Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Dinner

Trinda with Juliano's son.

Denny and I are waiting to eat. I got so hungry looking at the food I forgot to take a picture of it!

We went to the local Lamotrek Village site, where the outer island folks from Lamotrek have places here in Yap. Juliano invited us to join his family for dinner. His brother-in -law just returned home from 21 years as a chef in Hawaii.

Needless to say it was a wonderful feed.

Turtle cooked 2 ways, BBQ chicken, hot dogs and a pig. BBQ ribs, broiled pork loin and blood pork. And veggies, taro, breadfruit, papaya several ways and other local delights.

It rained a lot, but they were prepared for it. It rains often here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lamotrek

Most of the villages we visited in the Marshals gave Trinda homemade flowers for her hair. With short hair they fell out, so she put them in her hat. I thought she really wanted it, but the chief's wife her fell in love with it and was so cute in it that Trinda gave her her hat with all the flowers.

Denny took a photo of us with Chief Manual and his wife in their yard. It seems really hot here, thus the blue tarps to change the color of the photos. It may also be why they are sticking to the old custom of not much clothing. They live in a more primitive style than in the cities in the state capitals of Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap. Very similar to the outer islands of the Marshals. That is their cooking fire in the background.
While we were here the US Air Force dropped a Christmas package to the island. They do it every year it seems, for the small islands that have no air strip and little regular transportation. It was a thrill to gather on the beach with nearly everyone in the village and watch the C130 fly over and drop the package in the lagoon by parachute. When it left it waved its wings.


There were a few sad parts of the experience though. First the box fell apart when it hit the water. Everything in it got wet with the salt water. Not to dramatic for the plastic toys, but the rice, ramin and Pop-Tarts didn't fare so well. Next, the package had a few cans of food but mostly common items (mackerel, corned beef, etc), not unique Christmas stuff. Then toys, lots of which came with dead or missing batteries, and electronic toys don't work with salt water. A lot of stuffed animals and cheap plastic balls. Then clothes and shoes. The clothes were mostly T-shirts. Only very young children are "allowed" to wear shirts, except while working in the sun, like fishing, so shirts were not the best choice. And shoes! they wear flip-flops, crocks or nothing. 4" patent leather spiked heels didn't seem appropriate nor the whole pile of polished leather dress shoes. As the chief's son sorted and divided the package among the village family men, it was obvious that it was mostly considered a joke.

It would be really nice to communicate back to the folks in Guam that organize and drop the "Christmas Package" that almost every year the box breaks in the water and that the gifts are not appropriate. Christmas cookies, oranges, apples, nuts and toys suitable for the island climate would be better. The islanders are much better off than in the Marshall's where they don't get such packages. They had better food, clothes and shoes than were in the package.


We didn't see as many handicapped people as the Marshall's. This young lady had mental problems but her twin sister was fine. She was really attached to Trinda.

One of the chief's grandsons in a 'local playpen'. They believe that the kids learn to walk faster if they spend time in these playpens pulling themselves up to standing position. They didn't leave him alone much in it though.
We were surprised to see they did not eat much rice, flour, sugar or ramin like other outer islanders. They grew and ate 3 kinds of taro, tapioca, breadfruit, bananas, and coconut based dishes. Lots of fish, fried, boiled and raw (sushimi). They do have their bad habits though. Nearly everyone chews bettlenut and the men drink tuba every afternoon. Tuba is the sour toddy from Kiribati, or fermented coconut sap. When a coconut palm produces a bloom stalk for a bunch of coconuts, the cut the blooms off and hang a container under it to catch the juices that would grow the coconuts. If it is a sterile container, it is used to sweeten drinks and season food (taro and pumpkin cakes) or to drink straight by women and kids. If it is collected in a coconut shell that has previously held fermented juice, it makes beer in only a few hours. I heard one young man complaining that with the morning cut, the afternoon cut and the evening cut of his seven trees he hardly had time for anything else! In the morning they collect the fresh stuff for the women, and start catching for the afternoon tuba. Before 3:00 they change the containers and all the men go to the 'men's houses' and drink the morning cut. The men's houses are the canoe huts and meeting halls. Really just a large thatched roof with mats over gravel for the floors. They drink till 5'ish then go change the container for the sterile ones again. Afterward they return to the men's houses and drink the afternoon cut. They didn't seem to get very drunk, but Forrest had a hard time returning to the boat one night. I tried a few cups, but couldn't get past the taste and besides I don't do too well with the strong drink lately. I don't recover like I did when I was a kid.

