Happy New Year

January 01, 2001


Provided by: Tuvalu
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

Had enough of the snow, ice, sleet, and sub zero windchills? The Tuvalu Islands seem like a nice place to bring in the New Year, and officially, the New Millennium. These islands are in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1/2 way between Australia and Hawaii - longitude 179 degrees east and latitude 8 degrees south. The total land area is about 26 square km or about 1/10 the size of Washington D.C. About 10,000 people call Tuvalu home. The above photo shows one of the nine coral atolls which make up Tuvalu. Coconut palms swaying on sandy beaches - un, uh, uh! Since Tuvalu lies just west of the International Date Line, it'll be one of the first places to celebrate the arrival of 2001.

Tuvalu has a tropical climate with an average daytime temperature of about 30 degrees C or about 86 degrees F. There are few severe tropical storms, but westerly gales and occasional heavy rain squalls from November through March may put a damper on your dream vacation. Additionally, there are a few other concerns you will perhaps have to deal with. Since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, all water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities. Some beaches are eroding because of the use of sand for building materials. Excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel has contributed to soil and beach erosion. Finally, there has been visible damage to coral reefs from the spread of the Crown of Thorns Starfish. Ok, so it's not paradise, but at least you don't have to shovel or scrape before you get to where you want to go. Happy New Year!

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