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.

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