Least Visited, Day 3: Coconut Hunting on a Failed Micronation

December 29, 2018

Today was the first full day for the tour group, and I was thrilled Calvin would be finally arriving. On the agenda was a day trip to Enoko Island, a failed micronation that is now part of the Marshall Islands.

Breakfast was at the hotel, where a handful of us had premium window-view seats to the after-Christmas Christmas parade. Santa was there, along with three Pikachu. There were cop cars and fire trucks and I am pretty sure they were throwing candy. At 11am we hopped on a boat and cruised off to the island, only 20 minutes away from the hotel.

I immediately went off to the bush alone, and noticed lots of coconuts all over. Before picking any, I wandered back to the busy side of the island with tourists and locals, and asked where the locals lived. I found the mother of one of the two households on the island, Elisa, and asked which coconut trees were hers, and if I could get some coconuts. It was no problem at all. Oh, and one more thing, could I have a knife? She holds up a kitchen knife, and I say “no, a big knife…a machete?” She reaches behind a chair and holds up a 20-inch blade. Yes, this is what I want.

bush knife and navara...who wants snacks?

I return to the group, bush knife and coconuts in hand. I first open up the green coconuts to get some water to mix with the rum Gareth provided. They didn’t open as smoothly as I would have liked, but it works for what I need. The brown (dry) coconuts I brought are sprouting, which we call navara in Vanuatu. I go back to Elisa’s house and her husband de-husks the shells with a crowbar, and I return to the group and crack them open. No one seems to have had navara before, the spongey and easy-to-eat inside of a sprouting coconut. After passing it around, I start prying out the coconut flesh to snack on.

Around this time, Alistair has also finished grilling our lunch, and I feast on the burgers he cooks, served on the most amazing brioche buns. Calvin arrives and I run towards him on the beach and he scoops me up, carrying me in one arm until he gets under the picnic shelter. I think he was just trying to show off his guns.

The main attraction here is just the beach, which I am not too thrilled about, as beaches are something I’m used to after living in the Pacific. I go off and explore, but it’s a relatively small area to explore, with touristy beaches on one side and bush on the other.

It rains a bit and around the time that the sun should set (it’s hard to tell in the grey skies above), we hop back on the boat to the hotel, getting drenched with rain and salty water along the way.

After warming up with a hot shower, I head out to explore one last time. The group stays in to eat and drink at the hotel, but nothing seems that appetizing, and everything is quite expensive. I want to get some food elsewhere.

It rained pretty hard this evening, but it was clearing up. With no drainage that I can see, giant puddles plague the road in town, but it doesn’t matter as my shoes are already soaked from the wet and wild boat ride.

First I head back to my favorite grocery store and stock up on snacks and goods for the group. Someone has me get Marlboro Reds and they’re a measly $3.50 a pack! I don’t smoke but I know that’s a good deal.

I walk to the place I bought my shake yesterday, also known as Yummy BBQ and Fast Food. I get a $6 chicken and fries platter and another shake. It’s island time, so the fast food takes about 30 minutes.

After I get my food, I hop in the backseat of a shared cab squeezed beside two large Marshallese men. One dollar and 6 minutes later, I’m back at the hotel, and ready to sleep. Tomorrow we’ll be heading out on a 9am flight to the #1 least visited country in the world, Nauru (with a whopping ~200 visitors a year).