Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chasing the Tides, part II

Childhood development educator, Teimana Avanitele stands for a portrait facing her flooded backyard and garden. Though this is the King Tide, this flooding happens every month during the highest tides creating a moat around her home. Her house sits on what she believes used to be swamp land that was filled in by American soldiers during WWII when the runway was built. The High tide flooding creates septic problems, and many times destroyed her vegetable garden before she raised the beds above the reach of the water.

Above: the Avanitele family home faces the runway with it's back to a road, popular playing fields and courts. A young fruit tree struggles to survive through the drought of last month and now the brackish water flooding of the King Tides.

Above and below: seaman Fatina Vaiafua, from the central Tuvaluan island Nukufetau, sweeps floating trash in an effort to keep it away from this enclave of homes in the south end of Funafuti. The trash comes from a former dump site a few dozen meters from the path dividing the two rows of houses. He does this once a month during every high tide.

Going north on the main road in Fongafale, the flood waters recede after the King Tide floods the Taisala, or the 'borrow pits' which American Marines dug in WWII for the materials needed to build the airports runway.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Low before the High

Around 11am at low tide Peyona S., 9 enjoys a rare, calm moment in the ocean near his home on the thin, main islet of Funfuti, Tuvalu's capital. A few hours later the water level will raise over two meters to mark 2011's King Tide, the highest tide of the year.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chasing the Tides, part I

On the day before the King Tide, pools of water collect in the north end of Funafuti's runway as people go about their end of the day tasks, such as feeding the pigs, many of which are housed in pens on the ocean side of the runway.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Water testing on January's full moon high tide

Fumiko Matsudate notes the flood level during high tide on January's full moon outside of the Nui maneapa (meeting house for the community from the Tuvaluan island, Nui) Matsudate works with the Project for Eco-technological Management of Tuvalu Against Sea Level Rise, a project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The water was the highest Matsudate had seen it, but predicts it will be higher during the King Tide. January 20th, Funafuti.

Researchers from Oceanic Planning Corp., brought in by JICA to do testing, take readings of the flood waters.

Pig pens line a small area of water behind the Nui maneapa which because of the flooding from the high tide expanded way beyond its normal shoreline. The water comes up through the porous ground during high tides.

The flooded road leading to the Nui maneapa.