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May 1997 Vol. 12, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A Long Way to Christmas

from the May, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Kiribati, pronounced KIR-i-bas, but probably better known as Christmas Island, is a dive destination that has intrigued me for some time. Reports began a few years ago touting this remote bone-fishing haven as having a marine biodiversity as rich as Palau's. I say remote because few people have even heard of Christmas Island, and even fewer have dived its waters, but part of its lure is that it is only four hours by air from Hawaii.

Diving in clear, crowded, marine-life-rich Pacific waters only eight air hours from LAX is a powerful inducement. So why no crowds? Its main promoter, Frontiers, a company that books mostly fishing trips, has overpriced it. Also, air service from Honolulu has been unreliable, although things began looking up last year when a change of airlines was said to have increased the predictability of the weekly flights.

In a turn for the worse, Frontiers has just notified divers booked for the island this spring that they are out of luck. Due to a fuel shortage on Kiribati, all flight service has been suspended as of April 8, 1997. Frontiers' best guess as to when the planes will resume service is sometime in May.

Now, the true test of a dive traveler is whether you're wondering how to use your nonrefundable tickets to Hawaii, or daydreaming about what it would be like stuck on the other end, having to dive for a month while waiting for the plane to come back and get you.

J. Q.

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