Some senators came on a patrol boat and had a long meeting for the afternoon. They were inspecting their previous grants and taking questions and requests for more support. Surprisingly they handed out cigarettes and bettlenut to everyone throughout the meeting. To the men under the men's house, to the women setting around the outside edge listening and to the children all around. It seemed like 10 and up were allowed to chew, but I did not notice the youngsters smoking.

I was low on fuel, so I asked and succeeded in buying 45 gallons of diesel from the patrol boat. We transfered it in 3 trips with the dinghy in 3 5-gal jugs. The captain said they were on their way to Chuuk to get fuel cause they were running low too. But because I requested it and they barely had enough, he was obligated to help me out. Then he was very nice and accommodating. He made sure the jugs were more than filled to the 5 gal mark. He also gave me coffee in the bridge while they figured out how much fuel they had and needed.

We asked if there was ample electricity and a workspace ashore to repair the sail. They had a generator at the elementary school (1st-9th grade) if I had gas for it. Denny helped with the sail repair.

Trinda too!
And Forrest distracted the kids for us.

Taking the sail and sewing machine back to the boat.

Yap Arrival

Made Yap safely. Only one small rip in the main sail. Need 75 gal
diesel at $4.20/gal here. A little tired. Checked in, hamburgered and
laundried! Hope to do a real update soon.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 2 to Yap

It has been a great passage so far. We had to motor most of the first day, but it was flat seas. Today we sailed at 5 knots all day in 10 knots of wind. Nothing broke!! 2 1/2 more days, should get there mid day the 22nd.

we are talking on 6,236.0 at 0800Z & 2000Z daily.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Leaving Lamotrek, FSM

Today we repaired the main sail in preparation for leaving another beautiful island before its time!
Not sure just why the rush, but its 500 miles to Yap and Trinda decided that that's where Christmas will be. Should be a 4 day trip. We plan to leave in the morning, Saturday here.

This was a unique island. As Denny said (I missed it though) he was surprised to be the only adult in church with a shirt on. Yep only the little children are allowed to cover their breast here. Too bad they sent all the high school age girls to a different island for school. Oh well, I'd just got in trouble.

Maybe photos later, if they don't get banned.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2 more days to Lamotrek

The first three days were not too good.
First day the main sail ripped up prutty bad, we may have to get a new sail? The second day the autopilot quadrant broke in several pieces. It took me an hour to think of how to fix it then 2 more top make a new bracket.
Third day yhr HAM antenna broke but fell only half way down. I retied it to miss the other rigging and it seems to work. two days now no failures.
Denny is waiting in Lamotrek and has offered to help us with fuel if the wind dies and we have to motor too far toward Yap.

We RE FINE, BUT TIRED OF FIXING THINGS!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Leaving Phonpei


I looked through all the photos I have taken here and in Kosrae and found nothing worth uploading! I need to snap more times and more subjects. No picture of us or recognizable of friends. Even the scenery ones are no good and only 10 from Kosrae and 15 from here. I can just hear Sherry saying to send them anyway, but they are no good.

We were planning to leave this morning, but we both decided last night that we just were not mentally ready for a 7 or 8 day passage. Maybe tomorrow.

Pohnpei is much nicer than Majuro was. The shopping for groceries is less, but the people, the town (Kolonia) is more upscale. I think the people are a little more affluent here, more education and available money. They do chew too much beetlenut. It is a nut or bud from a palm tree that resembles a date palm. They chew it with a pinch of coral sand or flour wrapped in a leaf. some add a little tobacco and vodka. The coral sand is almost like lye. It eats their gums and teeth, makes them spit red from the nut that stains the sidewalks even with this rain and causes cancer of the mouth and stomach. The nut is the size of a pecan so you can't understand them when they try to talk with it in their jaw!

It has rained a few inches every day we have been here. There is a tall mountain behind the anchorage that is really green. The water in the bay is murky from the runoff. It seems to have grown moss on the swim ladder very quickly, but no barnacles.

We plan to bypass Chuuk (the Truk islands) and head for the small Lamotrek atoll for a few days then on to Yap, just south of Guam.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving in Pohnpei

Happy Thanksgiving!
We had a nice day. Made dinner and ate with Denny and Forrest on
Jubilant and Jim om Fandango.
Turkeys here are $45 for a 12 lb'er so we opted for 2 roasting
chickens. I made dressing too. Trinda made green beans and of course
the required lemon-marenge and pecan pies. We also had chocolate chip
cookies left from the day before.

