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


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.


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.