Friday, July 22, 2011
(sometimes spelled Canton, but the locals prefer the "K"). As we approached,
a local fishing boat spotted us and guided us through the pass an to the
John has been talking about this island as long as I've known him, and it
truly is a dream come true to be here. Surreal.
After the fisherman guided us to our anchorage, they returned to shore,
where one of them changed into his police uniform, and they returned to our
boat, to check us into the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas). We had
a great with Davis, and he gave us a run down of the local community, who
had all moved from their usual village near the old airport, to small shacks
adjacent to the anchorage at the old ship's pier. They had heard that we
were coming, and all were very keen to be here to welcome us. They have only
seen 4 sailboats here since September.
While dropping the anchor, we also dropped the camera into the drink. A sad
day. After the official business of checking in, the police officer returned
with his mask and snorkel and friend, and they helped us to retrieve the
camera from it's 38 foot resting place in the sand. Unfortunately, although
it is supposed to be waterproof, it didn't survive the swim. That's our
second camera disaster in as many months. Sad for a photo-holic such as
We were exhausted, so after the swim, we ate a quick dinner, and quickly
fell asleep. Winds picked up throughout the evening, and we stood an anchor
watch to be sure we didn't drag all the way to the beach. It is a very open
anchorage, exposed to the winds, but apparently, these conditions are
unusually strong. We hope. We will now put down a second anchor to give us a
good night's sleep.
Today, which is actually Saturday the 23rd, since we have crossed the date
line up here, we greeted Eric (SV Secret Agent Man) with pancakes as he
arrived from his 'knarly' passage. After breakfast, we went ashore and had a
lovely day meeting some of the 26 local people. Each family here has one
member who is an employee of the Kiribati government - there is a medical
officer, two teachers, a police officer, two priests, a post master/radio
operator, and a Weather man. Each employee bring his family, and is required
to stay for a minimum of two years. They all live in the village that was
once an American military base and missile tracking station. The island was
also used as a NASA space communication centre, and the British also had a
flying boat base here. Later, this was a stopping point for Pan Am and a few
other airlines. More history to come in future blog posts, and as we explore
This evening, we've been invited to attend a funeral celebration for Owen's
grandmother, who recently passed away on one of the other islands (Fanning).
Tomorrow evening, the community will host a welcome feast for us. But first,
we must nap and catch up on lost sleep...
Labels: Kiribati, Kanton, cruisers
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
we're still keeping up a 5.5 knot average, and the motion is a bit easier.
If we keep this up we'll arrive tomorrow (Thursday) late afternoon. If the
wind dies, like it did last night, we'll have to slow the boat down for a
Friday morning arrival.
We've been listening in to the evening radio 'net' where Eric is reporting
his position. Last night, he was about 28 miles behind us, and making up
time. There is still time for him to catch us. We've got the fishing lines
down, and we're hoping for fish for dinner.
Two days ago, after I uploaded the last blog post, we did indeed get closer
to a small island of Tokelau. Winds were too brisk to allow us to get close
and anchor, but we stalled the boat (hove to) in the lee of the island, and
had two hours of a break from the swell, enabling us to cook up lunch
(ramen), and prep the evening's dinner (chicken stew).
All is well. We're getting lots of sleep, keeping our food down, and looking
forward to our arrival.
At 1300 Samoa Time, our position is:
Our ave speed is 5.5.
138 miles to go.
Monday, July 18, 2011
or more. Once in a while a big wave slams the boat, and she (and we) shudder
loudly in return. But all is well aboard. We move as little as possible in
these rolling conditions...spend at least 22 hours of each day in a
horizontal position. We rise up to look around for other boats.
Speaking of other boats, Eric has decided to join us en route to Canton. We
agreed to race and to have a fish derby en route. We pulled ahead on day one
and haven't seen him since. Can't hail him on the radio. But, without our
lines in the water, we're definitely not going to win the derby. But neither
of us can fathom cooking fish in these conditions, let alone filleting one.
But we need a bit of help for this race. Can any of you racers out there
tell us what our handicap is?? I think the waterline of our 1980 Cape Dory
36 would even out the odds of the sleeker fin keel of his 1969 Cal 33.
Anyway - if any of you happen to have a sense of which of our boats have to
give up some time (and how much), it would sure add to our excitement out
here! Feel free to post in the comments, or send us an email.
As I write this we are abeam of a small island in Tokelau. The island does
not offer a protected anchorage, except in the mildest conditions. But we're
still going to get in a little closer and see...perhaps we can stop for a
moments rest to cook up a proper lunch (i.e. Ramen noodles).
We're almost 1/2 way to Canton. If you're looking for it, it is in the
northern Phoenix Group of Kiribati.
Our position is 09 22.57S and 171 18.66W.
Our heading is 356 (well, except for this little side trip looking for a
Our average speed is a smoking fast 5.6 knots.
John just caught a huge wave, right in the face. Gotta go. :O)