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July 1, 2007
July 17, 2007 Tues
We arrived in Tanna, Vanuatu. When I woke up we were 10 miles away. We had these cool charts on our computer for Vanuatu. First it is an aerial photo then you could also see the charts and if you want to you can view the charts overlaid onto the picture. Very cool software. Although the very first way point was off. We quickly took down the sails and followed the rest of the ones in as they were correct. A boat was departing right as we were departing. They hailed us to tell us it is best the closer East you were. We parked but were pretty rolly. Jonah was next to us and he came over for a drink, dinner and a movie. It was fun to catch up.
July 18, 2007 Wed
We were lucky that Customs came down to day and we did not have to take the long taxi ride to Port Villa. New Dawn came in this afternoon. Jason and I went on a short walk to the Cultural Center and then down to the watch the kids play some soccer. They were doing drills. It was nice to get out and walk on nice land again. The vegetation is great here. It seems as though they can grow everything. The land is fertile. Jonah brought me over a grapefruit. I was so happy just to take a nice walk. We were greeted this morning and yesterday morning by a guy named Brian. We brought us some fruit and vegetables and asked if we had any diesel. We did so we gave him a gallon and he has been back almost every day since to bring us fruits and vegetables.
July 19, 2007 Thurs
Jason and I went on a walk and were trying to make it to the other side of the island when we came across this table where there were a few items. They are known for their mats here so I was looking at one. It was really pretty the owner showed me that it had the name Tanna colored in it. Her name was Josephine, she was 9 months pregnant. She invited us up to her house to meet her husband Sam. Apparently, Sam is the Regional Chief. Her English was amazing and his was not bad either. She has 5 boys and is thinking it would be nice for a girl. I looked at her and knew it was going to be a boy. She is going to have the baby at her house using only the herbs they grow on Tanna. A midwife should be there too. There were 3 kids that are doing a walkathon to raise money for school tuition so Jason and I sponsored 3, two of them Josephine’s boys. The highest amount was $5 USD. We told her we would return to chat some more. When we got back to the boat I was really having some bad pain and wanted to cancel going to Jonah’s for dinner. But, I pushed myself to go since he does not invite us often. Unfortunately, I ended up having to leave abruptly during dinner. I just should not have gone. Sometimes you can’t just mask with meds. It was a great day though and evening in the worlds’ voted (UN) “Happiest Place on Earth!”
July 20, 2007 Fri
I made cookie dough today while Jason talked with Olsen on deck with his 2 boys. I made them some strawberry juice. I was making the dough for the cookies. I was going to bring a gift of cookies to the circumcision festival. I finished the dough and was waiting for Jason to take it when he left me and went to see Brian first to give him a DVD we made for him. Olsen was tired of waiting for Jason to come back and left. He said he would stop by tomorrow. Jonah called and I went there to bake the cookies. We got the first ones in when Jason arrived saying he would not be making the cookies now, because we need to leave for the Volcano tour by 4pm. That gives us ½ hour to get ready. So I left the baking to Jonah and went to get ready for the tour. The volcano was really one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It was spectacular. It literally was like a fireworks show only better! The lava you could see sliding back down into the pit. Pieced in the air were stretching from a ball to a worm like shape. We just all sat there in Awe. We are lucky that some of our friends had a camera on them. We have copies of all the pictures. We stayed there well past sundown. It would be nice to come back up for 4 hours to just listen. It is so loud right before the lava emerges flying up into the air. Incredible.
July 21, 2007 Sat
It was raining out all day. I finished making the cookies before we had to leave the boat. We still went to see the cultural event that was going on in the village. We went armed with a huge umbrella and our rain gear. The idea behind the festival is that two boys are coming of age. There were any age from 6-12 and they are circumcised and then spend a week healing by going staying on a certain beach and cleansing the wound every day. The day they are healed they have this big ceremony. There is lots of celebration, people dancing and later in the evening they dance again and then have a feast. They were dancing out there as if it was not raining having a ball. I brought Cookies for one of the kids. It was really cool to be able to be there and experience it. When we were walking back we stopped at this beautiful flower a trumpet type flower. We asked Olsen about it and he says that if you consume the flower powder that you will be drunk for 3 days and it can make you go crazy. That was good information considering I was about to smell it!! Jason, I and Jonah watched a movie at Monkey’s Business and then went over to Ross and Laura’s for fish tacos. We played Dominos all night. It was fun. I never played the way they played before.
