Tuvalu, a Pacific state in Polynesia – Tuvalu

15 photos of Tuvalu: What you can forget about comfort and collect rainwater for drinking

15 photos Tuvalu: Forgetting comfort and gathering rainwater for drinking

Tuvalu is a state in Polynesia, located on many small islands and atolls. The local population is only 11,000 people. The rest are tourists. As a reward for the long flight tourists get hot sun, humid tropical climate, boundless sea and heavenly plants: palm trees with coconuts, bananas, bread trees. We have collected 15 photos of this amazing place.

Tuvalu is bathed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean

Photo: Shuhei S/flickr.com

Photo: Shuhei S/flickr.com

The capital Funafuti occupies an atoll of 33 coral islands: some are only 400 m wide, and some are 20 m wide.

Only three of the islands are inhabited.

Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/flickr.com

Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/flickr.com

Funafuti Atoll is surrounded by a lagoon 18 kilometers long, 14 kilometers wide and about 36.5 meters deep.

Photo: Tomoaki INABA/flickr.com

Photo: Tomoaki INABA/flickr.com

There is only one hotel and several guesthouses

Photo: Chrissy Samuels/flickr.com

Photo: Chrissy Samuels/flickr.com

Not surprisingly, there is one hospital and one school for such a small population.

Photo: United Nations Development Programme/flickr.com

Photo: United Nations Development Programme/flickr.com

Standing out among the few cement-block buildings is Tuvalu’s Morning Star Church.

Native dwellings are often made of palm leaves.

Photo: Brenda Padilla/flickr.com

Photo: Brenda Padilla/flickr.com

Tuvalu has no rivers or other sources of fresh water at all

Locals collect rainwater for drinking, but when it runs out, they are forced to buy water from neighbors.

Photo: Shuhei S/flickr.com

Photo: Shuhei S/flickr.com

The average annual temperature across the capital is +28; it can be hotter in other parts of the country

Funafuti feels less of a change from the wet season to the dry season than the rest of the country.

Photo: Jim/flickr.com

Photo: Jim/flickr.com

Fifteen years ago, the country created a wildlife refuge that can only be reached by water

Photo: David Eickhoff/flickr.com

Photo: David Eickhoff/flickr.com

The number one reason tourists stop flying to Tuvalu is high crime.

And it is high because of the extreme poverty of local people.

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

Supposedly the islands of Tuvalu were inhabited 1500 years ago, but Europeans discovered this little paradise place only in the 16th century.

From the 19th century until 1978 Tuvalu was under the influence of the British crown

Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/flickr.com

Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/flickr.com

Public transport is scarce

Most popular of all are mopeds. It is on mopeds that you can ride almost all along the coast of Fongafale, the main island of Funafuti. There are 6,000 people living here. Previously, we made a selection of places needlessly neglected by tourists.

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Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

In the vicinity of Tuvalu’s airport, you can find the remains of aircraft that crashed nearby

During World War II there was a U.S. military base.

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

Despite the small size of the country, Tuvalu has an impressive fleet of 74 ships

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

The islands that make up the state are separated from the ocean by only five meters

If sea level rises, Tuvalu will immediately go underwater. In another article we told about countries that may go under water before the end of this century.

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr.com

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Tuvalu

Tuvalu is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

Tuvalu is an island nation in the Southwest Pacific.

General info

Official name Tuvalu (called Ellis Island until 1975).
Tuvalu’s capital is г. Funafuti
Area 26 km 2
Population 10 544 (as of 2011)
Official language English, Tulavu
Currency unit Tuvalu dollar, Australian dollar

Tuvalu is a country in Polynesia. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean, on five low-lying atolls and four coral islands. It extends 595 kilometers from northwest to southeast. Territorially these waters are bounded: to the north and northeast by Kiribati, to the east by Tokelau, to the southeast by Samoa and the Wallis and Futuna Islands, to the south by Fiji, and to the southwest and west by the Solomon Islands. The closest land to Tuvalu is the Gilbert Islands (Republic of Kiribati) and the Wallis and Futuna Islands (France).

The climate of Tuvalu is hot, subequatorial. The average temperature is about +27°C all year round. Nine months of the year there are short but heavy downpours.

