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Main Menu -> SALTS -> Pacific Odyessy - 2007 Offshore -> Pacific Odyssey - Leg 2

Pacific Odyssey - Leg 2

Log of Pacific Grace

July 12th 2007 @ 23:10
21°18'29.88 N 157°51'54.00 W

Ship's Log:
It is the first night of Leg 2; we have a wonderful group of trainees,
we sense it already.  It feels very good to have the ship full of people again and the crew feel more rested.  By 0830 this morning trainees were starting to assemble for 1000 boarding, and by 1200 everyone had showed up. On the dock already friendships were being started as trainees waited and shared, while crew finished off last minute jobs.  After lunch Skipper and Jordan briefed trainees on some of the things they need to know.  Jose led an exercise where you spend 3 minutes discussing yourself with your neighbour.  Then, in turn, you tell the group about the person you just spent 3 minutes listening to.  It´s a great way to begin our knowledge about each other and what comes out can be quite funny, sometimes even incorrect
depending upon our ability to remember. After supper the SALTS rap video created by trainees of Leg 1 was shown; it´s quite amusing.  We were hoping to have a Mug-Up but the restaurant started up with loud live music of their own just as we were about to begin.  We will try again tomorrow if we´re feeling up to it; the first day out can be a bit rough on most of us as we get accustomed to the motion.  At the end of Leg 1, SALTS had a chance to review the invoices related to communication between the office and the ship.  Unfortunately we are quite a bit over budget and so there´s been a request to shorten the logs.  Today will probably be the last long log for awhile thanks to a wireless connection on the deck of the Grace due to our proximity to the restaurant!  It will force me to be a little more concise in my descriptions of our life at sea; not necessarily a bad thing.
Trainees seem excited to begin; enough thinking and planning, buying and packing, it´s time to live the experience.  We have quite a few returning coastal trainees as well as a couple of trainees from the previous offshore. Jeremy has joined us from the Quest program, as watch leader, and we are incredibly fortunate to have Sarah Warburton stay on for another leg as supporter in so many things.  She has sailed as watch officer on the last offshore, and has cooked and watch officered coastally. This, along with her wonderful countenance and patience and general interest in people, make her invaluable as part of our crew.  We are all benefiting from her being here. Trainees tonight had a final chance to eat ice cream, shop for last minute items, go out in the town etc.  I noticed some just taking the time to start their journals.  The first night is an experience as everyone starts to settle in.  Those big bags, all nicely packed with everything one needs, finally have to be unpacked, organized into a small area and the stuff begins to get used.  Using the heads for the first time, getting ready for bed, along with a lot of other people, getting used to a new sleeping space, possibly on deck, and learning and getting used to a new ship´s schedule etc., it can be a big deal; the last 24 hrs. has offered up many new changes already.  Tomorrow we are hoping to leave after lunch; when everyone feels as ready as they can be, bunks are set up, stuff is secure.  Skipper has been checking the weather and it looks good, north easterly winds, light
near the equator.  My attempt at writing earlier in the evening hasn´t
worked yet, it´s late, and Skipper is asleep on deck.  Fortunately for him, I can just press the SEND button and you will have something to read with your morning coffee. We are all looking forward to this leg, we feel ready and are excited to get to know the trainees and create a community with them.  Good night, Bonice...


Observations:
clear, sunny skies, light winds
July 13th 2007 @ 21:20
20°31'59.88 N 157°34'48.00 W

Heading 140°
Speed 6

Ship's Log:
Great day of sailing today. Not to many upset tummies. All are adjusting well to the motion of the boat and life at sea. We have many coastal trainees aboard this leg so the transition in Honolulu has been almost seamless. With one last Mango Citrus from Starbucks we were off by about 1230hrs. Sail was soon set once we cleared the harbour and we have been enjoying the breeze ever since. All are glad to be free from the big city and are looking forward to quieter stops ahead. Tony, Bo has taken a early night.


Observations:
Clear, choppy sea, moderate
trade
July 14th 2007 @ 20:30
18°46'54.12 N 156°40'4.80 W

Heading 176°
Speed 6.4

Ship's Log:
It´s the third night, the engine is on as the winds are very fickle, routine is slowly beginning to take shape, and people are starting to feel better and getting used to life and the motion at sea.  We all feel it to some degree after some time on land.  The trysail  
has made its debut already, we raised it last night, after lowering the main and just repeated that pattern again.  It is safer to have the trysail up at night, there is less square footage of sail, and the sky looks somewhat ominous ahead.  We could be in for some squalls.  We are trying to make as much ´easting´ in our direction as possible so we can  
have a nice passage down to the Marquesas, in French Polynesia; we are trying  
to avoid strong headwinds.  Life on board is at a low flame although fewer trainees were sick and more meals were eaten below. Books and journals are starting to make their appearances and discussions are on the increase.  Initially, we are pretty tired and just trying to get used to the motion, taking care of ourselves in the most basic of ways.  
After a few days of this, life emerges, there is energy and the will to move on to the
next level and begin to get to know each other and interact.  This is where the fun begins.  The sun is very hot and shade is limited, already some sunburns covered in lava lavas (sarongs).  One of our lines lost its fish and lure, hauling the fish in. Excitement and disappointment in quick succession.  We have Chase aboard who joins Tavish in his avid  
interest and knowledge of fishing.  He brought along some new lures for us to try.  Yesterday was Claire´s birthday and we celebrated with singing and rice krispie squares; I was surprised how many people felt well enough to eat them.  Darcy would like to wish his mom a belated Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday Mom. Jeremy enjoyed his first meal today, a step in the positive direction.   Dolphins and flying fish visited us today. Flying fish fly in schools, swooping about 15cm above the water. If we are sailing you can actually hear the schools make a ´swish´ sound. There were about 50 dolphins playing around the ship; some performing with flips and high arcs.  Quite something for the first time.  For most of the day we were in sight of the island of Hawaii.  The winds were very  
unpredictable and light; we´re hoping that once we clear Hawaii, the familiar tradewinds will resume and take us on our course to the Marquesas.  Good night, Bonice



Observations:
mostly cloudy with intense sunny periods, changing winds
July 15th 2007 @ 19:30
16°18'29.88 N 155°40'12.00 W

Heading 144°
Speed 7.2

Ship's Log:
Today we continued to motor sail as winds remain light.  The air was cooler this evening and we were wearing our hoodies and fleece jackets to keep warm.  Tonight after dishes we held a sunday service.  We were all bundled tightly together in the stern while Karen steered.  Songbooks were passed out and those of us with headlamps or those who knew the words, sang along. Gillian and Jeremy played guitar.  The engine was turned off so we could enjoy sailing quietly, albeit slowly.  There is something very special about
sailing at night, under a very starry sky.  It is one of the many special parts of offshore.  The moon is just a very slight crescent moon, so the extra light is minimal; we can see many stars.  Some of the trainees and crew were trying to find and name some of the planets, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, and constellations we learned to identify at Mauna
Kea, on Hawaii.  We can still see the Big Dipper, as well as the Southern Cross.  Star gazing during night watch is great; it´s quiet, one has time, and the sky is there, ready to be read and better understood. Supper tonight was delicious and a true group effort.  Gillian had help from Tavish, Elske, Jamie, Ariel, Rob as well as a few others.  They
served up roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots and yorkshire pudding! This is
quite a feat on a moving ship.  Though the motion is somewhat less than yesterday, one needs to continually think about it or it will surprise you and you´ll fall or bump into something or someone. Today we caught a dorado, or mahi mahi, or dolphin fish; all three refer to the same fish.  In the water it shines blue and yellow, beautiful, but
loses its colour as soon as it is pulled out of the water.  It has a rather big, squarish head, compared to its long slim body.  It weighed about 15 lbs.  Chase brought it in and filleted it.  Catching a fish on board is always an event; we look forward to eating it tomorrow.  
Today quite a few of the trainees bucket showered for the first time.  We have a black horse feed bucket, attached with a line to a carabeener that gets clipped into the rigging.  The bucket gets tossed over the side and hauled up and the cleaning starts, one bucket at a time. It takes some getting used to and it´s well worth it.  We feel pretty clean afterwards.  Right now on deck around the helmsman there are several discussions happening.  Karen informs me that on one side we have politics and economics, on the other socialism, and behind the wheelbox, a discussion on relationships . . .  this is just the beginning.  The mood on the ship is good; people seem happy and we are looking forward to sailing without the engine and getting into the routine of this offshore passage.  Good night, Bonice


Observations:
cloudy and sunny skies, light winds which were cooler in the evening
July 17th 2007 @ 21:00
12°7'54.12 N 152°40'4.80 W

Heading 140°
Speed 7.3

Ship's Log:
Jordan and Skipper are working together on a ´Sometimes . . . ´ birthday card for Sara who turns 27 tomorrow; there´s lots of joking and laughing in the process, a good sound.  Jordan has had his workday lengthened, trying to remove the stovepipe close to a deck leak, and Skipper´s been closely following the weather.  They skipped together in the morning, which inspired others to come up with ways to exercise. Jose, Tavish, and Darcy found a lashdown line at the after end of the foresail boom from which they can do chin-ups.  There is some stretching happening, and a lot of talking about stretching and possibly yoga.  Once again, we´ll see. Karen is on watch with her 2 helmsmen/women, as well as quite a group of other trainees enjoying the coolness of the evening.  We can tell we are
getting closer to the equator as it gets dark earlier and earlier.
Soon it will be dark by 1830, and that will last for several months; we think of you back home with your nice long evenings.  Claire and Genna S. shared their life stories.  There was a lot of laughing from the hold table when Genna answered the question "what attracts you in a man?" Claire, it turns out, is an expert on anything related to
Sesame Street. Chatting with Adam, he admitted he thought he wouldn´t get sick or sunburned, yet he succumbed to both. He laughed and said, "I think I´ll just keep my mouth shut, see what happens and
keep talking to people, getting to know them."  He would like to work
behind the scenes in film or theatre productions. Sara listened in to
a very interesting conversation between Jamie and Josh on night watch
about the war in Afghanistan. She was impressed with their knowledge
and the ability it allowed them to form viable opinions.  There is a lot of reading happening, some trainees are on their second book.  It
has inspired my boys and now we find Jacob and Noah with their noses
in a book too. Water continues to spray over the port rail and if you run your hand along anything forward of the mainmast, you can feel and see the salt.  Showers are happening more frequently as the water temperature is wonderful and bodies are hot and sweaty.  The wind is blowing quite hard because of headwinds and the motion has increased; we are now steeply heeled over to the starboard side.  Walking on the deck is calculated and salad tends to blow off the plate if you´re the watch eating on deck. Jeremy lead a discussion today on Stewardship and the Environment. Sara and Antony continued with Senior and Junior lessons.  Trainees are starting to get some of the oral tests signed off in their log books.  At about 1530 we lowered the trysail and raised a single reefed main. We were able to turn off the engine and continue to make good speed and the heading we
need to reach Hiva Oa. Aaaaaah . . . there is a big difference when
the boat sails just under her sails. She glides, she´s free to move as she needs. The motion is pleasant, even though we are heeled over quite a bit. Lee cloths are definitely in use for the port-side sleepers. Today I have a journal entry from Arielle. She wrote about
her first night watch, leaving Honolulu: "...a cool wet hand
touches my right foot. I hear my name whispered. It´s Elske...she´s
waking me up for night watch. Before I fell asleep I had gathered a few things next to my bunk that I would need, a hoodie, pj pants for the slightly cooler breeze at night, my gloves...my hands were feeling a touch raw from hauling on salty sail ropes...and my life vest...I slip on my warmer layer over my t-shirt and boxer pajamas... carry my life vest above the bodies of other sleeping trainees...I squeeze by and crawl to the companionway ladder...slide into my life vest...climb up the ladder...clip onto the lifeline [lifelines run from the stern to the bow, port and starboard, and all crew and
trainees must clip into these once it is dark]. My nightwatch partner,
Genna, has already made it back to the wheel. I stumble drunkenly back and forth along the deck, in the waves, to the stern...The night on a boat is somewhat indescribable...stars are as bright as a full moon night might be in the city. Tonight there is no moon. The sails are visible in the starlight and I hear them crack and flap in the wind. The only sounds are the wind, the waves, the sails and the squeaking of the rigging as the sails rise and fall with the waves."  Arielle continues with more observations and I will type them in tomorrow as I am already well over my quota of words. The feeling on the ship is good; people seem very happy to be here. I hear lots of laughing and see many people interacting with each other. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
sunny skies with cloudy periods, intensely hot, stronger winds
July 18th 2007 @ 21:30
10°24'47.88 N 151°3'36.00 W

Heading 143°
Speed 5.2

Ship's Log:
It was a cloudier day, with regular bouts of rain, a nice change from the intensity of the sun. A small squall came through during the night with the jib being lowered and raised several times as squalls often come with an increase in wind.  It rained during the night as well. During Karen´s 1800-1200 watch there were several showers strong and long enough to soap and rinse in, although Karen and the trainees had to wait, shivering, and covered in soap before they could rinse, as one shower stopped and continued 10 minutes later. It´s a wonderful feeling to just stand in the rain and let yourself get soaked; it´s fresh water, something that feels so good after deck buckets of salt water. There were more activities happening below decks. Jeremy taught the Juniors Rules of the Road and this evening there was a large game of Apples to Apples.  We celebrated Sara´s birthday today. She was given a beautiful handmade by Karen card, signed by all trainees and crew. Carolyn and Elske baked double chocolate chip mint cookies instead of cake as the oven is so heeled over, the cake tends to bake thin and hard on one side, tall and soft on the other side.  The cookies were delicious. The evening air is very comfortable and many of us stay out as long as we can, in our harnesses, clipped in to the safety line in the stern. The conversations I´ve been a part of today are such a big part of my day; sometimes it´s the main thing I do in a day, besides check on the kids who are very happy and having fun with trainees. Josh started The Bourne Supremacy yesterday and has nearly finished it. Today more chatting than reading was happening and once again, a lot of laughing around the tables at mealtimes. The jib was lowered again this evening as the wind strengthened and at points we were making up to 7.7kts. The wind changes regularly though, although the heel on the ship remains quite steep. Eating in the foc´sle is quite an experience. Today we had soup and it was absolutely necessary to only half fill the bowls and to keep them in one´s hand, as otherwise spillage would occur. The juice jug slipped off the edge, it happens quickly; we are forced to learn fast. Arielle led yoga stretches after supper on the after deck and on the after cabin
house. Jen, Jose, Sam, Darcy, Rob, Sara, Tav and Simon all took
part. Tonight Darcy spent his time on the wheel conning Simon to
stay on course. Trainees have incredible patience with the younger kids; both sides seem to be growing in the exchange. I will finish with the remainder of Arielle´s account of night watch from her journal: "As the large rolling waves approach the port side of the ship, they resemble large mythical creatures. They are dark navy blue with the occasional shiny patch on the ripples. The Pacific Grace slips over them and rolls down the other side. The phosphorescence in the waves look like reflections of stars, or maybe they are. I take my turn at the wheel, keeping a compass heading of 140 degrees. Behind us a faint glow can be seen on a patch of the
horizon. It is the lights of Honolulu reflecting off the clouds. We
had left Oahu that day after noon. It will be about two weeks before
we see land again. Until then we will be under sail day and night
keeping company with the waves." This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.   


