Sunday, October 25, 2009
The airport and terminal building with Mayor James Capelle in the Police rain coat. most of the people go out to meet the plane hoping family in Majuro has sent something they've requested. Junior got a few beers and a newspaper from the pilot, his relative.
I fixed a VHF radio for Matsen and made him a new antenna, so he offered us a coconut crab. This is one of the larger ones we've had. He came with the leash, but grabbed Trinda's dive knife while I was trying to get the picture. I'm lucky he didn't know how to use it! He fed us both with a little left over. Much better than the Dunngeness crabs.
The Fish Base is sponsoring the growing of giant clams. The tank is full of the ones they are ready to sell to the salt water aquarium folks in Florida, about 12000 of them. Junior was showing Trinda the tank. They sell the clams about 12 to 18 months old and about 2 inches across. They raise 4 varieties, some of which get to 4 feet across in their life time, lots of years. They started the program to re-stock the atolls that have eaten too many of their own but then discovered the aquarium market. At $2 a clam they say it is easier work than making copra.
Junior's wife, Titi, made us coconut cookies, cinnamon twists and cinnamon rolls. With their German and Portuguese background, the ladies here bake a lot more than the other islands we've been to. And their baked goods are delicious. That's quite an oven, a barrel with a place for a coconut husk fire underneath and two racks for cookies, or whatever.
Trinda also had a sewing class to teach the smocking stitches to several ladies here too. 3 made significant progress and promised to help the others finish their blouses. The Catholic Priest came for a couple of weeks to each atoll and was watching the ladies after I gave him a tour of the boat.Another day Trinda took the beads ashore. They were a big hit too.
Here they are wearing their jewelry, mostly earrings.And the swim toys were a hit too. Several kids ask for more cause they were elsewhere when these few got passed out.
Just before we left, the ladies insisted we come to a going away function. They presented us with necklaces, hats, earrings, the dress Trinda has, and lots more handicrafts. And of course a pumpkin and more coconuts to drink on our trip back to Majuro.
This is downtown Wotje Village on Wotje island in Wotje atoll. That is the just past President's house in the background ( he lost the vote of no confidence last week). Here they all complain about all the "Japanese cement" everywhere. They left lots of small generating stations all around too. I think I have photos of at least 10 sites of old rusty motors.
We were invited to a first birthday party. This is my plate. Turtle, chicken pork, pumpkin in leaves, doughnuts, breadfruit pudding in plastic bags, pumpkin in coconut cream sauce and bananas in the middle.
Getting the turtle out of the "in the ground oven". I was almost more thrilled to be able to see how they did it than to eat it, but not quite! They line the hole with pieces of coral and build a coconut husk fire. When it burns down and the coral is hot, they put in the cut up turtle and shell, cover it with banana leaves then palm fronds then plastic sheet and finally a layer of sand. Maybe 6 hours later, just before the party, they dig it up. It was dark so they had trouble finding all the feet and the heads.
Just after handing out the box of 100 'Blow Pops' to the kids then the ladies. Kaben has a beautiful sand beach, but it is on the up-wind side and the normal trade winds build 3 foot breakers here so most yachts don't stop. We had a very calm day coming up here from Airik, but the wind started again just after we arrived, so we could only stay one night.
It was "Customs Day" and they were to play softball on this beach, but when the saw a yacht coming, they just stood around and waited for us to anchor. Two guys even paddled out is a leaky canoe before we finished anchoring! We were teh first yacht in 4 years.
Besides the World Teach Volunteer (posted a few weeks ago) we had another teacher and his family out to the boat. All they can say is "Wow!". We don't think the boat is that different, but we have much more than the average islander's house has; gas stove with oven, refrigerator, watermaker, mattress, couch, etc.
Spike had his son along, and contracted a model canoe. This is Reed Capelle from a real canoe making family making it for him.
They invited us to church on Sunday and kinda insisted we all come. In our honor, they re-did parts of their Christmas program. Most of the ladies even had the dresses they wore for it.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The wind was almost on the nose so sailing slowly as close to the wind as we could and only motor-sailed about 10 hours.
After Ice tea and a hamburger from Tide Table we're going to bed!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
We are really enjoying it here! I have spent time with Joe DeBrum great grand son of the original settlers here, and his sister-inn-law Bonnie. They are among the few islanders older than us. They have lots of stories and enjoy ours.
Trinda took the beads ashore one day. They had a great time. Then today she taught 9 ladies to make the Kiribati Blouse. They had another good time.
We went snorkeling at the next island up, Lado. We saw 2 giant clams in the water. Maybe about a foot across. Bonnie asked why we didn't take them. We said we didn't know how to fix them anyway and they were too big for us. It was also close to the clam farm so I didn't want to bother them.