We sat around and told stories all afternoon. Was nice.

A few days ago we rented a taxi and toured the island. $80 for all day
for the 5 of us in a small van. It is a little larger island so it did
take all day, maybe 50 miles of driving. We stopped at "Rosa's
Cantina" for lunch. No Mexican food. I don't know where they got the
name. The special was grilled yellow-fin tuna. Trinda and Forrest had
a hamburger and fries. We tried to drive up the mountain in the
afternoon, but the little van wasn't up to it. It was already hot and
half way up it died and wouldn't start again, so we coasted back down
to the flat. He radioed for another taxi that came and brought us
back.

Pohnpei (pronounced pon a pay) is quite a nice place. The anchorage is
well protected and quiet. It does have some problems for us. The hills
rise steeply from the bay, meaning we have to hike up about 200 feet
of steep road to reach a place we can get a taxi. The other problem
is, because it is a volcano island with a reef, the run-off from the
rains create mangrove swamps around the edge of the water. This means
mosquitoes and cloudy water. Swimming is ok, you just can't see any
distance in the water. The snorkeling is not that good either for the
same reasons.

Our auto-pilot did not do well on the way to Kosrae or here. I ordered
a replacement just before leaving Majuro. It came without a manual and
the connectors are different, with a different number of wires. In
Kosrae I downloaded the manual and it seems I have to replace the
remote control also. I ordered it here so we are here for at least a
week.

Denny is getting itchy feet and may move on without us. It is still
nearly 2000 miles to the Philippines and his crew only gets 4 months
off. He is also worried that the next place may be nicer and he'll
want to spend more time there (from each place he's at!).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Arrive Pohnpei

4:30 PM we pulled up to the dock for check-in. $36.24 overtime fees
because customs didn't come till after 5!
Tired. No significant breakage this trip!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Getting ready to leave Kosrae

We are getting ready to leave already. It is beautiful here but we
seem to have itchy feet!
I am supposed to be getting fuel today. We plan to checkout from
customs today also. Already did from immigration.

We took a taxi tour of the island. it is maybe 6 miles by 8 miles with
one road along the coast that doesn't quite make it all the way
around. Two resorts, mostly for divers and government officials it
seems. I have some photos, but the Internet is more expensive than
Majuro was before the high speed cable, so later.

It is 300 miles to Pohnpei so may be 3 days.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kosrae Arrival

We're here. A little sail damage, a little dodger damage, lots of
diesel used, tired... but safely anchored. More later.

Oh and I been spelling it wrong before. Oops!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Checked out of Majuro

It seems almost strange to be checked out of Majuro and the Marshall Islands after being here almost two years. We came the week before Christmas dinner in 2008. We had Thanksgiving in Kiribati and then sailed to Majuro.

We cleared out of the Ports Authority, Immigration and Customs this morning . Then a few groceries and a goodbye to Merine, who gave us a big box of fresh peanut-butter cookies, then back to the boat. It rained the whole time we were in town. The internet died here just liken every time it rains a little! Arg! So this is coming by radio and there were no goodbye phone calls.

We are at Enamonet tonight. Made 6 whole miles so far, only 499 to go! I cleaned on the bottom of the boat while Trinda fried chicken legs and made a potato salad for munching along the way.

If the wind is right, we'll leave tomorrow morning, otherwise it Sat morning. No superstitions, BUT no sailor starts a passage on a Friday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kaven Maloelap

They always say it is bad to anchor on a lee shore, and Kaven is a lee shore. We are the only sailboat that has stopped in Kaven in the past 5 years. I guess I'll explain why! Arg!

It was a beautiful calm day as we motored up from Taroa toward Kaven. It is about 25 miles, so it took most of the day. We were tired from the flu still, so we decided to anchor in a little better protected spot about 2.5 miles from Kaven, at Yarubaru Is. We rested and had a peaceful night. About 10 AM we motored on to Kaven and anchored in front of the school.

Trinda still was not feeling well from the flu so I took the candies for the kids and went ashore alone. I found the World Teach volunteer, Angelina. We walked around passing out the lollies and took photos in her classroom. It began to rain. We stepped inside a house we had just given candy too, to wait out the heavy part of the rain. After about 10 minutes I walked in the rain over to the beach where I could see the boat. All looked OK. I went back. About 10 more minutes it let up some and I said I needed to get back to check on Trinda.