Observations:
mostly cloudy skies with rain showers, changing winds
July 19th 2007 @ 21:30
8°52'23.99 N 149°25'1.20 W

Heading 131°
Speed 6.3

Ship's Log:
Well, I am sweating away at 2130hrs with the hatches wide open; it is smoking hot. The engine room is 55 degrees Celsius. At 0230 last night we had to start the engine as the wind was weakening. This morning we lowered the main and set the trysail to save wear on the mainsail because it was just flogging around in not enough wind. At about 1430 we lowered all sail, turned off the engine and had our first ´swim stop.´ Our latitude was 9N13.5, our longitude was 149W48.8, the depth of the water was 15,000 feet. It was incredibly wonderful! We all sensed it. The blue of the water is indescribable; a deep, deep, concentrated and solid, yet with light travelling through it, royal blue...just so beautiful. We wore our masks and floated immobile in the water, just staring at its blueness.  Nearly everyone swam, even the three youngest boys. Some trainees and crew tried to climb the bobstays, there are always the competitive ones seeing who can climb up the highest, there were some who jumped off the bowsprit, drifting bouyantly until they reached amidships where the rope ladder waited, there were trainees who climbed the shrouds and jumped from 10 ft up. We divide the swim period into three groups, our watches, with each watch swimming for 15 minutes
while the other two watches stand ´shark watch.´ It was the highlight of the day. I have had swimstops on previous offshores, and I´ve always enjoyed them, but I forgot how incredibly amazing they are, how completely satisfying and yet so simple an activity. By supper the sea was glassy, with flat, oily-looking swells. There is a gently rolling, side to side motion throughout the ship. We should all sleep well tonight, except for the heat. During a celestial navigation
lesson, Skipper took out the ship log and demonstrated how speed was
measured 200 years ago. We have been watching the cloud formations the
past few days. They are varied and very beautiful. The big grey,
heavy ones bring rain, which we enjoyed this morning, remaining outside, getting wet, staying somewhat cooler until the sun returned to dry us off. Juniors wrote their exams today; Sara said the marks look good. The moon is waxing gloriously. It shines behind us and sends a beautiful ray onto the sea, a wide band of light. The sky tonight is filled with stars as the night is clear. It really is quite something. The night air has absolutely no coolness to it; I´d say it was body temperature, you can´t really feel it; another beautiful night. Bonice  


Observations:
sunny skies, very hot, no wind
July 20th 2007 @ 20:45
7°37'59.99 N 147°32'6.00 W

Heading 132°
Speed 6.7

Ship's Log:
Last night turned out to be the warmest night so far; quite a few of us had to go on deck sometime during the night to cool off and unstick ourselves from our bedsheets. I thought today might be the
same but it turned out quite pleasant, always hot, but there was a light breeze and we had some shade from the sails. We set up a tarp over the after end of the main gaff and the wheel, and stretched it out to the stanchions; this allows our helmsman and watch officer to
be more comfortable. A 30 minute rain shower this morning kept a
group of about 10 of us cool, cold even. We were soaked through, guys
in board shorts, Gillian in a thin dress, others in a bathing suit with shorts over top. Tavish, Sam and Tristan pulled out a tarp and tried to set it up so water would collect and they could have a decent fresh water rinse. It took at least 3 tries to get enough water just to wash their faces, but the amusement it afforded the rest of us watching from the stern was immeasureable. Arwen and Sam had bucket showers after breakfast and Arwen ran her hand and hair along every rain-soaked surface gathering fresh water with which to rinse. Also amusing to watch. Chase brought a fishing rod and we caught our first fish on it today, a dorado, or mahi mahi. One never tires of seeing this beautifully coloured fish; a body of blue, yellow, and greens with small aqua-blue dots overlayed. Inside was a half digested flying fish and Tav and Chase were able to find the ear bones of the flying fish but not those of the dorado, though they tried and found many other interesting parts. My three boys were fascinated and watched from beginning to end, wanting to dry out the eyes and keep them, feeling the heart continue to pulse, asking what each bit was for; an excellent biology lesson. There was news this morning of a terrific stash party held by about 7 trainees, in the bow, clipped in, late in the evening yesterday. Claire was sleeping underneath where they were partying and said it was hilarious, the things she heard. Roaring laughter from Tristan and Tavish could be heard by the skipper, lying in his bunk below. Skipper held a celestial navigation lesson with 10 senior trainees in which each person took two sights, one morning and one afternoon. Elske reduced their sights for them which provides the information needed for plotting their positions tomorrow. At about 1500 hrs we lowered sail and had another amazing swim stop. Once again we swam in our watches, marvelling and exclaiming at the qualities of the ocean, the colour, the feel, the temperature, the clarity. Jose, Chase, Jeremy and Antony swam under the boat to the other side. Port Watch tried to organize themselves to take underwater pictures of the entire group.  Today we were joined by about 4 different types of jellyfish.  They stung minimally, like prickles from a haystack. With a mask we were able to take a close up look at them and then look them up in our marine life book. We all felt pretty good, pretty clean, and very refreshed. The hold is very warm and I am amazed at our cooks´ ability to remain below and prepare our meals. My hat is off to them, they do an amazing job. Jordan as well, just continues to work away in his ´office,´ the 55degree Celsuis engine room, patient, enduring, keeping all the systems in excellent running order. I admire the attitude he has toward what he does and why he does it. The motion of the ship is quite stable today, and we were commenting on it this evening. If, though, the boat experienced this motion coastally, it would be considered quite extreme; like anything, it´s all relative. It is a beautiful night, a half-moon, a clear sky, we saw the southern cross early in the evening already, and the big dipper. 
People are in tank tops, chatting in smaller groups, some serious,
some not (there is tremendous laughter happening above my head; I
don´t think they are aware I can hear everything they are saying through the open hatch!), people are reading with the use of their headlamps, Karen is reading out loud to the people around the wheel, and there are those getting ready for bed and nightwatch. This will have to be it, I´m way over my quota again, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny skies, some clouds, some rain showers, no wind
July 21st 2007 @ 22:15
5°39'6.01 N 145°20'34.80 W

Heading 136°
Speed 7

Ship's Log:
It started out a clear and hot morning, though much of the day was cloudy. Port watch had a chance to practice their man overboard drill when our one and only black horse bucket fell overboard.  Arielle pointed at the bucket just as she was taught and the
bucket was retrieved on the first drive by, with the pike pole. A great collaborative effort. Tavish and Chase pan-fried the dorado today in an egg mixture and seasoned flour coating. It was incredibly tasty; it melted in our mouths, there´s never enough. Skipper, Jordan, Sara, Elske and Becca began preparations for our equator crossing in about 4 days. For those whose first time it is crossing the equator, there is an initiation ceremony which will turn them from greenhorns into shellbacks. The prep committee consists of those who have previously crossed; fortunately, once you have been initiated, you never have to go through it again. Trainees and crew will receive a special SALTS stamp embossed in their log books, to remember the event. Gillian and Sara received haircuts today;  the hair is being saved to be used in the near future. This afternoon we lowered the trysail as the wind seemed to be picking up. The main was set and we had a chance to sail without the engine with the already up, fore, jumbo and jib. Soon the sky turned an ominous grey and blue-black colour, the wind was increasing in strength, the air cooled and the water became grey. Some of us stripped down to bathing suits, others grabbed their raingear, and we stood for 20 minutes on deck watching the storm approach. It was quite beautiful; the crew was on deck the entire time watching different sections of the ship, preparing to lower sail, while Skipper stood in the stern watching the
squall come, continually checking all around him. Just before the wind was at its strongest, the jib came down, though we continued to make good speed and sailed through the squall. The rain had already
started and it felt like small hailstones, hitting our skin hard and
cold. The sea was impressive, very deep grey, with the wind blowing over the top of it, giving off white spray; quite beautiful really. Jordan had the video camera ready in its new waterproof
housing and was filming from the foredeck. Within 15 minutes the
squall had blown itself over and calm was restored on the boat. We continued under sail until after supper when our speed dropped below 4
knots, the engine was turned on and the mainsail was swapped for the
trysail. Arwen made eatmores and Arielle and Gillian had squeezed
lemons for lemonade and left it to cool in the freezer. We sang up on deck in the stern, under the decklights, the moon and the stars, with the sails drawing us forward; one of the many moments to remember. Jose and Antony played guitar and mandolin while Tavish and Noah played the drum. This group loves to sing and we sang for an hour after which the Mug-up was passed around. Delicious. The rain started
fast and hard soon after and Karen, Elske and Chris were left to get
completely soaked in the squall. Their voices sounded happy though, fresh water is always welcome, even at 10:30 at night! Attitude is everything in many things we learn to put up with living on the ship, and it´s always worth it. Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mainly cloudy with sunny periods, a few rain squalls
July 22nd 2007 @ 21:15
4°38'6.00 N 143°46'58.80 W

Heading 127°
Speed 5.1

Ship's Log:
Today was a somewhat more trying day, though each day has its easier and not-so-easy parts. Last night we had wind squalls with lashing rain that lasted 1 1/2 hours; the sky was very dark all around the boat, trainee Jamie said she couldn´t see anything, it was probably the blackest night she had ever experienced. Because we had to keep all the hatches and skylights closed during the long squalls, the temperature below was quite unbearable, most of us were uncomfortably hot, wanting to go on deck in the rain to cool off. In the early morning the wind died to near nothing, then it went to SE and we were heading into it, making very little headway. At noon we altered course more easterly to try to increase our speed and to ease the motion somewhat. The motion is extreme again, fore and aft as well as side-to-side. Some of the trainees felt seasick again; not nice. The sky remained cloudy for most of the day which was a nice change from the intense sun. Katie made 2 batches of 2 litres of yogourt for the first time today, in the new Yogotherm cannisters.  Good game of ´Big Bootie,´ a clapping game, happening on deck
this afternoon. Tonight we held a service in the stern, turned the engine off for an hour (the boat set her own course back to Victoria) and sang some songs, listened to Jeremy tell us ´his story´ and to Skipper read a chapter out of Brian McLaren´s  "The Story we Find Ourselves In."  All very interesting to think about, provided us with more questions to look into. I was reminded of how much I had planned on doing, how little of it I am accomplishing. I hear the same from others: "We thought there would be so much time out here."  The days go by quickly, we spend most of it talking with one another, which is wonderful. Being out at sea though is also an excellent place and time to think, to read, to explore ideas, to grow in areas we may not have the time for ashore, yet...even here, I realize, I need to schedule it in, make a point of doing it. Till tomorrow, good night, Bonice.   


Observations:
cloudy skies, headwinds
July 23rd 2007 @ 21:30
3°40'0.01 N 142°40'4.80 W

Heading 140°
Speed 4.4

Ship's Log:
Today was a quiet day, though like most days, it passed quickly.  There was cloud for most of the day and the wind continues to head us, though it changes directions slightly every now and then. The plan is still to try and make the Marquesas, though if the headwinds continue much longer, we will have to bear off more towards the
Tuamotus; we do not have enough fuel to keep on motoring to make longitude 140, before heading more southerly. We are motorsailing under trysail, fore and jumbo. Tonight the motion has begun to ease somewhat; a nice change, especially for the girls in the foc´sle where the motion is more keenly felt. Jen fell out of her bunk last night; partly her fault she laughed, not strictly due to the motion or lack of a leecloth. Jen also shared her lifestory with forewatch
today. Carolyn made a delicious bean salad and vinaigrette with Katie for lunch, something Karen had been looking forward to. Crib is being played regularly, below and above decks. Rob beat Karen in a very close match, just before supper. Jordan started ropework with the Seniors, teaching a short and a long splice. Jose taught the Intermediates their chartwork, then gave them some practice plotting a
course on a chart with navigation triangles and dividers. Chase spent
a few hours up the mainmast, by the hounds leathering the fisherman peak halyard for chafe. There is lots of reading happening. Workwatch
started sanding and oiling the hold hatch and making more baggywrinkle. We have had the chance to see dolphins twice. They are different to the dolphins seen previously; these are very small and are often in larger groups. They seem very playful, making large jumps and turns in the air. Arielle and Karen saw booby birds circling low over the water, then diving suddenly for their meal. Flying fish are a regular part of the sealife we see. Yesterday we found a dead one behind the fiferail; it gave us a good chance to see one close up. It is a mild night, very pleasant, not too many stars due to the clouds. There are clusters of people around the wheel, on the seat lockers and on the after house, chatting, laughing; a good
sound. Spray still comes regularly over the bow of the ship, running
toward the break and occasionally surprising someone coming out of the
hatch. We are praying for calmer weather to cross the equator. On other offshores we have been able to swim over the equator, which
was quite memorable. The ´crossing the line´ ceremony works well
on a calm sea as well. Pray for us, we are very close. After the
equator we are looking forward to some better sailing. Thanks for staying with us, I will encourage the trainees to contribute some
of their journal material for you. Good night, Bonice.   


Observations:
mostly cloudy, somewhat cooler, contrary winds
July 24th 2007 @ 21:30
2°16'59.99 N 141°30'54.00 W

Heading 180°
Speed 4.5

Ship's Log:
The weather we are experiencing is very different than what we expected and have experienced before. The winds have been steadily increasing all day, with huge spray coming regularly over the bow, showering the ship forward of the break. Mid-afternoon the wind moved
more into the east allowing us to change our course in a more southerly direction. We are now headed to the Marquesas, hopefully continuing to make enough easting to visit them. The temperature has cooled. Last week I was not envying Starboard watch who did the evening dishes; it was very hot below decks with all the rain squalls and closing of the hatches. I was not looking forward to our turn at supper dishes this week. But, we have been fortunate with cooler weather and no squalls. Tonight most of the crew and trainees were wearing longer pants and hoodies. It reminded me of sailing between Costa Rica and the Galapagos with the Humboldt current also making the air and water cooler. Last night what started out as a pretty tame time of cleaning dishes, turned into a rousing game of towel whipping. Darcy and Tavish were key players and quite proficient at it, they have the marks to prove it. It is difficult to do a whole lot when there is so much motion and hard bumping of water against the hull. Today was filled with reading and playing games. Arielle made a pot of tea and joined Rob and James in a game of Catan in the hold. Lexy practiced guitar in the stern, Chris has nearly finished his book, Jeremy lead a discussion on a Christian view toward the environment, and Jose did some chartwork exercises with the Intermediates. Tavish, Elske and Tristan took a sight of the sun and the moon mid-afternoon and were able to plot their position quite accurately. Tomorrow is Katie and Jose´s birthdays and there are all kinds of hushed preparations taking place. I will relate them tomorrow. We have a great group of trainees on board; many are very self-tending, coming with books to read, ideas of what they want to do during their time on the ship. Everyone seems to get along well and we continue to find new things to talk about with each other.  Good night, Bonice. 


