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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Arno was VERY Peaceful and Relaxing






The water taxi (ferry) left Majuro about 10:15 Monday morning. The weather was mostly fine, 12 knots out of the east with a 3 foot swell. That's great unless you are in a small boat going east! The taxi was a 35 foot overloaded power boat with low sides. We were making 10 knots so the effective wind was 25 on the port of the bow. Each swell splashed high and blew in on us. There was a cockpit with windshield, but we were sitting in the mostly open back deck. We arrived on the west ocean side of Arno a little after 12, just over 1.5 hours. And purty well soaked. It had a cutty cabin and all our stuff was below and dry.

The village of Arno on the atoll Arno is on the west side where we landed. It was hard to tell where the village was. All the houses are well separated. The house we rented, the Bed & Breakfast, was maybe 3 miles from the dock. They met us with a pickup (one of 4 or 5 on the island), loaded our stuff and us, and drove us to the house. I was amazed at how clean and orderly the island seems. The dirt roar had been raked with grass rakes the whole way!

The house was very clean and nice too. It had 4 twin beds and a double in a different room. Not many windows but the entire east and west walls were screened in with really fine screen. Not quite fine enough to keep out all the mosquitoes, but almost. It had a 2 burner propane stove, sink, solar power, 2 ice chests full of ice, 2 lbs. of bacon and a dozen eggs (for breakfast) plus apples and oranges. A nice cold shower from the rain catchment system on the roof.

We mostly rested Monday afternoon. Then Tuesday we went to snorkel. We asked where to go and got 2 answers: All the way to the north end of the motu, or back at the dock where the water taxi dropped us off. Each were "about a 15 minute walk"! All these guys that say a 15 minute walk, must NOT ware watches!!! It must have been more like 4 miles to the north end. After about an hour of walking I could tell Trinda was wearing out. When we finally got there, the tide was out and to take off our shoes and walk out to where we could swim was maybe 50 yards of rough coral. We started back. It was a beautiful walk though.

As we started down the road, a lady came out to meet us. Turns out she was visiting Aur when we went up there for Liberation Day in April! Her daughter was still wearing the bead necklace she made her with Trinda's beads. They had a nice visit. The school was having "an assembly". The "world teach" teacher invited us to come back to the school to watch. When asked what time he said "1:30, but they won't start showing up to more like 3". We finished our walk back to the house about 2 and we were all too tired and sore to walk the 15 minutes back to the school, so we passed on that. Turns out that it was the elementary school graduation.

We were siting around the table snaking and thinking about a late lunch when a young man carried in a crate with some food. We asked if it was for us and got no reply. he just left. It had 4 oranges, 4 apples, breakfast cereal, box milk and 4 hamburgers. We counted it twice. We were told we got breakfast but should bring all our other food as there were no restaurants and only a small island store. So after some debate we decided it was for us anyway and passed out the hamburgers. Just as we had the hamburgers half eaten, he cam back and wordlessly picked up the crate and left. Apparently it was NOT for us, but for the owner of the B&B!

Later when we apologized for eating his lunch, he said his wife just sent it. He had no idea it was coming and didn't like hamburgers anyway. Then he brought over some coconut shells for us to use as charcoal to grill some hotdogs for supper. they make a very hot fire and leave hot coal for a while.

Wednesday the truck picked us up at 11:45 as promised and took us back to the water taxi. It was there and already loaded except for us. It was a calm clear day so the trip back was to be dry and smooth. Just as we left the dock the birds were working the water, so the captain headed for them and the deck hand rolled out the handline. Another passenger, a Marshallise fisherman rolled out the other. The deck had tied his line to a cleat, but the passenger just wrapped his around his had a few times. As before the taxi was making about 10 knots as we got to the area where the birds were. Then BANG! There was a fish on both lines. They were big fish. The line slipped through the mans hand and burned/cut his hand bad, nearly took off his little finger. The captain slowed the boat and got a rag to wrap the man 's hand and the deck hand pulled in the 40 plus pound yellow-fin tuna. The other one got away in the confusion so we don't know what nearly cut off his hand. He didn't speak any English. We offered medicine, as both Trinda and Linda had packed small first aid kits since we were away from the boat over night. The taxi had a kit too, but the passenger refused all help. Another passenger (a radiologist technician from the Majuro hospital) told me he has "the magic". "See how the bleeding has already stopped. He doesn't need pain killer because he can stop it too." he said. The passenger held his hand up shoulder high a blew gently on it now and then eh hour and a half back to Majuro. I don't know if we got him talked into going to the hospital to have it looked at or not.

No more fish came around even though we changed course several times when the captain saw birds.

All in all it was a very nice and relaxing holiday away from the boat.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Off to Arno

We are going to the atoll of Arno by water taxi to stay in a Bed & Breakfast for 2 days. We would have taken the Katie Lee, but the visitor's fee is reported to be $250. Seems that they don't want cruisers there. There is a rumor that a few years ago a bad set went and left a mess after they broke all the rules. Anyway, we are going and plan to share with Hawkeye.

It is only 20 miles away and the taxi should take 20 minutes in nice weather, which we hae this morning. Maybe I'll get some pictures. With the stuff Trinda has packed, you'd think we were moving!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Big Six Oh!