July 22, 2007 Sun
It was raining most of the day today. We worked on the boat a little and I cooked soup all day then had Ross, Laura, and Jonah over to watch a double feature. It was fun as well as relaxing. The first movie we watched was kind of heavy and sad though.
July 23, 2007 Mon
We went on a walk with Ross and Laura today. We were trying to hike to the other side of the island where there is supposed to be a resort. We stopped by Jocelyn’s home on the way and Sam came out to say hello. He informed us that she had the baby today. We had come to visit her. He said to come back tomorrow but then her husband came down and told us to come on Wed afternoon. We are going to make a cake for her as a present for the birth of the baby. She had a girl after 5 boys. The rest of the hike was really through the bush with a small trail. We started to get tired after ½ hour and decided to turn back. Jason and I had a snack dinner of cheese and crackers, curry tuna, and a scallion and cucumber salad. After dinner, Ross, Laura, and Jonah came over to watch a movie. We saw Babel and man was that heavy! I was not sure I liked it.
July 24, 2007 Tues
We went on a walk to the beach where the locals have a restaurant. You need to make reservations in advance or it is locked when you arrive. We went with 4 other boats and it was such a beautiful presentation of food. The plates were made out of leaves and had flowers on them. It was so pretty. We had Kumaro (sweet potato) red and white, another type of sweet potato, Taro, cassava, chicken, rice, Papaya and bananas. They made fresh lemonade with lemons. It was such a delicious lunch. We all walked towards shark bay it was a long walk and on the way we saw the sailboat that wrecked here a couple of weeks ago. She was already stripped of everything. We took some tops to the diesel tank and water tank in case we loose one. There were 4 on this boat and Mark took the other two. It was sad to see. We took the bush walk on the way back. We walked by Josephine’s again but saw no activity and did not want to bother her. We are bringing a cake over there tomorrow to visit her. We were tired when we finally made it back to the boat and decided to watch “Cars” the cartoon movie. We thought it was cute. We went to bed very early though.
July 25, 2007 Wed
Jason worked on some boat projects this morning and I made a cake and some tomato sauce for the lunch this afternoon up at Jocelyn’s. I can’t wait to see her baby girl. She had natural childbirth. She told us that the midwife did not show up in time so her girlfriend had to give her the herb and help deliver the baby. She was up and about the next day! She is an amazing woman, always smiling. Jonah came up as well as another boater and us. We brought some food and she was making food for us too! It was a really nice chat with her and her husband and chief Sam. They taught us a lot about politics of the island and the different ways they can help their children’s children out in the future. I really had the most amazing time. She gave me a huge mat, feather, and a fan. She is the sweetest and giving person. She loves meeting new people and talking with them. She knows English and French and some German and Dutch. All learned self taught. I was tired and Jason dropped me off afterwards around 4pm. He and Jonah went out fishing. This gives me a little alone time.
July 26, 2007 Thurs
Today I stayed in all day to work on the tax return. It was a tough day trying to sort through all of the things that I have not thought about in over a year. I was in Tonga last year when I finished my tax return for 2005. So here I am in Tanna, Vanuatu working on our 2006 at least I am trying to get it done before the last deadline!! It is raining out at least so I do not feel I am missing out on too much fun! I am still missing some information, but hopefully I can finish it before we leave Vanuatu. Jason left to go fishing today. We have been without fish for a very long time and are craving it so bad. Unfortunately, he and Ross came home empty handed! All the men in the anchorage, which were not too many, left to go have a cava ceremony at the tourist Nakama which is the place in which the men meet for cava or ceremonies. They left around 3pm and were gone until well after dinner. I had cooked a large amount of food thinking he and Jonah would be hungry afterwards. I had invited Jonah over after wards for some dinner. I was beginning to worry when it was 8pm and they still had not arrived back. I was enjoying some alone time though. It had been forever since I have had some time to myself. It was very nice. Jason, Jonah, and Ross all came back to the boat when they were finished. They had not eaten anything even though food was offered because the men told them they should not eat before cava. They not only were able to enjoy drinking cava with the men but they went through the whole procedure of taking the root and making it into a powder to make the cava with. They moved from nakama to another nakama and finally ended up at the tourist one and had cava. The first round was very strong and they drank an amount in one gulp that was 2 x the amount that you would normally receive in Fiji or Tonga and 4 xs stronger!! They said instantly their mouths were numb and they were very relaxed. They drank all the cava they prepared plus the powdered cava that Jason brought. Needless to say, they were very philosophical when they were chatting back at Monkey’s Business. I fed them all and enjoyed the conversation. I guess they had a fire as well. It was hard to keep up do to the lack of preparing in advance. There was not a lot of wood where they were. They would have stayed longer but they were feeling guilty that the local men might want to get home to their families so came to our boat. It was loads of fun hanging out with them and it was late when they all finally left!