Observations:
mainly cloudy, strong winds, cooler temperatures
July 25th 2007 @ 21:30
0°16'6.00 N 141°3'7.20 W

Heading 172°
Speed 7.3

Ship's Log:
It has been a very full and wonderful day. For Jose it started early with his watch, all in costume, surprising him at 0130, tackling him, dressing him up, and setting a duck tape hat on his head, very cleverly crafted by Darcy. For at least an hour the best stash/ birthday party took place, while all the other watches slept unknowingly on. There was hot chocolate, Ghirardelli chocolate, mini oreos, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, candy, almonds, just to name some of the fare enjoyed. Forewatch sat around the helmsman, laughing, talking and completely enjoying each others company; it was very good. We continue to sail toward the equator and will reach it in just over 2 hours. Unfortunately we are moving too fast to be able to swim across the equator as well as it will be close to midnight.  We lowered the trysail and raised a single reefed main and jib topsail and were able to keep the same course and increase our speed, and...turn off the engine! Aaaaaah, what a difference that makes. The motion is still very intense and one can never not think about it, but the general feeling is more peaceful and the ship seems to move more freely. By now, the jib topsail is down again, lowered by Chris and Rob, as we were heeling over quite far and taking on too much
water. The water continues to spray over the entire foredeck and down into the hold, foc´sle and even after cabin hatches. It was a good day to sit on deck, watch the ocean, read a book, chat with friends, and enjoy the perfect temperature. At about 1630 the girls and 4 guys dressed as girls, sang a personalized song to Jose, written by Karen and Elske. It went to the tune of ´Those were the days´ switched to ´Those were Jose´s.´ Very funny and everyone joined in the chorus. Katie picked a favorite breakfast, yogurt and granola with fruit, while Jose chose the supper, Shepherd´s Pie. Gillian did a great job. Arwen and Mary baked close to 100 chocolate cupcakes and iced them.  After dishes we had a suprise dance party for Katie in the hold with strobes and headlamps flashing, other lights off, and Tav and Jose providing the beat on the drum. Katie loved it. It was Jose´s turn to tell his lifestory and be interrogated today and forewatch took good advantage of finding out everything they could; it was good fun.  Tomorrow will be another full day with the equator crossing. We are sailing along very quickly, making good time, at times up to 7.6 kts, probably the fastest we´ve moved this leg. The sky is clear and there are many stars and a glorious, huge, orange moon. Today has been a day of laughing, I still hear a group of girls laughing on deck, some getting sprayed and laughing harder, a good sound. Until tomorrow, enjoy your non-moving beds, good night, Bonice. 


Observations:
clear skies, strong winds, comfortable temperature
July 26th 2007 @ 21:00
2°22'5.99 S 140°42'46.80 W

Heading 170°
Speed 6.5

Ship's Log:
Another full day, another day dealing with the boat moving intensely  fore and aft, with an occasional deep starboard roll. Motion, the  boat is all about it lately. We can´t imagine not thinking about it; it is a part of our thoughts in every small thing we undertake. We crossed the equator last night at 2345hrs, when it was still Jose and Katie´s birthday; they were quite thrilled about that. Just before we reached the 00degrees00.0 mark on the GPS, the wake-up call was given and nearly everyone came on deck to watch the ship cross the ´magical line.´ From Arielle´s journal: "We were going 6-7 knots with three sails up and no engine. The countdown began...10, 9, 8, aaah [the GPS decided to fail for a few moments] 3,2,1, EQUATOR! We all cheered and whoo-hooed and several flash bulbs went off. We are now in the southern hemisphere with some good southeast tradewinds off the port side. I climbed down to my bunk and quickly fell asleep." The morning brought strong winds with the Skipper repeatedly asking, ´do you think it´s dying at all?´ looking for a chance to give some of the working rigging a reprieve. We sailed along strongly at 7+ knots until our foresail ripped during lunch. One of the rat boards on the starboard fore shrouds had come loose on one side and had  created a chafe point on the foresail. Jose noticed it, he was on watch, and the foresail was lowered and temporarily patched. It was raised an hour later just before King Neptune appeared. We were somewhat worried that King Neptune(Jordan) would be displeased that we had crossed the equator without his permission. We kneeled, waiting, blindfolded (to fool him we´d been that way since before the
equator, thus still authentically green horns), and he announced
himself with a very wet spray from the deck hose. He came with his
entourage: Queen Amphitrite (Rob), princesses Anenome, Starfish and
Urchin (Elske, Bec and Arwen), Judge Moonsnail (Sara), and guards Muscle, Moray and Limpet (Jacob, Noah and Simon). These ´helpers´ have crossed the line before, and are thus, shell backs. The next two hours were filled with globs of goopy potions, molasses and tallow, slop, wet toilet paper etc. wrapped, thrown, applied etc. to each of the terrified trainees waiting to be initiated. Lots of laughing, lots of mess...just what King Neptune likes. The deck hose stood by so those newly initiated could take a good rinse. Katie had a delicious supper of ham and scalloped potatoes ready, once we´d all had a chance to clean up ourselves and the ship. In two days we hope to be in Nuka Hiva, if we keep up this speed. We are making good time, with spray still coming over the ship regularly, even over the stern of the boat by the helmsman. We have a pretty good attitude toward it all, one has to; it´s part being out here, putting up with the difficulties produces the lessons and the memories and the new appreciation of our lives at home. The moon is nearly full, it gives
off an incredible amount of light, we can see each other on deck. As I
type I can hear 3 or 4 discussions happening just around the wheel, with lots of laughing and singing, led by Sam. This is it, good night,
Bonice.    


Observations:
sunny and cloudy periods, strong winds, comfortable temperature
July 27th 2007 @ 21:30
4°51'6.01 S 140°24'10.80 W

Heading 170°
Speed 7.1

Ship's Log:
Today was a great sailing day. We have been making between 6.5 and 9 knots for the past 24 hours, just flying. The waves are somewhat more regular, but the sea is still choppy, with waves coming over the rails, more in the bow than in the stern. We are still close reached, with the wind on the port bow, which is nice for us starboard side sleepers. At 0400 hrs the mainsail was lowered and the trysail set.  About 12 trainees were called out of their bunks to help with
the sail handling. This morning Jose attached a lizard (type of
fairlead on a lanyard) to the main topping lift at the after end of the main boom to stop the block from colliding into the boom. The trysail came down and the main with a single reef was raised. The jib also went up and our speed increased. The jib went up and down several times throughout the day as the wind would increase. Carolyn went out in the whiskers (net under the bowsprit, at the forward end of the ship) in her harness to help bring down the jib and lash it down. The motion was big and the sea was spraying her as she worked; she loved it and volunteered again later in the day, in the dark
under a very bright moon. She was quite ecstatic after the experience. Tavish was doing a lashing for Jordan on the bowsprit,
standing in the whiskers, again in a harness, when a very large wave came and flipped him to the outside of the whiskers, engulfing him, covering everything but his hair. He hopped onto the deck pretty quick. Arwen, Jacob and Noah made double chocolate chip mint cookies for everyone, with special cookies for Claire to enjoy too. Skipper took some time before supper to lay out a general time plan for the rest of the trip. He had a wipe board showing the Marquesas, the Tuamotus and Tahiti and explained our route and amount of
time for each passage. From this we were able to figure out how much time remained to visit the islands and some of the choices we need to
make. He went over ship routine in port and changes in shipboard life when our passages are shorter and we are moving from island to island. Following this, there was a general buzz of excitement as we
realized life is about to change. We have become so accustomed to our
small community at sea, we tend to forget there is something to experience beyond this. We are looking forward to land, to a change, somewhat anxious perhaps as to what awaits us. Also though, there is a sadness that this part of the leg is over, that our time at sea as the close group we have become, is going to change. I know what follows will also be good, it will be different though. There is something special about the longer passages at sea; they are possibly more difficult but that difficulty often produces a change in our attitudes for the good. We are hoping to see land late tomorrow as the Marquesas are very mountainous. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice


Observations:
cloudy and sunny skies, strong winds, big seas, comfortable temperature
July 29th 2007 @ 21:30
7°4'18.01 S 140°3'18.00 W

Heading 170°
Speed 7.9

Ship's Log:
The winds have slowly decreased in strength throughout the day, offering us chances to handle sail, but also slowing down our progress which ultimately means less time to explore when we arrive on the islands. At 0030 the main was lowered and the trysail set. We were making up to 9 plus knots with the rail beginning to go under, just too much stress on the rigging. Right after breakfast, second sitting, the trysail came down and a single-reefed main went up. We continued to make good speed and the seas are becoming more regular, thus the motion is less jarring, the ship seems free-er to move as she wants to. Towards mid-afternoon the wind began to slacken and so
we lowered the main and took out the reef, then raised it again and gained some speed. Now it´s 2130 hrs and the main is coming down once again to put the reef back into the main before we raise it again for the night. It´s safer; the main is very big and the sky looks like we may have some squalls. We just had an amazing Mug Up in the stern with guitars (Gillian and Jose), mandolin (Antony), and drum (Noah), finished off with cookies, two days in a row! made by Mary, James and Arwen. It is easier to lower and raise the main with everyone here;  in the middleof the night we need to wake up people. The moon looks full and shines very brightly on the water, lighting up the entire deck. The stars are less visible because of it but we will get our darkness back again soon, meanwhile we enjoy the moon. After dishes tonight I sat up on deck with Simon and Jacob, marvelling at being out at sea, sailing swiftly, hearing the sounds of the Grace surfing through the waves and listening to Louis Armstrong´s ´Superstitious
(Elske had asked me to watch her ipod while she went below for something, I took the opportunity to listen to the library of music she has with her).´ What an incredible moment; sunsets and the moon coming up are a beautiful part of offshore. Simon can find the Big Dipper, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. He also regularly asks everyone how old they are. It seems to have replaced his question from leg 1 which was, "how much is one plus one?"  For the past 2 weeks forewatch has been practicing different variations on the grace ´Jubilato Deo,´ which gets sung before meals. Sam has come up with some brilliant melodies and rhythms and has patiently taught them to the watch; it´s given us and those watching, lots of  amusement, and the variations keep coming. Often in the evenings, Sam and Karen will begin to sing well-known songs from musicals, seeing if they can sing all the words. I´m very impressed how thoroughly they know their musicals. Elske, Bec, Katie, Gillian and James have joined in at different times, the rest of us listen and watch, singing or humming when we can. This afternoon we caught 2 dorados at the same time. Tavish was checking out the frigate and boobie birds behind us when he suddenly noticed a fish jumping at the end of our line. It dipped and surfaced like a dolphin, grabbing at the lure twice before being caught. We returned them to the sea as they were quite small, perhaps 10-12 lbs. Still very exciting. This morning we discovered a baby wahoo on the line, somehow caught during the night. We had a good look at his jawbone, gills, and very sharp teeth; they were very interesting. 2 flying fish died on board during the night as
well and we wired them onto the lures but had no success with them. I
hear from the girls in the foc´sle that there are mysterious and
not-so-mysterious sounds as they sleep at night. The head makes a
threatening, slurping, sucking noise, that reminds them of some bilge monster waiting to emerge. The horse, attached to the sheet block of the jumbo sail, travels back and forth on the metal traveller, just above their heads on deck and, when the jib is up, the chain section of the sheets, which run out on both sides of the sail, also on the foredeck above the foc´sle, drags across the deck repeatedly. I hear it´s quite something. The intermediates wrote their chartwork and rules of the road exam today; I think the marks were high and that most of them passed. Seniors will write during the next passage to the Tuamotus. It has been another wonderful day; they pass so quickly. Genna S. would like to wish her mom a very, very Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday mom! Land is very close and I wonder what we will have to share with each other in the evenings as we experience different things during our days. English will be replaced by french in any kind of exchange with the locals, a good chance to draw out what we learned in highschool, or not. At the moment, the sailing is terrific, 7.9 knots, and I can hear the surf around the ship as she pulls her way through; I want to remember this. This is it, I´m over my quota and there´s so much I could share. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice        


Observations:
mostly sunny, cloudy periods, changing winds, nice, warm temperature, cool in the evening
July 29th 2007 @ 22:00
9°14'53.99 S 139°32'31.20 W

Heading 152°
Speed 6.5

Ship's Log:
I´m not sure what happens to our days; we were discussing this tonight, anticipating your question of "What do you do all day
out at sea?" when we return home. We´re not quite sure, but the days fly by. We agreed that we talk a lot, that we spend a good part of the day either on deck or around the table eating together, talking,
discussing and laughing. Our watch is on evening dishes and it has turned out to be a very fun part of the day; all 11 of us and Simon first spend about an hour around the table ´hanging out;´ then Claire, our amazing watch leader, divides up the jobs and in a very comfortable manner we proceed to return the hold and the galley to some kind of order and cleanliness, all the while completely enjoying each others company. It´s been a beautiful night, the moon looks full and the sky is clear. We have a reefed main, the fore and the jumbo still up. Skipper and I were just sitting in the stern along with a group of trainees, listening to music, laughing, talking, having tea,
etc. taking in as much of the moment as we could. The moon is shining
quite white on the sails, and looking up from a lying position on the deck is an awesome sight and an almost overwhelming feeling at how fortunate we are to experience it all. Last night just before midnight, making 9 knots with water over the rail, Sara decided to lower the jib. Jeremy and Tristan harnessed up and were out on the bowsprit up to their armpits in water pulling down and lashing the jibsail. I was lowering the halyard with several others and we had wonderfully warm, frothy ocean up to our thighs and elbows as water came up through the scuppers and over the caprails. Under the full moon, it was quite the experience. We sighted land at 1000 hrs this morning, about 45 nm away. We have decided to continue on to Hiva Oa 75nm southeast of Nuka Hiva, then back to Nuka Hiva with a following wind. This morning we spent 3 hrs in a game led by Jose where we all had a chance to share how we saw ourselves; others in the group were
also encouraged to contribute positive aspects of that person that
they had discovered in the past 2 weeks. I was impressed at how honest
everyone was, how vulnerable they were willing to be, and how much they supported each other. Many of the girls, led by Jen, dressed up for our session in the stern. Genna G. decided to forego the skirt but
dressed in her wonderfully colourful clothes that are such a positive part of her. We had a late lunch, great bread and fixings, made by Gillian. For the remainder of the afternoon there were showers, books, some sail handling, and a great game of Silent Football, led by Jeremy. Lots of fun. Supper was roast beef, homemade
french fries, green beans and gravy, also very good. It is late and I
just heard that the main is about to come down as the wind is strengthening and the trysail will be safer for the night. It means we will be waking up some trainees to help lower the main, then raise the trysail. It´s nice there´s a moon. This is it, good night, Bonice. 


