On the day I left Tuvalu, I headed down to the airport terminal a little early, with everyone else, to watch the plane arrive. It seems that this is a big event on Funafuti. There was a small market set up outside the terminal, and people milling around. I made my farewells to the other travellers I’d met during my stay, and went through the terminal building to have my passport stamped out and board the plane. On my flight to Suva, the Tuvaluan prime minister was on board.
I missed any view of the atoll when I arrived because I was sitting on the wrong side of the plane, but shortly after takeoff, I had a glimpse of Fongafale Island from the air. I could quickly pick out some of the places I’d visited before we turned south and the slither of the island disappeared behind us.