History

There are sources of information about Tuvalu that claim that the first humans arrived on the islands about 2,000 or maybe even 3,000 years ago. A rather arbitrary assumption: no material evidence has been found to support these theories, except the single circumstantial trace of a campfire in one of the caves on Nanumanga Island. There is also cautious speculation that the islands were settled by people from the nearby archipelagos of Samoa and Tongo in 300-500 AD. With greater certainty historians of Polynesia speak of the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, again in connection with Samoa and Tongo. This connection is indicated by large arrays of common vocabulary as well as by some customs and peculiarities of everyday culture.

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In the annals of Tuvalu’s history, the Spanish navigator Alvaro Mendaña de Neira is the European who discovered Tuvalu, but his merit, objectively, is very modest. It boils down to the fact that in 1568, he looked at the islands through the telescope, without leaving the ship, and made the appropriate entry in the logbook, calling the islands “Lagoon Islands”. Other European travelers, who after de Neyra arrived in this part of Polynesia, were not interested in these islands either, as they were afraid of encountering cannibals, and corrected their course to bypass the archipelago. Only in 1788 did the British dare to set foot on some of its islands, those were captains Thomas Gilbert and John Marshall. In 1819, the islands of Tuvalu were explored in more detail, though again only from a ship. It was Canadian and was called the Rebecca. The captain named the archipelago Ellis Islands, in honor of the ship owner. On the map, all of the islands of Tuvalu – Funafuti, Nanumea, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu, Nanumanga, Niutao, Niulakita – appeared in 1826. In the first half of the 19th century, the islands were often passed by whaling ships, but they also passed by, rightly thinking that it was impossible to arrange a good anchorage there. But this did not stop the Peruvian slave traders who came from Fiji. From Funafuti and Nukulaelae atolls alone, they took over 400 people between 1862 and 1864. Another disaster for the islands in the second half of the XIX century were epidemics of disease imported by white people, the population islands rapidly declined. A more fateful event for the islands occurred in 1865: the first Christian preachers from London arrived here, marking a vector of further development of the islands. In 1892, with the noble mission of saving the islands, Great Britain annexed them and declared the Ellice Islands a protectorate. In 1916, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands become an integral part of the British colony. During World War II, the U.S. used the Tuvalu Islands as an air base. The long-standing unfriendly relationship between the Tuvalu people (Polynesians) and the Kiribati people (Micronesians), the predominant people of the Gilbert Islands, could not be changed even in the 20th century, and in 1974 the colonial authorities were forced to hold a referendum on changing the political status of their Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony. As a result of this referendum, the arch-allies were finally divorced. In 1975, the British colony of Tuvalu appeared on the world map, and on October 1, 1978, it gained independence within the framework of the British Commonwealth. In Tuvalu, the word means “eight standing together,” referring to the eight inhabited islands. Although the ninth island, Niulakita, had already been inhabited by the time the state was founded (since 1949), but tradition is tradition, so if we say “eight” we mean nine.

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Attractions in Tuvalu

Funafuti is the capital of the state of Tuvalu. Funafuti – a small town located on one of the atolls, located in the western Pacific. It has a very small area – only two and a half square kilometers. The state of which Funafuti is the capital belongs to the “coral states”.

More than half of the islanders live in the town of Vaiaku on the island of Fongafale, the administrative and commercial center of the country. It is a rather colorful settlement with absolutely no industrial enterprises (two tiny factories produce textiles and soap), of more or less modern buildings one can find only the Government House and Government Building Complex (built by the Taiwanese government), bank, airport, Waiaku-Lagi Hotel and police headquarters, and pig pens and burial grounds are adjacent to residential neighborhoods here. The farm, which grows vegetables in imported soil, is only 100 meters from the church and 50 meters from the runway of the local airfield, which also hosts all sporting events. Just a kilometer from the center of the town there is the main deep-water pier of the island, built with Australian help in 1981, near which the only supermarket in the country, Funafuti Fusi, is located.