As we got back to the center of the village where I could see the boat, IT WAS IN THE WRONG PLACE!! We rushed to the dinghy and tried to launch it. The wind had gotten up to 30 knots straight from the other side of the lagoon, 30 miles away. With that much fetch, it only took 20 minutes to build 10 to 12 foot breakers on the beach and under the boat. Angelina, some students and I could not launch the dinghy! The breakers just filled it with water. A couple of the local men ran out to help. They first tipped the dinghy over sideways to empty the water then helped launch it without filling it up again. I waved goodbye and got to the boat.

Trinda was in a panic! The anchor had slipped some. The chain had jumped off the windlass and run out the whole 300 feet. That put the boat back almost on the beach in 11 feet of water. We need 7 feet to float and the 10 foot waves made it less. Trinda was sure she heard the boat hit the bottom a time or two.

When the wind first got strong, she had tried to get my attention. We have a "canned air airhorn". She honked it all out. Also another one you blow on. She then rang the ships bell a while. Not a sole looked out in the rain to see her. She was VERY frustrated, to say the least! When I got to the boat I started apologizing before I got out of the dinghy.

The waves were so big that I just pulled up beside the boat and on a high one just rolled out of the dinghy onto the deck!. I tied off the dinghy on the side of the boat, with the outboard and wheels still down in the water. I started the boat engine and ran up to get the anchor started up. Trinda drove the boat toward the anchor chain while I got it on the gypsy of the windless and started pulling it up. Finally almost safe, we headed for the pass about 2 miles away. The wind was still about 30 and veered around straight from the pass. We thought that we could get in the lee of the island next to the pass and maybe find a sand patch not too deep to anchor for the night. The wind was so hard that it took 4 hours to get to the pass. By then it was too dark to see to find a safe place to anchor. We followed our previous track through the pass out to the ocean side, looking for a break from the wind. Not found! We were tired! We had noticed a 60 foot depth in the center of the pass, so we turned around and went back looking for it. Just as we passed it the windless acted up and threw the breaker again so it wouldn't go down by power. I released the clutch and let it run out fast. We managed to get anchored in about 85 feet of water. Then it was time to do something about the dinghy. We had stopped in order to get it squared away. You can't expect to tow a dinghy with motor any distance in the ocean without lots of damage, like a line chaffing into and loosing it or the rings tearing out.

There was still about 6 foot waves from the wind in the lagoon and about 8 foot swell coming in the pass from the ocean side, but only about 15 seconds a part. I tried to pull the dinghy up to get in so we could take the motor off. I couldn't pull it up, something was caught. I had left the dinghy anchor in the dinghy with its 75 foot rope and thought it must have bounced out and caught on the reef. I went back and crawled out through the lifelines and fell into the dinghy between waves. I found the tight line and cut it. I still couldn't pull the dinghy forward! I looked again and saw the anchor still there but a tight line from the other side. The dinghy anchor line had washed out of the dinghy and fouled the main boat prop! Well I cut that side too then we pulled it around to the other side where we hoisted the outboard off and got it on the rail mount safely. Then I noticed the dinghy wheels that I left down, were now only one! One vibrated loose and lost. Someone in Kaven will now have a new wheel barrow wheel.

It was dark now. Another thing you never do, is leave the boat with a sever problem when things are bad! I was too tired, so I said I'd deal with the anchor rope in the prop in the morning. This time I got away with it. We woke up at first light, as if we actually slept any with the anchor chain jerking on the coral every wave and the boat bobbing all around. I jumped over and started untying the rope from the prop. There were still big waves. now and then a wave so big the boat prop came out of the water with me snorkeling, trying to hold on and untie the mess. I finally got it, then noticed I could see more of the shaft than I should.

I got back aboard, I had to have Trinda help as I was so tired and jerked around that I couldn't climb the ladder with my fins and mask on. I looked in the engine room and sure enough, the 'drive saver', a rubber coupling between the transmission and the propeller shaft, had "protected" the transmission and broken completely away.

After worrying a while, I removed the bolts and pieces and found that there was just enough slack in the shaft to bolt it direct to the transmission without the drive saver. We were in business again. Then I got a big glass of water. Oh! It's salty!! I had left the deck fill ports open with a towel around them to catch any possible rain. Trinda has been washing clothes every day and using lots of water. When the wind came up, it made the boat bounce, salt water came over the bow and ran right into the drinking water tanks.

