Sunday, September 11, 2011

Arrived in Tarawa, Kiribati

We made the move. We decided to head to Tarawa, the main island in Kiribati,
to work on the engine. I was disappointed that we didn't stay for Saturday's
mass and feast, but the weather forecast showed us that after Friday, the
winds were going to drop dramatically. So, on Friday morning, we went ashore
to say our good-byes. Masa and Bwebweniman, who have been so friendly, and
have hosted us for tea, were sad to see us go. We left them a small gift of
canned pears and some tea. After we left, they called us back to give us
their pandanas mat. This was a big deal. After all...they were just visiting
this village for the church celebrations, and this would be their sleeping
mat. I tried to refuse. But she wouldn't hear of it. So, we now have a
beautiful, hand woven pandanas leaf mat. Gorgeous.

Our overnight passage was uneventful. We made good time. Too good. We
arrived in the dark. So, I just tacked away from the island, and sailed for
an hour, before returning to the island in the daylight. The pass is HUGE,
and there are many tankers here, so it was a fairly easy entrance, and we
quickly found a nice spot to anchor, fairly close to the big city of Betio
(pronounced Besio...remember Kiribati language pronounces 'TI' as 'SI' or

Although we had placed bets on how many sailboats would be here - we were
both right. John guessed there would be none. I guessed one. Turns out there
is one motor sailor here - from Australia. They dinghied over after wee
anchored and gave us some local info on hardware stores, the best spot for
chinese food, and groceries. After a quick nap, we went ashore. The town is
pretty dirty and crowded, as we'd heard. But we did find a great Chinese
restaurant, and a store selling eggs and sausages! MMMmmm

Today has been raining on and off all day. Very unusual for us. We've had no
sun. But, we've been collecting rain water, and our water tanks are full!!
We're now running the generator to charge our batteries, so we can watch a
movie later. ICE (the motor sailor) has invited us over for dinner, so we
look forward to chatting and hearing more about the island. They've been
here for quite some time as they wait for engine parts, so they'll be a
great source of local info.


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