The huge lagoon of Funafuti is the main attraction of the atoll. In addition to clear water and an abundance of sea life, the lagoon can offer a trip to the remote islets of the atoll and beautiful views of sunrise or sunset. Funafuti Atoll was one of the main points of forward defense of the U.S. Navy during World War II, so there are many traces of those formidable years on Fongafale Island and in the lagoon. A well-preserved underground bunker can be found on Tepuca Island. And on Funafuti, to the great pride of the locals, there is a former experimental well (about 300 m deep) that was used during the experiments to prove Darwin’s theory of evolution and the formation of coral atolls.

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Nanumea Atoll, the northernmost island of Tuvalu and the most populous of the outer islands, lies 475 km northwest of Funafuti. Small by the standards of the Pacific region, it nevertheless has an area of 3.61 km2 and is the largest atoll in Tuvalu. The atoll is a boomerang-like reef about 10 km long and 3 km wide, and consists of two main islands – the southeast Nanumea and the northwest Laena. Between them stretches a series of tiny islands formed by the tops of the extended reef, connecting the large islands in a closed loop. The wide reefs adjoin the central lagoon, which is divided into two fairly deep basins.

Polynesian legends say that two women, Pai and Wau, lived on Nanumea. They fished, and the sand from their baskets (islanders still fish with similar designs) fell into the sea and resulted in Nanumea and many neighboring islets. The Tongan warrior Tefolaha supposedly drove these mythical “island builders” to Niutao, and became the ancestor of the locals, who are now widely known throughout Oceania as powerful sorcerers. Two Tungari (Kiribati) warriors, Wakela and Kaitu, legendary heroes of modern Kiribati, are said to have even bypassed Nanumea on their march, fearful of the currents and whirlpools allegedly created by local sorcerers.

Nui Atoll lies in the middle between the northern and southern groups of the Tuvalu Archipelago, which covers about 3.37 km2 . The oval atoll consists of 9 relatively large and about a dozen small islands lying on a broad (about 200 m) reef shelf enclosing a narrow lagoon to the north, east and south. The largest island of the atoll is Fenua-Tapu, located in the southernmost part of the atoll. Opposite it, in the northern part of the atoll, lies the second largest island – Meang. The rest – the usual coral cliffs and islets, between which the ocean waves freely roll over to the lagoon and back (at low tide you can cross from island to island almost without getting your feet wet).

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Nui is considered one of the quietest and most tranquil islands in Tuvalu. Coconut palms, breadfruit and pandanus grow in abundance here, as do many babai, tauro and bero crops, and the lagoon, reef and ocean supply plenty of fresh fish. Therefore, it is considered the best place to try the traditional local cuisine. And the ocean waters off the atoll are teeming with life, so great for diving.

Cuisine of Tuvalu

Tuvalu was part of the British colony for a long time. In its national cuisine can be found the imprint of British influence.

Various seafood (flounder, crabs, turtles, salmon) and pork form the basis of Tuvalu’s traditional cuisine. Almost all dishes of the country include coconut. It is the staple food of all residents. Also in cooking, Tuvalians very often use bananas, pulaka, and breadfruit. Like most other island cuisines, the local cuisine abounds in all kinds of exotic spices.

According to tradition, vegetables and a variety of crops are served as a small snack before the main course.

Meat lovers will find the cuisine of Tuvalu to their liking. Because smoked ham is very popular in the country. However, the islanders breed pigs, chickens, and ducks here.

A local delicacy and the most famous dish of Tuvalu is “palusami”. This is a ripe coconut in pulaka leaves (native plant) with seafood or meat inside. It is served to guests with the fruit of the breadfruit tree. Another no less famous dish is considered coconut soup, which everyone who comes to this country should try.

The cuisine of Tuvalu abounds with sweets. It is quite difficult for a tourist to resist the presented variety of desserts. As a rule, they are all made with coconut milk or plain milk.

Coconut milk is not only used to make amazing desserts, but also non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks:

Toddy is a low-alcoholic drink made by fermenting the juice of coconut, sugar, wine, palm or other palms;

Kaleve – a very sweet coconut punch prepared either in the morning or in the evening;

Cao is a sweet punch. It is obtained after the fermentation of kaleve for 2-3 days. If you decide to drink cao, you get drunk quite fast and in the morning you will have a hangover.

Because of the constant shortage of fresh water, locals quench their thirst with kaleve punch, drinking coconuts, and very sweet strong tea and coffee.

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