The latest news from Nukulani is the Island Council has chosen to back Nukulani money with the pearl industry that has become well established on the island.  Gross sales of pearls current run around $300,000 US per year. The monetary value is based on pearl production annually, actual expenses and actual sales.  For example, a $300,000 year produces around $179,000 to $180,000 after expenses and commissions.   The island has grossed as much as $360,000 and as low as $240,000 in recent years not that the pearl industry has been solidly established. While the number of pearls are considered substantial, the number that are perfectly round are few, meaning most are set in mountings versus being used for necklaces where the perfectly round pearls command much higher prices.

The move is seen as a wise move by Nukulani, noting small local currencies have a difficult time establishing a value against other currencies.  The universal demand for pearls offers a legitimacy to currency values although the number of monetary units and their stated values are determined by actual currency in circulation.  In lieu of precious metals, the pearls make for a stable currency according to one Economics expert.


The Effervescent Island, named Moonlight or Nukulani, is a most  unique island.  It’s physical features are purely astounding and the belief system of the people will amaze.  The most incredible thing to me is it all makes sense.

Before beginning I want to make clear I have perhaps a dozen unanswered questions for each one I have any answer for, so gaping holes exist in this paper.

First off, the island is a closed lagoon atoll with a mere 242 acres.  The largely sand filled lagoon covers about 326 acres.  The population is 128.  

Let’s center on the physical features of Nukulani and the nearby waters.  The seas around Nukulani teems with light at night giving an nearly constant illumination.  There are well documented species of aquatic life that illuminate with any movement.  If such a creature is near the surface and near the shore, a wave can illuminate the species.  Darting about in schools in the night sea can cause a faint glow to brighter dots of light, not unlike the starry night sky.  Even trails of light will taper off from the brighter dots.  People say it is a breathtaking sight.  

A sort of seaweed, instead of being green, is typically a more amber color and apparently very healthy in the area waters and the area is rich in this unusually colored seaweed.

In fact the most popular fish consumed on the island is a shimmery, shiny blue fish.  For some reason, they are the most plentiful and very easy to catch.  

The island is incredibly lush at spots.  Introduced citrus and fruit trees, garden patches with soil good enough for growing a variety of vegetables offer an incredible variety of foods for a tropical island.  While Malaria and Dengue Fever might occur on islands in the region, the plentiful rainfall and the fact there is virtually no standing water on the island prevent these serious illnesses on the island.

On land, a type of salamander, that takes a liking to mosquito larvae as well as spiders, are found everywhere.  Locals say the critters keep the island free of mosquitoes and keeps the spider population at a reasonable level.  Many have claimed the salamander is a fearless competitor to a large spider in attack mode, quickly bringing a spider down before it can act on the threat.

Another unusual feature is an almost constant nighttime array of lightning bugs or fireflies seen through the year.  It is said the makeup of the island offers small damp crevasses loaded with decomposing vegetation, a perfect habitation for lightning bugs.  Only after heavy rainfall do the lightning bug numbers fall for a few weeks.  Those who study such phenomenon suggest the lightning bug found on the island was introduced.  They have an almost spiritual significance to the islanders and the islanders maintain a healthy habitat for the fireflies.

While rainfall is plentiful on the island, the people prefer a strong spring on the island.  It spews forth enough water for the whole island and has a very unique characteristic:  it seems to be carbonated.  We are not privy to tests made on the water, but it is said the water makes a ‘fizzing’ sound at its source and within a few hours of letting the water sit in the open it is the same as rainwater.  This would indicate a gas or vapor is mixing with the water.  We do know Nukulani’s ‘Ring of Fire’ location likely means the island is the rim of an underwater volcano, so it is not terribly out of the realm of possibility the water coming from this spring mixes with some reserve of an underground gas or vapor that in effect, carbonates the water.

Another odd feature of the tiny island is what lies below.  Appearing as not much more than a sandy islet, there are patches where good soil is found and at other spots below the sandy surface is blue colored rock, dull to shiny in color.  A cave on the island, at the only elevated portion, is much like an opening to a giant blue agate, and indeed agate is plentiful and apatite in the mix.  The rocky core is a mystery to scientists.  For others, the island has a mythical reputation or is a place of some religious significance in some New Age beliefs.  

Certainly you must agree there is a mix of unique features in and around Nukulani.  Knowing these features helped me to understand the belief system of the Nukulani people.

