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Monday, June 30, 2008

Leaving Christmas

We plan to leave Christmas at first light in the morning. We have the dinghy stowed on the fore deck and every thing put away...a 3 hour job this time!

We had a wonderful time here this time. William and Elizabeth loaned us their motor scooter so we had transportation. We had dinner with them Monday night. A beach picnic at Henry's next, then Konnari's, then Williams again, then Minis's, then William again. I think? Lots of visiting. Lots of eating!

We had ordered a boneless leg of lamb from the Kwai. Marco, William's consultant said he loved lamb. We asked William to marinate and cook it for us all since they were too sea sick to eat it on the way. It was really good. Each time we got together, we ALL got together. William and Chuck and a Japanese guy, Matsuru, are all trying to get business proposals through the council, so they wanted to get acquainted to see if there might be some synergy. Henry is a retired marine biologist and good at
writing proposals. We were the common link to them all. It was a lot of fun and ya'll know how I love to eat anyway. There was a little beer or wine involved each time too, hehehe!

We had heard that Konnari and her husband had moved back to Tarawa so we didn't look for them. But no, they are here. We didn't get to visit them as much as we would have liked because of all the other plans. They did not get the dremmel tool we sent at Christmas time. I found the receipt for the mail and they are trying to trace it. We hope they find it. Trinda did not get to get with her to do any crafts and both were disappointed. Maybe next time? Thye also plan a trip to Tarawa for the holidays,
so maybe we'll see here there.

We went the 15 miles out to JMB store (John Brighton, a Scotsman here for a long time) and got fresh vegetables the other day. We managed to eat most of them, so we took the scooter out there again this morning to get more. He is the father of the Island manager for NCL Cruise Lines on Fanning, Bobby. It was nice meeting the rest of the family. Bobby is the one who lent us the bicycles so we could visit the folks there.

Minie is the sister of the minister to parliament for the line island group. We had met her on Fanning but didn't have time to get acquainted there much. She came up here on the Matangare (local supply ship) and recognized us. It was nice to get better acquainted. We have lots of names and addresses in the Tarawa area now. It may take all winter to see everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Christmas Arrival

We made Christmas in 36 hours. Not bad considering the 2 knot current against us most of the way. We had less than 15 knots of wind , directly on the nose of course. William, Elizabeth and Marco were in a hurry so we motored all the way.

Elizabeth din not enjoy the trip. She was sea sick the whole time. Marco and William were sick the first day but got their sea legs finally. We didn't have as much time to get acquainted as I had hoped.

We had a real nice dinner at their Chinese restaurant last night. Christmas is out of fresh vegetables but we had French fries, squash, fish balls, battered fish maraniated beef and lots of Australian beer. Trinda made a chocolate cake with fudge icing and some banana bread. They lent us a motor scooter and we have been racing around town!

I ordered a barrel of deisel that was delivered to the dock this morning. only 2 trips with the dinghy and a bunch of borrowed jerry cans to get it froom the jetty out to the boat. The port capitian says he will sell us a bottle of propane.

The monthly cargo plane is due tomorrow. William is planning to take us out to the JMB store to get fresh vegetables when it lands. Then we'll be set to leave for Penrhyn maybe Monday.

We are going to a beach picnic tonight at Henry's. We met him and his daughter on Fanning but he lives here. Busy, busy!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Arrived Christmas

Our guests were sick the whole time. I doubt Elizabeth will ever get on a small boat again.

No more troubles. Now for some rest.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Farewell Parties at Fanning Island

Wednesday, We went to Ekeaua and Taeribwa's for a farewell party and to meet their family. They killed a pig and had a nice feast for us. We played 1-2-5, the popular card game. I tried a little "sour toddy". It was good. It is fermented juice that leaks out of a palm tree if you cut the blooms off where it is about to make new coconuts. I asked what it was, and Ekeawa said "tody tea", so when I ask Taeribwa for more "tody tea" I got Lipton, with unfermented tody in it....Communication errors again!
We mostly just sat around, ate, visited and played cards. It was a really nice day.

While we were there the chairman for the local Catholic Church came and insisted we come back to a farewell party from the church. It was to be Thursday. Reluctantly we finally agreed. It is still a 5 mile ride on the bicycles.

When we got back to the church it turned out to be a formal occasion. The members of the congregation all voted the Sunday before to give us a party so it was a good thing we decided to go. They invited Robby and Lorraine too. Robby stayed home though.

They had speeches first. We sat on one side of the maneaba and the men for the church sat on the other. The ladies sat behind them. Trinda, Lorraine, Borau and I sat with Zippy, a translator. They first started with a welcome speech including the fact that we were the first cruisers to bother to come all the way down to their village to make friends. They really appreciated us for that. After each one of them spoke, they expected Lorraine and I to stand and make a reply speeches. I didn't do too
well, but did thank them several times.

They lined up all the food dished down the center of the maneaba and I had to start eating by taking some from each of the boxes or bowls. There was maybe 30 dishes! But I did try.

After eating and a couple of dances, they like to jitter-bug and twist, they had me take pictures of each of the men and some of the maneaba. They want to build a church separate from the village meeting house (maneaba). I promised to put up a web page with their request. I'll have to wait until I can get to the internet to do it. I have pictures and the address to send donations to.