Observations:
sunny day, very hot with few clouds, steady winds
July 30th 2007 @ 22:30
9°48'29.99 S 139°1'55.20 W

Ship's Log:
How to describe to you such a perfectly wonderful day, one that is still continuing into the night?  Mug Up has just finished, there remain small groups playing guitar and harmonica, and singing on deck. This group loves to sing; they could sing all night it seems, continually calling out for more songs. Our musicians tonight were Jose (guitar and harmonica), Jeremy (drum), Antony (mandolin), and the latest member of the band, Lexy, playing the guitar, James and Arwen baked the best brownies and passed them around as we sang. For supper tonight we invited a young couple who just arrived, sailing on a 28 ft. sail boat from Galapagos, in 28 days. They are norwegian and swedish and sailed from there, leaving last November; it was totally inspiring to hear their story. With minimal sailing experience they are making a trip happen that has already lasted 10 months and is open-ended in terms of where it will end. They stayed for Mug Up and thoroughly enjoyed it; when Skipper zodiaced them back to their boat, they were incredibly thankful and said they would remember the evening forever. We anchored in Baie Tahauku, town of Atouna, island of Hiva Oa at 0730. Many of us were up to watch as the ship came closer to land. The smell of the land was floral and strong,
smells coming together from the many blossoms, from the flowers and
trees. For me it IS the smell of French Polynesia; it was wonderfully familiar. Pitcairn has the same smell. We regularly receive wafts of it blowing off the land. The topography is spectacular; ridges of green that push outwards vertically around the flanks of the mountains, all the way to the ocean...irregular outcrops and islands of land covered in such a variety of greeness and types of vegetation...ranges of peaks in every direction, of every size, again, covered in green...so beautiful, one can´t stop looking. Skipper cleared customs and trainees rowed ashore for the first time in the dories, it was quite the ride and many of us had wet rear ends walking through the village. There is an incredible 25 minute walk along a country road into the village with so many new things to notice; mangoes, papayas, bananas, coconuts, foals with their mothers, cows, chickens running loose, very different vegetation,
many new smells and green, green, green. Just walking on land after
18 days was novel. By the time most of us entered the village,
everything had shut down for the mid-day siesta. We found ourselves a nice big tree and kept ourselves amused as we know how to do so well, talking, laughing, climbing poles etc. Eventually we were able to buy some cold juice, bagettes and cream cheese, ice cream and a few other
things. A group of trainees found a beach and played in the surf with some of the local children. Genna G. said they had a fantastic time,
jumping waves, watching the surf pound the wall built as a breakwater
and studying the crabs scuttling on this wall, finding holes to crawl
in when the waves came, and remaining on the wall throughout the surf. The town is small; a bank, a post office, a church, a few
stores, it didn´t take long to check it out. It was wonderful to wander, look around, try to speak french, wave at the locals as they drove by waving a lazy hello, to not have any big decisions to make, life is pretty simple here. Many of us were able to get a lift in
the back of the many Land Rovers that are driven around here. My kids
loved it, no seat belts, no roof...how wonderful. We are looking
into having the same dance group perform traditional marquesian dancing for us, as they did when we were here in 2004. They remembered us and were quite excited about meeting the crew again and giving us a show. We had a great exchange with them last time and it would be wonderful to have a repeat performance. It is late, but I´d forgotten to relate a funny incident that happened at the crossing the line ceremony. King Neptune is rather intimidating and most of the
trainees and crew gave him the respect he desires. There was however,
one trainee who challenged him, Anthony. He wasn´t impressed with his
right of passage and said so. King Neptune was somewhat taken aback and offered more of the treatment (Anthony is pretty goopy by now!) and Anthony retaliated by giving King Neptune a hug, which just shared the goopiness. It was quite funny. Anthony has hilarious things to say at just the right times. Now it is very late and poor Skipper is nearly asleep. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice     


Observations:
mostly sunny, some clouds as welcome relief from the sun, light breeze
July 31st 2007 @ 22:30
9°58'5.99 S 139°7'30.00 W

Ship's Log:
Another overwhelming day; one that has so much in it to recount. We were in our uniforms, cleaning the ship by 0700, awaiting the arrival of the two french gendarmes. Jordan picked them up in the zodiac.  They were very impressed by the ship and the trainees, and the nature of the program. It didn´t take long for them to relax and let down
some of the stiffness we felt yesterday. Usually, if we can just get them to the boat, allow them to meet the young people, offer them coffee, breakfast and a tour through the boat, we have won them over and we have made some new friends. It seems nobody can not fall in love with the Grace. After their visit, I went with them in their Land Rover to our dance troupe contact, Poi, the same woman we dealt with 4 years ago. She and her group of dancers, who are all related somehow, are ´over the moon´ with the knowledge that we are staying an extra day so they can perform for us. She said that the last time we came and they danced and the two groups mingled, we affected them in a very strong and positive way and they wondered whether we would ever return. Yesterday when she heard we were in town, she said she couldn´t believe it. She called all the members of the dance group, (they live and work in the different valleys on the island) and all of them wanted to dance for us again, but more importantly, have the chance to be with us again. The regular cost for a show is 60,000 polynesian francs (approx. $750 US), and initially they said they would drop it to half price. Four years ago it was supported by the Ministry of Tourism, but they can no longer fund the dancers so
they now need to charge a fee. This morning I was informed that the show would be free! Poi said it would be the best show ever, better than anything we could imagine, with a surprise we
would discover tomorrow. Instead of performing on the dock as they did last time, we are being transported by family members to the grandmother´s property, where some of the family live and the grandmother has a restaurant. It is inland somewhat, at the base of one of the peaks, with coconut trees and various other bushes and trees around a level, cleared area. I sense that both sides feel they are in for something truly special, and for the same reason...the chance to hang out with each other; it seems to be a win-win situation for both sides in the most extreme of ways. After checking in again with the gendarmes, Skipper and I returned to the ship and we raised anchor to motor south to the nearby island of Tahuata. We were told that this is one of the most beautiful places in French Polynesia, very untouched and unaffected by an increase in tourists.  Also, there was a possibility of some good snorkelling and scuba diving. It took only an hour to arrive at Baie Hapatoni, on the southwestern corner; a white sand beach with a very small village of perhaps 200m of well-spaced, simple homes, along the shoreline. There was a small breakwater and a cement dock where many children were playing, mothers were cleaning their little ones, and outriggers
were pulled up on the beach. We spent 6 glorious, totally satisfying hours there, mixing with the local people. They are very friendly and took us right in. Many of the trainees played several hours of volleyball with them, initially they were easy on us, but by the end they played hard and showed how well they could play. Elske was in heaven; she loved it and was filth from head to toe, with several good scrapes from sliding in the sand. Several women took a large group of us on a fruit hunt into the woods. They collected bananas, limes, mangoes, sourpus fruit, a nut like an almond, and many, many coconuts, both for drinking and eating. She taught us how to open a green one for drinking, as well as how to husk the brown fibre shell off the older ones, for eating. She used a ´digger,´ a metal rod about 60 cm high, tapered at the top, and stuck firmly in the ground. One punctures the base of the coconut husk at an angle and pries the husk away in slices to find the coconut inside. She showed us how to shake the coconut and listen, to see if it would be one worth opening. We ate coconut, drank coconut, and learned about the different stages of the coconut, it was great. The village is very neat and organized; they seem to take a lot of pride in their village. They had beautiful jewelry and wooden carvings for sale that they make here and sell to the occasional passenger boat that comes. They offered us any fruit we wanted, to take it back to the
boat. Thursday there will be a wedding on the island and they are all
preparing for it. Tonight they invited the entire boat to join in the
dance practice. I am on the ship with the boys and Arwen, but I can hear the laughing and the drums from the shore. Antony and Elske just returned in the zodiac to pick up instruments, guitars, violin and a mandolin, to ´jam´ with the locals for awhile. What an experience for the trainees and crew! Also, during the afternoon, a group of trainees and crew had a chance to snorkel along the shore. They saw a sting ray and an octopus as well as some smaller fish. Karen and Jordan hiked the slope to see some magnificent views over the bay and into the bay on the other side of the mountain range. At 1730, the small, stone and wood church rang bells for prayer time. 8 of our people joined in and were very warmly welcomed by about 7 or 8 men and women. They sang in 4-part harmony and the sound was stunning, awesome, indescribable...just some of the words used to convey to me what they heard. I´ve heard it before and I love it. They have a particular tone to their voice, a ´pushing´ of the voice almost, something one needs to hear to understand and appreciate, very beautiful. This is becoming much too long, but there is so much to share and what I share is just a summary. I can assure you that
the trainees are very happy, there is an excellent feeling of well-being on this ship. Thank you for the support you give us.  Mary would like to wish her parents a very happy Anniversary and also congratulate her dad on his retirement. Happy Anniversary mom and dad, and dad, congratulations! This has to be it, good night, Bonice.  
  PS. Josh volunteered to have his head shaven at our ´Crossing
the Equator´ initiation ceremony. This turns out to be an excellent idea as we clean in salt water and our hair doesn´t always feel that
clean. Josh has eliminated the problem for himself; smart. 
PPS. Everyone is reminding Josh to use sunscreen!         


Observations:
sunny, clear blue skies, light wind
August 1st 2007 @ 23:55
9°48'29.99 S 139°1'55.20 W

Ship's Log:
We have just returned from an absolutely amazing evening with all the extended family of Patrice (´chef boss´ of the traditional marquestian dance troupe), the matriarch his mother, and Poi, his daughter, with whom Tony and I made contact 3 years ago. Incroyable, inoubliable, nous somes ravi-contentes! (translation:  Unbelievable, never to be forgotten, we are ravishingly happy!) These are some of the words Poi and I shared when we talked about our anticipated evening with our trainees and their family of dancers, and again, repeated last night as the evening went on and on and on. At Tahuata, the previous evening, trainees returned to the island after dishes to participate in a wedding dance practice. Their time with the villagers was amazing. They watched some dancing and were taught some of the dances to the uncontrollable mirth of the older village
women. I could hear the women laughing at them from the ship. There
was a bird dance, (ask your kids for details!), and a fertility
dance that the guys were taught which I am still hearing about.  Tristan and Adam were the favorites amongst the marquesian girls
and were asked repeatedly if a photo could be taken with them and the boys; the guys were feeling pretty good. They gave gifts to the ship,
dried bananas wrapped in the banana leaf, jams and jewelry. They asked that we stay longer and join in the wedding which is on Thursday. Jose and Tavish did a drum solo on their marquesian drum and
Arielle accompanied them with her amazing belly dancing. It was beautiful and the islanders loved it. Right now though, it is very late and I need to put my very tired boys to bed, plus we are still leaving for Nuka Hiva tonight to try to get there around mid-day tomorrow. I´m somewhat overwhelmed with how to relate this evening to you. Jordan was filming and so next leg you will see clips of what happened on this site, as well as photos, many, many photos from your own kids when they return. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.
PS. Yesterday, after the log had been sent, I realized a mistake. The
fruit we were given is called soursop, not sourpus. Sorry.  


Observations:
rain during the night, sunny skies, hot, light breeze during the day
August 2nd 2007 @ 20:30
8°55'18.01 S 140°5'42.00 W

Ship's Log:
The boat is very quiet. We are tied to the dock on the island of Nuka Hiva. We left late last night and motored through the night. In the morning we raised the 2 course squaresails as well as the main. We sailed along gracefully and quietly at 7.5 knts, wonderful. Everyone is quite tired from all the excitement of the past 2 days, so it felt very good to sleep, chat, or read a book on deck in these conditions; we were all feeling pretty mellow. Nearly everyone went ashore and most are still not home. We can see a string of lights close to the edge of the bay which is the village; it´s a small
place, similar to Hiva Oa. The day was very hot but the evening is very soft with a cool, refreshing breeze. We enjoyed supper with only 10 of us today; a nice change, on deck, talking and eating with just a few of us. Yesterday we left Tahuata early and moved up the island to another anchorage so everyone could spend the morning snorkelling and scuba diving. It was the first time for most of the trainees and a good chance to try out new gear. The highlights were 2 very large manta rays that swam within 2-4 ft of some of the trainees and crew. Jordan, Tavish, Jose, Antony and Skipper put on scuba gear and tried out the video camera in its´ underwater housing. The results were good and you should see some of the footage on the SALTS website next leg. We returned to Hiva Oa in time for a short rest, a visit to the gendarmes to pick up the passports and some showers under the hose,
before the family picked us up at 1730 in their vehicles. We brought along our marquesian drum, the djembe, 2 guitars, a violin and 2 mandolins. We also had gifts for the dancers, the drummers, and the family members that allowed the evening to happen. The fun started immediately with the ´chef,´ Patrice introducing himself and making warrior noises from deep back in his throat. He was the main warrior in the dances 3 years ago. He saw our drum and tried it out, doing a duet with Jordan and listening to little Noah drum on his own, standing on someone´s guitar case so he could reach. We piled into the cars and were taken 10 minutes to the outskirts of the village.  Before we even got there we could hear drumming, loud drumming. It was mesmerizing. We entered into the cleared area, with drummers ahead of us, drumming intently, warriors covered in grass leggings, arm bands of grass, grass skirts, and crowns on their heads also made of grass and basil. They were tatooed and wore collars of carved bone. They looked wonderful, warlike and powerful, they stood along
the side where we passed by. There were fire torches providing the light. The women were handing each of our women a flower, the
tiare, for behind our ear, and each of our men a sprig of basil, for behind their ears. They also hung a garland made of grass and flowers around our neck. It was as if we were hypnotized, walking oh so slowly, taking everything in, being led somehow to where they wanted us. They introduced themselves, welcomed us, and thanked us for coming and proceeded to perform 5 dances. The dances were all stories linked to Marquesian culture and myth. The warriors were amazing, so fierce; their dance was intensely physical and demanding. The women moved exquisitely; simply lovely to watch, so smooth, so lithe, so elegant and feminine. The music and the rhythm came from the drummers on 5 large and 2 small traditional drums, along with the dancers who sang in chanting voices, in marquesian. We were definitely entranced throughout the entire show. Afterwards they took our girls and our guys and led them in a dance, encouraging the guys to grunt and jump, and the women to move their hips and arms. Very fun, but very difficult. They make it look very easy. We were then invited to enter the covered area where the grandmother of the ´chef´´ has her restaurant and where they had prepared an incredible spread of fruit, cake, juice, and sandwiches, all very delicious. We had a chance to mingle and chat with each other. Jose, Tavish, Jeremy and Noah joined the marquesian fellows in jamming on the drums. It was amazing; they really pound their drums, the sound of about 9 or 10 of them playing together was like nothing I´ve heard before. They asked if we would do a show for them so Tav and Jose did a drum solo followed by all of us singing together songs that we know from Mug Up, using every instrument we brought. It sounded super; this group loves to sing, so we´ve had lots of practice and the lower roof made the group sound very powerful. With ´Twist and Shout,´ every trainee ran out and grabbed one of the marquesians, took them to the cleared dance floor and danced with them, all the while singing. They loved it; they loved being sung to and joining in. Elske played a piece from the ´Godfather´ on her violin, with one by one different instruments joining in. They changed the tempo and played the same tune in different styles, blues, jazz folk, etc. Great fun. We brought soccer balls and jerseys for the kids. These were donated by the Prospect Lake Soccer Club. The kids absolutely loved them and there were enough kids to make up a complete blue and yellow team; the parents were very thankful. We were able to express how thrilled we were to be there, how thankful we were that their complete extended family had come together to welcome us to the Marquesas in this way. They live together on the property with the matriarch of the family, their very friendly grandmother. The ´chef,´ Patrice, said over and over to me how happy he was to have the 2 groups of young people together. He is very proud to be Marquesian; it is very
important to him to share his culture and to welcome people to Hiva Oa. He played a wooden nose flute for us and presented it to Skipper. Later in the evening, Skipper approached Patrice and asked for more detailed instructions on how the flute was to be played. He has already been practicing; it has a beautiful, soft sound. Some of the younger people started jamming with the instruments and the female dancers started dancing. They were joined by others trying to learn and soon couples were dancing; the marquesian fellows loved to dance with our girls and I don´t think the girls minded too much either. I can imagine that in such a small place, with the few visitors being mostly older people from abroad, the chance to be amongst 30 extra young people all at once, is quite something. The fun lasted all the way to the dock, with drumming and singing and the guitar being played all the way down the road with the groups mixing in the back of the Land Rover Defenders (open-backed, long wheel-base, jeep-like trucks, with an overhead canopy that can be rolled up for air). At the dock the music and the chatting continued; despite the language barrier, somehow information was exchanged, largely through music and dancing, but in other ways as well, and a general feeling of contentedness and well-being surrounded us. It was good, very
good. There will be more details to hear from your trainees when they
return home, and the photos and video wil round it all out. This is
long once more, and there is so much more to say. Until tomorrow,
good night, Bonice. 