I had noticed it open earlier and closed the deck fills but hopped that not much water came in. We drank the cold water that Trinda keeps in the fridge until that was gone. We used the tank water to wash dishes and such. Because the fresh water floats on top of salt water, we accidentally used most of the salt water out of the tank before we need to drink much. By then it was diluted enough, it only tasted a little off. When we got back to Majuro and settled down a little, I tested the tank water with the watermaker tester and it was not bad, 400 ppm, where the watermaker makes 250 ppm water. You can taste salt at about 750 ppm.

We got the engine going, weighed the anchor and voted to return direct to Majuro and skip Likiep. We were sad to have to miss visiting Likiep again, but we need to get back to order parts and rest. We still plan to head West the first week of November.

The wind stayed in the SE, just enough that it was mostly on the nose the 100 miles back to Majuro. Doing only 3 knots it too too long to get back. but we're here and safe. $200 for a new drive saver, $135 for new set of dinghy wheels. The ropes I cut were old already. A few cuts and bruises but we're fine.

Trinda will say that I wrote this up all about me, but she was there and worried, scared and excited the whole time too. Good thing no one could hear the things she said while I was still ashore and the boat was heading for the beach!

The World Teach Volunteers

Todd in Aur, Aur



Laura in Tobal, Aur:
Terry is one of the other teachers in Laura's school.The new school building on the left, the old on the right. Laura's room is the new building, the far right room.
Laura at church.
In the classroom.
Kristina in Airik, Maloelap. Kristina's room is the second room from the close end.
In the classroom.

Angilina in Kaven, Maloelap


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jedic Spike and Boston

Speaking of Spike, here is Jedic Spike, now 2 years old:

Kimra, his wife and Spike:






Boston and family:

Small Larry



Spike, our friend on Holokai not our new grandson, kept telling us that one day when we returned to the outer islands there would be a little Larry or Trinda. Sure enough Dada (Steve on Ironie's girlfriend) has a new half brother in Airik, Maloelap. Her dad asked her input for the 3 month old's name. She said "Larry, Small Larry!".



So Here he is with Dada holding him, Small Larry



Back in Majuro

We are safely back on our mooring in Majuro. We cut the trip short due to a story I hope to write up soon... after I fully recover my mind.

It has to do with unexpected 30 knot wind on a lee shore, dragging the anchor, 12 foot waves, 2 hours to go 4 miles, dinghy painter in prop, lost dinghy wheel, a couple of nights trying to sleep in bouncy boat......

We are fine, boat is repairable, Its' just money anyway, but no
t much, just the 'drive saver' , a $200 rubber washer.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Toroa Maloelap

We brought the Councilman, Benjamin and his family up to Toroa. It was a mostly pleasant trip, it rained and wind gusts to 20 for a little while.

We both caught the flu in Airik! Awful!

I think we'll go on to Likiep soon, maybe stopping in Kaven a day. It is about 135 miles from here, so a day and a half.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kaven Trip Canceled

Not quit sure what's up, but instead of showing up at 6 AM, the doctors and the councilman came out after 7 and said the trip was canceled, then asked when I would be going to Toroa and whether I would take 8 passengers then. I guessed 3 days and said maybe on Thursday. It looks like they are counting on Thursday at 8 AM.

Oh well. all in a days cruising. Our friend Steve on Iornie, is bringing his girlfriend, Dada, to stay with her father here in Airik. They had been dating a while, but Steve is planning to head west in Nov. also. It seems we met her father and uncle last time here. She has a new half brother here. She was asked to help with a name and chose "Larry". SO, I have a name-sake in Airik, Maloelap, Marshall Islands. He is a very well fed 3 month old. I'll have photos later.

Several of the folks remember us from last year. The ladies (Nita, et.al.) are expecting Trinda to spend the day with them tomorrow (beading I think) and I am taking a Romeo and sons on a spear fishing expedition. They are short of both boats and fuel. ha!

We met Christina, the World Teach volunteer here. She seems happy and adjusted to island life.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Aur to Maloelap

We left Tobal, Aur about 8:00 AM this morning (Oct 10th here). I had thought it was about 25 miles pass-to-pass, but turns out it is 25 miles total from Tobal to Airik, Maloelap. We got here about 3:30. Not too bad considering the 1.5 knot adverse current and the 15-20 knot wind nearly on the nose! We sailed down the lagoon in Aur, then motor-sail the rest of the way. Lots of the time under 3 knots. But we made it OK.

