Hello again! We're back aboard Kairos in Palau after 3 months of land excursions in the States and Asia. It's so good to be on the ocean! First impressions: copious amounts of fresh air; I greedily suck in as much as I can; a wide open portal to the universe; the sky is clear, the clouds crisp, stars look like they've been scrubbed in jewelry cleaner; the lush velvety green vegetation of the rock-island that our stern is moored to; sharp fantasy bird surround sounds way beyond Avatar; clear, as in defines the word "clear", water, our own personal maintenance free salt-water aquarium right below our boat; I could sit for hours watching all the fish play among the perfectly formed coral gardens.
Did I say it was good to be back on the boat?
I updated our mailing list. Some of you are new to these reports. If you don't want to get them, just let me know and I'll take you off the list. We'd love to hear from those of you we've been out of touch with. If you want to catch up on pics and past entries, go to www.sailblogs.com/member/svkairos.
Abbey has jumped ship! She finished high school when we were back in Illinois and officially got her diploma! She's living in Kansas City with Alicia and near Joel, Shea, and Malachi. She'll be taking classes at IHOP's Forerunner School of Ministry. So, we are officially in the "empty nest" stage of life. It's bittersweet for all of us. Abbey loves being around family, friends, and experiencing school in her young adult life, but she really misses the boat and all our adventures. Clint and I are loving our time alone together, but it's so sad not having any of our vibrant kids to share this with.
The number one question when we were home was: "Where is your favorite place?" Answer: "Right now, Palau." It rocks here! Pun intended. These rock islands are magical. They're my favorite geographical formation. It's fun to cruise around them. In some ways the experience is like finding hidden little canyons in Lake Mead or Powell where you can be all by yourself and feel like you're in some secret garden or fantasy land. We haven't been diving in Indonesia yet, so the diving here is the best on the planet that we've experienced.
Question #2 was: "What is the best experience that you've had?" Answer: "There's no way to qualify that." I will say that the highlights were the remote island cultural experiences we had with the villagers, their curiosity, openness, hospitality, sharing, simplicity, bright smiles. Exploring the islands from making landfall in the dinghy to finding a trail through the rainforest, gaining an overlook is just downright exhilarating!
Catching the fish along the way is always first time excitement fun, can't ever wear that out. The sailing, sailing, sailing; it's tops!
Question #3: "Do you ever have storms?" Well, if you read the blogs, you'll know that answer. And, I just don't want to think about it. Storms are not fun. They're dangerous, anything could happen from bad to worst. We don't plan to be in them, our goal is always fair weather sailing. It's kind of like Nascar. Everyone watches the races to see the wrecks, but the drivers aren't planning on being in any wrecks; they want to drive the best they ever have, want the car to out perform all others, and just don't want to get in crashes. The pole's the goal! Fair winds and following seas are our dream! We want to think about nice things, fluffy things.
This is the best anchorage to keep our boat in. We are so protected in this little niche. Kairos picked up a thin film of mold and some crusty critters on hull and prop, but nothing a little elbow grease couldn't overcome. She's back to her lovely self again after a hard week's work. Clint installed the AIS unit for our future travels through the shipping lanes. We changed out some pumps, cables, sheets, the basic maintenance stuff.
We're pretty sure that we're staying here for another season. We're right on the edge of picking up the hook and sailing on to the Philippines, but we just don't have a solid green light for that. Choosing to stay here keeps us in Palau through December due to the changing wind patterns and typhoon season ahead on our route.
I need to fly back to the States next month and Clint has some ministry in Hong Kong in May. We will both go to Israel for May and June to touch base with those we will be working with there. We should both be back on board the first of August.
We're sacrificing having to stay here for some of you divers! Look at your calendars from August to December; pick your weeks. Once we leave you'll be paying $120 a night for a room, $75 a dive, plus your other expenses and you won't have a tour guide as fun as us! We aren't that expensive to feed, so you're getting a deal!
A quick little side note, so, did you know that Peleliu, one of the small islands here, was the site of one of the bloodiest battles during WWII? The Japanese had these islands as one of their strongholds. In fact, they found soldiers still in hiding in the late 60's that didn't know the war was over. Anyway, we met this guy that works for the government who is still disarming mines, bombs, and all kinds of ordinance all over these islands. It's crazy! Just 2 days ago the dive operators here called him up to report siting a mine adrift in German Channel which is one of the busiest dive sites in the area. So, besides dodging storms, rogue waves, ramming into shipping containers or whales, we've got mines to look out for too! Life is so exciting! It just makes falling asleep at night and getting up in the morning that much more enjoyable!
Love to you all! Clint and Janet