Yes I can't believe I'm getting OLD! Arg!

We rented a car with Hawkeye, John and Linda and toured the atoll. We drove 33 miles. seems a long ways, for an island 10 miles wide and 30 long with only one road. We drove to the close end the town of Rita, then back and out the other side toward Laura. We stopped and had coffee with a couple who recently bought a cruising sailboat, but still work full time here. They are from Australia, Mori and Rhondi. Then on to the end of the atoll. We stopped at a grocery store and bought lunch fix'in. At the park on the far west end, we ate lunch and then went for a snorkel. The tide was on the way out and there was only about a foot of water over the reef. I was afraid that my belly would drag on the bottom if the tide went out further, so I didn't stay long.

Then on the way back we stopped a the "Majuro Peace Park" an area where the Japanese put up a shrine to remember the dead of the "Eastern Pacific Battles of World War II". I think of this as the West Central pacific, but then I'm not from Japan!
Back near town, we stopped at the Australian Navy facility to see Mitch and Robin. The Ausies sure know how to treat their remote people. They have a beautiful compound called Wallaby Downs. Had a beer with them (their birthdays were Tuesday and Wednesday) then invited them to join us for supper.

We went to a local Chinese place called "Special Restaurant". Such creative names here. (almost every store has either cost, price or less as part of the name). It was the first time for us and a very delightful meal and cheep. Although the island is almost out of beer, only Bud-light left( and no eggs!) They did have a few cans of VB (Victoria Bitters) so it wasn't a completely dry day!

Trinda has been re-sewing the canvas for the dodger and is almost finished with the main part. She got 25 yards of new Sunbrella and made new parts for the top to keep the rain out. It was starting to leak faster than as if it wasn't there. When she made the new top we changed the size, so he had to re-work the side windows and all the zippers. Only one side window left to go.

A couple weeks ago she had a fall and pulled a leg muscle and got a sore on her bottom. It put her out of commission for a while. She took a course of antibiotics and was well enough that she had a good time yesterday too.


I almost forgot, Trinda got her picture in the local paper again. It was from our trip up to Aur. She was playing patty-cake with a local girl. Cute photo, but I don't have a copy scanned in yet.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

School is Out!

I just turned in the grades for my classes! School is over. One class has invited their teachers to a picnic Tuesday. I failed 3 of them, but we still plan to go to it. Their final project was to create a blog. Most of them did. The example with links to their blogs is at . Now to see how long it takes to get paid...

Trinda has been working on re-sewing the canvas around the dodger. It was mostly 10 years old and no longer waterproof. It is a big job, the top, two side curtains, and new zippers for the back. Plus she changed the size of the side windows so she had to make patterns for the curtains.

I have sorta put in a proposal to fixup the college's network but I haven't heard anything back yet. If we don't hear soon we may take a trip to some outer island for a while.

Tomorrow is my birthday...the big six oh!.. I can't believe it! We plan to rent a car with Hawkeye and tour the island for the day. Should be fun. Got to remember to charge the camera. Ha!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Updated Photo Viewer for Video

I spent some time and have updated the web at http://www.tcls.com so that now if there is a video in the directory with the photos, you can see it. There are no new movies, but the older ones have been there all along, you just couldn't get to them.

Some are in the Cruising Photos and some are in the Family Photos. For instance there are a couple here: 2009/02_22_grandkids_park

Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Constitution Day and TCLS.com

A few photos of the parade and fireworks:








I worked on the main web site for a couple of nights, and now the site, http://www.tcls.com is back to normal with all the photos up until mid Feb 2009. I should send in another disk soon, so it isn't so much effort to update them. I have considered working to change the photo viewer but it is hard to get my mind wrapped around a programming project. It wouldn't be so bad it the internet was reliable. Lately the WiFi to the boat only stays connected for 5 minutes at a stretch, hiccups 30 seconds then on again. It makes all connection to the web go away and I have to login to the WiFi account again.

School is going OK. Two more week of classes then finals week. Since my classes are only pass/fail and not for credit, I have decided that they will do a final project. They will create a blog (like this one) and add things to it, based on what they should have learned. Should be interesting.

May Day here is Constitution Day for the The Republic of the Marshall Islands. They had a parade yesterday and lots of speeches. We took the dinghy (neat to have one that works again) across the lagoon to the start of the parade and watched it. It was different, no floats, few costumes or cars. Mostly the schools marched together with matching T-shirts. Several of the Government offices and a few business also marched with banners or matching T-shirts.

When we started back, the tide had gone out. When Trinda went down the steps from the restaurant the bottom landing, normally under water, was covered with moss. She slipped once again and landed on her butt! We thought she really hurt her knee this time. But this morning it seem sore but OK. It didn't twist it like normal, just falling bruised the muscles some. She felt well enough to venture out to find the Saturday morning fresh vegetable market with the neighbor.

We ordered some new sunbrella and it came. Trinda has been making new rain covers for the hatches and repairing the old covers and such. She intends to make a cover for the new dinghy so the sun won't damage it. Lots of projects.

I spent the morning changing the oil and fan belts on the generator/watermaker. Everything is such a project on the boat!