Saturday, October 22, 2011

Passage to Marshall Islands - Day 3

The sky is no longer clear, beautiful and blue,
The clouds have arrived, a grey and black stew.

We see the squalls and anticipate,
The accelerating winds, the sudden wall of hate.

All hands scramble top side and quickly lower sail,
We wrestle with the sheets, steady her dive to the rail.

Ahhh, we missed you - our beloved ITCZ*
How quickly we recall how fickle your weather can be.

As quickly as she rose, the squall is soon long gone.
We are left without wind in a slow and tedious calm.
* Remember, I'm that should be ITCZ: AYE.TEA.SEA.ZEE.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Passage to Marshalls - Day 1

A perfect day of sailing. The light breeze pushes us along beautifully. The
drifter is flying, showing her dazzling blue and gold hues. Dolphins visit,
play in the bow and give us a show by spinning loops and twists as they
launch into the air. And the past week of calms has left a residual sea that
is flat and easy. This is a sailor's dream.

But the day didn't start out that way. From Tarawa, our check of the morning
weather showed that winds were going to ease sooner than expected. The wind
would stop before our anticipated arrival day in the Marshalls. We decided
to leave Kiribati today, instead of tomorrow as planned. So, I gather our
papers and make my way to shore (where I fall into the water while getting
out of the dinghy) to clear out of the country. Customs takes FOREVER, but
goes smoothly (well, except for that huge sandy puddle I've left in the
middle of their lobby floor). Then onto the bus (where I leave another wet
spot) and to immigration. It's 11:30 by now, and the young staff are more
keen on their lunch orders than my exit permits, but no worries. They are
kind and friendly, and I'm in a schedules, right?! I'm on my
way after only an hour (only half of which was spent searching for the stamp
needed for my passport - found next door). By the time I return to the boat,
John has everything secured ship shape and ready to go. We raise sail, heave
the anchor, and wave goodbye to our newest friends as we make our way out of
the lagoon.

But...that was this morning. Now, we're living the dream. Bring it on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

News...or Gossip???

For the last couple of days, an interesting news story has been circulating among cruisers... rumours perhaps? I'm not sure. But for your information and/or is the story of a young cruiser who was eaten  by cannibals on Nuku Hiva in the of the island we visited last year.

By the way, CELSIUS returned to the anchorage today. And THREE more sailboats showed up. All of a sudden we're not alone anymore! 

Birthday Celebrations

Oct 17th

John's birthday was yesterday. I've already blogged about the great Tour we
took. And the robbery was a bit of a birthday downer. But...I found ground
beef at the grocery store! This was a major highlight for Renova's crew. We
hadn't seen ground beef in many months. So I decided to turn this delicacy
into a birthday feast. We'd been talking about hamburgers and fries for
months...this was a perfect opportunity.

The hamburgers turned out great. The buns...well...they were perhaps a bit
denser than the rolls I usually buy. Maybe I didn't knead the dough enough.
Or too much. The french fries refused to crisp up, and were a touch on the
soggy side. The corn on the cob was mushy, which was disappointing, given
that I paid $10 for it. But knowing that it had likely been frozen and
thawed several times on it's journey from Australia, quite understandable.
Thankfully, the chocolate cake was (and still is) fabulous. Thank you Betty

Despite all was still a fan-super-tastic birthday dinner!! And,
I'm (almost) certain John would agree.

Robbed in Tarawa

It's true. We've been robbed.

After spending most of the day ashore on the Battle of Tarawa Tour, we
returned to the boat to find we'd been robbed.

We'd heard that there have been thefts here. ICE lost their dinghy oars and
a fuel can. CELSIUS had been boarded, broken into, and a few items were
taken from their boat - hair clippers, palm pilot, etc.

Knowing this, we'd been careful. We always lock the boat when we leave,
including the cockpit lockers. On shore, we lock up the outboard and spare
oars to the dinghy. But, these guys were clever. They just broke the locks
on our cockpit lockers and got access to these big storage lockers.
Surprisingly, they didn't take much. They looked through John's tackle box,
but didn't see anything they liked. They didn't take any of the zillions of
coils of rope we have, nor the dinghy fuel, the tools, or speargun. Odd.
Instead, they took some snorkelling gear. They left behind the broken mask
and the old black snorkel, and took our two remaining masks and snorkels.
But left our fins. They also took a dive knife, and a pair of neoprene

It's all a terrible shame. A bad memory in a country that has become our
favourite destination of our past two years of cruising. And...the worst
part is that the cockpit locks are now broken, and will be expensive to
replace - more so than the lost gear. Not to mention that we have to always
have one person on the boat.

So, it's with a bitter taste in our mouth that we prepare to leave Tarawa.
Earlier than planned. But, if we can't both leave the boat, we may as well
move on.

Now we'll get busy with a few remaining internet jobs, and wait for a
weather window to take us to Majuro in the Marshall Islands - our home for
the next several months. According to the weather forecasts, I don't think
we'll be waiting long. It looks like the wind will pick up by the end of the