01 March 2018 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
23 February 2018 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
19 February 2018 | Marshall Islands
13 February 2018 | Marshall Islands
12 February 2018 | Marshall Islands
11 February 2018 | Marshall Islands
04 February 2018 | Marshall Islands
01 February 2018 | Marshall Islands
31 January 2018 | Marshall Islands
29 January 2018 | Marshall Islands
26 January 2018 | Marshall Islands
25 January 2018 | Marshall Islands
23 January 2018 | Aur Atoll
20 January 2018 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
12 January 2018 | Majuro Harbour, Marshall Islands
09 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean, Other Side Of The Date Line Wed 10th January
02 January 2018 | Anchored off the island
30 December 2017 | WAIKIKI BEACH, Honolulu
24 December 2017 | WAIKIKI BEACH, Honolulu
22 December 2017 | Honolulu
Goodbye The Marshall Islands
01 March 2018 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
28 February : mid afternoon we said goodbye to Bud, Marilyn, her sister Janice, Bubba and Reel Dreams and headed to the airport for our flights to Honolulu and then San Francisco. The United flight arrived at 7pm. Passengers were off loaded and the departure time of 8pm came and went. Some passengers were off loaded. Then the first of numerous announcements. Apparently an engine problem which took longer to fix and before they could test it they off loaded the other half of the planes passengers. Engines roared in tests and then we were leaving ... OR NOT. Airport staff thought we were going but then the Captain came in to announce that the crew were out of work hours. So we are all checked out of the Marshall Islands immigration wise so we had to stay in the airport. There were no hotel rooms on the island due to a big conference. The catering from the plane was brought in hot to the terminal to feed us plus drinking cans and water. News came in as it was available so the nub of it
was the flight would not leave until 11am the next day. Blankets were issued. Missed connecting flights were being re-scheduled and vouchers would be issued in the morning for breakfast. So people grabbed chairs or bits of floor or the luggage carousel to sleep on. The airport staff, security staff and restaurant/snack bar staff were excellent keeping things open as long as possible or all night and making sure people had blankets and water. The lights were dimmed about 1am 1 March and we all hunkered down for the night in the tiny lounge.
Morning brought slow information and issue of food vouchers but missed connecting flights had been rescheduled and eventually at 11.25am we took off, 18 hrs 25 minutes late. We climbed and banked out over the lagoon and it was good to see Reel Dreams moored away from the town harbour up at what is called BBQ Beach. The new crew needed to escape to a calmer, prettier location to rest after 2 hectic days of travel themselves. We wish them all the best for their next adventures on Reel Dreams. Andy and I looked on our trip as a research opportunity into motor boats, crewing other people's boats and travelling in the Pacific. We had interesting experiences and gained answers to our questions. The Marshall Islands are not on the usual cruisers track but they are worth visiting. We will be sticking to sails. And another visit to the Pacific ... maybe.
Today 1st March is Nuclear Remembrance Day in the Marshall Islands, a national holiday where the Marshallese remember the nuclear testing of the 1950s by the Americans, the Marshallese who were displaced from their island homes, the nuclear contamination they incurred and ongoing health problems and homelessness (many are still not able to return to their homes due to the deceitful and callous action of the Americans). Bikini Island, where the big bomb Bravo was exploded, has been revegetated by America (The coconut trees in straight lines! ). Compared to the natural islands we visited that were unaffected by the nuclear testing, it is sterile, regimented and is still being monitored every 6 months for nuclear contamination which lies just beneath the top soil brought in in the aftermath. The Bikini islanders are unlikely to return to their precious home for at least another 30+ years. Health problems are ongoing 60+ years on. They desperately want to go home. Our hearts go out to these lovely, calm Marshallese islanders who were friendly, welcoming, quick to smile and laugh. It has been a good cultural experience.
