Thursday, 12 January 2017

Battle of Tarawa, Cultural Museum and Giant Clams

Throughout Tarawa there are relics of the Battle of Tarawa from World War II.  The battle was the first US amphibious assault against against a fortified position.  The US Marines were successful but a great cost of lives over 76 hours of battle. Lots of details about the battle here (with a high level description) or here (with much more detail).

In addition to the battlefield tour we also visit the Cultural Museum and Kiri Craft (a boatbuilder and giant clam farm).

One of the guns (37 mm ?) facing towards Red 2 Beach (also where we were anchored in December).  The conditions around the relics make you appreciate the European World War I and II battlefields that we have had a chance to visit over the years).

The original Japanese declaration on their seizing of Tarawa 10 Dec 1941 (just a few days after Pearl Harbour).  The declaration is under the care of Sister Margret.

The 84 years young Sister Margret from the Catholic Mission in Tarawa.  She has been here since 1954 and also the mission's archivist.

One of the Japanese 8" guns facing to sea from Black Beach.  Ironically it was provided to the Japanese by the British during the Japan-Russia war.

Johnathan on one of the 8" guns.

Damage to the guns.

One of the smaller guns - on Black Beach but facing back towards Red Beach on the lagoon side.

Recycling - some of the I-Kiribati have adapted the bunkers to their homes.

High tide so hard to see but this Sherman tank is visible at low tide.

Red Beach 2 - the wreck is not from World War II but rather just the last set of westerlies to come through Tarawa.
One of the many bunkers on Black Beach.

The local kids came out to see us wherever we went.

Johnathan in front of the Japanese Command Bunker.  The Japanese Commander was killed as he and his staff evacuated the bunker.

Benjamin on the other hand thought that the best of the trip was playing in the air conditioned van.

Map of Betio - Red Beaches are where the main landings occurred and face into  the lagoon (from Wikipedia)

Checking out the traditional armour and weapons at the Kiribati Cultural Museum.
Mike breeds and grows giant clams for the aquarium market.  It is an amazing process and involves the outer islands thereby them giving them the islanders a cash crop to manage.  Here Victoria is seeing the few month old clams.

Mike is actually a boatbuilder by trade.  Here he is showing the kids how to loft from offset tables and the naval architect's drawings.  With the downturn in the boat building market they are making kit form schools with their local labour force.  When not working in Kiribati, he works in Somalia with the UN helping with the development of the Somali fishing boats.  He very graciously gave us a lot of his time and patiently answered our many questions.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! Few people can say they have visited these remote islands!


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