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February 23rd 2020 - 18:56

Main Menu -> SALTS -> Pacific Odyessy - 2007 Offshore -> Pacific Odyssey - Leg 3

Pacific Odyssey - Leg 3

Log of Pacific Grace

August 20th 2007 @ 23:40
17°0'0.00 S 149°31'58.80 W

Heading 20°

Ship's Log:
The first day of the third leg is over and there are a lot of very tired
people sleeping on deck.  The last few days for those arriving and for those
of us who have stayed behind to say good-bye, have been very busy, all good,
but nonetheless busy, and we are starting to feel it. Most of the new
trainees are trying their hand at sleeping on deck, something we will be
doing lots of on this leg as there is less offshore sailing and more island
hopping.  The rule is that if we are at anchor or tied to the dock, we can
sleep on deck.  If the ship is underway, everyone sleeps below.  Trainees
boarded between 1000-1400 hrs, with most of them at the boat well before
mid-day.  Initially trainees check in with the mate, Jose, go over
administrative details with him and are assigned a watch.  They can then go
below and choose a bunk and begin to make themselves at home.  At noon we
all had a magnificent lunch together of baguettes, meats, cheese, lettuce,
tomatoes, cucumbers, cookies and dried bananas, given to us by the women at
Tuahata.  Once the last trainee arrived, an afternoon of information from
the various crew members began, interspersed with fun, group activities that
begin creating the community and help us start to get to know each other.
There was a bit of time off before supper to grab a cold drink or a slushi.
Supper once again, was delicious.  There were some final good byes from
trainees and their parents from the last leg, siblings who sailed last leg,
dropping off siblings joining us for this leg.  I had a chance to spend some
time with the parents on the dock while the boat was undergoing final
preparations.  It´s exciting to see new faces; it always feels somewhat
strange to see a foreign face on the boat after we´ve spent so much time
with only very familiar faces, people that we´ve become to know so well. I
know though that given two weeks, we will be a tight group and will already
know each other better.  Most of the new trainees have sailed with the boat
already, but there are also those for whom this is the first time.  It will
be wonderful to experience with them, this new way of traveling and living
together.  At the market yesterday we saw a fruit we thought was the larger,
softer skinned, and purple passion fruit from Pitcairn.  It was not what we
thought, it was a ´pomme d´etoile,´ a ´star apple.´  We tried one today and
it was very tasty;  a combination of a pear, a banana, and an apple with a
custardy consistency.  It had big, flat, black pits, somewhat like large
watermelon seeds.  Tomorrow morning we finish off with a few more
information sessions after breakfast and dishes, and then we´ll head off to
Moorea, about 5 hours away.  I´m looking forward to visiting Moorea, I´ve
heard some wonderful things from trainees, parents and crew who have rented
a car and spent a day there.  Welcome home, trainees from Leg 2.  We are
thinking of you and missing you.  Enjoy being home with your families,
friends, the ones you love; enjoy sharing the stories, the details of our
lives here together on the ship.  Tonight we had to say good bye to Sara who
has been with us since Victoria.  We will miss her terribly; her presence on
the ship is that of one who cares deeply, works quietly and loves truly.
Thank you Sara for everything you´ve done to make this trip the wonderful
experience it has been.  Tonight, Jordan, Antony, Carolyn, and Sara´s
friends came by again with gifts and good byes.  We spent another 2 hours
talking while our kids played with their 4 kids.  Jacob blew up some soccer
balls, a volleyball and a basketball for them to take with them.  Noah
brought out his new drum and played for the kids as well as let them drum
out a tune.  It was a good visit, they are completely attached to our four
and have made plans to come and visit Canada to go four-wheel driving and
fish for salmon in 2009.  Also, they said if we ever return to Tahiti for  a
vacation, we have free accommodation at their home.  They presented us with
beautiful gifts; shell necklaces, sarongs and bed sheet sets made out of
cotton with their local motifs printed on them.  Very beautiful; ours has
sea turtles floating.  These people are amazing in their gift of themselves,
their honesty and frankness in wanting to spend time with the trainees they
met 10 days ago.  This is it, it´s very late, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
a very hot and sunny day, clear skies, a few small rain showers
August 22nd 2007 @ 23:00
17°28'54.12 S 149°48'54.00 W

Ship's Log:
Today was an excellent day; what a perfect day for the first day of a leg.  The weather was beautiful with ideal winds for sailing to Moorea.  We left just after lunch.  The wind was blowing northeasterly about 15 kts, just right for raising the four lowers,
main, fore, jumbo and jib.  The new trainees had a good chance to handle sail, and the rest of us had a good chance to be reminded.  We
sailed all afternoon, between 6 and 7.5 kts, an easy sea, and on a
broad reach.  It really was perfect.  The boat was heeled over slightly, the motion was very comfortable, and the sun was shining
gloriously, with the sails providing some shade.  We all felt the wonder of the moment, we all sensed how fortunate we were to enjoy such a sail.  After a few hours we lowered sail, another good chance to handle sail. The new trainees are very eager to learn and there are so many people, both crew and former trainees, ready to teach them.  The feeling on the ship is good.  This morning there were a few more information sessions for the trainees, followed by lunch.  During the morning, Elske, Bec, and Tavish received a huge parcel from Kelsey Roach from the first leg.  They were
ecstatic, and ran below with their parcel, followed by 4 little Andersons. It was like Christmas.  Kelsey had wrapped lots of
wonderfully fun presents and sent along a hilarious letter dictating in what order the wrapped packages were to be unwrapped.  We loved it! There were wedding bubbles, water balloons, pirate colouring books, air freshener for the foc´sle, suckers, Star Wars light sabors, and push-pops (Tav needed instructions on how to eat =
them). Thank you Kelsey.  Just before we untied lines, 4 workers from the Pearl Market came to have a tour of the boat.  I had been to the market with Stephen in the morning to show him how the purchasing of a pearl worked, and to teach him something of the black pearl farming. They know us because so many of us have spent hours with them choosing pearls and mounting them into necklaces, earrings etc.  I informed them we were leaving soon and said they still wanted to come by.  We´re so glad they did; they recognized several of the crew and the former trainees.  They loved the ship and took many pictures.  We slipped lines as soon as they disembarked.  Another good contact with the local people.  Last night I mentionned that Sara Warburton returned home. Welcome Home Sara, you should be with Kenny or your family by now. We´ve thought of you all day, guessing where in your flight you might be. Jaimie, Tav, Bec, and Elske accompanied Sara to the airport and they spent 2 more hours together, eating ice cream with the left-over francs Sara had in her
wallet.  I heard it was a good time.  On the crossing this
afternoon there were many of us falling asleep, relaxing and reading
books.  The city life seems to catch up with us and it´s great to head
out to sea again in order to have a chance to slow down and do some of
those things that we don´t otherwise do.  It felt good to leave the
dock and feel the boat move again.  We are now anchored just outside of Cook´s Bay, within the reef.  The island is stunning, very majestic, very green and with many, many peaks, both small and large jutting out of each other.  There are many different trees and bushes covering the sides of the mountains, and it looks like a road follows the circumference of the island.  It is nice to be anchored out, away from the eyes of everyone.  We will spend our day here tomorrow, possibly some of the trainees renting cars to be able to see more.  We arrived just before supper and had a chance to jump over the side to cool off.  The water felt welcome, much warmer than the fresh waer hose on the dock. After a delicous supper on deck, we did some stargazing with Stephen, Caelan, Skipper, Gillian and myself, and tried to find the constellations we had begun to memorize during the last leg.  We have a great star chart we bought at Mauna Kea in Hawaii.  Tonight we had Mug-Up, beginning with a type of musical charades game,  Very fun.  Then with Jose and Gillian playing guitar, Antony on the mandolin, Noah on the drum, and Elske on the violin, we did some singing.  Arwen is beginning this leg with her
wonderful baking, rice krispie squares, something  that does not
require  the stove to be lit.  This is it for tonight, I can barely
keep my eyes open.  Until tomorrow, goodnight,
Bonice.