There has been a belief that the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 was an indication of the earth welcoming in a new era of its life after shutting the door on the past era.  Nukulani has had that happen.

In about 1834 a British vessel, caught in a strong late night dying tropical thunderstorm, was being beat by the waves as some of the crew secured items of the ship.  Christian Moon was one of those people.  As some barrels were being tied, a water spout washed over the ship washing some of the barrels, Christian and two others overboard.  In the driving rain and howling wind, the crew was unable to spot Christian but managed to find the two others as they clung to barrels.  In a matter of moments the storm moved on, two of those tossed overboard were rescued from their fate and the Captain chose to drift until first light to look for Christian.  At first light, some sweeps of the area produced nothing but some broken pieces of wood.  It was thought Christian had drowned at sea.  Some suspect the water spout may have simply sucked him up, dropping him some distance from the ship.

A dying thunderstorm is pretty unique and most common in areas such as the Midwestern United States.  As a thunderstorm dies, it begins to collapse into itself.  As it dies, it picks up speed and the amount of precipitation diminishes.  In it’s final breath the portion that pushes warm air up in the atmosphere pushes downward raising the air temperature at the ground’s surface.   

You likely already know that thunderstorms over the open ocean are much more intense than those over land.  Rainfall is much heavier, winds much stronger and lightning much more frequent.  It has been said a thunderstorm over land is a baby compared to a thunderstorm over water, due in part because thunderstorms over water are commonly 10 or 12  miles high in the atmosphere where a common thunderstorm over land might be 5 or 6 miles high in the atmosphere.

In piecing things together, Christian might have been taken up in the water spout, dropped in the sea where he clung onto a piece of wood and carried by the forward motion of the fast moving thunderstorm.  He washed ashore on Nukulani with arms draped across the wood, unconscious.  An early morning fisherman on the island spotted him and brought him ashore.

At this point, no pale skinned human had ever been seen by the islanders. The chiefs of the island looked for an explanation in their belief system and found one.

The belief system on Nukulani is not that complicated.  In short, after death, the person becomes ‘light’.  The spirit of the people is seen inhabiting the seas around Nukulani in the illuminating aquatic life, in the fireflies blinking amber light and in the skies through the visible stars.  The islanders believe the dead choose their spiritual homes in living creatures of the land and water or the sky itself (ie: fireflies, illuminating fish and stars). It is not a huge leap to assume light skin is the result of ‘light’.  Thus, Christian Moon, it was concluded, must be a distant ancestor from the spirit world who, for some unexplained reason, came to the people.

For Christian, there was little hope for rescue, but you might say he had been dealt a great bunch of lemons that would make some wonderful lemonade!  As Christian’s bumps, bruises and cuts were healed and his strength had returned, he found himself the political and spiritual leader of the entire island.  They built him a home, the finest on the island, his choice of the single women, all the food and material goods he could want and eager boys and girls to act as servants.  

Christian, not understanding the language, aside from being completely overwhelmed, set out to try to communicate with the islanders.  The people thought his language was that of the spirits and they wanted to learn to speak it.  They were so diligent, the native language’s last speaker died in 1952.  Today less than 100 words are known in the old Nukulani tongue.  The oddity is fluent English speakers is 100%.

We cannot say if Christian was one who took complete advantage of the islanders or if it was willingly offered but the oral tradition speaks of a gentle, fatherly figure who seemed to have a genuine love for the people of the island.  We know from the culture the tendency would be to keep Christian without want or need.  As for the ladies, to have a child with Christian would mean the spiritual world had favored her.  It is likely Christian would have had a very active sex life and many, many children.  It might account for the look of the people today, neither pure in race, but more bronze skinned, tall and slender with many Caucasian features.  Certainly the women would choose the offspring of Christian for children.  There was a direct spiritual connection and the offspring was part of the ruling family.  We would think Christian lived a rather charmed life.

Nukulani people are known as a peaceful people without much of the cultural structure found in many societies.  With Christian these traditions diminished.  It seems the ‘brutal’ portion of the culture did not survive.  On some islands babies were killed and punishments could be severe.  On some such islands there are so many rules and taboos, life is a very complicated matter and the slightest infraction could cause a substantial punishment.  On some islands, pointing your leg at a person, even by accident, could result in a lashing and shame for the family, even if you had a leg cramp!

