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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.