Observations:
clear, blue skies, hot =
temperatures, light NE
winds
August 23rd 2007 @ 20:45
17°30'42.12 S 149°51'10.80 W

Ship's Log:
Today was Jen´s 20th birthday.  We celebrated it with several renditions of Happy Birthday and a delicious Upside-down Pineapple Cake, made by Karen, Gillian and Arwen.  What a place to have a birthday . . . like paradise.  We moved to a neighboring bay early this morning.  It is stunningly beautiful and quiet here.  There is only a road; there are no homes or buildings anywhere along the coastline of the entire bay.  When we arrived here this morning, everyone jumped over the side to swim.  It felt so good.  Last night as well, trainees and crew swam before supper, right off the boat.  We set up a swing from the outer end of the yardarm, on the outhaul.  Trainees climb out to the end of the bowsprit (the spar that sticks out the front end of the ship), hold onto a line and swing over the water, letting go at the furthest extremity of the swing.  Very fun.  It is also nice to be able to wash hair and clean bodies by jumping over. The other way is to haul water from over the side in the deck bucket, and pour it over yourself a bucket at a time, soaping and rinsing until you are done.   Tonight everyone was back on the boat and the dories and zodiac had just been raised onto the deck and covered over with their tarp when a powerful rainstorm moved in.  Several of us stood in the rain and had a fresh water rinse.  The tarps were up and if you worked cleverly, you could collect the rain in a dip and have it pour over yourself when the dip was full, by gently pulling down on the edge of the tarp.  Fresh water rinses are a real luxury on the ship.  We are now feeling quite clean.  This morning, trainees and crew took their time getting ready to leave the ship.  It was enjoyable to hang out together playing in the water and chatting in groups around the deck.  Starboard watch was on dishes and with Sam in our watch, it´s bound to be fun; there´s always a musical being sung or a tune we can join in.  Trainees spent the better part of the day exploring the island again.  Tavish and Chase hitch-hiked west around the island and walked back.  They said it was beautiful, but a long walk.  Elske and Bec visited a vanilla bean shop and tested out samples, learning about the different vanilla bean products made and sold on the island.  A large group of us walked about an hour uphill to the Agricultural School.  Skipper and I went with the three boys and met
Claire, Kelsey, Carolyn, and Katie just finishing a walk of the grounds and gardens.  The road inland was incredibly beautiful; narrow, quiet, winding through the many different kinds of trees and bushes, and flanked on either side by fields of grasses, cows, goats and horses.  The smells of the various blooms and the vegetation was wonderful and we breathed in deeply.  Some of the trees we saw were papaya trees, banana trees, mango trees, avocados trees. Coconut trees, some sort of calabash tree, and huge bamboo trees reaching 70ft into the sky.  There was so much that was lovely to take in. At the school we were given samples of the jams that are made from the fruits the students cultivate; pamplemousse, tiare, papaya and banana, banana, mango, and uru (breadfruit).  These were also for sale along with homemade sorbet, also made from fresh fruits. We took a walk around the property with a booklet that told us about the different trees and plants.  The pineapple bushes were probably the most interesting.  One pineapple grows per plant and it takes one year for it to ripen.  The top is then taken off and this becomes the beginning of the next crop. On the way home, we found a stem of bamboo that had broken off it´s main group and we were able to take a small piece back to the ship to try to make something from it.  The peaks of Moorea are known for their majesty and we just can´t get over looking at them and exclaiming to each other how spectacular they are.  After supper we ate cake and then groups settled down to various activities.  Jose read out loud to a group on deck with his headlamp, from Shackleton´s ´Endurance,´ written by Alfred Lansing.  It´s an excellent read. Many trainees were listening to their music, and writing in journals or reading.  There were several groups, in the dark, under the tarp, just chatting and laughing.  Down in the hold the guys were just generally making lots of noise as they were getting themselves ready for bed.  The foc´sle was pretty quiet.  Tonight there will most likely be more people in their bunks below deck.  The rain caused the entire deck to be wet.  A few of the faster ones will find dry spots on the seat lockers, others won´t care and will dry their bedding in the sun tomorrow.
We are leaving early for Huahine, about 90 nm away.  It will be good to have a day at sea, with meals in our watches around the table. This is when we really get to know our watch partners and begin to share bits of ourselves.  This is it, good night, Bonice.
 


Observations:
sunny and hot for most of the day, =
rain shower
and grey skies in the evening
August 23rd 2007 @ 21:00
17°28'54.12 S 149°48'54.00 W

