10 December 2017 | Majuro , MArshall Islands
Hi Friends and Family,
This 10th of December finds us in Majuro, Marshall Islands at Latitude 7 *06.175'N and 171*22.385 E - a long way from home. Yes indeed, we crossed the International Date Line and so for once in my life I am ahead of myself in position as I am physically here but chasing myself as I remain solidly, as usual a day late in most everything I try to accomplish. Thank God I am retired and have no one to report to- except my Captain. Okay, humor aside, let's see ....
"Foist" of all, I want to wish each and everyone of you the very Merriest Christmas this Holiday Season. That extends to everyone who is also non-Christian but celebrate at this time, or close to it, their particular spiritual belief.
I always wonder just why some think what they believe to be the original and only path, when really the books written, are written by various people with points of view, scarred and influenced by their surroundings. Whether or not they were visited by the Higher Power when they wrote it, the books are a historical review with guidance written by people with biases and trying to be " influencers". So, in this month especially, all religions aside, please know that I wish each and everyone of you Peace and happiness within yourselves, good health and sufficient to meet your needs. Whatever your sufficient is, that individual concrete that we base our day to day existence on can only be decided by you and ultimately arrived at by you. Ahhh, stop. This is where one can start to sound like a podium is needed and that is not what I am trying to go for here. I think we are all the same, truly wishing our fellows the many blessings of a wonderful and fulfilling life. Service above Self. I am so sadly lacking in this department at the moment. This adventure, voyage of a lifetime, has been all about self fulfillment and gratification. My thoughts are so often drawn back to my family who have been so supportive , each in their own way and to my community in the Bow Valley ( Banff and Canmore). I think of all the special people who lead by example and I am looking forward to going home and to follow the lead and be involved.
The chronology of the last update escapes me. It is now Dec.16th, six days since I last wrote. As many of you know from Facebook , we had an eventful passage from American Samoa to the Tuvalu Islands and then from Funafuti, the capital, of Tuvalu we had an adventure that will last in the memory bank. At this point, it is a bit of a blur as time dims the details. This time, I will be able to add some pictures which many of you will already have seen on FB - so much quicker and easier!
I guess the reality of our sailing continues to open my eyes. Glass half empty or half full? I know my personal paradise is at home and my glass brimming. My heart goes out to the majority of the people living in these paradises we are so fortunate to visit. They live simple lives, many working very hard to eek out a living for their families. The ravages of inadequate nutrition or poor nutrition and poor education are evident. In certain cultures like American Samoa, the average person is overweight by the time they hit puberty. Out in the remote islands, dental hygiene is non existent in certain places and the evidence of that, toothless grins or mouths of brown and yellow teeth are prevalent. As we are told, the health of the mouth reflects the health of the body. The children naturally crave the sugar and are often seen with treats in hand. Fruit and vegetables are the most expensive items in the grocery stores. No, the fruit does not grow in abundance. In most of the islands there is very little arable soil and water is caught in the rainy season to last all year. Many in all the islands are not attending school. The education systems we take for granted are so superior to what these children have. I know I have a very quick impression of what goes on but I have seen so many children who seem to be "out" of school. When we "vacation" we are not in the paradise that so many think we are visiting on this trip.On a sailboat, it is different. In a limited fashion, one sees what the normal people live like and, what they eat each and every day. It has not a thing to do with what one sees on a 2-3 week vacation in the X Star resort.
So, as usual, my best time is when we are sailing, away from the realities of the paradises of landfall. The sport of sailing, riding the wave in big swells. The last passage was a particularly trying one with the mainsail giving up under the load of a gale. The genoa in the water in a moment when the halyard shackle broke (!). Each of these events led to more sailing experience than I wanted to have. However, we fared well enough and always took the time to be safe first and foremost.
Now the aftermath of losing the main is ordering a new one. This is itself a huge job. One removes the sail, loads it, takes it ashore with the help of a local cruiser who found us the place we could lay it out and measure. Our main had been altered as it was always catching in the topping lift. So, classic KP design would not work. Then Chuck has been drafting all the measurements into a scaled drawing with many notes and it is being sent out to a few suppliers for quotes. We can only pray that they can read and listen - a rarity we find in the world. Too often, with emails regarding very important issues, people do not really read and understand what you are asking. The result is another email re-asking the same question. Often more than one email is needed. Wasted time and in a situation where internet is often so very poor, this is more than frustrating. In any case, I have my fingers crossed and am hoping that when the sail arrives, it fits. There are no sail makers here in Majuro. They are a rare breed and most often, the huge sail lofts are the benefactors of most sailors needs. Fact - Lee Sails buys half the Dacron used in the world!
Well, people, I know this email is not my usual. I guess the end of the year always brings a reflection of what has happened over that year and this epistle is typical of that. I end it by wishing each of you the blessing of hope with possibility of fruition and good health in the coming year, 2018. Until then, stay happy and be safe.
Love to all,