As soon as we were anchored, a local boat came out. It had two doctors aboard. The have declared an emergency and requested we take them to Kaven, Maloelap immediately, 30 miles across the lagoon. I don't cross lagoons full of coral-heads in the dark, but told them we'd leave at 6 in the morning. That was after I tried to sell them my gas from the dinghy so they could take their own motor boat.... I also pointed out that a government ship just left here and maybe they should call it back for their emergency, but they didn't want to use my radio. I hope it is a real emergency, cause I don't know that we'll be able to come back here and really did want to see some of the folks we met here last year.

Kaven is on the downwind side of the lagoon, and with the wind at 20 knots all day the waves should be about 6 feet high on the beach there. It will be dangerous anchoring on a lee shore with wind and waves and taking the dinghy in. They say there is no boat there to come out to get them there either? Seems poor planning for medical emergencies.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

leaving Aur for Maloelap

We plan to leave Tobal, Aur about 8 AM tomorrow (Oct 10 here) and head for Airik, Maloelap. It is about 45 miles, so an easy day trip. Only 25 miles of open ocean, the rest in inside the lagoons. Ha! A boat made it here from Majuro just fine in 30 knot winds, to enter the lagoon then have two things break immediately.... So go it...
Later,
Larry & Trinda

The Funeral

We were supposed to take James and his family out to their island today to hunt coconut crab, but the wind was too high last night and we were too tired for yesterday. We thought we were sleeping in, but James called about 6:30 saying, "See the plane landing. It is bringing passengers and food for the funeral for my Auntie in Aur, Aur this afternoon. Could you bring my family and the three ladies form the plane to Aur for it. And the few packages?"

"Sure." I said. I know how the Marshall ese count by now, so was not surprised at the 24 people on the boat or the 'freight'. 15 each of the 25 pound boxes of "quarter-legs" (the hind quarter of a chicken), paper plates, cups, kool-aid, instant coffee, creamer, sugar, flour, and various boxes required for the day.

So we take off for Aur and naturally it rains briefly a couple of times on the way. We had tarps for the freight and the people oll of which were on deck.

She died yesterday morning and the burial is to be at 3:00 today because there is no embalming on the outer islands. The Iroj from Airik died 2 weeks ago in Majuro and the ship came through Aur and Tobal 3 days ago on his way to his burial. They do embalm in Majuro.

About 4:30 we gather in the yard of the family. The grave is dug beside others next to the back door. clean beach sand is spread all around the back of the house. Everyone in the village plus all the family from Majuro and Tobal are seated around the neighborhood. Dogs and kids playing everywhere. A couple of boys are practicing for their eventuality on the grave-stone next to the open grave. No one says a word to them. About 5:00 all the male government employees form up in the street one house down. The 4 constables in uniform in front. Then they march up to and in the front door. A few minutes later, the constables carry the coffin out the front door and around to the grave in the back. And set it beside the grave on a plastic tarp. The Mayor etc. file out the rear and sit in chairs lined up in the yard facing the grave, basically with their backs to everyone except the husband and the oldest son. The minister is one of the men. 5 or 6 of the men give speeches apparently discussing the life of the lady. Next the constables begin nailing the top on the coffin, it was closed so I didn't realize it wasn't nailed yet. The husband leans on the corner of the coffin saying his last goodbye's then ropes are placed under the ends. It is lowered into the grave as a song is sung in Marshallese. We recognize the tune as "When we gather at the river". As the constables started filling in the dirt, the family ladies began serving the chicken, donuts and kool-aid we had brought.

It was too late to make it back to Tobal and anchor before dark, so we spent the night there. James and Anowgo stayed onshore with her sister.

They gave us more bananas, papayas, breadfruit and coconuts.

The Funeral

We were supposed to take James and his family out to their island today to hunt coconut crab, but the wind was too high last night and we were too tired for yesterday. We thought we were sleeping in, but James called about 6:30 saying, "See the plane landing. It is bringing passengers and food for the funeral for my Auntie in Aur, Aur this afternoon. Could you bring my family and the three ladies form the plane to Aur for it. And the few packages?"

"Sure." I said. I know how the Marshall ese count by now, so was not surprised at the 24 people on the boat or the 'freight'. 15 each of the 25 pound boxes of "quarter-legs" (the hind quarter of a chicken), paper plates, cups, kool-aid, instant coffee, creamer, sugar, flour, and various boxes required for the day.

So we take off for Aur and naturally it rains briefly a couple of times on the way. We had tarps for the freight and the people oll of which were on deck.

She died yesterday morning and the burial is to be at 3:00 today because there is no embalming on the outer islands. The Iroj from Airik died 2 weeks ago in Majuro and the ship came through Aur and Tobal 3 days ago on his way to his burial. They do embalm in Majuro.