July 27, 2007 Friday
Jason and I went up to Jocelyn’s home today to deliver the pictures that we did not get to her from our celebration dinner on Wed. for her daughter’s birth. Our printer does not print on picture paper but I printed them on regular paper and then used my wine label remover to make them laminated. She really enjoyed them and we stayed and chatted with her for a while longer. Jason made 3 cups of coconut milk at her home while we were there so that we could make curry and coconut rice for dinner. Her son named Jason helped him gather the coconuts and showed him how to grate it. I already know the process so I can help Jason with the rest when we get home. We put all the grated coconut into my pot I had left at their home with the pasta. After we left her home, we went to meet up with Nelson and chatted with him for a while. He was asking us if we could give a ride to one chief and another man named Wilson to Port Villa on the island of Efate, Vanuatu. We told him we would think about it. I think we would have said yes right away if it was not for our previous experience. But, we did decide later that night to take them. After all, we were not leaving the country just taking them from one island to another. It is only an over night journey. Later that evening we went to Jonah’s boat along with Ross and Laura to have dinner. I brought a green papaya salad. We all ate and then read poetry. Jonah wanted to share all of his favorites with us as well as his favorite quotes. Laura and Ross were both involved with theatre back home so they read a lot of them as well. It was a fun evening and different from any one we have had in a long time. Jonah was very sweet too by making sure I would have a comfortable place to lie since my back has not been very well. It was a great evening.
July 28, 2007 Sat
Today I took a day off. My back was giving me a lot of trouble so I tried to give it a day off hiking around visiting people and seeing new things. Not something I wanted to do but I had to. I also decided to start doing the yeast – free diet to see if that can help my back along as well. Jason hung out with the boys for some of the day and with me the rest of the afternoon and evening.
July 29, 2007 Sun
We had a late start this morning and then went into the village with Laura and Ross to see the string band play. It is very close to their Independence Day so the band was in on the island to play for the event and came all the way to the village here to play for a while. Then they head to the ceremony at white sands for the big event and play there tomorrow. We arrived just in time to hear the last song. We are such slackers that we were late. We always end up chatting too long when we pick each other up. We also were slow because we stopped at the little market table where they had some fresh fruits and veggies out. Afterwards we talked with the band and realized we will see them tomorrow. They have a long day tomorrow since they will be playing at 4 different locations around the island! We walked up to Jocelyn and Sam’s home to let them know we are definitely going with them tomorrow and to let them know how many people. We knew she was not going to go unless we went therefore; we wanted to let her know as soon as possible. We stayed up there and hung out for a while. She always has a mat laid out for me with a pillow on it so I can lie down. She is so very sweet. She brought the baby out for Laura and Ross to see and promptly told me that she and Sam decided to name the baby after me. I went to give little Laurel a kiss on the cheek. I was so honored. They are supposed to name the child after a relative and that person is responsible for her learning to be a proper wife. She is the one that gets the child ready for their first hair cut ceremony and for the ceremony they have when they are around 12 and become a woman. So apparently, I need to return in 12 years!! I plan on writing to Jocelyn and Laurel as well as pay for her schooling. I think it is around $60 a year. It is a big honor and responsibility. It is something that has never been done. It is unheard of because of the responsibilities of the relative that the baby is named after. This evening we were exhausted and just relaxed before tomorrow’s big day!