Observations:
a very hot day, clouds in the late afternoon, very lovely evening, light breezes
August 3rd 2007 @ 21:15
9°13'5.99 S 140°17'24.00 W

Heading 215°
Speed 6.7

Ship's Log:
We are on our way to the Tuamotus, about 400nm away.  We are running with main, fore, jumbo and jib, making a wonderful 7 knots.  The motion started out very roly, side to-side, when we left the harbour, but leveled out when the sails were raised.  The engine is off, aaaaaah.  The air is soft, perfectly pleasant in temperature, and the wind is blowing light, but strong enough to move us along smoothly, gracefully, every so gentle in her motion.  We were just saying how we need to remember these beautiful evenings when we return home; long passages of seemingly effortless motion, with weather conditions at their best. There is no moon, so the night is perfect for star gazing and I have just learned 6 new constellations, thanks to Chase and Jose.  Chase has an amazing familiarity of the night sky; we´re learning from him.  Today was a good day.  Trainees spent most of the day in the village. A group of them were tatooed today by a fellow that tatooed some of the trainees last trip.  He does gorgeous and precise work. We were able to hang out at the tatoo artists house and watch him work. He remains silent, as he speaks no English and he needs to concentrate. Yona stayed with all 5 or 6 of the trainees, translating between them and the artist, ensuring that they were both thinking the same
design.  It took all day; a great job done by Yona.  The tatoo artist´s mom does bead work and various other handwork that she sells, and she showed us how to make necklaces with the different dried seeds she had collected. It was rewarding to leave with a marquesian-looking necklace. My youngest 4 kids were all able to take part.  Lexy wrote a note in French thanking the two of them for being generous with their knowledge and letting many of our group be at their home. One thing I really enjoy and will remember  about the Marquesas are the smells.  There is a wonderful pungent smell of vegetation; we get wafts of it even out in the harbour.  As we  walked along the road today, the smell would change and the kids and I would try to identify it, rather unsuccessfully.  We´ve seen many fruit trees; banana, breadfruit, papaya, lime, pamplemouse and mango are some of them. We were given 2 big bags of pamplemouse by our driver to the marquesian dance on Hiva Oa.  Each day the boys and I plus the trainees who are present,  enjoy a pamplemouse feast.  It´s a favorite fruit and makes quite the mess by the time we´re done.  One comment that Karen overheard today:  "Land is exhausting!"  Yes, the past few days in the Marquesas have been very full; it´ll be nice to catch up on some sleep for some of the crew and trainees, but yet, a few more days here would be most welcome by all of us. We will miss these incredibly and spectacular islands.  This is it, till tomorrow, good night, Bonice


Observations:
very hot and sunny, very light breeze
August 4th 2007 @ 22:00
11°17'12.12 S 141°55'30.00 W

Heading 224°
Speed 7

Ship's Log:
We have had a wonderful day, sailing with the tradewinds, very comfortably and relatively swiftly.  Towards evening though, the winds lightened and we dropped sail and are now motoring.  We are somewhat pressed for time because of extra days spent in the
Marquesas, and there are still so many Tuamotus we would like to visit.  We started
sailing with the main, fore, jumbo and main topsail, then lowered the  fore to enable us to set both the courses.  The skies were very blue with light wispy clouds.  The motion is heavenly, slightly heeled to starboard, with a very gentle swaying.  If this continues with us throughout the next few groups of islands, we will be very content.  People were able to catch up on some sleep today.  Jen can´t believe how tired she has become because of all the activities we´ve had on land.  Major sail handling went on around her while she slept deeply, on deck, in the midst of it all.  It feels good to be at sea again, picking up the thread of our routine out here, having meals with our watch again.  This afternoon several trainees began creating jewelry from the coconut shells we received in Tahuata.  Lexy made a beautiful spiral, cutting it out first with a coping saw, then filing the edges, and then sanding it with varying coursenesses of sandpaper until it was incredibly smooth and deep brown in colour from the natural oils in her hands.  Noah and Arielle have tried their hand at it as well, and others are being inspired to try it.  We are hoping to pick up some mother of pearl shells in the Tuamotus so we can carve jewelry from them.  The boat has purchased some fine carving tools just for this purpose; it was quite a hit on the last voyage.  Yesterday we discovered that one of our trainees, Chris, modeled for a cover of a novel. Arwen was reading "Cave of Departure" by Nikki Tate, when Chris saw the book and  said, "I have two of those books, I´m the kid on the front," and then continued  to tell us his story.  It was a neat coincidence.  Tonight we had Mug Up in the stern again with cookies made by Arwen, James, Mary and Claire.  It is a big deal to make cookies and we really appreciate those baking them.  It is intolerably hot in the galley and the items needed for the cookies are collected from under an array of different bunks.   We call it ´bunk diving.´  Each bunk has 2 monster bags on it, plus bedding etc. and this needs to be lifted off, as well as the matress, and then the slats.  With your head you keep all this up and pull out the ingredient you are searching for.  Our cooks do this on a daily  basis; we are very grateful.  Today was the first chance this group has had to do bowsprit hanging.  This is where 2 trainees, in harnesses, swing off the very front of the boat and get pulled through the water.  It´s very fun, and is permitted if the wind is light and the engine is off. I forgot to mention that yesterday a group of 5 or so went on a scuba dive  and on their return in the zodiac to the ship, they suddenly saw manta rays.  They quickly donned their masks and snorkels and jumped over the side to spend an incredible 15 minutes with up to 10 7-8 ft. manta rays swimming within touching distance.  Jeremy was ecstatic, retelling his story numerous times to anyone who was interested, which was most of us.  What an incredible experience.  Skipper continued teaching celestial navigation with a new group of 4 trainees, taking two sights with them, teaching them how to reduce their information, and how to plot their position.  The seniors are navigating traditionally to the Tuamotus, ignoring all electronic aids on board.  They spent a good part of the day taking sights, reading tables and doing the math.  It´s an excellent exercise and puts into practice what they are learning in their senior classes. Several crew and a few trainees brought out mandolins and ukeleles and practiced together. Caroline is trying to learn the ukelele and managed a few bars with Antony.  Once again there is no moon tonight and so we can stargaze. I was able to remember and find the constellations I learned yesterday.  The temperature is perfect; we are in tank tops and shorts.  There continues to be a very satisfied and contented feeling on the ship; we are happy to spend our days together, there´s always something to talk and laugh about, and many trainees have mentionned that mealtimes are a big part of the day.  It is the time we are with our watch, sharing personal stories or just having fun.  We are starting to feel that the end is not too far and are trying to make the most of our days. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice


Observations:
clear and sunny skies, hot temperatures, light winds
August 5th 2007 @ 21:30
13°20'48.12 S 143°33'43.20 W

Heading 230°
Speed 7.2

Ship's Log:
Skipper, Arwen and I just had an impromptu pamplemousse feast together; it is our favorite tropical fruit.  We can´t get them at home because the fruit needs to ripen on the tree.  I think there´s something so right about that; one needs to be here, in French Polynesia to eat and truly appreciate the pamplemousse.  It is not what they call pamplemousse in our grocery stores.  They are bigger, light green-yellow and from the citrus family.  One cuts off the thick skin and pulls it into smaller sections just like we do with a mandarin orange.  We then open up each ´package,´ each slice, one by one by cutting through the membrane and peeling this membrane back to expose the flesh of the
fruit.  The fibres are light green, shaped like long teardrops and very juicy.  The
taste is way better than a grapefruit, sweeter, and the texture of the fibres is juicy, crispy, and it´s very refreshing.  It´s rather messy to eat, so we just hang over the side of the ship and let the juice drip off our elbows and into the sea.  At the moment there is some major laughing emanating from the stern, there must be about 10 trainees there having a very funny discussion.  In the hold they are listening to music, Chris is drawing, some are chatting, and some are still trying to catch up on their journaling (it´s become a verb here).  Jenna G. was sitting in the dark, in the stern with her journal trying to muster the
motivation to write, but said she just couldn´t, as she had recently finished writing 18 pages about the two dance nights on the islands of Tahuata and Hiva Oa.  She was done for the day.  In the foc´sle, things are pretty quiet.  Girls are heading to bed, Sara has been
taking 3 hours of the midnight watches for most of the trip, giving the watch officers a shorter night watch and thus allowing them to have some  more energy during the day. She stands from 2230-0130; she has already gone to sleep.  Trainees continue to carve the
coconut shell into various shapes.  The power sander came out to help with the sanding as well as a few more coping saws.  There was coconut shell dust everywhere, when mixed with water it looked like we had been into the chocolate.  The navigational team of Claire, Tristan, Jordan, Elske, Bec and Tavish are still putting in hours of work, figuring out our course to the different Tuamotus.  Skipper helped them later in the day with some  of their calculations; it appears to be quite a bit of work and Elske admitted she now loves the GPS even more.  We held a service this afternoon discussing the attributes of Christ with crew members sharing bits of their lives that to them reflected these attributes.  Supper was directly following, one sitting on deck.  It is fun to have one sitting for a meal out at sea.  We collect our food and find a place on deck to eat and conversation flows.  Tonight the sun was going down as we ate; the sky was full of beautiful oranges, yellows, reds, and mauves, with the few clouds there were on the horizon, lined in light. Karen had an invigorating and heated discussion on morality with her watch around the table at breakfast and lunch.  I wasn´t there, but I heard it was interesting with very different thoughts and views expressed.  We are enjoying eating coconut.  We were given a large bag of them in Tahuata by a woman named Ha´a.  She walked around the island with us collecting fruit and showing us how to get at it.  She taught us how to husk the coconuts, did most of them, but also let us try some.  To use them, we crack them in half, break out the coconut meat in chunks with a marlin spike or
knife and pass it around.  It´s wonderful, nothing like the coconuts we have at home, that have travelled far too long.  The meat is solid, sweet, chewy, has a very nutty and satisfying taste.  We then use the shells for carving. Carolyn emptied a few coconuts and shredded it up coursely and is going to make coconut chips for us possibly tomorrow.  She has a book on food eaten in the tropics, how it´s cultivated, harvested, prepared etc., and refers to it regularly.  Yesterday we tried the sour sop.  Inside it is white and slimy, but the taste is delicious, similar to a mango but more refreshing, as if combined with an apple.  We are still motoring, the wind is negligible; Skipper just informed me that it is so calm he can see the reflection of the stars on the water.   The motion is a very slight side to side, with an occasional set of deeper dips which sends stuff flying, reminding us to be continually on the alert.  The temperature was very hot today from the moment we got up.  Two tarps went up; we can do this when there is no wind.  We dumped lots of buckets on ourselves and kept to the shade.  Tavish set up the deck hose and pump so we
could stand under a shower with unlimited water from the ocean, a real treat. . .  pressure from above to rinse under.  The air temperature is perfect now, though the temperature below decks is warm.  This is partly due to the engine, it heats up the boat,
especially the areas around the engine room.  But, we are all happy, there´s lots of water to cool us down, we´re not going to complain. Life is very good.  Until tomorrow, Bonice.


Observations:
very hot and sunny, clear skies, minimal wind
August 6th 2007 @ 21:30
14°58'5.88 S 145°44'49.20 W

Heading 239°
Speed 5.2

Ship's Log:
Today was a day we thought we´d experience closer to the equator, in the doldrums. The sea was glassy smooth, there was hardly a swell, or else we´ve become so accustomed to it. There was absolutely no wind; we motored for most of the day with the tarps up. Toward evening the wind started picking up, initially just as small ripples across the water.  We raised a reefed main, the fore, jumbo and jib, and were able toturn off the motor, a very welcome relief.  Today we continued to eat pamplemousse and coconut, main ingredients of the french polynesian diet. We caught a 25 lb. dorado, also a local staple.  Chase and Jacob cut up the fish, covered it in a delicious batter of cornmeal, flour and spices and pan-fried the nuggets in olive oil.  It was amazing; it melted in our mouths.  We started playing slap Scrabble today with about 6 of us. It was very popular last offshore and we are using the same letters, bought inMexico, with an assortment of slightly different letters.  Suduko puzzles have also appeared on deck thanks to Kiesa from the last leg, and Jacob, whose oma gave him several books. Books are probably still the number one quiet activity, that and journalling.  Coconut carving continues; Jenna S.
and Lexy made beautifully smooth, pendant-sized pieces with a design engraved into the shell.  Simon continues to sand his half-coconut, hoping to make a nice bowl to put things in.  Tomorrow is Mary´s 19th birthday and when I came down into the aft cabin to begin getting the boys ready for bed, there were trainees crowded around the table with coloured paper, felt pens,tape, glue, beads, crepe paper etc., creating cards for her.  Sam
has been slaving away in the galley all day making a pamplemousse, custard, and shortbread crust type flan.  It is now cooling in the freezer for tomorrow.  We´re looking forward to it.  It´s been a nice day for just getting some small things done, for reading, and for hanging out together.  This is it, I´ve been way over my quota possibly every day.  It´s difficult as there is always so much to share.  We hope to reach Apataki early in the morning and go through the pass into the  lagoon when there is daylight.  It sounds like an amazing place with lots to see and do.  We passed by two beautiful tuamotus today, very low islands with sand and coconut trees, and the occasional small village.  The tuamotus are coral atolls; a ring of motus (small islands that may peak above the water) with some of them big enough to sustain a small population of people involved in copra or black pearl farming.  More tomorrow, good night, Bonice


Observations:
sunny skies, very hot, no wind until the evening
August 7th 2007 @ 22:15
15°34'5.88 S 146°24'46.80 W