Ship's Log:
Another phenomenal day, if the leg continues like this . . . it´ll be quite something.  We woke up to a beautifully sunny day with Moorea on our starboard side, as majestic and lushly green as anything we saw in the Marquesas.  Moorea has a very dramatic silhouette; she has many spectacularly shaped peaks, with smaller peaks coming off the bigger ones.  The flanks of the mountains are covered with a variety of foliage of different trees and bushes, very interesting to look at.  Around the base of the island runs a road and the majority of the businesses and homes find themselves there.  It looks peaceful from the ship.  Last night I was the last person to go to sleep.  When
I went on deck to brush my teeth, the deck was covered in sleeping bodies, all was dark, there was not a sound . . . stunning, I loved it.  In Papeete there was always noise, even during the night.  Moorea has small villages all around the outside of the island and these become quiet quite early.  I´m sure there are things going on in the more touristy hotels, but where we are, there was complete silence.  I stood on deck and spent a moment listening to the absolute quiet, one of those precious moments of offshore.  We all ate breakfast together on deck.  When we are tied up or at anchor, meals are usually eaten like this.  We gather amidships, sing grace and file down through the hold hatch, pick up our food at the table and file up again through the foc´sle hatch.  We cluster in groups on the deck, eating and chatting, a very enjoyable way to spend an hour.  After dishes trainees made plans for the day.  There was a lesson in snorkeling, methods and safety, and then trainees were taken to their various activities.  Some trainees swam off the boat to the reef nearby and snorkeled, some went ashore and hiked all day up a mountain ridge, some went ashore and explored the island of Moorea, and some stayed back on the boat and rested, read, snorkeled, etc. Everyone seemed to have a good day.  The snorkeling off the boat was wonderful; after 20m the water becomes suddenly much shallower and you can see the bottom and the colours change. There were bits of coral with a few fish.  I saw a very large ray resting on the bottom, until he saw me and floated ever so smoothly away.  He spanned about 1m. across his back and his tail was just as long again.  After 100m there is lots of coral and amongst every cluster of coral there are many different fish and types of plants.  The variation in the colours and shapes was spectacular.  From very tiny fluorescent purple and aqua-green fish to 30cm multi-coloured parrot fish, to yellow, black, and white angel-type fish, to 30cm black with white dots puffer fish, to bright orange hand-sized fish . . . so much to look at and to marvel at.  Inside the nooks of the coral were all kinds of very brightly coloured anenome-like sea animals that were shaped like little pine trees which closed when you swam near them.  There was so much life under the water.  It was very enjoyable to float and look, to be suspended in the water, trying to absorb all there was to see.  It was a great opportunity for the new trainees to test out their new snorkel gear and get used to snorkeling again.  Everyone except for 2 of the crew, returned to the ship for supper, another one-sitter on deck.  It gets dark early near the equator, around 1800hrs.  Soon after supper, a group was in the stern picking out constellations.  It always takes awhile to find familiar ones from the last long passage, constellations that help to orientate yourself to the night sky again.  Jordan put a stargazing program on the computer that Skipper had bought at the Victoria Observatory and we used this to help us locate star groups.  It was incredible, an amazing teaching tool. Part of the program explained the stars and the stories behind the names of the constellations.  Chase brought out a laser pointer his brother had given him, and this made finding the different constellations even easier.  Paul, Caelan, and Graydon joined us and were eager to learn.  We continued to look for at least 2 hours.  After dishes Karen played ´telephone charades´ with the trainees.  From the cabin, where I was putting my boys to bed, I could hear roaring laughter; the game was enjoyed.  Tomorrow morning at 0800hrs we are moving to a neighboring bay, Opunohu Bay, where we will spend the day.  I am looking forward to visiting an agricultural school which is supposed to be very interesting.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
mostly clear skies, hot
temperatures
August 25th 2007 @ 22:00
16°45'24.12 S 150°58'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
Another idyllic day . . . Skipper and I were asking each other if anyone gets bored after awhile, touring through the islands for months at a time . . . I guess we´ll find out.  Up to now, it´s been quite beautiful, each day dawns and we ask ourselves what we should do?...  snorkel, swing off the outhaul rope into the ocean, explore the town or the island, possibly meet some locals and play volleyball, walk or hike, find a waterfall, find a shop that sells cold drinks, take it easy on the ship, read, write etc. . . yes, life is good.  There are always lots of things that need doing, and things that we continue to put up with, but when we see where we are and the contacts we can make with so many different cultures, we feel very fortunate indeed.  We woke up to a very sunny and hot day.  We are thankful for the tarps.  After breakfast a group went to the island of Huahine and explored for the day.  They found the local people very friendly, were given rides to various places of interest, ate at a restaurant serving traditional Polynesian food, i.e. ´poison cru´ (raw fish soaked in lime juice, garlic, onion, pepper, salt, parsley, and served with coconut milk), and saw some Polynesian dancing.  One of the members of the drumming troupe gave them a ride back to the beach for the 2200hr dory ride. Trainees were very excited about their day.  Another group took the dories to a motu, basically a sand, coral and coconut tree covered island that forms part of the reef around the bigger island in the middle, in this case, Huahine.  It was beautifully desolate sounding, only the sound of the waves breaking on the reef could be heard.  We wandered along the edges, tried some snorkeling, found a coconut, husked it, cracked it, and broke out pieces to eat.  The kids got a drinking coconut down from a tree and we tried that as well.  We still had 2 pamplemousse left from the agricultural school and those made up the rest of our snack. Some of us swam/snorkeled back to the boat, passing a reef around an entrance buoy to check out the fish.  There was quite a group hanging out together on the ship; there was a good feeling, people just happy to be there, doing what they were doing, enjoying each other´s company.  Tristan, Sam and Arwen swung together on the outhaul swing, landing close to each other in the water, laughing the entire time.  Jacob, for the first time, is also enjoying swinging into the water from the bowsprit.  Arwen and Caelen baked chocolate chip cookies; we enjoyed them tonight.  Tavish decided it was time to get a haircut and I gave him a trim on the afterdeck.  This evening, about 2200hrs, the wind suddenly picked up quite strong and we had to quickly take down all 3 tarps.  The sky has turned quite cloudy and we are expecting rain.  This has not discouraged trainees and crew from sleeping on deck though, and if it rains, I will hear many footsteps making a dash for the hatches, sleeping gear under their arms.  We are up at 0600hrs tomorrow, moving to a new anchorage deeper in the bay and visiting a church in the village of Maroe, where Skipper has read, the singing is amazing.  Jose was ashore today and ended up playing volleyball with some young people, and being invited to bring the trainees tomorrow for another game at 1600hrs. Should be fun. The island is very quiet, not many cars have driven by the road by the shore.  There are fewer tourists here than in Moorea or Bora Bora, and many of the young people move away to work in the tourist industry.  This is it, I have caught the sore throat/runny nose bug that has been making its way through the boat. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
clear, sunny skies for most of the =
day, hot
temperatures, light winds with stronger winds and rain in the
evening
August 26th 2007 @ 23:00
16°45'47.88 S 150°59'52.80 W

Ship's Log:
Today was a very good and full day.  We raised anchor at 0600hrs and moved further into the bay, outside the small village of Maroe.  It rained a lot last night and many of us ended up sleeping below.  We had a wet morning and all left for a 0900hrs church service in our rain gear.  As the morning progressed, the weather improved and it was hot again by mid-morning.  The parish was incredibly welcoming and also amused as 37 people entering their church unannounced and, like I said earlier, in rain gear.  The woman who spoke, spoke first in Tahitian, then in French and then in English, just so we could understand what was being said.  Usually the service is just given in Tahitian!  The singing was fabulous; the sound pushed against the walls of the small church, filling it, voices multilayered, a sound one doesn´t forget.  There was no accompaniment; someone would start singing and everyone would join in, the voices singing in harmony.  Church was done by 1000hrs and groups split off, some swimming off the dock, others hitch hiking around the island, still others walking and climbing a mountain.  The sun was hot and many of us are feeling very tired. The village is very small and initially, we found ourselves thinking "there´s not much to do here,´ and feeling somewhat bad, thinking so, our North American expectations creeping in.  What it allowed though, was for the day to evolve into something, to allow us and the locals to find something to do together because we weren´t busy running off ´doing´ everything there was to do.  Jose brought a group of young people to the boat that he had met yesterday and they stayed with us for several hours, making crafts with my younger kids and playing music with Stephen, Skipper, Jose and Noah, on the drum.  They brought a ukulele and sang Polynesian songs for us, while we joined in with our guitars and mandolins.  It was very relaxed and they seemed comfortable here.  One of the fellows ended up giving his ukulele to Jose as a gift, writing the names and addresses of their group on the back.  On shore, trainees were hanging around the dock and the volleyball net.  Trainees and the locals were swimming together off the dock, floating the homemade boats Stephen and my kids had made off the beach, playing a game of soccer with Tristan and a few others, and rotating through people on the volleyball field.  This went on for about 4 hours, younger kids tended to be playing with our trainees in the water and at soccer, while the older ones played volleyball.  The locals play well as they have a lot of free time to play together.  At 1800hrs the zodiac returned the trainees to the boat, ready for roast beef dinner.  Some trainees spent some of their day on the boat, swimming off the side, swinging on the outhaul rope, catching up on laundry, and reading or writing.  There was a very good feeling everywhere, both on and off the boat and everyone was very excited about their day.  At the Sunday service tonight, we all had a chance to say what our expectations are for this leg and why SALTS appeals to us, why we keep returning.  For many, it is the sense of community they feel on the boat and the chance to interact with cultures like we did today. Traveling as we do allows us experiences that an average traveler does not have and the trainees are aware of that and appreciate it.  Some said that sailing on this leg gives them the time to think, to re-evaluate, to learn more about themselves and offers the chance to meet people in a more deliberate way.  Arwen made peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies again; she spoils us.  Tomorrow we leave at 0800hrs for the next island.  It is very late; I think I am the last one up again.  The moon is nearly full and the sky is quite clear. Until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.  



