Oct. 29, 2009
Ok, now let's see, where did I leave off? We left Vanuatu on Oct. 20th along with New World. We did our homework and checked out the weather before departure. The reports all indicated winds between 20-25 knts. due to a big, fat 1030mb high south of us and squishing the isobars our way. Ok, no big deal, it's like in Tahoe, "One man's snowstorm is another man's ski trip." So, we figured we would have a "spirited" sail north. As soon as we got outside the pass, we began to experience some pretty big seas. Fortunately, they were all behind us pushing us along. Actually, though, once we set our course, the waves were nailing us off our stern quarter giving us a nasty roll. On top of that we had a trough blowing through that set up some wind waves in another direction creating a sloppy mess of water all about 12- 15ft. high. The 20-25 knts. turned into 25-30 knts. accompanied by squall after squall. We were taking water into the cockpit every half hour or so. We were quite a mess. After about 14 hours of that, Kairos and New World ducked behind a small-uninhabited island and dropped hooks just to take a break. We left early the next morning and continued our passage. The weather was just downright feisty all the way to the Solomons. I was sick for 3 days. Abbey was sick, and Clint wasn't feeling too hot either. It's not easy dealing with hard sailing under those conditions. The wind was howling so much that our primary wind generator's stainless steel rod snapped clean through. When that happened, the blade came flying down and hit the dinghy on the davits. It punctured a hole through the pontoon and deflated the boat immediately. After scrambling around to secure all the damage, we were exhausted. About 6 hours later, I was on watch when Clint told me to come below and take a break out of the rain. He was lying on the lee side of the salon, and I laid down on the other. Without a second to react, we got knocked down by a big wave. I flew across the cabin slamming into the bulkhead on the opposite side and falling hard on Clint. Everything that wasn't bolted down became missiles with me. We survived that attack; it just added on to all the weariness already. We were supposed to sail all the way to Honiara, the capitol, to clear customs. But, I had enough and appealed to the captain to find an anchorage off San Cristobal as we sailed by. At about 0130 on the 24th we found a large, calm bay that we were able to anchor in easily without danger of reef. It was so nice to finely be out of the fury and get to rest. Our peace and quiet didn't last long when at first light about 10 dugout canoes full of curious villagers wanting to engage these strange white yachties surrounded us. The chief greeted us and said that we were welcome to stay in his bay. Another man started talking with Clint. As soon as they found out that Clint was a pastor, they invited him to speak at the service the next morning. It was an incredible experience to be with the villagers. Every single person crammed into the church building or stood outside looking through the windows to hear what Clint would say. They numbered about 500. Most understand English well, but they speak a form of Pidgin that I can't figure out half of what they're saying. The main leaders all spoke and understood English. They loved Clint's message and pressed us to have another meeting that night and to go to the neighboring village the next day. Clint, Abbey, and I prayed for many people after the service. The chief rowed out to our boat the next morning very excited telling us that his mother who was severely crippled was healed and many of those we prayed for were healed. Glory to God! It's wonderful to see these precious people get blessed. I was pretty overcome by intense love for these special islanders. They were so dear.
I wish we had loads of simple things that they wanted. Joel and Colin, kiss your t-shirts goodbye, Vanuatu and Solomon island boys are wearing them now. We gave away many little notions that they are so appreciative to have. We gave away all our Bibles and many Christian books. The second village had never seen white people before. Wow! After Clint preached to them, they gave him two large burlap sacks full of yams, taro, papaya, limes, and bananas. Gerrie from New World and I spent the next morning washing all the veggies and fruit and tried to find a place for them. As soon as we finished, we were itching like crazy all over our arms and legs. It was such a violent burning rash that we slathered ourselves with caladryl lotion and took 50mg of Benedryl to get some relief. When we went into the village to say goodbye, I asked some of the local ladies why we were itching so badly after cleaning the food. They laughed so hard. They said it was the large yams that caused the misery. They thought it was so funny that the silly white women didn't know that. Two of the men from the village were supposed to go to get training for taking the national census in a village at the top of the island. Their boat did not arrive to take them up there, so we gave them a ride with us.
They told us that it was the best time of their lives. They had never been on a yacht before. Abbey played hostess and showed them all kinds of firsts like the digital camera and lap top computer. The electronic navigational charts and radar blew them away. I fed them all day long. When we got to the village, they shouted out to a couple of outrigger canoes that were offshore. The canoes came alongside Kairos and our guests transferred to them and rowed ashore. It was amazing to witness that transition from large modern fiberglass yacht to small narrow wooden dug out with vine-tied outrigger. I will always cherish these experiences. I can't image ever getting to have such wonderful relationship with an entire village in a couple of days. We sailed through the night on to Honiara. It is a large city with about 15% of the country's total population. It is crowded and dirty and most of the people have conformed to the blights of urbanization. I liked it in the village much better. It is sweltering hot here. We have the reverse of our previous conditions. The sun is bright and blazing, the seas are flat, and there isn't a puff of air to be found. I would be diving in and swimming around the boat all day if it weren't for the dirty water in the harbor and the crocodiles that are known to be around these islands. We quickly checked in, provisioned and are moving on to Ghizo on Kennedy Island, the landmark of PT109. We will only be in the country for about 10 more days then move on to Palau. We are really trying to get up to Hong Kong in time to fly to Rockford for Christmas. It will be a tight schedule and we hope that the weather cooperates, especially, the transition across the equator and the lingering cyclone season in the Northern Hemisphere due to the El Nino pattern. I'll try to get another report off soon, but once again we are in the land of sparse, costly, and V E R Y sssslllllllllooooooowww internet. Love to all, Janet, Clint, and baby Abbey.