming - I would do so the next day.
After Anibare, the road climbs gently, providing nice views of Anibare bay, with its palm tree fringed road, white sand beach, and pinnacled coastal waters. The coast of Nauru has several villages, but there are houses virtually everywhere; hardly anyone lives in the interior of the island. Hidden in the vegetation on the west side of the road, I found a lagoon; there are several. At the village of Anabar, I saw what looked like a tent made of fishing nets; it turned out to be a frigate bird catching cage. To my surprise, the enormous birds that I had seen so often floating in the sky with their impressive wingspan, were sitting calmly on the ground, even outside the cage: they seemed perfectly fine with their life here, after being caught and tamed by special frigate bird catchers. Migratory frigate birds are caught luring them with tuna; and after several weeks in a cage where they are marked, they prefer to stay instead of moving on. A unique opportunity to see them up close.
Knowing that I was half way my walk, I followed the road to reach the famous Capelle shop on the northwest of the island, where I stopped for lunch. From here, I walked down the westside of Nauru, passing cemeteries between the road and the coast, a school established in the German time, a clinic and the only hospital of the island, until i reached the area where barracks were built in the golden times of the Nauruan phosphate era. I-Kiribati and Tuvaluan mine workers once lived here, but were sent away when the economy collapsed in the 2000s. Now, the area looks in desperate need of a face-lift, with Nauruans living in basic conditions and dilapidating houses, and with entire apartment blocks that have been abandoned, are overgrown by vegetation, and are used for storing wrecked cars and other rubbish. It is regarded like a ghetto, has the highest crime rate of the island, but walking around it I was kindly greeted and chased by the kids. I was back at the Pacific which never had been far anyway during my walk. With all the breaks I had taken for chatting and exploring, I arrived back in Aiwo just before sunset. A few days later, I would cycle the island, mostly to see the sun rise over the coral pinnacles in the west, which lived up to my expectations and was a spectacular sight. Even though the Made-in-China bike was new, the pedal just unscrewed on the west coast, so I had to walk back, and cannot say having cycled the smallest island nation of the planet.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Nauru Coast (Nauru). 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 Nauru Coast. Read more about this site.