As additional vessels found Nukulani, it seems Christian had already taught the population the belief system of Christianity.  They know of an evil spirit or the devil that might appear as a god in order to deceive the people.  He, it seems, told them that other white skinned people might appear on great sailing ships in good numbers.  The test was a legitimate good spirit would not need a ship and would like come alone or in very small groups.  Those coming on ships in good numbers were to be suspect.  There are accounts of the islanders gesturing from shore to fend off ships and their occupants from coming ashore.

Even more bizarre about Nukulani is a piece of blue rockl the islanders cherish.  The blue rock is shaped like a disc and has many characters on it.  The locals say the disc tells the story of their civilization and has details of their 3,000 years on the island.  The trouble is nobody knows how to read the disc.  Sure,  some of the shapes are easy to make out and determine but this is all that is known.  Research by experts has revealed very little.  Locals are quite interested in figuring out their history from this coral disc.

The original Nukulani language has died over the years.  The final fluent speaker died about 60 years ago.  Locals will be able to rattle off some words of the original Nukulani language but this is simply from memory, much like recalling something that happened when you were, say, 8 years old with crystal clear recall.  They admit the precise meaning or sound of the word might not be fully accurate because of foggy memories from so early in life.  Even so, the islanders are interested in reviving the language and have a few written texts to go by.  They have enlisted the aid of linguists but can offer little assistance.

Today Nukulani survives with the current eldest male offspring of Christian Moon ruling the island.  To put it bluntly, he is an administrator. He keeps track of land that can and cannot be farmed based on proper agricultural practices.  He makes sure storable foods are keep in ample supply in event of a typhoon ruining the island’s food supply and acts as a judge in disagreements.  While still respected as a leader, this is more because of the wisdom shown by the leader who is seen as more of a fatherly figure.

Nukulani is still in the outback waters where an island of any size might have a couple of groups of people who speak their own languages and retain their old ways.  Thus, life has changed little on Nukulani except for the loss of their history and native tongue.

Nukulani has no real villages as people reside throughout the tiny island, neither very close to the next home nor far away from a neighbor.  Vegetation is plentiful, producing enough to easily nourish its population.  People live in thatched huts.

There are no phones, electricity, cars or roads.  There are no formal schools and no medical facilities.  The people seem extremely healthy.  There is no organized religious facility on the island.  It is a 35 mile ride by small motor boat to the nearest island, generally taking about 4 to 6 hours depending on the seas.    

Even though only small boats are used for transport off the island, there is frequent trade.  Most trade is in the form of produce, fish and handicrafts.  There is a pearl farm in the lagoon and these pearls are sold to parties off the island.  Imports are frequently cloth, kerosene, salt, rice and canned foods in limited amounts.

Commerce is in the form of a small store and other tiny businesses that are so small, a storefront would not be needed.  For example, there is a bakery but the tourist will find nothing for sale as everything is made to order from a home.

The islanders seem neither rich nor poor.  Children always have a couple of the coins to buy pieces of candy and other treats.  Households typically have a small box of coins.  Buying and selling is frequent.  Christian introduced the idea of commerce to the islanders saying it was a way to keep things uncomplicated.  The islanders say it keeps them from misunderstandings found in non-cash economies.  If the man tends to other duties, he might buy a fish for his family’s meals that day while the wife might sell a few pieces of fruit to a family.  Most money, however, is made by selling handicrafts.  

Per Capita income is still minimal on international standards, but it has been pointed out there is not much need for money.  With no expenses for housing and utilities, transportation and such, there are few expenses.  Even food and clothing take minimal money.  

There is little contact with the outside world with the exception of neighboring islands.  


Local money has been produced.  Why?  It is mostly ceremonial.  Some of the old timers believe the island had been known for its wealth in earlier days and that they were skilled money makers.  They think shell money was in use and the most prized was that of a certain species that is found at Nukulani.  Ironically, the plentiful blue rock below the soil was never harvested for money.  People think it had some spiritual significance but they only assume this.  One has speculated the rock was seen as the core of their island and it would sink into the ocean if removed, 

Symbolically, the round blue tock disc has been replicated on the coins and remembered local words added to give the Nukulani money a distinct presence.  

As for the value, that is best determined by the market.  It seems the local coinage will buy an orange or drinking coconut although its non-monetary value is much greater, a piece of tangible evidence of a people put on metal, designed to last beyond the human lifespan, so a record can be had for future generations.  

Blue Waters Mint has been talking about commemorative issues for the island.  Details are yet to be finalized.  

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