Funafuti is Tuvalu’s capital and the location of its international airport. Approximately 4,000 people are making up the entire population and life is easy going and laid back. Only two small manufacturing facilities remind visitors of the modern world lingering beyond the horizon.
The major attraction on the island is the Funafuti Conservation Area. Its five islets are lined up along the western side of the atoll. They are all uninhabited and protected.
Another attraction on Funafuti is “David’s Drill.” Scientists from the Royal Society of London conducted experimental drilling in the late 1800s to test Charles Darwin’s theory of atoll formation. Darwin, the famous formulator of evolution theory, believed that all coral atolls rest on a volcanic base. The deepest bore at David’s Drill reached 928 feet but did not hit volcanic rock. A second attempt also failed but modern science has proved that Darwin was correct. The boreholes can still be seen to this day in Fongafale village.
During World War II, large numbers of American troops were stationed on the islands of Tuvalu and air force bases were strategically located throughout the country. Funafuti was the main base, but remains of World War II are visible on several islands. An old runway exists on the northeastern side of Nanumea (the most northern island) and the remains of war planes are visible in the scrub. A wreck of a landing craft can be seen on the reef near the island’s village. Nanumea also has a striking church with a pointed German-style tower, which is among the tallest in the South Pacific.
Americans are also responsible for the best snorkeling on Funafuti. In order to obtain building material for wartime airstrips, US military blasted several huge ocean-side pits. Thousands of fish become trapped in these pits at low tide. Until high tide returns, the pits become enormous swimming pools offering amazing close-ups.
Another recently attraction is the cause way at northern side of Funafuti Island (Capital) which also known as Fongafale. It has recently eroded due to sea level rise and therefore the pathway which connects the road to the other side is getting thinner and more tourists are being attracted to it to take pictures.