About 4:30 we gather in the yard of the family. The grave is dug beside others next to the back door. clean beach sand is spread all around the back of the house. Everyone in the village plus all the family from Majuro and Tobal are seated around the neighborhood. Dogs and kids playing everywhere. A couple of boys are practicing for their eventuality on the grave-stone next to the open grave. No one says a word to them. About 5:00 all the male government employees form up in the street one house down. The 4 constables in uniform in front. Then they march up to and in the front door. A few minutes later, the constables carry the coffin out the front door and around to the grave in the back. And set it beside the grave on a plastic tarp. The Mayor etc. file out the rear and sit in chairs lined up in the yard facing the grave, basically with their backs to everyone except the husband and the oldest son. The minister is one of the men. 5 or 6 of the men give speeches apparently discussing the life of the lady. Next the constables begin nailing the top on the coffin, it was closed so I didn't realize it wasn't nailed yet. The husband leans on the corner of the coffin saying his last goodbye's then ropes are placed under the ends. It is lowered into the grave as a song is sung in Marshallese. We recognize the tune as "When we gather at the river". As the constables started filling in the dirt, the family ladies began serving the chicken, donuts and kool-aid we had brought.

It was too late to make it back to Tobal and anchor before dark, so we spent the night there. James and Anowgo stayed onshore with her sister.

They gave us more bananas, papayas, breadfruit and coconuts.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Aur Arrival

It was an easy trip to Aur. We motored out the Majuro pass about sundown and another couple of miles. The wind filled in and we sailed 35 miles. Then the wind died and we motored the rest of the way.

The World Teach teacher, Todd, and 3 students swam out to the boat. I guess we were too tired to go into the village today, so they came to us.

We'll visit more tomorrow and then decid when to go on up to Tobal.

Monday, September 27, 2010

All Provisioned and Fueled

I don't know how much we forgot to get, but we are leaving this morning anyway. I can't believe we haven't done this for a WHOLE YEAR!!!! I has been since this time last year that we left Majuro with the boat.

We plan to go to Aur for a few days then Maloelap and then Likiep and back here. Then provision again and head for Jaluit in the Marshall's still for a few days then to Kosarae in the FSM (Federated States of Micronesia). Maybe a month there. and continue on west.

I'm looking forward to cruising again.

I haven't tested the radio email in over a year, so don't worry too much if you don't hear from us for a few weeks. Even if it does still work, I've heard the propagation is low lately and I may not be able to connect with the email stations, but I'll try.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Plans, plans!

The neat thing about making plans is, as soon as you make them and announce them you ar at liberty to CHANGE them! heahahha!

We have been trying to leave for an outer-island excursion for 2 weeks and still haven't gotten away. (Need a new propane tank, the old one rusted out and need to fill the boat with diesel. Ya would think 'no problem". The tank truck broke the nozzle for the filler spout, and the island is temporarily out of 5-gal propane tanks! Maybe by Monday, 2 weeks late!)

It was to be a 6 week to 2 month deal.....

Trinda has decided that we are done with the Marshall's. She was wanting to leave and go someplace the minute we got back. The plan then was to leave for Fiji in March and make a loop through Vanuatu and maybe the Solomons and back here before heading west. But no, we'll leave in Nov for points west: Federated States of Micronesia and the Philippines.

So now the loop to the outer islands will be just the close ones we've been to before and for only 3 weeks or so, so we can come back to provision and check out.

It is only 400 some miles to the first island west, Kosarae, then maybe 450 to Pohnopai. So the first couple of months isn't too far.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

I finally made electricity with the new alternator today. It took a while. First I had to choose an alternator! After days of searching the Internet I found a Leece Nevile 165 amp model in California for only $1905! Turns out it is mostly made in China then finished with American diodes and regulator. Hoping for the best. It came with an internal regulator, but boats need an external fancier one, so I needed an adapter and a new pulley for it. Shipping and all $309, not too bad.

Next, while charging the batteries with the main engine I noticed the old system was not working right. The battery voltage was 15.3 and the old regulator was still in bulk mode, just cooking the batteries. NOT good! So I shut nit off and have been monitoring the charging very closely by hand.

My existing system was a Link 2000R and Ideal Regulator Output module. Obsolete for 7 years with no possibility of replace and very high repair. More searching the internet. I didn't like any of the ones I found. Most of the companies are merged or out of business. I finally chose a Balmar ARS-5 standalone 3 stage regulator and a Xantrax LinkLite (single bank) battery monitor. I have the regulator installed and controlling both the main engine and the aux (watermaker) engine with a DPDT manual switch.

