2019 Advent Calendar – December 24: Christmas Island, Kiribati

PlanetObserver wishes you a very happy holiday season!

For the last day of our Advent Calendar, we take you to Christmas Island or Kiritimati, a Pacific Ocean coral atoll part of the Republic of Kiribati. With a land area of 388 km², it is by far the largest atoll of the archipelago and it has the greatest land area of any coral atoll in the world.

Christmas Island is isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at 2,131 km from Hawaii, where the nearest airport is located. The journey takes almost 3 hours!

James Cook, the famous British explorer, cartographer and navigator, visited the island on December 24, 1777 and named it Christmas Island.  Important historical fact: during the Cold War, 32 nuclear weapon testing were conducted on the island between 1957 and 1962 by British-American troops. Seen from satellite, the atoll still seems as beautiful as ever…

This satellite image is simply beautiful! The idyllic turquoise blue lagoon extends in the northwestern part of the atoll and gradually turns into a network of subsidiary lagoons, tidal flats, ponds and salt pans, which looks like very thin lace. It is an extremely well-preserved environment with thousands of seabirds nesting in this wild paradise. The entire island is a Wildlife Sanctuary today.

Victor, our student apprentice who’s been working on the Advent Calendar, loves that satellite image. He has only one desire now, to take a flight to this paradise island and celebrate Christmas there!

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