Observations:
mostly sunny with some cloudy =
periods later in
the day
August 27th 2007 @ 21:15
16°38'17.88 S 151°25'55.20 W

Ship's Log:
We are anchored inside the chain of motus that form the reef around the islands of Tahaa and Raiatea.  The colour of the water where the it shallows up is the light, light blue and turquoise of the photos one sees of the tropics.  We returned to Tuahine motu, where we spent time 17 years ago with the trainees.  It´s a very small motu with sand and palm trees and at that time had small bungalows one could stay the night at.  We made friends with the owners Diego and Francoise.  Today we went to see if they were still there, but the motu had been sold and was now a private resort for honeymoon couples.  It was beautiful; the manager met us at the dock and showed us the property after he heard our story.  Apparently it´s one of the top 25 places to stay in the world; it´s beautifully put together, very classy and well-made, yet built with traditional materials such as wood and thatch. The many small dwellings fit harmoniously into the landscape.  There was a white sand beach with lawn chairs, fresh fruit at an open air sitting area, with all the tables, stairs, floors, and chairs also made of wood.  Décor was done with local flowers, pearl shells and thatch.  It was wonderful to see something so beautifully and tastefully put together.  We are now anchored near another motu that promises good snorkeling.  We left Huahini early this morning with a very stiff wind, especially as we came through the pass.  The surf was breaking loud and big over the reef as we went through it.  The motion was very rocky-roly, side-to-side, with the wind astern.  We raised the fore to steady the ship somewhat, later raising both square sails and lowering the fore.  We sailed broad reach until about 1600, another amazing sail.  Some of the new trainees were feeling seasick, poor Jose and Tristan were left with only Carolyn S. to help with breakfast dishes and there were a lot of dishes.  We ate in our watches today for breakfast and lunch, learning a bit more about each other.  Forewatch interrogated
Jose, portwatch interrogated Krista, and there were questions followed by laughter when her twin, Carolyn walked in and heard what was said of her.  It´s wonderful what the trainees will share with each other, the things we learn about them, many of them very funny, very daring, very creative.  Karen taught Juniors Rules of the Road and Points of
Sail when they were feeling less seasick.  Once we anchored, trainees were able to go for a swim; the salt air always makes one feel sticky and ready for a rinse.  By 1800hrs, the water felt warmer than the air.  Many different activities were happening around the ship this evening: Chase and Gillian discovered that tomorrow there will be a total lunar eclipse as well as a full moon, Stephen and Jordan are working together to make a handout on celestial navigation for trainees, and Katie was grinding wheat berries to make the whole wheat flour for the bread for sandwiches tomorrow.  We are planning on taking a lunch to the motu and spending a good part of the day there.  Tom chose his spot on deck early and was in his sleeping bag reading with his headlamp.  The foredeck is also covered in sleeping bags with trainees staking out their spot.  Leslie and
Sam sang for us on deck while the rest of us were milling about, reading, writing, chatting, or just getting ready for bed.  Leslie has a beautiful voice and sings in a band in her home of New York.  Sam is always singing or whistling and has been instrumental in encouraging us to do the same.  Simon has been taught to play the "Make a happy (or sad, or worried, or scared, or confused etc.) face" by Katie and Karen and it provides all of us with hours of amusement.  Noah is also very good at the game.  I hear that this game was played with Katie by her mom when she was small.  Noah climbed to the very top of the foremast, sitting on it, with Tavish this afternoon.  They hung out together there for quite awhile, chatting away as if nothing else mattered.  Jose had a chance to look at the photos he took of the trainees and locals playing together yesterday in
Huahine; they are wonderful and remind us of the good times we have in each of the places we visit.  I can´t wait for you to see them.  I  think I am once again one of the last people to go to bed; just Karen is still awake as she has nearly finished "Pride and Prejudice," and does not want to put it down.  Until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.    



Observations:
mostly sunny skies, occasional =
clouds
August 28th 2007 @ 21:30
16°37'48.00 S 151°26'52.80 W