Ship's Log:
We just ended a wonderful visit with a pearl farmer we met today on the tuamotu of Apataki.  Skipper and I were following up on an aquaintance we met here 17 years ago, Jean Tapu, a well-known pearl farmer and world champion free diver.  He lives here but no longer has his farm, he´s in his eighties, but is in Papeete with his wife at the moment.  We were given Coco´s name to ask about a tour of the pearl farms.  Coco came to the boat for supper and spent 2 hours telling us the story of black pearl farming in French Polynesia.  It was fascinating and he spoke good english so we could ask questions.  After his discussion on the pearls we spent another half hour just talking to him about different aspects of the culture in the Tuamotus and the different diving, hiking,  snorkelling options on this little motu.  A motu is one of a ring of small islets that forms the tuamotu.  We initially went through another pass but found the wind much too strong. We turned around and went through the same one we did 17 years ago, where the village
exists right in the pass.  It is a beautiful little village, population about 350.  It consists mainly of coral sand and coconut trees. Spread in the little bays are working shacks on stilts where the work of the pearl farmer takes place.  The islanders earn money collecting
the baby oyster ´spat´ (the young shells) from the lagoon, and hanging them on black lines which hang in the lagoon water. It takes 2 to 3 years for the oyster shell to be large
enough to insert a starter pearl with a piece of colored ´mantle´ and for the pearl
to begin growing.  Pearl farmers buy the  unpearled oyster shells from the locals.  A few people make their living selling coconut to Tahiti where they make oil, soap and other articles.  The water here is amazing, just like one sees in postcards of the tropics; we can
see the bottom in 100 ft. of water.  The coral on the bottom makes the blues incredibly brilliant and bright; different shades of very light blue.  When we arrived many kids and adults came to look.  This evening one of their cargo ships came in to unload and we moved away from the dock and out through the pass, so they could tie up to the dock. We tied alongside them. There were lots of people getting their supplies and bicycling them home on their large three-wheeled bikes. The ship leaves again at 0400, so some of us will be up early to move again.  We will spend tomorrow wandering around this very small village, snorkelling, and visiting a nearby motu upon which the original village was
situated after the 1901 hurricane.  It´ll be nice to stop for a day and try to slow our mental pace to that of this relaxed island. Mary had a great birthday; cards, singing Happy Birthday, a cake, a motu, discussion on pearls, snorkelling . . . what else could one want . . . perhaps a black pearl.  A good day, we´re all pretty tired. Good night, Bonice


Observations:
sunny with cloudy periods, very windy, rain showers, cooler temperatures in the evening
August 8th 2007 @ 22:30
15°33'54.00 S 146°34'55.20 W

Heading 270°
Speed 6.7

Ship's Log:
Another exhausting day in paradise.  We are just underway, with the 2 courses and the trysail up, making  wonderful time.  It is quiet and the sky is full of stars.  The motion
Is side-to-side, a gentle, deep swaying of our ship through the  water.  We are all feeling very tired and are ready for a few quieter days at sea to recupperate.  We just had an amazing send-off from some of the  people at Apataki.  They came at 1800 hrs. to hear some songs and to do some dancing with us.  Some of them remembered the last send-off 17 years ago, singinand dancing on the dock with Johnny Leupold, and wanted to repeat
it.  Unfortunately not as many young people still play instruments so the majority of the instruments were ours.  A woman named Martine, who is now 28 yrs. but was 10 at the time, remembered Tony and I, and especially, Rebecca.  Becca was only 8 months old and Martine fell in love with her and called her ´her baby.´  She and I spent time together and somehow it really affected her and she´s been waiting for us to return, ecstatic that we
finally did.  I was quite overwhelmed with how important our last visit to Apataki was for some of the young people.  She loved the song "Hotel California,"and while Johnny sang, she says I wrote out the words for her.  She asked if we could sing it while she played it on the guitar.  It was a dream come true for her to play the guitar and have us sing this song in front of her fellow islanders.  Another couple who also had a young baby at
that time, was at the send-off tonight and brought a baby photo I had given  them of
Elske, who was 3, and Becca, who was 3 months.  Again I was overwhelmed.  We had a great visit with them and intend to stay in touch.  The trainees spent the day moving around the motu, playing with the island kids, who followed them everywhere and just wanted to play.  We gave soccer balls to the kids and several trainees played a
game that went on for quite awhile in the heat of the day.  We were taken to a traditionally thatched building where the  women display their craft; assorted items made of pearls, shells, coconut fronds and coconuts.  At about 1530hrs, small children started hanging off the sides of the ship, wanting everything to do with us.  Sam and James set up the rope swing and brought groups of 5 excited little boys at a time onto the ship to have a turn.  Kids were playing tag on the dock with our trainees, kids were giving us rides on their large, 3-wheeled bikes, kids were hanging all over our mooring lines, trying to climb up towards the boat, kids were on deck having turk´s head or beaded  bracelets
made for them . . . there were kids everywhere . . . for about 1 and ½ hours.  The young people of the island started another game of very good soccer on the dock with the ball needing to be fetched from the ocean regularly.  It was truly something to be amongst; all this action, energy and sense of happiness and joie de vivre.  Several of the trainees received gifts from islanders, pearls, palm leaf crowns, shell necklaces, and hair pins. The islanders are a very generous people. This morning another supply ship entered the pass.  We were not told of this one until we saw a large man waving his arms, and passionately urging us to move, pointing at the ship which was quickly approaching.  With crew and a few trainees who were still on board, we untied lines once again, and went out through the pass.  We set the anchor and waited about 2 hrs. until the ship left, taking trainees to snorkel at the reef in the zodiac.  Skipper feels the pass is like his own backyard he has gone through it so many times.  Last night at 0400, the first cargo ship left and he had to untie mooring lines to let it out, and then tie back up to the dock again.  We will travel to Tahiti, where this leg will finish.  We don´t talk about it much, as we don´t want our time together to be over.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice


Observations:
sunny skies, very windy in the morning and dying down in the afternoon, very warm
August 9th 2007 @ 21:00
16°51'36.00 S 148°35'60.00 W

Heading 230°
Speed 5

Ship's Log:
A  restful day, well needed.  There´s a flu bug making its way through the boat so some of us welcomed a slower pace I realized during the night that I had forgotten a few important details of the day due to how late it was when I wrote and more importantly, how tired I was.  Sorry.  Most important were the birthdays of Jeremy and Tristan.  They both wore their ´birthday boy´ buttons proudly and enjoyed our wonderful morning voices singing ´Happy Birthday.  The day had been so full that we are having chocolate cake, baked by Arwen and James,  tonight. At the moment, Mug Up is going on in the stern around the helmsman, with Jeremy and Jose playing guitar, Antony playing mandolin and Noah on the drum. It´s great how this group loves to sing.  Yesterday 5 or so people went for a tank drift dive through the pass, with the zodiac staying alongside. They went down 80ft with the video camera and saw some black-tipped reef sharks, lion fish, as well as hundreds of other very colourful fish. Snorkellers in the morning also saw sharks and sting rays.  Those of us who snorkelled just off the end of the coral shelf to the side of the pass, also saw sting rays 60cm. across with a 1m tail. Jacob pointed out a moray eel, a blue mouthed clam and the many other beautiful fish.  We have been sailing all day with the trysail, foresail and starboard course.  Last night Antony spent some time in the pouring rain; a very strong squall with a slight increase in wind blew over us. During
Jose´s watch, the bow went right under the water so violently that the anchor jumped from its tied position on the rail, sounding to Skipper, sleeping in the stern, like a log hitting the hull hard.  The girls sleeping below the deck thought we´d hit something.  The motion is smooth but rocky-rolly, very much side-to-side.  We forget the motion so quickly once we are on land, but are forced to remember and secure everything and wedge ourselves and our cups,plates etc. in.  Our E.T.A. is early tomorrow morning; Tahiti has just begun to show up on the radar, though we still can´t see it ahead. It´s exciting to be so close, although it means the imminent ending of the leg.  We feel fortunate to sail without the engine on our final passage; the air is soft and cool and the night is clear for some final stargazing. Today the entire group came together to discuss which aspects of this leg, of our community, we´d like to capture on video for the documentary about the trip. Two important aspects that came up were:  1)  a new look at
hospitality, how we host our friends or visitors compared to how open-armed, people have treated us, and 2)  how we are forced to live in community with people we otherwise may not interact with and how we have become so close in such a short time.  We spend all our time with each other, everything we do is done with the same group of people, very different from home where we have different groups of people we share different parts of our life with.  Here there is nowhere to hide one´s self and it´s difficult to keep anything about ourselves hidden as long as the 37 days we are so intensely together.  It was a good discussion, reinforcing again how much we´ve become a group, a community belonging to each other, working together and truly enjoying each others company.  It will be sad to say good bye to this group but we are planning on a full and very fun week in Papeete.  Our great friend Stephen Duff will be there, joining us as volunteer for the end of leg 2 and leg 3.  Jenna G´s mom is having a birthday today and Jenna G. wishes her a wonderful day.  Happy Birthday mom!  This is it for now, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
very hot and sunny with cloudy periods, cool evening
August 10th 2007 @ 21:30
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'12.00 W

