What a place. Tuvalu is a magical place its just ridiculously HOT !!!!!
Clearing in here was a hassel. I am talking, it took all day ! The officials don’t come out, so you have to go in.
We anchored in front of the government building Funafuti. It is calm unless the wind has any west in it. The water is clean and we did alot of swimming off the boat here. There was a small jetty that you could tie your dinghy off to, but on our second visit the jetty was high and dry and a beach was being dredge in. The beach comes from 6m to nothing and the swell breaking on it flipped our dinghy. This may have been fixed as they were still dredging. The beach is supposed to be 80m wide by 300m long.
We anchored in 3m at 8’31.018S 179’11.668E. We had to tuck in behind the small reef as the dredge had taken up the open anchoring space.
Immigration is in the government building. Here is also where you want to take your outer Island permission permits to also. Its airconditioned and has free wifi sometimes. Wifi cards can be brough and are a rip off at $5 for 250MB or $20 for 1GB. Sometimes they run out of wifi cards. You can pick it up in the anchorage, but in general the internet was almost useless.
Customs is a very long hike in the scorching heat down to the big jetty. Hitching a ride half way is possible, but not many people will take you the whole way, since its not near anything. If you have more then a 2.5hp outboard then taking the dinghy would be the smart option. You can tie up to the dock.
Keep in mind siesta runs from anywhere between 12-2pm. They take their daily midday Nanna nap pretty seriously. Once you have felt the heat, you will understand why.
Clearing in and out is free.
There is a marine conservation zone. You are not allowed to anchor here at all, unless you have permission and have paid $50. A man in a dinghy patrols the area and he will get angry. He has one job, to keep yachties out. He is a very nice man if you are doing the right thing and will reward your good behaviour with coconuts.
Most of the anchorages are behind small atolls amongst coral bombies. Great for snorkelling. Manta rays are spotted all year round.
The Island are mostly un in-habbited, but sometimes there is a Island keeper. Checking in with the Island keeper and getting permission is polite.
gaining permission to stop at the outer Islands once you have cleared out is possible. You will have to do a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between customs and immigration to get this sorted out. It is worth it as it breaks up the trip northward to Kiribati.
The outer Islands are also spectacular, with more pristine palm tree lined beaches.
Tuvalu was a beautiful place that seemed to have it all except fresh fruit and vegetables. If you love a good boiled potato and some fried onion Tuvalu is the place for you.
The streets were clean and well maintained, the houses were all organised with freshly racked front gardens. One of the cleaner atolls we have visited. A nice place to relax, watch the sun go down and drink some smuggled in wine.