Then Saturday Southern Cross and us planned a big farewell party. It was mostly Lorraine. Teuta and Ruby said they would kill and roast a pig in the ground. I really wanted to see how that was done. I went up to their house on the school truck Friday night with the kids and spent the night with them. I slept on a raised platform with a pandanas leaf mat and my pillow. My back and shoulders are still sore! those mats are less than a eighth of an inch thick. We had rice, bread and canned mackerel for
supper and "doughnuts", sweet bread balls deep fried, and bananas for breakfast.

I watched them kill the pig, just slit its throat. Then they made a torch of dry palm leaves and burned the hair off. Then they scraped the hair and a layer of hide off with knives. Next they washed and scrubbed it with green papaya fruit cut in half. The "oven in the ground" was a small hole in the ground with dry coconut husks set afire and carefully stacked with more dry husks. Then coral rocks, then the large pan with the cut up pig, covered with another large pan. Then the whole works was covered
with mats made from woven dry palm leaves then an old piece of linoleum to help hold in the heat. 4 hours later the pork was well done.

Teuta went fishing with his buddies, it was Saturday after all, and I drove Ruby, the kids and the pork back to the dock in their truck. I still have a little trouble with the right hand drive. The road is so rough that it takes about an hour to drive the 5 miles each way.

Lorraine had hired a band to play for the party. And we each invited our friends. She then put up signs around the island inviting everyone else too. Only about 50 people came and they were 2 hours late. It was to be at 3:00 PM. We hired a truck to pick up our friends on the South end, Arimeri, and bring them by 3:00 and take them back at 6:30. It was late too. At 5 we finally got started eating and the ferry showed at 6 to take them back! It was all kind of a fiasco! We did enjoy seeing our friends
though.

The Kwai has had 3 delays, and is now supposed to be here tomorrow. We'll get our parts and supplies then head out Thursday. Taeribwa and Ekeaua are planning to spend the night with us Wednesday. I think they are bringing more bananas.

Three people, 2 Chinese and one of them's Kiribati wife are stranded here and have asked us to take them back to Christmas when we go. We have agreed. So we are bound for Christmas Island again.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Still waiting for parts

We heard from the Kwai, the ship bringing our parts. They are in Christmas for a few days then on to here. The owner sent a list of stuff he bought for us. We hope none of it disappears a Christmas, like it sometimes does.

We went up to the North side to play cards with Teuta and Ruby. We rode the flat bed truck that hauls the school kids each day. It was quite a ride, about an hour over a very rough road with about 50 kids and 5 adults in the back of the 3 ton truck. The kids got a kick out of Trinda and me. She had candy canes for all of them.

We had a nice few games of 1-2-5, a local popular game. Then we fed the pigs boiled fish parts and bones, rice and coconut. the dog got the same. They fed the chickens and baby pigs a little shredded coconut and raw rice. Then we ate cooked rice, shredded coconut and cold canned corned beef. It is really popular here. That and canned mackerel. We came back in Teuta's truck, a 2 ton flat bed Toyota.

Yesterday Ekeaua and Taeribwa came and played cards too. We fed them the last of the hamburger helper with canned beef from CostCo instead of hamburger. They wanted canned corn too. I mad a couple loaves of bread. It didn't rise, but it tasted good. Sunday Teuta and Ruby and family are coming for a picnic on the beach.

Barou's passport came on the supply ship, so it looks like he will get to crew for Southern Cross a while. His father is helping with the party and has a band. There should be live music and dancing. It is planned for Saturday a week from now.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Other Side of Fanning

Yesterday was a beautiful day, calm and sunny. We went snorkeling in the pass at slack tide and caught two octopus. While swimming we decided to catch the current and take the dinghies to the opposite side of the atoll.

We packed a lunch of sardines, pateete, biscuits and such. Robby, Lorraine and Borau did too. We headed for the strong current coming in the pass and idled the dinghies. We were making about 4 knots. It took about an hour to get the 4 miles across the lagoon to the East side.

We had our lunch on the inner beach under the palm trees. There was no wind and the files and heat really came down. Then we walked across the motu to the ocean. It was cool when we finally got to the water. The motu is about a mile wide where we landed. It was a long walk for Trinda.

Borau was really impressed with the number of plastic things on the beach, mostly water bottles. Every fisherman that throws a bottle overboard pollutes the east shore of some atol it seems. This was his first time across even though he has lived here over 5 years. Because the lagoon is shallow and filled with coral heads only the fishermen in their sailing canoes ever venture out into it.

Years ago when this was a copra plantation, there was more traffic. The atol was sparsely populated then. The English companies interested in coconut oil brought in lots of polonesians and planted lots of palm trees. They gather the mature coconuts, open them and dry the coconut meat. It is called copra. It was then shipped to somewhere that they squeeze the oil out. But the demand for coconut oil has long since dropped and only a few places still buy the dried coconut for oil. I believe the price
is supported by the Kiribati government. That and smoked sea cucumbers and dried sea weed is the only cash crops available here.

On the way back, the sun was in our eyes and we had a lot of trouble seeing the shallow water and coral heads. No problems, it just took longer. Then it started raining. We dinghy'ed through 2 real downpours!

When we finally got back, we noticed things seemed to be missing from the cockpit. We have become lazy about putting things away. Trinda finally found most of them out on the back deck. She is still missing one of her guitar practice notebooks. I checked the wind instrument. Seems we had some 30 knot gusts while we were across the way and things blew out.

Today we expect the folks from the south side for lunch. We plan to feed them the octopus.