Showing posts from April, 2017

Anchor Dilemmas, Drowning the Dinghy and Squalls Galore

 We were in much need of some peace and a whole lot of quiet after our time with the loads of kids in Santa Ana.  So we rested for a few hours before lifting anchor at 10:45 pm and motoring out of the harbor using the track we’d made coming in. Once out in open water, I hit the hay with the expectation of being awoken sometime after 2 a.m. for a watch shift.  I didn’t sleep soundly (I never do on that first night out on passage) but I also never got the telltale tap-tap-tap on my foot signaling my turn at the helm.  It was 5:45 before I stumbled out of the cabin apologetically.  Mark said he’d felt fine all night, and so had opted to let me sleep as long as he could. There were plenty of squalls to keep me busy during my watch, with winds ranging from 4.5 knots all the way up to a tense 23.  I was determined not to wake Mark for a sail change that I was capable of doing myself.  I brought in the Code Zero when the wind died down and it hung limply over the foredeck.  Our speed

Spirit House!

Here is a photo journal of our trip to the Spirit House.  This is where the village buries the dead chiefs.  Only men are allowed in the house, and it is considered a very sacred place by the local village. Local boys playing with sling shots along path to the Spirit House The Rat Pack Team   Welcome by the villagers Ladies wait outside as the men view the dead Dead chief's bones   Blonde sisters...too cute not to photograph!   Mark doing sand drawings to show kids where we are from in the USA Matt telling scary stories in front of the Spirit House Evil spirits the came to life!  Turnabout is fair play... the locals taking photos of the tourists!

Santa Ana - Economics 101

Kids playing around s/v Perry So much can change between one place and the next. There is a lot about Santa Ana that is the same as the last place - the happy, curious children, the pigs tethered to trees, the island huts built of pandanus and bamboo, the questions I’m asked - but what surprises me are the many differences. Kids playing off the back of our boat The faces themselves are different.  In the reef islands, many people resemble those of Fiji or Vanuatu - kinky hair, dark skin, flat noses.  But here I notice that there is a wide variety of facial features and there is an element of Aboriginal or East Indian ancestry that is apparent in the deeper skin tones, thin noses and calmer curl to their hair.  It is strikingly obvious that the people here came from a different people.  Much like the small island in the Reef Islands where the chief and many of the villagers appear to be direct descendants of the Polynesian people.  The Solomon Islands are turning out t

Cheers to Fourteen Years!!

Dear Mark,  I’ve just finished watching one of my chick flicks, and Bridget Jones said something that resonated deep within me.  (Not at all who I expected to get marital wisdom from, but, oh well!)  She said, “Sometimes you love a person for all the ways they’re different from you.  Sometimes you love someone just because they feel like home. “ I know that we approach life so differently.  We don’t often react to situations the same way or go about things at the same pace or with the same motivations.  And that gets hard.  In my Hollywood ‘romantic comedy’ fantasy world, I want us to be in unison always, to understand each other’s hearts and flirt in a constant state of relational bliss.   But…that’s RomCom...not real life.   Real life doesn’t follow a script or always give us goosebumps or that lump-in-your-throat feeling when everything works out perfectly.  It sometimes is a tense, silent stand off - both of us behind our heavy shields of pride and fear.  It som

Santa Anna Passage

It was a squally trip with uncomfortable seas ahead of the beam and winds ranging from gale force to barely a wisp. After so much downwind sailing, our bodies and emotions rebelled against the discomfort. On the morning after the first bumpy night, every part of me was screaming, “I’m done with this!” Mark listened to me cry that morning about how I just missed my friends and family and how I wanted to be back on land - in a neighborhood, with a yard and all the conveniences of American life - take out food, grocery stores, solid ground, a home that didn’t bump and roll with every wave. I was weary from the movement - the rocking of the present sea state and the long-term nomadic life we have been living for the past 5 years. As usual, though, when we dropped anchor in Santa Ana and were greeted by dozens of smiling children swimming out to say ‘hello’, much of those woes were forgotten. “It’s a lot like childbirth,” a fellow cruiser said as we stood onshore, “you forget how h

Mola Village, Reef Islands

When we picked up anchor and moved to another portion of the Reef Islands, we were pretty ‘villaged’ out, meaning we’d been spending a lot of time trading, fixing, teaching, and tok-tokking.  It is such a privilege and adventure to come to these far-away places and see such remote communities who welcome us with open arms, but it can be overwhelming and exhausting, too.  It is pressure, knowing we are representing a community of cruisers and possibly forming ideas and assumptions in the minds of these people of what all foreigners are like during the few days we’re here.  We are careful to leave a good impression, show kindness and share what we can with them. We try to smile at each canoe that comes along offering more shells or coconuts or snake beans to trade (even though we’ve had to throw so many papayas overboard after dark, because we can’t eat it all fast enough!)  When they come to trade and are not asking for something without offering something in return, then we wa