PICTURE : Banner in Departures Hall at Majuro Airport where we had to spend a night
23 February 2018 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
We left Lae atoll mid afternoon of 20 February heading for Majuro. The first 24 hours were very lumpy (like being in a washing machine) but after that the seas settled as Chris Parker our weather router had predicted. We had the wind and swell on the port side at about 50° to the wind so slightly more comfortable but Andy, Bubba and I still found it hard work, all but the dog and Captain taking sea sickness tablets. Moving about has to be carefully planned and always use at least one hand, both feet as well as elbows and hips to hedge yourself so you don't get thrown about. Sleeping is really difficult in the heaving sweaty airless cabins.
We arrived back in Majuro at about 11.30am today 22 February. Andy and I have travelled 5,377nm on Reel Dreams, currently in 82 days. That is 973 engine hours having had to replace 5 alternators. Plus 3 oil and filter changes per engine. One more on each engine due now. The stabilisers stopped working with no ability for on passage repair. The original plan was to travel to The Gilbert Islands and Samoa but we have had to wait for Bud's wife Marilyn to recover from a further operation so we have spent the last month touring The Marshall Islands. It has been very interesting and Andy and I have certainly enjoyed the snorkelling. I have listed below some of the Marshallese words we have picked up along the way. Marilyn and her sister Janice join the boat on 26th. They will then be heading off to The Gilbert Islands and beyond. Andy and I will be returning briefly to the UK before going back to Destiny in 'colder' Sisimiut, West Greenland. We looked on this trip as a research journey and we have certainly achieved that. We will definitely not be swapping our sails for a motor boat. The Pacific is a VAST ocean and we have only scratched the surface but compared with the Arctic we have found it to be pretty empty of oceanic wildlife. Even the island wildlife has been very sparse. The coral has generally been dead either from hurricane damage or human nuclear damage or from bleaching. Where the coral is away from human habitation it has shown signs of greater recovery. The same applies to the fish, there being bigger versions of say parrot fish, clams, turtles away from the villages. The Marshallese people have been lovely. Friendly and welcoming. It has been great learning the little language we have but every little bit and effort is appreciated by the islanders. Only time will tell if we return to the Pacific in our home Destiny.
Marshallese Words and Phrases:- with slight variations between the Sunrise (Ratak) & Sunset (Ralik) chain of atolls:
Hello = Yokwe
Thank You = Kommol
Thank You Very Much = Kommol Tata
Bye = Bye
It Is Good (ie with food) = Emon Tata
How Are You? = Emon ke am mour? Answer " good" = Emon. "bad" = Enana
What Is Your Name? = Etam?
Where Are You From? = Kwoj Tok (Ratak) OR Itok Jen Ia? (Ralik)
How Old Are You? = Jete am Iio (Ratak) OR Jete am Yio (Ralik) [pronounced year]
Radio = Radio
Boat = Boum boum
Bicycle cart = Deka
Pig = Pig
Dog = Kidu (Ratak) OR Kiru (Ralik)
Egg = Leb
Coral = Berber [pronounced bearbear]
Bird as in flying bird = Bao in mejatoto
Chicken = Bao in lal (bird on land)
Fish general = Ek
Cowrie shell = Bouku
Small shell = Alu
Coconut Tree or green drinking coconut = Ni
Brown Coconut = Waini
Sprouting coconut = Iiu (pronounced Yew)
Coconut sap = Jekaro
Boiled coconut sap = Jekami
Brown sucking candy from the sap = Ahmetama
Coconut which is such a highly important staple, it has so many words to describe it, rather like the snow for an Inuit person.