Ship's Log:
We´ve had an amazing day and as I type, nearly everyone is asleep or nearly asleep, mostly on deck. We have had strong winds blowing steadily for the past 2 or 3 days.  Because of this we haven´t been able to put up the tarps during the night.  Last night, the wind strengthened and some trainees were woken up by it.  This was fortunate because it allowed them to see a partial eclipse of the moon, with a red glow shining behind it.  Tonight is supposed to be the total lunar eclipse.  Later in the night, a few raindrops started falling, followed very quickly by a torrential rain squall which sent everyone scampering faster than fast, down the companionway and into their bunks.  I must tell you something; last night when I was making my way through the boat, I noticed that even though most trainees were sleeping on deck, their bunks looked ready
to be slept in, and the mighty duffle bags and knapsacks, which live on the bunks during the day, were stacked neatly, two high, around the table, on the seat lockers.  I subconsciously took note of this.  With the rain squall, it occurred to me that the trainees are fast learners and were now prepared. They had lived through some initial mayhem during the first few days of sleeping on deck and midnight rainsqualls, where bunks were not ready and bags were still stacked on them.  We spent the morning on an idyllic motu; a very small island of sand and coconut trees, which forms part of the reef around the larger island of Tahaa.  Antony brought us in the zodiac as the wind was strong and the Grace had to anchor quite a distance away because of the coral.  We spent several hours snorkeling, wandering the island, lying in the sun, reading, building sandcastles, collecting and tossing coconuts, and trying to open a drinking one.  Skipper showed us later how to open a drinking nut, something he learned on Pitcairn.  The snorkeling was great, many coral heads covered in small and medium, colourful fish.  There was a pen for catching fish nearby that we could squeeze ourselves into and in it was a white-tipped reef shark along with some other very interesting fish that had trapped themselves in.  We saw huge trumpet fish, a lion fish, and a puffer fish. The reef sharks are not dangerous, this one swam around its pen and was about 140cm long.  For us it was a perfect chance to get a good look at a shark.  After lunch we raised anchor and moved into Baie de Faaaha, just south of our motu (yes, there are 3 a´s in the name).  Skipper made a contact at motu Tuahine that sent us to motu Mahaea this morning, and Jose met a fellow there, that sent us to the bay to visit a pearl farm and vanilla bean farm, both run by the same extended family, a wonderful family.  As I´ve written before, people are very friendly and generous in the Polynesian islands and it doesn´t take more than a smile, a ´bonjour,´ and a small exchange in broken french to make a good friend who is eager to help you and teach you about his island, is ready to spend some time with you.  We have experienced this time and time again. And it seems, that those we visit and spend time with in this way, are equally happy and ´filled,´ to spend several hours or a day with us.  It´s a win-win situation every time.  We sent Antony in the zodiac with a group of trainees looking for a gap in the coral that would allow us to reach the shore.  At the same time, the pearl farm came out to the Grace in their ´panga,´ a big, canopied power boat used to transport people from larger ships to their farm for tours.  They had seen us and guessed we were going to be making many trips back and forth and offered to bring us all in one load to the farm, free of charge, for a tour, also free of charge. This was a wonderful introduction to the nature of the family members who ran both the vanilla and pearl farms.  We were welcomed at the dock by other family members, men dressed in floral green short-sleeved shirts and white shorts, women in floral green long skirts and sun tops, with beautiful green-leafed crowns on their heads, framing their pretty faces and long dark hair. One of the women, Sabrina, has an 18-month old little boy who was with his dad while his mom spent at least 2 hours with us.  He also wore a crown of greenery with flowers; we have pictures of them both.  Sabrina had a wonderful countenance about her; she was very unassuming and wonderfully confident about her knowledge of their pearl industry.  She was so enjoyable to be around and she spoke English well, with a lovely French accent and ´voila´ thrown in regularly.  She gathered us together in one of the thatch-roofed dwellings and told us how the pearl is made, from when they purchase the ´un-nucleus-ed´ oyster shells (the spats that have been growing for 2 years) from Apataki in the Tuamotus, to when they put the pearl for sale in their boutique, on site.  She had an open shell with the animal, the pearl sac, the mantle, the muscle, all visible for us to see and touch.  She had some of their opening and inserting tools as well.  She gave an excellent explanation and passed all the materials around, and answered questions.  Some of us had already learned about the pearl process from Coco in Apataki and this gave us an opportunity to remember what we´d learned and to build upon it.  For the new trainees I was happy they had the chance to learn about this very important part of French Polynesia.  There was a small boutique where we could look and buy.  They do not sell their pearls anywhere else, the farm and the boutique is all together.  They harvest only what they can sell.  There was a wonderful sense of family amongst the workers and the people that helped and taught us.  After the pearl explanation they took us 200m up a quiet and very picturesque little road (a normal road for them) to one of their homes where the vanilla bean was being grown and harvested.  We had another very informative talk from a different woman, very passionate about her vanilla plants and also very humorous, an excellent teacher.  Tahaa is known as the vanilla island and many families have vanilla bean orchards.  There is no such thing as a vanilla factory or mass production.  It´s all small scale and very labor intensive.  They produce and sell their product to people for use in the islands.  They call it ´black gold (the beans are black when they are ready).´  Restaurants, hotels and merchants from Papeete come to get their vanilla, but it is not exported abroad.  There´s something about that, which feels right.  Conversation and laughing flowed throughout our time with these two beautiful women; it was memorable.  We returned to the pearl farm where the zodiac was waiting, looked through the pearls and vanilla beans being sold once more, and said our good-byes.  It was getting late, the sun was nearly behind the majestic Tahaa mountains. Another superlatively memorable day.   After supper, people were tired and sleeping spots were staked out quite early.  The moon is phenomenal; full, orange-yellow, very big, and the amount of light it sheds is incredible.  We can see all the way up to the bow of the ship, it´s very beautiful.  Jaimie´s father turned 50 years old today and she would like to wish him the most amazing of days. Happy Birthday dad, from Jaimie.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.          



Observations:
sunny skies, strong winds all
day
August 29th 2007 @ 21:15
16°46'23.88 S 151°25'12.00 W

Ship's Log:
Sometimes I wish we´d have a boring day; there´s always so much I want to write about, yet everyday I´m anxious about describing it well and full enough.  So much happens in a day.  I would like to relate to you more details about each specific trainee and crew member, but when we move from bay to bay and island to island, the routine is much different than weeks spent out at sea together.  We are more separate from each other;  I don´t have the chance as easily to be an observer.  I would also like to have trainees share their journals with you but I´ve had difficulty getting them to volunteer.  I´ll keep trying.
Today we raised anchor at 0800, ate breakfast in two sittings and spent an hour moving to a different bay, Baie de Haamene.  The wind continues to blow strong, with gusts up to 60kts; the woman from the pearl farm said it is somewhat windier than usual, though the trade winds always provide a breeze.  We lowered dories and went ashore in two groups; one group hiked 1 1/2 hours up a mountain to an incredible view over the islands of
Tahaa and Raiatea, and the second group walked quite a way to what we thought was a turtle rehabilitation program.  Instead, it was more a restaurant that had a few turtles in pens to look at. They did rescue turtles and reintroduce them back in to the wild, but it was not a teaching centre as we´d hoped.  It was a nice, albeit hot, walk along the shore.  The hike up the mountain, which the kids, Skipper and I were a part of, followed a 4x4 dirt trail that zigzagged it´s way up.  Parts of the trail were very muddy and we were quite covered with it by the time we returned to the dories. The vegetation was incredibly lush and very green, beautiful.  The smells were many and heavily floral.  We could also smell the wood fires, which always remind me of Pitcairn Island, especially alongside the smell of vegetation.  Along the way we met 3 men husking and chopping coconuts and bagging them, perhaps preparing them for copra production.  At the top, Becca slipped and took off one of her toenails.  Fortunately Tavish had an excellent First Aid kit with him, and he and Antony were able to wash the very muddy and bloody toe, and bandage it up, so she could hobble her way back down the mountain.  She´s a trooper, especially as she´s already dealing with another foot wound that is taking it´s time to heal.  Little cuts and scrapes are watched very closely on the boat, as it is so easy for a wound to get infected in the tropics. Karen has her hands full, keeping on top of everyone´s cuts and scrapes; she does an amazing job.  Gillian baked delicious bread early this morning, and we were able to take a bag lunch with us ashore.  We all met at the dories at 1400hrs, happy, having had a chance to see something new again, and to get some much-needed exercise.  We raised the anchor again and headed to the island of Raiatea, a slightly busier island.  It is in the same lagoon as Tahaa.  We anchored in Baie de Vairahi, in the lee of the shore.  This is important because we are finally able to put up the tarps, which means there may not be a mass exodus below tonight when the rain starts. Thanks goes to Tristan and Jacob and a crew of others who put up both of the big tarps in the dark for us. The moon is large and very bright.  It looks beautiful shining over the water.  Jose and Skipper tried taking some night photos with the full moon shining large alongside the masts and rigging.  Stephen and Jordan taught Celestial Navigation to the Seniors this afternoon.  They are hoping to write up a hand-out as well, that would help Seniors remember the steps in taking a sight and doing the computing to come up with a position.  Karen taught the juniors their Chart work lesson.  Supper was early tonight, 1730hrs.  This was so that we could eat on deck in our watches while it was still light out.  Conversations went on well over an hour.  Carolyn (the twin, there are 2 Carolyn´s), Tom and Tavish were interrogated in their watches and many funny and serious details emerged.  Tom eagerly shares his knowledge of the grocery industry with us, all kinds of details we never think of.  He is looking forward to scuba diving tomorrow; he brought all his own gear, except for the tank.  Other options are a hike to a waterfall somewhere close by and/or to a ´marae,´ an archeological sight.  Gillian and Katie are looking for a grocery store.  Before supper, Jose set up a few climbing problems on the jumbo boom and the foreboom.  Paul, Tom, Chase, Noah, Caelan, and Susan were able to do it, many others tried, and yet more hope to try when nobody else is watching!  At Paul´s request, Karen organized a game on deck once dishes were done, and watches were clustered in groups with a headlamp working through some kind of word list.  I was putting boys to bed and am not sure what game exactly they were playing, but it sounded fun. It is a nice sight at night with small groups of people busy at various things, with their headlamps providing the only source of light, besides the moon.  The mood it gives off is rather cozy, like camping.  Several trainees with Chase and Jordan studied the sky, finding stars with the help of the Stargazing program on the computer and Chase´s laser.  Robyn´s sister, Amanda is having her 15th birthday today and Robyn was very excited to pass on a very Happy Birthday through the log.  Happy Birthday Amanda, from Robyn.  It is very quiet on board at the moment, I think I am probably the only one still awake again.
Jordan and Stephen made me a wonderful cup of rooibos tea, with some chocolate, before they headed off to sleep, very thoughtful.  This is it until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.        