July 30, 2007 Mon
Today is Independence Day for Vanuatu!! We had to get up very early so that we would be able to make it to the biggest celebration location before the opening ceremonies. We all met at the beach at 8am. Jonah ended up coming as well so we picked him up to give him a ride over. Jocelyn, Sam, Laurel and the five boys were all waiting for us on the beach. We all rode in the back of the truck since there was only one seat in the truck available and of course Jocelyn and baby Laurel were in there. Jocelyn is so special that she brought me a cushion and a pillow to sit on for the long and bumpy ride! I prepared by taking more medicine before we left for the day. The ride was super bumpy I ended up standing for most of the ride. It was amazing the number of people walking to the event. It took us one hour by car so it would be quite a long walk. We picked up as many people as we could fit in the back of the truck. Nelson being one of them! We had a really nice time at the first location. The opening ceremonies included the marching of the keepers of the flag and the raising of the flag. It was very nice. After that the band played a welcoming song. Sam brought us over some food. One was a fried bread of some sort and the other was fried cassava pancakes. I could not eat either because of my new yeast free thing, but the boys enjoyed the first but no one really liked the latter. Even Jocelyn said it was not good. We met a Polish couple that hung out with us for a while. We left and went to Jocelyn’s village where there was another big celebration going on. When we arrived everyone was cheering and a woman was running with the truck banging on it. She was the Grandma of Laurel. We danced and the boys went and drank cava with the men. Jocelyn told Jason to bring the Champaign we had brought for the celebration with him for the men. Laura and I were dancing with all the ladies and were tired so went and sat down for some water and all the entire village were yelling for us to come again. So up we went. Laura did an Irish jig and the people just started roaring with laughter. It was very fun. The relatives of Jocelyn brought food over for Laura and me but it had meat in it so neither of us could eat it. We gave it to our men. Laura made some chocolate chip muffins and banana bread and I brought some beer bread that I made with extra sugar so it was more like a cake. Jocelyn sent me off after she sliced it all into little pieces to pass around to the people. It was an amazing experience being there and feeling like you were part of the family. Everyone was interested to know us. We left around 4pm from the white sands area which is past the volcano and passed the entrance to the volcano where the other celebration was still going on and headed back to Resolution Bay. We arrived back to our boats around 5/6pm. We dropped off Jonah and told him if he wanted he could come over. He had only hung out with Jocelyn one other time and so he was feeling very high from all the fun of feeling like you are part of the village and the family he did not want it to end. He came over and Jason and He drank some rum and ate dinner with us and we stayed up chatting.
July 31, 2007 Tues
Today was a stormy day. Almost like the antithesis of yesterday’s weather. It was like God was making it rain for me to rest my back. I was completely shot after that long day but more importantly the rough truck ride there and back! We stayed in bed until really late morning almost noon. We watched a movie and invited Laura and Ross from New Dawn and Jonah over for movies. We watched a double feature and then Jonah left but New Dawn stayed chatting with us until very late around 1am or so. The boys were talking Xbox. Ross’s Xbox broke so he has been dying to play. He has so many more games than we do. He brought them all over. He is also so much better at playing the either Jason or I. It was a super fun and relaxing day.
August 1, 2007 Wed
We went over to New Dawn in the morning and sat chatting with them for a while. They wanted us to look at their medical kit and see if there was anything that we needed. They are slowly trying to thin out their boat since they will be selling the boat at the end of the cruising season this year. We ended up with a few things we needed and then she was going to give the peace core woman the rest to distribute as well as some other things. I had gathered a few things for Jocelyn and her family so in the afternoon we left to go run our errands. We were on our way in one dingy when my back started to spasm so I asked to be dropped back off at home to rest for the day. There was no way I would not be able to walk around. I felt very sad to be left behind and not to be able to hang out with Jocelyn today. I read my book almost all afternoon. Jonah left this afternoon for Port Villa on the Island of Efate. We will be leaving tomorrow most likely as well. We are the last two boats here in the bay of the 6 that were here.