2 = Ruo
3 = Jilu
4 = Emen
5 = Lulom
6 = Jiljimo
7 = Jiljilimjuon
So Kommol Tata & bye from the Marshall Islands
PICTURE : Janice talking to Ailuk's ladies working on their handicrafts which they send to Majuro for sale to tourists
19 February 2018 | Marshall Islands
OK we have arrived at Lae Atoll, at just before midday Saturday 17 February. We tried to anchor outside the village but it was too shallow with lots of coral heads, especially with a spring tide and strong winds forecast for tomorrow and Monday. So we moved to the next island; the beach area being more sand than coral outcrops. Late afternoon we were visited by the Acting Mayor, the first time the locals have come out to us. It was good to invite them onboard and offer them soft refreshment while Bud and the Acting Mayor chatted and Bud paid the Visitors Fee. Needless to say they were not intimated when Bubba tried to repel them by deafening us all with his barking! Haha. There are almost 500 residents on the one island of Lae. The other islands are for copra (coconut). The islanders get a supply ship every 3 months, the next one leaves Majuro on Monday so they are looking forward to that in order to sell their copra and to buy supplies.
Sunday 18 : We were due to visit the village after church today however, as Chris Parker forecast the weather has turned squally with consistent rain. As I look through the bridge window, I can only just see the village on the other side of the bay. No rush to go ashore today. As usual there are maintenance jobs to do. In houses there is maintenance but when you live on a boat on a constantly moving, wet and corrosively salty environment, there is unending maintenance to keep the safe and optimum performance of your home. Later that evening a boat came out in the dark to deliver a bag of drinking coconuts for us from the acting mayor. Delicious cooled in the fridge. They remove the husk in a way that leaves a soft plug. When you want to drink from it, you knock the plug off and if a hole is not evident you push a knife through the soft area left by the plug. Easyð¥¥
It is a shame but we have had to miss out visiting Wotho atol due to being delayed in Bikini and the bad weather forecast for the next 3 days. We need to be back in Majuro by the 23/24th. This passage was particularly lumpy but Andy and I did a good job of battening everything down so we didn't have the teak table and chairs and the large coolbox sliding around the aft deck like the last passage. Even poor Bubba was struggling without the stabilisers. He could not find a comfortable position. If anyone wants to know how a gyro works, you only needed to watch Bubba when he tried to stand up or move about. I should have taken a video and put it on YouTube. In the circumstances it was not funny. He kept snuggling up to Andy and I for comfort and to brace against.
19 February : A better day so we all headed into town. We were met on the beach by 2 young American Mormon missionaries Elder Tingey and Elder Scott. They are on 2 year missions between High School and University. They travel around the islands either the Marshall or Gilbert Islands and can change islands every 6 weeks. Their mission allows them to write home once every week and they are allowed 2 phone calls home in a year. The Mormon men are generally aged between 18-25 and do 2 year missions while the Mormon women are aged 19-26 and generally do 18 month missions. I asked Elder Tingey what he'll do in July when his mission ends; his reply "go home to get a higher education then find a wife".
We walked through the village seeing the kids in school. The village has 2 communally owned fibre glass dorries with 40 hp 2 stroke outboards (we can not buy 2 stroke outboards in Europe now). These plus their traditional sailing outriggers are used by the men to visit the islands and collect the coconuts. It is brought back and then the coconuts are cut in half and laid out in the sun to dry, then the flesh is removed to produce copra. Lae is the first island where the ladies have been cutting the coconuts in half, great piles of them. Lae is also the first island where we have been able to watch the men working on at least 4 traditional outrigger boats; 2 were new and others were being repaired. These are great boats, sailing really well and fast even when laden with 6 men and sacks of coconuts.
Before leaving the island, Elder Tingey had collected a few sprouting coconuts to let us taste Iiu (pronounced yew). You open the coconut and the whole of the centre has become a soft tastey white pith which you eat. The coconut is a truly versatile fruit. Andy and I did our last snorkelling in the afternoon, heading out to a coral head in the middle of the lagoon. It was the best and healthiest coral we have seen with plenty of fish including new varieties. What was fascinating was how much it dropped off from the middle which was just below the surface and then drops off quickly to 10, then 20 then 70 feet or deeper. I managed a dive to 25+ feet, swimming there with the large parrot fish until returning to the surface to breath. Great fun.
PICTURE : Alyson working on his new outrigger sail boat, making the mast chocks