Observations:
a mixture of sun and cloud, fresh
breeze
August 30th 2007 @ 22:00
16°38'48.12 S 151°31'19.20 W

Ship's Log:
We are anchored near the island of Tahaa again, in the Baie Hurepiti, on the west coast.  It is incredibly windy tonight, it is howling in the bay and we´re expecting a rain squall.  It will definitely not be a very restful night for Skipper and those standing watch.  We spent most of the day on Raiatea, leaving for here at 1600hrs.  Skipper and Jose navigated through a series of bouys which took the ship past shallow water and large patches of coral, to a stretch of deeper water where we set the two courses and sailed beautifully for an hour, at times at 8kts.  We were still inside the lagoon so the water was calm, just the wind was strong.  We sailed from the eastern side of Raiatea (the southern island) to the western side of Tahaa (the northern island), and are now in a good position to go through the pass early in the morning, out into open ocean and on to Bora Bora, 20nm away.  We´ve had another great day.  Jose has been waking up lately with a sore back.  This morning however, after a particularly bad night, even waking up and walking around a bit to relieve the pain, he commented that it felt as if he "was sleeping on a cup or something as if a mountain or something was poking him."  We offered advice, sympathy, back massages, back strengthening exercises, Sam even tried to re-align his back for him.  Then, Skipper asked whether he had remembered to move the Relief Map of Tahiti Nui, Tahiti Iti and Moorea from under his mattress which the two of them had decided to stow there (this is a 2 x 3 foot hard plastic map of Tahiti, with the heights and contours of the island mountains sticking out proportionally in hard plastic; it was given to us by the friends of Jordan, Carolyn, and Antony in Tahiti).  Jose gave a humorous look of disbelief, ran down to check, and sure enough, he had been lying on top of the Tahitian Mountain Ranges all night!  We sure laughed.  His back has been bothering him for several days though, and thus he maintains the need for the continuation of the back massages and sympathy. After breakfast dishes, dories were lowered and people set out in 3 basic directions.  One group hiked inland, through lush, green vegetation and beautiful dark brown cows to a stream and waterfall. It felt wonderful to rinse in the fall and in the good-sized pools of the stream.  The sun was very hot. Elske and Tav found mini chili peppers on a small bush on the way back from the waterfall and encouraged everyone to put one to their tongue. They were incredibly ´hot´ and trainees walked around for 20 minutes with burning tongues.  I think Gillian and Katie have some extras with which they can cook.  Katie had baked fresh bread again for sandwiches so we were able to take a lunch with us.  Walking inland on these islands is, I think, one of the nicest things to do here; hanging out on a motu and snorkeling are pretty wonderful too.  Karen, Claire, Susan and Leslie visited an archeological site about a 40 minute hitch-hike away.  Their route took them through gorgeous valleys and around the edge of many bays.  They said the site was very interesting and were excited about their day.  The same fellow who picked them up, arranged to drive them back to the town of Uturoa, where they could get a cold drink.  The third group, which included the cooks, walked and got rides into town.  The first stop for most of them was the grocery store, buying cheese, baguettes and juice for a picnic, then internet, and then checking out dive shops etc. We´ve had a relaxing evening.  A long game of Settlers of Catan was being played in the hold, tea and conversation was happening in the galley, and chatting, letter and journal writing and reading was going on in the foc´sle and up on deck.  There are some diehards who are sleeping on deck, without tarps and a very high probability of rain, as well as the strong winds that are already blowing.  The nights on deck with the rain and all that ensues, creates good discussion during the day:  different theories on what would work better, what did work, how useless the tarps really are as the water runs everywhere anyways, the noise for those sleeping below already, the line-up at the head of the companionway as people hurry to get below with their bedding etc.  For me it´s funny, as I stay dry, sleep well, all night, every night . . . in my bunk.  Stephen and Skipper programmed the computer to solve the spherical triangle problem for celestial navigation.  This replaces the need to use the Sight Reduction Tables, and hopefully, is the beginning of a process that will help trainees and crew understand more thoroughly, the entire process of computing the sextant sights to a position on the chart.  Jordan and Carolyn´s dad is celebrating his birthday tomorrow and they would like to wish him an awesome day.  "We miss you, have a Happy Birthday, dad," from Jordan and Carolyn.  Happy Birthday Allan, from the crew as well.  This is it, I´m not the last one up tonight; I hear Skipper and Stephen conversing and laughing on the cabin house.  Good night,
Bonice.          



Observations:
mostly sunny today, winds during =
the day, very
windy and gusty tonight
August 31st 2007 @ 22:30
16°30'36.00 S 151°45'18.00 W