I fixed a VHF radio for Maxiam so he offered to get us a coconut crab. Just finished it. Was wonderful and BIG! Much larger than the ones we've had from other islands lately. Loved it!
The mayor and several other guys went to the small island about 20 miles from the atoll here for turtle and such for s party in Majuro. They have 4 big turtles. I wish the party was to be here!
Trinda made a few more pairs of kids shorts for some of the ladies and gave them the patterns and showed them how to make them. Lots of teaching going on. I worked on their internet computers some more. Found lots of virus and mal-ware on them this time. Maybe they are better now.
We will be sad to leave next week, but we are running out of food. We plan to leave Monday or Tuesday, depending on the wind. We will head straight for Majuro, about 230 miles so a 2 day trip.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Christine is the World Teach volunteer in Wotje, Marshall Islands. This is one of her "English" classes. All her classes are in the same room. Most of the elementary students stay in the same classroom all day, but they come to her room for English.
Her host mother had a special birthday, 36 years, while we were there, so Trinda made her a chocolate cake.
Heidi is in Kaben, Maloelap, Marshall Islands. It was "Custom's Day" when we arrived, so everyone was down to the beach to play softball for the Holiday. We kinda interupted their celebration. The gentelman behind Heidi is the grandfather of her host family. He passed out the lolly-pops Trinda brought.
Elayna is in Airik, Maloelap, Marshal Islands. She is very excited about her classes and the new books that had just arrived. The school is at the opposite end of the island fromher host familie's house, only about a 15 minute walk.
Friday, October 9, 2009
According to a web page I saw, they have 18 buildings here that the historical society is interested in cause they were constructed between 1865 and 1905. One is falling in, but most of the others still have families living in them. There is African Bermuda grass growing everywhere. There are giant old trees lining the bay that were planted by "the old folks, long ago". It makes it a very picturesque view. The old houses are very European and look just like in the old movies of the South Pacific. Many of the homes have furniture in them whereas most of the other islands have only mats on the floor. They seem more sophisticated here in several ways. They haven ovens for baking made of barrels in a brick house whit a coconut husk fire underneath, instead of a ho;e in the ground lined with coral rock. Many of the paths (streets) are lined with rocks and rows of flowers.
They recently got internet and cell phones here. I have been helping with the internet some, but haven't sent any mail out yet. It is extremely slow. They don't know what the problem is and I haven't really looked at that part yet. There was supposed to be a repairman on the flight today, but he didn't get off the plane. They get 2 flights a week as long as the plane is not broke. Taiwan gave them the satellite dish and 2 years service free! They said it worked better last month.
We had the Mayor, James Capelle and the internet lady, Frida, out for supper last night. I asked him if he wanted Marshallese food or "cruiser food". He chose cruiser, so it was meatloaf, corn onion soup mix poured over potatoes and baked and cornbread. Followed by chocolate cake. They wanted several recipes including the cornbread!
Today we went to see the clam farm. They raise several varieties of the giant clams for sale to salt water aquariums. They are only 1 1/2 to 2 inches across when they sell them (about 1 1/2 years old). They keep the adult clams in the lagoon and bring them up and put them in a tank when they are ready to spawn. Then catch the fertile eggs (100s of thousands of them) and keep them in special tanks til they are about 1/2 inch wide. Then the give them to the locals to raise in special trays they float inn the lagoon. They have to scrub the algae off every few days and in 6 to 9 months they are nearly 2 inches across and sell for 2 to 5 dollars each.
Then we walked around handing out blow-pops to the kids and a few adults claiming to be kids. Trinda and the kids both really enjoy it! She also gave a few more of the large eye needles the women like for doing their handicrafts. We plan to stay here several more days before heading back to Majuro.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Quite a few people were killed there and lots of flooding. It must have been bad, BUT it is a long way away.
We went to a birthday party for a 1 year old. They had Turtle, baked inn an underground oven. It was delicious! I have really been looking forward to trying it. Parts were white meat, much like chicken and other parts were dark, sweetish more like buffalo, but both had just a hint of fish. I really liked it. Next, I'm looking forward to turtle soup. I hear it is even better. Trinda made a chocolate cake and a reversible top with matching shorts for the baby. The kind she used to make for Wyndi. The local World Teach, Christine said she remembers having them too.
We were planning to head for Likiep tomorrow, but delayed a day to let some locals see the boat. May leave early Sunday morning. It is about 60 miles and we have the track we came in on so we can follow it and leave before there would be enough light to cross the lagoon.
Trinda is getting quite a collection of little flowers woven on a wire frame. I now have 3 small antique fish net floats that a re about 3" glass balls, and an insulator looking one. Trinda has a 14" glass float that still has the netting rope tied around it.