Nauru: Life on the Island

"An Islanders' Dusk"

This is the second to the final set of photos for my Nauru series.  I thought that I’d add few more photos and details before I cap the series with my ‘bird story’.  I actually thought I’ve already moved on from taking sunset photos (I took hundreds when I was still using film) but the sunset was just an inevitable subject while I was on the island as it was most accessible, it can be really interesting, and, when feeling homesick, it somehow symbolized what lies beyond the vast ocean. The ‘Islanders’ Dusk’ above was just one of those sunsets on the island but was also taken at the same time when I was taking photos for the  ‘bird story’ so it is quite special.

Menen: The hotel where I stayed is separated from the raging waters of the Pacific only by this tiny lawn dotted by coconut trees.

Pinnacles: These interesting lime formations can be found everywhere on the island including along the scenic path that led to the hotel's tennis courts.

Cover: A network of tunnels connects this entry to lookouts facing all sides of the island and, according to accounts, an underground hospital during the Japanese occupation. Didn't have the nerve to explore it further.

The Guns of Nauru: According to history, the Americans were not successful in retaking the island (its Japanese occupants surrendered 11 days after the war has ended) but were able to suppress them by bombing the airstrips and sinking the supply boats. This huge gun was partially responsible for the island's impregnable defence.

I stayed for a month on each of my two visits  in 2007 and 2009 and the Menen Hotel had become my home each time. Phosphate mining had drastically slowed down so there were very few guests at the hotel and thus hotel guests and staff  were just like a big family stranded on the island for various reasons.  Parties are always open to all guests. Hash runs organized by Australians are participated in by islanders and foreigners alike. A small Filipino community had frequent gatherings featuring Filipino dishes while the friendly Chinese entrepreneurs were always happy to have anybody visit their individual shops and restaurants.

I always chose a room with the balcony facing the ocean and filled my mornings with exercise, jogging to Anibare Harbor through that path along the tennis courts then had my breakfast back at the balcony before proceeding to work — a sweet islander life.

I had an opportunity to visit the Japanese’s ‘Command Ridge‘ in the middle of the island not so much for photography but just to satisfy my curiosity but I included the last two photos in response to the request of a fellow blogger who was interested in the Japanese guns and tunnels.  I was also wondering what can be found inside the  tunnel network (the ‘Yamashita Treasure‘?) but they looked creepy and none of the islanders seem to pay attention to them.  So I was happy just to have found the entrance since I only considered myself a photographer, not Indiana Jones. 🙂

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