I also have the wind generator working. It is temporarily mounted on a 6 foot pole tied to the bow pulpit. It would get more wind if it were on top of the mizzen mast, but that would mean climbing up there several times to install it. 38 feet and no power assist up the mizzen!

The regulator/controller for the solar panels died at the same time as the alternator. I didn't notice for a while, since they put out so little.

I was so disgusted by the offerings of battery monitors and regulator controllers that I almost decided to build my own regulator. A the last minute I was saved and bought the Balmar ($270). Same with the battery monitor, a fancy volt/amp meter with a memory for amphours, and only for one set of batteries at that, Xantrax $230. I found a company that sells micro computer kits for a volt/amp meter for $15 so I ordered 3 and the various programmers etc. for only $... better not add that one up while Trinda is watching. I'm hoping the mail will deliver them within the week.

The micro computers are ATmega8 family and can be programmed easily from Linux and a USB port. If I can build and program what I think I can, I can make a amphour meter that will tell me how the wind generator is doing and how the solar panels are doing and even watch the alternator output current (which the old one did, but the new one can't) all in one little board 2"x3". It should be fun playing with it anyway.

Mean while, Trinda has me stripping an varnishing so we can take another out island trip. We plan to leave in about a week. Lots of stuff to do to get ready!

I made pizza last night and "sticky buns" this afternoon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to the boat

We've been back to the boat in Majuro for a week now. First we slept a couple of days. The 21 hour trip took its toll on us.

We called Spike while we were in Honolulu and he picked us up at the airport and took us for a midnight snack at Denny's. We had a nice visit catching up on friends at both ends. He had a good stay in Fanning Island also and met some of the same people we knew.

The boat is OK, a lot of mildew to clean up but we are progressing. I got the new bilge pump hose installed and the TV and computer. They use more power than I had hoped, but about what it said. 7 amps on the inverter is about 75 watts, but when I get the wind generator hooked up, it should about break even. Oh yeah, I bought an Air Breeze wind generator this trip. I plan to mount it on the bow pulpit for now to see how it does. I may move it to the mizzen mast later. It should put out about 20 amps in a average wind here, 15-20 knots.

I was running the watermaker/generator and noticed the alternator sparking in the back. I thought that just the slip-rings were dirty and needed cleaning. We had watched two movies on the computer so the electric was down, so I decided to charge the batteries one more time before I took it apart to clean it.... oops! Big mistake number 13! About two hours into the charge, the alternator overheated and burned out! Now one more thing to fix.

We have started the sanding so we can continue re-varnishing the interior woodwork again.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nola, the youngest grandaughter

video

She seems to be the happiest baby!

Oh, some advice, "Never turn the camera sideways to take a movie, its too hard to rotate it back!"!!!

Some of Trinda's Quilts

This first one is Gary and Ronnie's. They claim that being the oldest, Gary has never gotten a quilt! Ha! I know better, he had one when he was small, but maybe he did get short changed a little.




Trinda has been making quilts while in Seattle. The first two are Wyndi's and the rest at Guy's.










Friday, July 30, 2010

The Girls

Morgan, Zoe and their neighbor friend.



Crash hats are required for extreme bicycling , or even just in the parking lot.



Guy and Amanda, I'll be in trouble for this, no pregnant lady assigned to bed rest wants her picture taken, but she's a trooper.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trinda's Birthday

Steve made a wonderful pair of cioppinos for Trinda for a birthday dinner. A tomato, jalapeno one and a white wine one. With clams, crablegs, scallops and shrimp, they were both great. Also corn on the cob, Grandma had to share with Izzy!Then, just cause she needed it, a cherries-jubilee ice cream cake from 31-Flavors.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our granddaughter Izabell's ballet recital

Can you guess which one she is??? First one who guesses right wins a prize, or at least a feeling of affirmation:)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back to Shoreline

We 'moved' back to Shoreline and Wyndi's this morning. We need to start mailing all the boxes of supplies back to Majuro. I don't know how we got so much junk gathered up.

It was really fun playing with guy's toys and the computers, helping him solve the problems he has come up with. Of course I didn't really solve many of them, but it was fun researching new and different problems.

A few photos from the last few days at Guys.


Trinda and me.

Guy and Zoe.

These are from the gallery: 07_21_Guys

Amanda and Morgan managed to hide all this week whenever I thought of the camera!