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Introduction

Tabuaeran or Tahanea, known in English as Fanning Atoll (both Gilbertese and English names are recognised), is an atoll that is part of the Line Islands of the central Pacific Ocean and part of Kiribati. The land area is 33.73 square kilometres, and the population in 2010 was 1,960. The maximum elevation is about 3 metres above high tide.

The lagoon has an area of 110 square kilometres. The deepest water in the lagoon is about 15 metres, but most of it is very shallow.

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Villages

The administrative centre of the atoll is Paelau, which is on the western side, south of a passage into the lagoon. The main health centre is located at Paelau. There are health clinics on Napari (Napali) islet on the north end of the island and at Kimarimari at the southern end of the Island.

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Sights and Activities

There is a beautiful beach to swim in that has an area with soft sand. Other areas have large coral pieces that can be difficult to walk on. There are also areas that farm seaweed.

There is a concrete basketball court on the island that was built by a cruise line years ago. The men of the island enjoy a pick-up game and are friendly when approached about playing. Be mindful, however, that the men do not stop smoking their hand-rolled cigarettes, even while actively playing the game.

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Events and Festivals

New Year’s Day

Kiribati is the first country in the world to welcome in the New Year, albeit at the Line Islands, and events go off nationwide. All bars and guesthouses have something going on, along with traditional celebrations at the local maneaba (meeting house).

Independence Day

This is the main event on the Kiribati social calendar, celebrating the day the Gilbert Islands gained independence from Great Britain in July of 1979. Though the holiday officially takes place on July 12, the festivities last for several days, starting around the 9th. South Tarawa sees most of the action, including obligatory canoe races, kite-flying and traditional dance, along with wrestling, rugby and other sports ventures.

Youth Day

August 4 sees the forward-thinking government focus its energy on the Kiribati youth, with the promise of better opportunities through various workshops and programs. Churches and meeting houses see most activity.

Christmas

Locals attend church followed by much eating, gift-giving and merriment, just like they do back home. In Kiribati, however, there’s also choir singing, dancing, canoe racing, and a myriad of other sports right up until New Year. Locals also go camping in Taiwan Park and visit nearby islands.

New Year’s Eve

A huge event in Kiribati due to its position in the world, this island nation is the first place to countdown the New Year. There are low-key parties on the beaches and in the towns, while all expat bars and guesthouses put on special events.

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Weather

Tabuaeran enjoys a pleasantly warm, but humid tropical climate. Daytime temperatures hoover around 30 °C yearround with little variation throughout the year. Nights are still pleasantly warm and generally above 20 °C. The wetter period lasts from December to May and concentrates more on the northern part of the island chain. Trade winds blow from March to October. The most pleasant time, weatherwise, is from May to September. Tropical storms can hit the islands during the wet season, but are rarely a reason not to visit the islands during this time, although the humidity and heath combined with the absence of tradewinds from December to March makes this a slightly less pleasant time to visit.

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Getting There

The most common way to get into Fanning Island is by taking a boat from Christmas Island (Kiritimati). It's also quite common (although not as much in recent years) to visit the atoll as a port of call from a cruise line. Holland America has it as a humanitarian stop on their way to French Polynesia.

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Getting Around

There is a dirt road that completely circles the lagoon. There are small dirt trails running in every direction from the road, but be mindful of the native population's personal property and space when hiking the trails. There is a modest collection of bicycles near the lagoon's main dock and you should be able to rent one for a small fee.

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Eat/Drink

You will not find any stores on the island in the conventional sense.

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Tabuaeran Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 13:21 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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