Ship's Log:
We are anchored outside of Vaitape, the main village on the island of Bora Bora.  It is a beautiful anchorage and the winds have slackened somewhat so we can rest easier tonight (Skipper slept all of 2 hours last night).  All 3 tarps are up; it has already rained this evening.  Last night only Skipper and Sam slept on deck, everyone else finally admitting defeat and suffering through the heat of the hold in their bunks.  It was also the first night in many that it did not rain! Tavish woke up wet from his own sweat and dove straight into the ocean to freshen up.  If you get up early enough, you can get salt water shower from the deck hose when morning duty is cleaning decks; it feels really good.  We raised anchor at 0600hrs and anchored before noon at Bora Bora.  Underway trainees had their pin tests.  This is where the watch officer goes through the ship and asks them what each line and belaying pin does which sail it is attached to.  It is especially important when we head off on a longer passage where we hope to sail most of the time, day and night.  When everyone is able to grab the correct line and help out the watch officers and Skipper, it makes a big difference. Seniors were given a chart work lesson by Jose.  After lunch nearly everyone went ashore.  We landed at a promising-looking dock, but found the island rather unimpressive as we all spent the afternoon walking and hitchhiking, looking for something more interesting.  I found the town and environs dirty and sloppy, strange smells emanating from who knows where, very unlike the other Polynesian villages we´ve spent time in. We found ourselves asking what the appeal of Bora Bora is, the shape and vegetation of the island, and the lagoon around it, is stunning.  I suppose visitors get whisked off to one of the many beautiful resorts around the perimeter of the island and enjoy the luxury of the setting, with everything arranged and organized from the resort.  Crew and trainees were able to buy the proverbial baguette, cheese and fruit juice and have a picnic in the shade of one of the coconut palm-thatched shelters.  We were all quite happy to return to our home and have Gillian waiting for us with a delicious supper of Thai chicken wraps with hoisin, peanut or soy sauce, and salad.  She started the meal at 1400hrs; there was a lot of preparation and rolling of wraps to feed 32 of us.  She does a great job.  Between raising dories and singing grace, we had time for a jump overboard and a swing on the outhaul swing, always fun.  It´s also a great way to feel cleaner, apply some soap and jump in.  After supper people basically just hung out.  In the foc´sle there were the girls playing cards, eating pamplemousse and writing in journals.  In the hold Scott and Simon were listening to Scott´s ipod, Graydon and Paul were journaling, Tristan, Sam and Tom were reading, and Matt was showing me the pearls he bought today.  Graydon also visited the Pearl Market.  On deck there were patches of light from headlamps where several trainees were again, reading or writing.  Several people were chatting and laughing on the foredeck, while Elske and Bec were listening to something very funny on Elske´s ipod and howling in the stern.  A good night. It´s past 2200hrs and everyone is back.  Chase hiked to the top of the tallest mountain and said it was awesome, probably the most difficult hike of the offshore so far.  There are others now who may hike tomorrow. Karen and Katie rented bikes for a few hours and had a wonderful time touring around the island.  We will be here tomorrow and people have plans to dive, cycle, hike, and snorkel.  Jordan and Stephen went to an excellent restaurant for supper tonight; Jordan met a female bosun from another schooner that was built in Lunenburg and has been sailing since March 2006.  He´s quite happy.  The captain had called Skipper earlier, inviting the ´officers´ of our ship to the Hotel Bora
Bora, to meet with them, they had noticed us in Papeete.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
mostly sunny for most of the day, =
clouds later
in the afternoon and some rain tonight, winds have =
settled
September 1st 2007 @ 22:00
16°30'36.00 S 151°45'18.00 W

Ship's Log:
We are still anchored at Bora Bora, most people went ashore for a few hours to spend their last Polynesian francs on dessert.  Tonight at 2330hrs we will raise anchor and leave for Maupiti, one of the smaller and least visited of the Leeward Islands.  From all accounts, it is incredibly beautiful and the people are very friendly (though we find French Polynesians incredibly friendly everywhere), and it is said to be quite untouched by tourism.  It was discovered in 1722, 50 years before Wallis discovered Tahiti.  The pass in to the lagoon needs to be properly approached and weather conditions need to be optimal.  The wind has died down, though there is still some southern swell; Skipper will make the final decision once we get closer to the pass at dawn.  It was a great day for everyone today.  Skipper, Jordan, Antony, and Stephen got up at 0630 and left in the zodiac for a scuba dive outside the reef, just out of the pass.  The visibility was good and they spent 40 minutes at 60ft in an area filled with fish, different types of sharks, and rays.  One shark was as big as the zodiac and cruised confidently and sleekly by them, uninterested.  The fish in this area are fed by some of the dive shops and thus the fish are not easily frightened and divers can be completely in amongst hundreds of fish, some of them brushing against their masks.  The four of them said it was fantastic. They also saw smaller reef sharks.  They had brought the film camera in its underwater housing and took some excellent footage of life below the surface of the water.  Before breakfast there were morning swims and jumps off the swing.  After dishes trainees went ashore.  Karen, Antony and Katie stayed on the boat and had a relaxing and quiet day, swimming, reading, writing, showering, eating chocolate etc. One group comprising of Graydon, Caelen, Tav, Jaimie, Robyn, Jordan, and Matt spent most of the day climbing Mt.Otemanu, the highest peak behind the village of Vaitape, 727m high.  It has many cliff faces with ropes to aid one climbing up or down.  They said it was a good and challenging hike and they were excited when they came down, tired, but very happy.  It looks stunning and the peak is the one you see on most pictures of Bora Bora.  They were thrilled about what they experienced together and the view they had.  They could see 360 degrees around the island, with Tahaa, Raiatea, and Maupiti in the distance, the sky and sea as far as they could see, melding into each other.   Another group made up of Kelsey, Claire, Carolyn C., Jen, Susan, Tristan, Sam, Gillian, Paul, Scott, Chase, Leslie, and Chris made their way to a beautiful, white sand beach with fantastic areas of coral to snorkel around.  They had a great day just hanging out together, swimming, lying on the beach, looking for shade, reading, snorkeling etc.  When it was time to head back to the dories, they found some fresh water showers and rinsed and shampooed.  They smelled pretty good and looked pretty fluffy.  A third group rented bikes and cycled the 30km around the island.  Carolyn and Krista, Elske, Bec, and Arwen, Tony and I, and Jose climbed on our one-speed, wide and cushy-seated, upright bikes to move a perfect speed around the perimeter of this beautiful island.  Stephen offered to watch our 3 boys and they had a great day swimming, diving, floating on surf boards and picnicking. The colours of the water in the lagoon are incredible, so many hues of blue, aqua, green, turquoise, and azure.  You get a good feeling of the motus that comprise the reef, as you cycle around and see them either joined or separate as motu islands in the distance.  Once we left the village, there is so much to look at.  We saw where the local people live, their houses and their fish boats, lifted in slings, under a roof on stilts, at the edge of the ocean, ready to go.  Most of the houses are very simple, single floor, possibly single room dwellings, with mostly open spaces for windows with floral cloths covering them.  The fancier houses have windows or grates in them, but the openness makes sense here, for the wind to blow through.  Walls are made from tin and plywood in the simpler houses, to poured concrete, or concrete blocks plastered together in the less simple ones.  The ground around the house is swept, often just dirt with a few bushes, coconut trees, a few pamplemousse trees.  There are expanses where there are just bushes, trees and amazing views.  It was wonderfully quiet and it felt wonderful to cycle again, to just peddle and peddle, and observe at a comfortable pace.  Tom went on a dive today and was incredibly pleased; he said it was his best dive ever, with better visibility than he has ever had.  We´re all happy for him as diving is an important part of this trip for him.  Most of us were at the dock by 1630 so Skipper and Karen started ferrying people back to the boat.  There was lots to do at the ship to get ready for sailing tonight.  Dories were raised, 3 tarps came down and were folded and the gear, all of us had been using all day, that was spread about everywhere, needed to find a secure place below. After clean up, we were able to jump overboard and play and clean before supper. It is a beautiful night.  The moon is small so the sky is dark and the stars are clearly visible.  Night runs during the passage to Cook Islands in a few days should be good for stargazing.  The mood on the boat is very good; people seem very happy and satisfied with the pace of life.  There are days to slow down and relax, rest, catch up with writing and reading, and there is the chance to be more active, to participate in hiking, snorkeling, cycling, diving etc. We have a great group that is excited about all the opportunities they´ve had to get to know French Polynesia.   These islands have been very good to us, the people have been incredible to us; I know that I will miss them.  This is it, good night, Bonice.    