Ship's Log:
We are moored to the yacht dock in downtown Papeete; we can´t believe what a perfect spot we´ve been given. The authorities have been very generous to us, they are happy to have us here and 2 journalists from different newspapers were by as soon as we tied up to take photos and ask questions.  Everything we need is within walking distance: restaurants, laundry, markets, pearl shops, food shops, swimming pool, a church etc., as well as beautiful green places to sit and read or write, right near the ocean. The waterfront has been very nicely cleaned up since the last time we were here.  The ´trucks´ of 17 years ago still exist.  These are vans that in the evening open up and become mini-restaurants, serving anything from steak and fries where the meat is being roasted over a fire and they slice off what you want, to shishkebabs, to filled crepes, to desert waffles with chocolate and whipped cream, to a beer or cider, to pizza . . .  They set out tables with plastic, floral-printed tablecloths and chairs to eat around.  People wander amongst the various ´trucks´ deciding what it is they want to eat. It takes place in the same spot but 17 years ago it was just a somewhat junky parking lot. Now the ground has been tiled and there are nice buildings and lighting, as well as washrooms.  The tourist information is very close by in a beautiful, traditionally built thatch-dwelling which neighbours a small open air market selling shell, bone and pearl crafts as well as woven baskets and wooden carvings.  We went to the ´trucks´ after supper for ice cream with the 4 youngest kids and met several trainees trying out some of the wares.  We sailed through the night until 0330 when the engine was turned on and we continued motor sailing.  The sky was  very dark and grey with heavy clouds; it rained for most of the early morning, shining brass had to be postponed until later in the morning.  It was very exciting coming in to Tahiti.  We were all up on deck, talkative, full of plans and exclamations at what we saw.  The island is very mountainous, like the Marquesas, and each big mountain is covered in smaller peaks like a multi-gabled pointed roof covered in various soft green vegetation, incredibly spectacular.  The city of Papeete rests at the bottom of the mountain, hugging the coastline.  We met our shipping agent, Moana, a very friendly, gentle man who has been very helpful.  He brought the mail to the boat, which is always an important and highly anticipated event.  There really isn´t anything like receiving a  letter on paper, sent through the mail and handwritten.  I´ve heard many trainees commenting on how good it feels and that they too want to remember this feeling and repeat it in their lives.  I received a beautiful letter from Deb with some very inspiring poems written by Emily Dickinson, thank you. Thanks go to everyone for the encouraging words regarding the log. Trainees have sent on your messages of appreciation for relaying what transpires on the ship and I thank you for that; I enjoy doing it. Most of us wandered around the town for the afternoon, just looking and looking and looking; there´s so much to look at.  We went to the open market where we saw vegetables, 150cm long dorados and tuna, huge containers of husked coconuts, various bags of the weirdest looking tidbits of food, aisles
and aisles of multi-coloured pareos (sarongs, lava lavas), and at least 100 tables of hand-crafted jewelry made from materials found close to home.  I marvelled at the amount of ´stuff´ that the woman of all the different islands make by hand, piece by piece, to make an income for their families.  I´m impressed at how they produce something marketable out of material found in their environment, materials that are a daily part of their life: so many different kinds and sizes of shells, wood, pearls, mother-of-pearl shells, bone, leather, beads formed from various seeds and dried berries. I compare it with our society and the things we produce.  There are so many women all over French Polynesia sitting at home, raising children, spending their days threading seeds on lines, putting holes in seeds and pearls so they can be threaded, carving, threading pearls, stringing necklaces, sanding coconut shells, plaiting dried palm fronds into hats and handbags, etc.  There is something admirable in all of it; a simplicity we can learn from.  The kids, Tony and I saw a man chopping coconuts in half and bagging them.  I asked if I could buy one just  to eat with the kids and he smiled, took a beautiful one, chopped it, cleaned it out and chopped the meat into perfect eating-size pieces, all for . ..the bargain of the day, 120 francs, about $1.50.  We saw lots of pearls, anything a woman can do with a pearl, we saw.  Such beautiful jewelry, such a gorgeous thing, the black pearl.  One woman fell in love with the kids and gave them each a lovely pearl!  Travelling with the kids offers
opportunities like this to happen, they are always a good conversation starter, people tend to warm up to us as a group quite quickly.  One man at stall we were all checking  out, enjoyed watching the trainees and was very generous with his knowledge of how  the crafts were made and where the materials came from.  He gave Simon a gorgeous shell and a friendly smile; Simon was very happy and answered, "beaucoup merci."  These kinds of interactions make the visit full; simple connections with the people. sometimes it just takes a smile, ´bonjour,´  and a bit of eye contact and they sense that you care about them and they in return, also offer you a smile.  I´m looking forward to returning to the
market just to see what there is to see.  Trainees have scoped out the  city pretty well, apparently it´s not too huge.  Some of the trainees went to the Pearl Market where different suppliers are set up with their pearls and explain the different grades, qualities, colours, etc. of the pearls.  You can choose from grade A, B, C, or D and they will tell you the thickness of the layer of pearl around the starter pearl and you pay accordingly. Adam said it was quite interesting.  Supper was with 20 of us tonight, chicken, rice and squash, a new vegetable from the market today.  Trainees went out tonight together, into the town to find a place to go dancing; they were pretty excited.  Darcy would like to send a belated Happy Birthday to his cousin Suzy.  Happy Birthday Suzy!  This will be it
for tonight, Skipper has fallen asleep on deck.  I will have to wake him to send this.  The last few nights he has spent much of the time in and out of his bunk, with the different officers on watch; they´re all pretty tired, well deserving of a good, solid sleep. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
very cloudy and rainy in the early morning, becoming hot and sunny with a pleasant breeze during the day
August 11th 2007 @ 22:30
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
It has been a very pleasant day, there is a good feeling on the boat with people coming and going, the boat is definitely our home, a comfortable stronghold for all of us. It´s been sunny all day, very warm.  The wind was blowing from the west today, causing Skipper some alarm as we want the southeasterly trades when we travel through the next few island groups.  By evening the wind was blowing easterly again, Skipper was content. With the breeze and the tarps, the boat is a very comfortable place to hang out.  We also were able to set up a hose with fresh water.  Again, this is such a luxury after weeks of washing with salt water and a bucket. The temperature of the water is quite cold, we enjoyed shivering again.  The lather from the fresh water and soap caused shrieks of delight and the squeaky clean feeling afterwards was completely appreciated.  Small things make a big difference; a good lesson in many ways.  There are plans underway for most of the crew and trainees on board to rent cars and drive around the island tomorrow, some of them spending the night away from the boat and camping somewhere.  A small group of us are getting up at 0500hrs to visit the market when the fisherman deliver their fish.  It´s supposed to be an amazing sight, full of activity so early in the day.  My boys are very excited.  At 1000hrs the kids, Katie and myself are going to attend a church service.  17 years ago we attended the service and it was incredible; the singing, the sea of white hats and white dresses, the energy and passion within the building was something I would like to relive and share.  Tonight a group of trainees looked after my 3 boys so Tony and I could get a few hours away from the ship on our own; an incredibly sensitive group we have, very generous and thoughtful. They even took them to the ´trucks´ for ice cream.  Some trainees have had their laundry cleaned for them and the results sound good, though expensive.  In most of the places we´ll travel, self serve laundromats do not exist.  One brings laundry in, has it weighed, and returns later to pick it up, all clean and folded.  This is a nice thing, but the price is quite high.  We justify it by remembering we are providing a job for someone, and . . . who wants to spend time in a laundromat in Tahiti anyways?  Cold drinks are also top on the list for something all of us enjoy and appreciate.  Cold bottled water goes down by the  litres.  We are finding that it is expensive to be here, Claire says she feels her pockets have holes, the money just seems to flow out the bottom.  We feel fortunate that we have our home to return to and food graciously supplied to us 3 times a day, amongst a close group of friends.  Arielle spent part of the morning making caramel with Jacob and Noah.  We had it for dessert tonight; delicious.  So simple and so satisfying.  She had the boys write out the recipe, convert Fahrenheit to Celsuis, read instructions, mix, prepare, research how to decide ´hard ball stage´ without a candy thermometer, etc., an excellent learning opportunity in many ways.  Schooling is happening in many different ways, though no school books have surfaced from the blue Rubbermaid tubs yet, just the novels,  collections of stories, poetry books etc. We spend time every day both reading together and reading our own books.  Several girls went dress shopping today and were successful.  4 or 5 trainees visited the Pearl Market, a well-organized business where one can learn about pearls from an ongoing video, choose amongst thousandsof pearls, a pearl within a certain price range, choose a setting and even help drill the hole for the setting.  Every trainee that went through the process of learning, looking, choosing and receiving their finished pearl purchase was very satisfied with their time spent at the market.  I´ve seen them myself and I love what I see.  The job is well done and trainees say there is no pressure to buy and that everything is very organized, professional and upfront.  Conversations with the workers sometimes moved from the pearls to where some of the best surfing and snorkelling beaches on the island are.  Our young people are treated well, islanders enjoy seeing young people visit.  Today one of the female dancers from Apatoni, on the island of Tahuata, saw the masts and came by to say hello.  A few more of them are coming to join us for dinner on Wednesday.  Just after we left the Marquesas, most of the young people left their native islands to go to school on Tahiti. We knew this and were hoping that some of them would notice the masts and drop by.  Tonight, many of us again visited the ´trucks´ and their wonderful selection of food.  The whole scene is something fascinating to watch and be a part of.  Tony and I were able to saunter through and watch the different ´trucks´ make their food and see which places might be somewhere we would want to eat with the kids on our days off.  I was told that the favorite crepe so far was one with nutella and banana.  Some of the Chinese stir-fry looked great, as did the pizza, the barbecued kebabs and the fish.  Jeremy and his wife Christina celebrate their 5th anniversary today and although Jeremy had a great chat with Christina today, he woul again like to wish her a great day.  Happy Anniversary Christina! Also, tomorrow is my sister Monique´s birthday and I would like to wish her an amazing day with Bob, and her two boys Silas and Salal.  Happy Birthday Monique, I´m thinking of you.  During the middle of the day there were many of us just hanging out on the boat doing various things; reading, laundry, making coconut shell or mother of pearl shell jewelry, sleeping, writing in journals or on postcards, listening to music, talking,  eating coconut, showing purchases . . . I feel a sense of balance,  life is good, we have our ship, we have each other.  I will miss the group we have, though, as always, I know it can happen again. Yet, it is sad to let go a group such as this.  This is it, time for bed, most of us are sleeping on deck where the air is cooler.  The dock is more peaceful than I had anticipated being so close to the city.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
sunny, clear skies with initially a breeze from the west, switching to an easterly wind later in the afternoon
August 12th 2007 @ 21:15
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
Our day started early; at 0500 hrs some of us got up to visit the market. It was definitely worth the effort. The streets were full of parked cars though the sky was still dark. The market however, was full of people selling everything to do with local food. It was like a beehive, seemingly quiet on the outside, but teeming with life and busy-ness and patterns on the inside. The fishboats had come in earlier and there were aisles of tables full of an amazing variety of fish. Most were still complete, head, guts and all. The tuna and the bigger fish were cut in large chunks ready to be used. There were tables and tables of food; wonderful looking vegetables, baked goods such as croissants, bagettes, cakes etc., there were several tables where 50lb. sacs of coconuts were being halved and grated to make ´noix de coco rape´, or to have the grated coconut squeezed to make the coconut milk, the cream we use in curries etc. There were hundreds of bottles of this white liquid lining the tables, beside the bags of grated coconut and other packages of cut shapes that I presume was something edible although it looked rather disgusting. We stood and watched a woman grating coconut and she offered us a half shell with the grated nut in it to taste, delicious. The vegetable stands went out the back opening of the market and into the street; there was every vegetable you could think of. I asked myself where all the gardens were. Inside there were tables selling cooked beef, pork and baked chickens, all still on the bone. They cut bits off with a cleaver on a big chopping board, making piles of the various meats one could buy. They would put the sold meat on newsprint, weigh it and pass it over, receive the payment, all very efficient, a quick exchange. We were some of the only ´visitors´ at the market, everyone else seemed local and intent on getting their shopping done. The voices calling prices, the smells, the amount of bodies moving around, the variety of things to look at, the colours and the shapes, the fact that it was only 0530 hrs, all made the experience intense. We loved it. By 0630, we were back on the boat and the sun was up. I can understand why the Tahitians shop this early, it was wonderfully cool. By the time the bosun whistle blew to announce breakfast at 0800 hrs., most of the trainees had left to rent cars and spend the day touring the island. Sara, Gillian, Katie, Skipper, the 4 younger kids and I were the only ones left on the boat. Yona, Anthony, Darcy and Chris went walking and found a beautiful beach and hotel to relax at; they were thrilled at their luck. Jen´s parents and her sister arrived today; they´re off to Moorea to spend a few days together before Kelsey boards and Jen disembarks. It was Jen and Jenna G. who looked after my boys yesterday while Tony and I wandered. Sara and Skipper stayed on the ship while the rest of us walked to church for 1000hrs. The church was 2/3 full of white hats, ladies and little girls dressed in white dresses, men and boys in dark pants with white short-sleeved shirts. The singing was beautiful; the voices lead themselves in harmony, without any accompaniment. The words were in Tahitian and after a bit we could follow some of them on the printed sheet they gave
us. After church we picked up a drink from the one place that was open and had an impromptu picnic. On Sundays, everything shuts down here. The big market was done by noon, everything else never opened, not even a coffee shop somewhere. We spent a quiet afternoon on the boat. The cruise ship dock behind us was busy, a new trip started today on the Tahitian Princess Line. People slowly started to return to the ship. Only 13 of us had supper together, stir-fry and rice. As people returned, we heard of the various adventures. The tours around the island sounded good; a great black sand beach with huge surf to play in, snorkelling in the rain showers, drives up mountains to spectacular view points, chinese food on the beach with semi-live music (that´s a mixture of live and recorded), a visit to an International calibre surfing competition beach where the coral and surf meet in an intensely dangerous proximity to one another, etc. They all seemed satisfied. No one ended up camping as the island was small enough to travel around in a day and they experienced regular rain; they all have dry and comfortable beds here on the ship . . . home. Jordan, Carolyn, Antony and Arielle had a fantastic day hiking into the interior of the island and meeting some wonderful people along the way who helped them with lifts. One family was backroading with their 4 WD truck and took them along on their route, as well as fed them pizza and ice cream and drove them to see the view from one of the nearby mountain peaks. Jordan said that both groups were excited about the interaction and their new friends hope to come by for a tour. A very full day for everyone. Tomorrow some trainees are leaving early on the ferry to Moorea for the day. The day following is the beginning of our two work days where we all work together 0900-1700 hrs to prepare the boat for the next leg. This is it, I am very tired. Good night, Happy Birthday Monique, Bonice.


