A Tungaru-style of outrigger canoe plies the waters on the leeward side of Tabiteuea.  Tungaru, the indigenous name the Gilbert Islands, has traditionally made their canoes from boards held together by lashings of plant fiber and are powered by ÿ
a lateen style of sail that is moved from one end of the boat to another when tacking so that the outrigger is always to windward.


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Micronesian nation of 90,000 people scattered on 33 atolls spread across an area of the Pacific that is roughly one half the size of the United States. I spent four weeks here for GEO in 1996, traveling between remote archipelagos by saiboat. With the exception of one islet, the highest point in Kiribati is seven feet above sea level. Current predictions are that and within a century sea level will rise over three feet and salinate its fresh water table, making the entire country uninhabitable. On the outer islands there is almost no modern infrastructure, with most people fishing by outrigger canoe and living in thatch homes.


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