Sustainable Luxury Surf Resort on Beran Island
When Indies Trader decided that it was going to put roots down, and throw out the anchor permanently in the Marshalls, Martin decided that if we were going to do something to this pristine island, that we had a great responsibility to have as little impact as possible. It was such a privilege to use it and to have access to it. So, we tried to do whatever we could, using resources to do it as sustainably, with as little environmental impact as possible.
We currently are running 100 panels on the roof of the resort. The total power output for the panels is 28 kilowatts, all running into a large battery backup array. The batteries can provide backup power all night of course, but also can sustain resort power even with a couple days without sun. In conjunction with the wind turbines which are now running 24/7, we almost never run the generator. The backup 22 Kilowatt Yanmar autostart generator is hooked into the same system, which can top off the batteries should there be no wind or sun for an extended period.
It is a truly off grid setup, with the nearest utility company hundreds of nautical miles away.
We tapped the expertise of Charlie Cowden, of Hanalei Solar in Kauai and Roland Shackleford, of Renewable Energy Services in Maui for this clean and extremely robust setup.
The Marshalls get trade winds almost all year. It is an absolutely perfect for wind generated electricity. In conjunction with the 100 solar panels on the roof, we rarely have to use the generator. Fully installed and deployed in 2018, our two wind turbines generate 20 Kilowatts, and generate power 24 hours a day. The layout of Beran Resort was made to optimize the natural factors – tradewinds, rain, sun etc – and the wind truly makes the climate of the resort very mild and fresh for the tropics. We have placed the resort just behind the tree line on the windward side, facing the vast pacific, and the trades that come off them bring a nice refreshing breeze.
At the very core of the Beran Resort is a massive catchment system – saving our tropical rains below the rooms. This provides passive cooling for the entire resort, as well as providing essentially unlimited fresh water for showers, plumbing, cooking, drinking and more. Typical of the tropics, we get rain year round, and the roof of the resort catches the rain and channels it into the 180,000 liter (50,000 gallon) protected water reservoir under the resort.
Martin worked with the late national hero of the Marshall Islands, Tony De Brum, on making the Marshall Islands into a shark sanctuary. The Marshall Islands followed the example of Palau, creating an even larger sanctuary – with a full ban on commercial shark fishing. In 2016, Micronesia followed suit, and together these nations created the largest contiguous shark sanctuary on earth – an area larger than the continental United States. The Marshallese government rigorously enforces this ban, and other nations are following suit.
We get the question a lot – “Are there sharks in the Marshalls?”
The short answer is – “yes, lots, in fact we helped fight to protect them from the shark fin industry”. The reality is these sharks are mainly small reef sharks, which are timid and show no hostility towards larger animals like humans. To get a grasp on the vast and devastating effects of commercial shark fishing and brutal finning practices, the 2006 documentary “Shark Water” is informative, and its sequel “Shark Water: Extinction” is set for release in 2018.
The Marshall Islands is one of the most remote, and therefore pristine environments on this planet. Indies Trader has been monitoring coral health, including sample taking for NGO contracts in the atolls around the Marshall Islands for the past decade. A significant “coral bleaching” effect did hit vast parts of the entire Earth a few years ago – hitting Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, and including the Marshalls. Bleaching comes from the coral not being able to survive a rapid increase in temperature, and has become increasingly common as the rapid temperature rise of climate change takes its toll. The oceans, and the coral are a bit like a canary in a coal mine, as they have lived in such pristine isolation for eons, and are only now seeing change on the world stage.
Legacy of Tony DeBrum
Tony Debrum was a close friend and hero of the Marshall Islands. He was involved in a number of hugely influential advocacy campaigns, including sueing the world governments over their failure to comply with Nuclear Weapon disarmament agreements. His famous quote on the floor of the United Nations –
“I wonder how many in this room have actually witnessed a detonation of a nuclear weapon,” Mr. deBrum said to 191 nations in the U.N. General Assembly hall in April 2015, when he was the republic’s minister of foreign affairs. He paused for effect, then continued: “I have.” The Marshallese people “still carry a burden which no other people or nation should ever have to bear.”
Tony saw a connection between the victims of all exploited people – of both victims of war, and nuclear bombs at the aggression of the imperial nations, but also with the future victims of rising sea levels and extreme weather events caused by climate change. He was instrumental in the Paris Climate agreement, and was pushed to keep the limit of average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees rather than the 2 degrees originally planned.
Tony also worked with Martin Daly on the concept of the Shark Sanctuary – and when implemented, it was the largest Shark Sanctuary on earth. As other nations followed suit, the Marshalls, along with its neighbors in Micronesia, have created the largest contigious shark protection zone on earth – larger than the continetnal United States.
On tony’s passing in August 0f 2017, Daly said “The guy was a shining light, you know. And, I really, really miss him.” Yokwe and Kommol Tata, Tony.