Observations:
hot sunny weather with good breeze
August 13th 2007 @ 21:15
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
The last group of crew/trainees that left in the rental cars has just returned and we are now all ´home,´ though many are still eating crepes with nutella, bananas and ice cream at the ´trucks.´ It´s fun to hear about their day.  Karen and Jose are on their 2 days off and enjoyed a very relaxing day with Jeremy, Chase and Jamie on the beach, by the pool, and snorkelling amongst many beautiful fish on the coral reef.  They tied up their day with an incredible gourmet dinner at one of the higher-end hotels; Karen said the food was expensive but delicious and beautifully presented, worth every franc.  Josh, James and Adam left early to do some boogy boarding at a beach 30 minutes from Papeete. Josh said it was great, he really enjoyed it.  Early mornings are beautiful, they are cooler and one can enjoy the waking up of the day.  By 0900 hrs it is already hot here, sometimes earlier. We´re finding that the evenings in Papeete are very comfortable. The sun is down by 1800 hrs, but by 1700 the air already feels cooler, especially if one has taken a deck shower with the hose.  At night our fans aren´t running full throttle and we actually find ourselves pulling a sheet or sarong over us.  It´s a treat to have this change in temperature, to enjoy the coolness.  Today is the final day before workdays and most of us spent it getting some personal jobs done, i.e. laundry, buying stamps, writing postcards, buying pearls (I find them so beautiful and I am not particularly interested in most jewelry), finding last minute gifts, writing in journals etc.  A group of trainees left on the early boat to Moorea for the day.  Claire, Jen, Jenna and Lexy had a great day visiting a tatoo artist that Jenna has already been in contact with.  They met some good people who gave them rides and advice on where to go and what to see.  Rob was sent to the market this morning before breakfast to buy 30 baguettes and cheese for all of us for lunches. Katie had bought cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce from the market, and, along with egg salad, tuna salad and cheese, we made ourselves some amazing foot-long baguette sandwiches. Lettuce is something we don´t often get, especially on bread.  The lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers taste like those my mom might pick from her garden, delicious.  There were 27 of us together for supper; the high prices of everything in Papeete is being felt, we´re fortunate to have Katie and Gillian making meals for us. We now have all our meals on deck,  sitting in groups chatting and sharing stories.  It´s a great part of each day, it´s something we want to bring home with us, the importance of sitting with friends and sharing a meal together.  After supper Katie went out with Noah, Jacob and Simon for ice cream at the  ´trucks.´  Simon had his trademark brown ´orbit´ of ice cream 1cm all around his mouth (tongue range), ice cream down the shirt and onto the flip flops.  Katie said the four of them laughed and made hilarious faces the entire time, Katie recording it all on her digital camera.  We continue to enjoy our fresh water hose, it costs us $2 per day; it´s the most enjoyment all of us get, for the least amount of money.  Something we´ve noticed here is how good the motorists are at stopping for pedestrians at the ´zebra´ crosswalks, the only way to get across.  The main road runs along the water, Rue Pomare, and is 4 lanes wide, but we never have to wait long, they just stop and let us across, even when the traffic is intense.  Some pairing is happening aboard ship; it´s always fun to watch, and as there really is no way to hide anything (we know each other too well)  we all tend to be privy to what´s happening and anyone can be consulted for advice or an opinion. Jordan has not been feeling too well; his elbow is swollen but Sara and Karen have consulted a doctor and he´s on medication and rest. This is it, time to go to bed, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
clear sunny skies with a strong southeasterly breeze, very hot
August 14th 2007 @ 23:45
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
It is very late but I want to leave you with something to read with your coffee in the morning!  We picked up Stephen Duff from the airport late this evening, surprising him. It´s great to see him and he´s happy to be here. Quite a few of the trainees have sailed with him in the past.  Today was the first workday.  The weather was perfect for bright work until mid-day when the rain started, making sanding and oiling difficult. Trainees chose which of the three work groups they wanted to be a part of, rigging, food stowage and galley clean-up, or bright work on deck.  For a good part of the day, Jeremy was astride the fender, in the water, sanding the hull with a palm sander.  He also tried suspending himself in the water by wearing 3 lifejackets ´diaper style´ (his legs through the armholes), and sanding. Elske, Mary, Bec and Tavish moved around the hull in the zodiac, several holding the boat in place, while one of them palm sanded the hull. We make them wear protective eye gear and a mask, but still, it´s a very messy job. Fine, black paint dust descends on everyone, and when it rains they look like rained on chimney sweeps. Deck work included sanding the main and fore gaffs as well as scraping the two masts.  Rob and Darcy were harnessed into the masts on bosuns´ swings, doing the scraping; another difficult and long job.  The galley crew went shopping together, creating a line of 7 or 8 full carts of food.  Once the food is on the boat, the cardboard is removed, food is sorted, packaged and stowed.  First, all the left over food is removed from its lodgings and the area is cleaned. Another big job.  Work stopped at 1700 hrs and we had a mass shower on the dock with the hose.  When I returned with the kids, I saw Chase enjoying his shower with 7 gorgeous women, a huge smile on his face.  When the guys had a go at getting clean, there were the beginnings of a water fight.  Tonight all the watches went out for supper, each to a different place.  Jose´s watch just recently returned, adding an ice cream from the ´trucks´ and a walk to their time together.  Jose chose one of his many beautiful photos for each of his trainees, making a print for each of them. On a separate sheet of paper, they exchanged written comments supporting each other, things they learned and appreciated about each other etc. and these will be returned to them via mail at the end of offshore. When we returned from the airport, there was a good-sized group of people playing Apples to Apples on deck, laughing hysterically.  I went for a walk with the kids today and came across a Mono´I Festival.  There were booths arranged with products and information about the cosmetics produced from coconut oil and oil from the ´tiare´ flower. We were given samples of soap which smell beautiful. Tomorrow we continue on our workday, hoping to paint the hull and get some more coats of oil on the gaffs and masts. We are all very happy, with so much talking still happening. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
very hot morning, showers mid-day, clear evening
August 15th 2007 @ 23:00
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
It is 2300hrs and I just left the group sitting on deck since 2000hrs, taking the time to remember each other one at a time.  We have done a few similar things during the course of this trip, and once again I am amazed and inspired by how honest the trainees are, how much they respect and love each other.  It shows in an exercise such as this how well they know each other and how much fun they have had.  Today was a very hot day, fortunately no one suffered from sun stroke.  Jordan´s elbow is  healing slowly; he is still on medication and wears a sling for support.  He continues to do his job as bosun while at the same time looking after himself; he was on deck for most of the day, overseeing what needed doing.  Jamie is another of our troopers, she´s still dealing with cold symptoms she´s had for a week now.  She was up on deck helping along with everyone else, when I´m sure a rest would have felt good.  On Monday she spent the day with Karen, Jose, Jeremy and Chase beach and pool hopping.  While the boys kept busy, moving from one activity to the next, she and Karen had a very calm, quiet day reading and smiling in acknowledgement on the nature of boys which inevitably led to their ´being ousted´ from one of the pools.  The boat looks amazing.  With 30 people working 8 hours for 2 days, we´ve been able to get a lot done.  The cooks were able to clean the entire galley, all the woodwork with its grooves and shelves, the floor with it´s tendency to collect spills, the freezer was emptied, wiped and restocked, and Adam cleaned the entire stove front and interior; it looks new. Thank you.  Gillian bought some more food today and it, along with some of the food from yesterday, all found a home.  They are happy.  The mast crew, Darcy, Rob and James did an amazing job.  They began yesterday, in their bosuns chairs, by scraping the masts. They were being raised and lowered by other trainees and crew on the deck. Today they applied two coats of oil and one good layer of grease.  The masts are tall and there is no shade up there; this is a huge job.  The wood on the masts looks new again.  The gaffs received another few layers of oil and when they were no longer tacky, had their sails relaced.  Jacob did the foresail.  Noah hung out all day with the rigging crew and was just as black as the rest of them. He sanded and oiled various parts of the boat, and painted some black bits on the bowsprit.  Jose took him to the ´trucks´ for ice cream as thanks.  The iron work and the hause hole were wire brushed or sanded, rubbed down with paint thinner, and then painted black (red for the hause holes). The hull crew worked hard and were the blackest of everyone.  It took them a good 45 minutes with every cleaner we could find to get some of the black paint off their bodies and out of their hair.  The rest will come off over time.  They had a riot though; we could hear them laughing, singing . . . They started by sanding the hull yesterday. Today they gave the entire hull a paint thinner wipe-down to clear off the film of old paint. We then applied primer where the wood was showing through.  The paint goes on next with a roller, followed by feathering with a paint brush to get the roller marks off. They had to tape off the top coloured stripes so as not to cover them in black paint.  At 1530, Sara went to the only two stores that were open and bought 38 cold drinks.  Today is a holiday here, everything is closed.  Gillian put out apples as well, and everyone stopped to rest and sit in the shade.  It was a hot, hot day.  Tristan and Jen spent most of yesterday and today sewing sail patches on small rents in the mainsail.  Around lunch time, Jordan Antony, Caroline, and Arielle´s friends from the weekend arrived.  One of the fellows that took the entire ship on as "mes amis a moi,´ is a mechanic. He came down yesterday to help us with a propeller piece (there´s probably a more bosun-like term, I just don´t know it) and took it with him to see what he could do.  He returned today with everything working, new seals . . . a clean bill of health for this particular piece. Jordan and Skipper are pleased and he would not let us pay.  He and his extended family came on the boat for some lunch and a tour through the boat, especially, of course, the engine room.  He even brought a friend who speaks excellent english as interpreter, just so he would be able to ask questions and understand the answers completely.  Another good visit, another positive contact.  Tomorrow will be another busy day, it´s the day of our final dinner, where the crew put on a meal and serve the trainees. Everyone dresses up and we all sit around a tableclothed table together.  I will give the details of these transformations tomorrow, or possibly the following day, if the evening goes late.  There will be an awards ceremonies, where everyone wins and Jose and Jeremy will put on a slide show with images from this leg.  It is always a lot of fun.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
hot sunny day, with a nice breeze for most of the day, comfortable in the evening
August 16th 2007 @ 23:45
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
It´s very late, we just wrapped up an amazing final evening together,
and for some, the evening´s not over yet.  They´ll be squeezing every minute
they can out of their final hours together.  Trainees kept busy getting odd
jobs done, some final shopping trips, writing and sending off letters,
catching up on journal writing, and starting to think about packing those
bags. The crew started mid-day preparing for the dinner tonight. Jose and
Jeremy gathered photos from trainees, adding them to their own collection,
and put together a fantastic slide show. Jenna G. and Claire were able to
locate a projector that allowed us to view the show on the foresail.  The
dinner was delicious, the setting was intimate, the company was grand . . .
I´ll tell you all about it tomorrow; right now I need to put my very tired
boys to bed.  Until tomorrow morning, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
cloudy skies for most of the day, still very warm
August 17th 2007 @ 23:00
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
It is late again; Tony and I just returned from an enjoyable evening
together at a restaurant situated high on a mountain overlooking Papeete and
the island of Moorea. We were sent there by the crew. They organized the
ride up the mountain, made the reservation and gave us the funds to go out
for a wonderful fondue and salad dinner.  What a gift, what a supportive
crew.  Today was the final day of leg 2 but fortunately we still have many
of them around us as their flight leaves tomorrow night. Katie made a
wonderful breakfast with baguettes, cheese, pineapple, watermelon, and
scrambled eggs.  The next few hours were spent packing bags, writing
addresses and best wishes in each other´s journals, taking photos and
generally trying to hang out with each other as much as possible, ignoring
the inevitability of having to part. Simon hovered over the packers, seeing
if their was any good ´stuff´ to be left behind, either because it was no
longer needed or wanted, or didn´t fit into the bags.  In the afternoon
Carolyn, Stephen, Tristan, Becca and Arwen started taking their scuba diving
certification course.  They learned some basics and were then taken out in a
power boat to a wreck site where they swam around 2 sunken airplanes and 3
old boats.  They said it was amazing; they also saw lots of brightly colored
fish, in many various sizes and types.  On Monday they will finish the
second half of the course with 2 or 3 more dives.  We now have quite a group
of qualified divers on board.  Once the trainees had emptied their bunks and
moved their gear on deck, the crew gave the boat a thorough clean.  It looks
good. Many of the crew and trainees went out to the ´trucks´ together for
supper.  Breakfast was the last meal made for us by the cooks until the new
trainees arrive.  Gillian and Katie have 2 days off, as does Skipper,
starting tomorrow. The crew met this afternoon to evaluate the last leg.
They had a chance to discuss details of the running of the program, to
listen to how each one of them is doing, and to see if changes need to be
made. It was an excellent meeting and crew feel less tired and more able to
predict what to expect and to work with these expectations. The group feels
strong and is motivated to make the most of the offshore experience for the
sake of the trainees. Yesterday was our final dinner. For appetizers,
Gillian and Katie made toasted baguette slices with sauteed mushrooms and
parmesan, and cucumber slices spread with goat cheese and grated carrot. We
then had salad, followed by bacon-covered roast beef, potatoes, and
broccoli.  There was cake with ice cream, either chocolate or vanilla, for
dessert.  To drink we had fruit punch with real blueberries and raspberries
in it.  The crew started mid-afternoon to transform the deck into a fancy
5-star restaurant.  Karen pulled out the craft box and decorated the main
boom with marquesian dancers, balloons, and streamers.  We pulled out the 5
gallon oil buckets, the fenders, and the fender boards and created seats
around the after cabin house, which became our table.  Clean maroon bed
sheets covering the entire top surface were our tablecloths.  We made name
cards and used my pearl and shell structures from Apataki, as centre pieces
on the table.  We strung up lights.  Arwen and Bec wrote out the menu in
poetic language and presented it at the ´entrance´ to the eating area on a
large sign board.  Jordan and Antony were the attendants bringing guests to
their seats after the initial mingling and chatting while the crew passed
around the appetizers.  The crew were the waiters and waitresses,
dishwashers, table clearers etc.  Trainees and crew were smartly dressed.
There was a wonderful feeling amongst everyone; we are a tremendous group
together.  Lots of laughing, eating, joking, and sharing stories.  After
supper Jordan lead the awards ceremony.  Everyone receives an award and they
all have something to do with their character, something unique we have
learned about the individual during this leg.  Most of them are very funny
and because we´ve all lived these last 5 weeks in close proximity to each
other, we understand why it´s funny and why the award was awarded.  Lots of
laughing; Jordan does an excellent job at being MC.  After the awards, we
moved onto the dock and watched a slide show of our leg, projected onto the
foresail.  It was wonderful to relive all the different aspects of our trip.
We stood there together, not needing to say anything, we knew the situation,
we´d all been there.  There were many beautiful photos.   We tried to show
some of the video footage as well, but the city lights were too bright.  You
at home will be able to see the photos as well as the footage once the
office has a copy and puts it onto the website.  The video clips of the
dancing in the Marquesas and the clips of life on the ship out at sea are
incredible and I look forward to you being able to see it. My logs will be
beautifully supplemented with all these images. Jenna G. spent some time
with Noah and Simon, dying their hair pink.  There is a streak on the back
of their heads that will remind me of her for several weeks, until the dye
washes out.  The boys love it and I like the idea of Jenna G. floating
around the boat a bit longer.  We haven´t had to say good bye yet to any of
the trainees, a nice thing.  Tomorrow will be the separation day as 10 of
them fly on the same flight.  I will miss them; we all will.  In 5 weeks we
have become a community; Darcy said it well tonight when he said, " I feel
as if I´ve gone to high school with these people, we are all so close."
It´s true, we feel we´ve known each other for much longer. Tomorrow Skipper,
Stephen, the kids and I will be looking for a beach where we can play,
snorkel, picnic, perhaps even read; a place to have a bit of a rest, a break
from the boat for Tony and some family time for all of us.  Thank you for
all your positive comments in regards to the log.  Until tomorrow, good
night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly cloudy day, still warm, comfortable evening
August 18th 2007 @ 22:00
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
The last of the trainees of leg 2 just left.  It was a prolonged
good-bye with most of them spending parts of yesterday and today on the
ship.  There was a wonderful final supper together at a great little pizza
restaurant before they all boarded the taxi to catch middle-of-the night
flights out of Papeete.  It was sad; it´s difficult to leave each other, to
admit this is it, our leg is done and our relationships will have to
continue in another context.  Trainees have been planning get-togethers with
each other and the crew before and after the boat returns to Victoria.
There were two more trainees who had beautiful tatoos done during the past
few days.  Several girls went to Moorea for the day, visiting a juice
factory where samples were offered and an agricultural school where one can
tour the property and see the various fruit trees and flowers, as well as
taste samples of the different foods they produce.  In the last few days
there have been some very impressive pendants made from the mother of pearl
shells we received from Coco on Apataki.  It rained for a good portion of
the day; the cooler temperature was a nice reprieve from the heat yet I
think we´re ready already for a dry day; things are pretty damp around here.
Skipper, Stephen, the kids and I had a picnic under a gazebo, as it started
to rain just after we purchased our food from the local ´Champion´ food
store.  Two security guards came over to check us out, asking where we were
from.  We pointed to the ship and Tony, the captain, and mentionned we were
looking for a place to picnic with the kids; then we offered him some
baguette and brie.  He smiled, nodded his thanks and said we were okay to
stay.  The bread and cheese here is delicious.  France subsidizes quite a
bit of the food and supplies wonderful dairy products from France.  A
good-sized piece of Brie cost me about $2.50 today, a baguette, still warm,
about $1 and a bottle of juice, very expensive, at about $4.50.   All in all
a great lunch, the kids love it. Jen´s parents are staying at a hotel and
invited some of the trainees to their room for showers and a swim in the
pool; they returned to the ship all clean and with fluffy hair.  We have
found a public, outdoor pool, but unfortunately it is only used for length
swimming.  Also, men and boys are required to wear SPEEDO suits and they
even rent them if you don´t own one.  We call it the SPEEDO pool and no one
has gone to swim there.  Most of us on the ship are planning to go early to
the market again, 0530 hrs, to see the fish piled high, as well as the
vegetables, bread, croissants, baguettes, coconut products etc.  It was
quite something last week; I´d like to enjoy it once more.  This is it for
tonight.  Tomorrow I will not be writing.  We are taking a day off to rest
and be with the kids, especially as today was very busy with many people on
and off the ship, saying good bye etc.  I will continue again the following
day, Monday, when the new trainees have boarded. Parents, siblings, friends,
family and partners, enjoy having your trainee home again and listening to
their experiences as they unfold bits at a time.  We sure enjoyed them and
we will miss them.  Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
cloudy and rainy for most of the day
August 19th 2007 @ 22:45
17°32'17.88 S 149°34'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
I wasn´t intending to write, but we
have two
birthdays that need to be remembered.  Tristan would like to wish
his mom a
great day today.  Hi mom, Happy Birthday from Tristan.  Also,
I´d like
to wish my sister, Ellen, a wonderful birthday as well.  Happy
Birthday
Ellen.  We had a more restful day today.  Last night several
of the
trainees who are remaining with us for the next leg, accompanied the
trainees
flying home, to the airport.  They were able to spend a few more
hours
together once the luggage had been checked in, but when the time came
for those
leaving to go through the security gate, it was difficult to
let go,
and there were some tears; the full realization that the group
would be
separated, that this portion of their lives together was over, hit
home.  It´s a deeply sad feeling.  This afternoon,
Skipper, the
boys and I were able to spend a few hours at a pool, sitting on
lawn chairs,
reading our books and playing with the boys in a fresh water
pool.  On
the boat, once again, odd jobs such as laundry, journal writing and
catching up
on sleep, were caught up on.  Sunday is a restful day in town as
everything
is closed.  A group of us visited the market again this
morning at
0530 hrs.  It was just as amazing as the first time.  So much
of
everything, and once again, mostly locals just doing their weekly fish
and
produce shopping.  We saw a few vegetables that we didn´t recognize
and
asked either the woman behind the table or someone making a purchase
what the
vegetable was and how they prepared it.  Always so much to notice
and to
learn about.  In general, the people seem eager to share
information with us once they realize we´re interested in
them.  We
saw half a boar´s head cooked and wrapped in saran wrap on a tray, for
sale.  You could see the snout and the teeth still connected; not
very
appetizing looking to me!  The cooks were able to buy some
beautiful vegetables for the next leg.  After two days of
having to
fend for ourselves, meal-wise, we are looking forward to being looked
after by
Gillian and Katie again.  Carolyn, Jordan, Antony and Sara spent
the day
with their local friends, Stellio and Jean Pierre, the mechanic and the
plumber, and their families, who have adopted them and have taught
them so
much about the island of Tahiti.  Our 4 spent the entire day
visiting places that meant something to the two families whom have spent
all of
their lives on the island and are passionate about what lies beyond the
big city
of Papeete.  They know the plateaus and valleys intimately.
We had a great conversation with all of them when they
dropped
the four off.  Jean Pierre and Stellio would like us to
stay a
week longer so they could build a traditional pit fire in the ground and
cook
something for us in the traditional way.  They felt honoured to
have our
trainees and crew spend the day with them and they look forward to our
return in
several years; they were two incredibly generous families with very big
hearts
for people.   Elske, Tav, Tristan, Sam and Bec went to
church
this morning after the market and a quick nap.  They enjoyed
the
singing and the women in their white hats and dresses, and the men
in their
white, short-sleeved shirts and dark pants.  We have seen a
few more
of the new trainees, they come down to the boat to say hello, it is good
to see
them.  I am looking forward to getting to know them, seeing the
process of
a community being built again.  Tomorrow will be a busy day,
with several introductions from the Skipper and various crew
members,
organizing bunks and bags, handing out harnesses, setting up watches,
and
beginning the process of getting to know each other. Until
tomorrow, good
night,
Bonice.      



Observations:
mostly cloudy day with sunny =
periods, sun
hot

tall ships
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