MNN Galleries

10 (almost) deserted islands

Manra Island, Phoenix Islands

Photo: Angela K. Kepler/Wikimedia Commons

6 of 12

Phoenix Islands

The Phoenix Islands sit in the middle of the South Pacific. Though they are officially part of the island nation of Kiribati, these islands sit nearly 1,000 miles away from the country's capital. A few researchers, conservation officers and caretakers live on Kanton Island, which has the chain's only permanent residents. These people are employed as part of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. This area contains the entire chain and is one of the largest marine conservation areas of its kind in the world. Birds, trees and marine species thrive here, almost completely untouched by humans. Most people arrive in the Phoenix Islands area by ship. It is a long journey from virtually anywhere, and a single airstrip on Kanton is mainly used for supply flights, not commercial air services. There is no tourist infrastructure to speak of, so these are remote islands in every sense of the word.