August 2, 2007 Thurs
We prepared the boat for our journey in the early morning and Jason went to pick up the two men that were coming along as passengers. They brought us presents for taking them. They were so grateful. Ross dropped me off at the beach so I could go up and say goodbye to Jocelyn and her family. I found her in bed. She was very depressed we were leaving. We both started crying. I gave her some paper and pens so she could write to me. This is the hard part of sailing, leaving people behind. They open their hearts and homes for you and then you leave. I know it must be very hard for her. She gave me a bread maker someone had given to her to bring to her sister that lives in Port Villa. Her son carried it down for me. She wanted to give me more things but I refused them and just told her how lucky I felt to have been able to feel like part of her family. Jason picked me up and when I got back to the boat we lifted the anchor and set sail. The men were very helpful if Jason asked them to do something. We caught two small yellow fin tunas right before my nap time. I prepared one for dinner for the guys and then went to crash around 6:30. I did not get much sleep. My shift was nice a big moon but no stars. Wilson, one of the Tanna men we were taking across with us was up for some of my watch just to be out in the night air. It was a good passage. We slowed down on my watch which I was bummed about but we speed up as soon as we took down the pole. I hate having it up at night because if we need to take it down I have to wake up Jason. New Dawn was on our starboard side next to us and before I knew it they had tacked and were way behind on the port side. Our speed picked up for the rest of my shift and Jason came on around 3:30am. His shift was great too and was making great speed.
August 3, 2007 Fri
I was awoken by loud noise on deck right by my head! I peeked up top and Jason was struggling with a huge Mahi Mahi! It was at least 30 pounds. It was huge. I never saw one so big. Unfortunately, we did not get a picture. I was so shocked at the way I woke up and at how big this fish was that I forgot to grab the camera! We gave the head to the passengers since they love them. We also gave them a few pieces. We arrived in Port Villa around 2pm. We dropped them off at the dock and then proceeded to check out the town. We ended up getting really hungry by 5pm and went back to the boat to cook up some fish. We gave Jonah a piece for dinner as well. We passed out at 8pm we were so exhausted from our trip.
August 4, 2007 Sat
We woke up around 8am for the morning net on the vhf radio. We both felt so rested! We left for town by 10am so that we could get to the market before it closed at 12:30. We walked all around the town checking out the stores. It was fun. My back was not doing well though so we stopped and I had 10 min massage that really helped. I was better to continue walking around for the rest of the afternoon. We found out that the lettuce here can have a parasite on it and that you should wash it with some special stuff. Of course, this was after we ate it last night for dinner. I washed all the leaves off but not with any special solution. I just hope we are lucky! So we have 8 heads of lettuce and cannot eat it until we get this new solution. We made up a bunch of sushi and went over to New Dawn’s for dinner. We were all stuffed after the sushi and then had Laura’s cookies. I was not able to enjoy them and they looked so very delicious. They had the big button chips in them. Laura even ate some sushi and she never has eaten raw fish before. She said she liked it. We ended up staying late at their boat just talking and hanging out. It was a nice night.
August 5, 2007 Sun
Everything is closed today so the boys were going to go surfing and I was going to hang out with Laura watching chick flicks at her boat. In the morning I was cleaning the boat and Jason came back after only being gone for 2 hours. I guess Ross is not feeling well so they decided not to go after all. They are still going to watch girly movies so I went over there and Jason went to explore the surf beach. We had a super nice day. The movies were great. Ross was a good sport. Jason and I went home and cooked up some fish and then spent the rest of the evening trying to plan where we are going to go the rest of this season and where we will end up for cyclone season. We spent too much time in Fiji due to Doug’s wedding and the time we spent in the US and so we are way too far behind schedule to really make it to Thailand without missing so much that we wanted to see. We really want to spend some time in the Indonesian Islands because it has such good surfing and diving. It does not make sense for us to sail all those miles without stopping and with my back in the shape it is in right now it really is not an option. So, we will end up in Australia at the end of the year. We will go to the Solomon Islands after we finish in Vanuatu and stop in New Caledonia and then sail across to Australia. We realized that when we were talking about traveling our reason was for spending more time in places so that we could get to know the culture and the people. If we just focus on the circumnavigation we will miss out on all that. So, we may not make it all the way around, but at least we are having the kind of experiences that were our original goals of the journey!