Location: Vostok Island, Kiribati
by Wayne & Karen Brown
We are again in Odyssey's wheelhouse with Captain Frank. The winds are stronger and the seas rougher today. We got to sleep-in today, because we will not reach our next stop, Vostok Island, until after lunch.
Vostok Island was named by a captain for his ship, Vostok. We can not yet see Vostok Island, but an old map shows us that the island is even smaller than Starbuck Island. It is shaped like a triangle and is about 1,400 yards (1.3 kilometers) long. Like on Starbuck Island, the highest point is 15 feet (4.5meters) high.
On deck after lunch we make our first sighting of Vostok Island! It looks like white cookie with a green mint center. The island is surrounded by white coral sand beaches. Unlike Starbuck Island, Vostok (VOS-TOCK) Island has lots of tall trees that make a thick blanket of green in the center of this island. These trees are not palm trees. These trees are called Pisonia (PISS-OWN-EE-AH). These trees are about 80 feet (24m) tall. There are so many of these thick, green trees they make a canopy so dense it is said that no other trees can grow under them.
By looking at the island we can tell which way the wind usually blows. The trees on the west side of the island are standing up straight. The trees on the east side of the island are all bent over and pointing to the west. (Which way do you think the wind usually blows?)
Like Starbuck Island, no one lives on Vostok Island, either. We would like to go ashore, or at least go snorkeling. Unfortunately, it is too rough and windy even for snorkeling here. Captain Frank does take Odyssey completely around the island so we can see Vostok Island from all sides before we continue our voyage.
Tomorrow we will make our last stop in the Line Islands of Kiribati. We will be visiting another remote, uninhabited island -- Caroline Island.
Caroline Island was the first place in the world to enter the 21st century. No one lives on this island, though. Here's what happened...
In 1995, the government of Kiribati moved the International Date Line more than 2,000 miles to the east near Caroline Island. (The International Date Line is an imaginary line which marks the spot on the earth's surface where each new calendar day begins. The date just to the west of the International Date Line is one day later than the date just to the east of the line. is the imaginary line.) This way they could say that Kiribati was the first country to go into the 21st century. The Kiribati government even changed the name of Caroline Island to Millennium Island, because it was the first place that entered the new millennium!
Wayne & Karen Brown
Vostok Island, Kiribati
Position: 10º 05' S / 152º 54' W
Air Temp: 84ºF
Weather: strong winds, cloudy
Sea Conditions: rough seas
Odyssey plows through rough seas on our way to Vostok Island.
Vostok Island. You can see the white coral sand beaches and the tall green Pisonia trees.
An old map shows us that Vostok Island is shaped like a triangle. A cut in the reef for boats to enter is on the southwestern corner of the island.