Observations:
a clear, hot, beautiful, and sunny =
day, no
wind
September 3rd 2007 @ 15:00
18°6'42.12 S 154°56'42.00 W

Heading 235°
Speed 7.2

Ship's Log:
I am writing today, September 3, about yesterday, as I wasn´t feeling good enough to write late last night.  I will still write tonight too, if all continues well.  Yesterday was a busy day despite it being our first day at sea.  People were definitely tired from full days ashore and from getting accustomed to the motion at sea.  We arrived at Maupiti Island at 0430hrs and hove to until dawn.  Once the light was good, Skipper moved towards the very narrow pass to have a better look.  There is an outflow current and a cross-flowing current which move very quickly.  There are also unknown currents working deeper below the surface in and around the coral that Skipper could feel controlling the boat.  The surf was breaking 8-10 ft. on the reef on either side of the pass with spray shooting sky-high. Skipper spent an hour jockeying back and forth, studying the pass.  In the end, he decided the risk was too great.  We turned around and began, somewhat disheartened, our 50nm crossing to the Cook Islands.  The reception and exchange at Maupiti may have been similar to our experience at Mangareva in the Gambier Group last offshore.  To bring a group of eager students to a less visited island . . . we try not to dwell on it.  In the morning there were light winds, which slowly picked up throughout the day, offering us a menu of rain, strong rain squalls and wind squalls which called for regular sail handling. The reefed main went up and down several times, as did the jib.  The port course has been up for most of the time along with the fore and jumbo.  At night we lowered the main and set the trysail.  Just before supper we had an incredible rain squall, so hard and so long that the crew and trainees were able to scrub down and rinse off; a real bonus.  Chase has been a huge help to the crew today; the lazyjack came loose from aloft and he spent quite some time up in the rigging, rocking back and forth, setting things aright.  He was also the one who bow-lined all the trysail lanyards on to the mainmast in the absolute pouring rain.  Talking about it later, he said it was wonderful, totally exhilarating, he had the right attitude.  At 1330 we mustered in the stern and had a Sunday service.  We discussed the word ´odyssey,´ in relationship to each of our own, individual wanderings through life, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We looked at Moses´ wandering in the desert, how long he wandered and where his direction and leadership came from.  Stephen shared part of his life ´odyssey,´ which was very interesting and applicable.  We celebrated Graydon´s 24th birthday.  Arwen baked chocolate chip mint cookies and there were more than enough for everyone to have their fill; some of us enjoyed them for breakfast.  Katie would like to wish Matt´s parents, Jamie and Judy MacDonald, a very, very wonderful and Happy Anniversary, for September 2. This brings us close to tea time, which we are trying to reinstate now that we are out at sea again.  Jose created a set-up where we can safely set teapots, honey, and milk, even on a steeply heeled deck.  For now, this is it, sorry it is late, I will continue tonight,
Bonice.



Observations:
mostly sunny day, peiods of cloud, =
sun is hot,
clouds are very welcome
September 3rd 2007 @ 20:30
18°23'48.12 S 155°25'55.20 W

Heading 234°
Speed 5.1

Ship's Log:
It´s a nice night.  People are in the hold reading and writing, others are in groups up on deck around the wheel and on the cabin house, chatting mostly.  Karen just came off of watch; she was having a fun conversation about music with her watch.  In the aftcabin Skipper is playing the mandolin and Jose is playing the guitar. They are jamming with
Nickel Creek, figuring out chords, melodies and lyrics.  The sailing is very comfortable; the motion is quite regular with the occasional deep dip as the ship rolls from side to side.  Every now and then a wave makes it over the rail, surprising whoever is nearby.  Sitting in the stern in my harness, looking up at the dark sky and the silhouette of the mast, I remember how special this is, I try not to take it for granted or, to not even notice it, my mind full of other things.  We are making steady progress, our speed going down to 3-4 knots last night.  We lowered the trysail this morning and set an unreefed main.  Our speed has stayed between 6-8 knots for most of the day.  We have been able to get to know each other better just by spending hours around a table eating together.  It´s good; it´s amazing how much time we do spend eating and cleaning up each day.  In starboard watch, Kelsey shared details of her life, and when given the option of any job for lunch dishes, ended up with the ´big uglies.´  Dishes are done by the entire watch with the eating-size dishes being cleaned and dried at the table and the ´big uglies,´ the bowls, pans, baking trays etc., being done at the sink.  All counter and table tops get scraped and/or wiped down, and the floors get swept, scrubbed and mopped.  We can easily spend 2 hours below having lunch, chatting and cleaning up.  It was cloudier today which was nice, though we are still just wearing suits and shorts or just shorts for the guys.  At night we pull on a light T-shirt, sometimes a hoody; the temperature is quite perfect.  Juniors wrote their exam today and did well.  Seniors had a chart work lesson by Jose.  They learned about running fixes and how to allow for current when plotting a course.  Workwatch started today with Jordan.  Tristan did a major ´rig walk,´ checking over every part of the running rigging on the ship.  Jaimie and Matt painted lifelines, while Krista and Robyn were cleaning the engine room, a very sweaty job, it´s so warm in there.  We were unable to buy a Cook Islands flag in Victoria, so we are sewing one.  We have a group of trainees, Claire, Sam, Jen and Susan who have taken it on and are doing a great job.  More trainees are keeping clean with the deck-bucket-over-the-side routine.  Out at sea, a salty wash and rinse can make one feel quite a bit better, albeit it might be more emotional than actually clean.  We all have our small daily routines to fill in for routines we have at home, and which, when we return home, will change from ordinary routine, to moments of luxury.  The sky is dark, the moon is hiding, and clouds are hiding the stars.  Stargazing will have to wait for another night.  We are all well, falling into the patterns of days at sea.  This is it, good night,
Bonice.    



Observations:
mostly cloudy this afternoon, =
cooler
temperatures, sun hot when it was shining
September 5th 2007 @ 14:30
20°39'47.88 S 159°10'19.20 W

Heading 220°
Speed 7.8

Ship's Log:
I didn´t write yesterday as I wasn´t feeling very good when I concentrated on something below decks.  We had a cloudy, rainy, stormy day; we were making our way through the tail end of a trough.  It came up at 0600hrs, September 4 after a rather calm night.  We had already lowered the trysail, anticipating a squall that never came. At about 0700 hrs Karen was on watch and spotted a baby humpback swimming underneath and alongside the ship.  After 10 minutes, Chase, Leslie and my three boys who were also enjoying the show, thought the baby humpback whale had left.  But, after quite awhile, it returned with a mother and the spectators realized it had probably been following them for more than an hour.  When it reappeared, the baby was within 50 ft. from the ship, an incredibly exciting event for those few who saw it.  From that point on, it was a day we don´t really want to relive too often. One that afforded beautiful impressions of the sea, of the elements, one you live through together, create stories around, one on which we all had thoughts of home   Winds blew about 30 knots up until the night, grey skies all around, not a chance of a clearing. The wind blew like a wild thing through the rigging, across the big seas with whitecaps, and the wind blowing the tops off them.  As far as one could see, there was spewing spray, with steady rain pelting down, soaking us, hitting our faces like hail, drenching everything.  The waves were quite mixed up, coming from all directions.  Some measured 25 feet.  All day they hit the portside of the hull; it sounded as if a log had hit the ship, as if something may have broken, but it was only the wave, which would continue to spray over the entire ship.  The wheel person was doused regularly as was anyone who tried to crawl cautiously from the foc´sle to the stern seat lockers.  The bow went under regularly.  Mid-day anyone on deck was required to wear their harness and be clipped in when moving or sitting.  Those feeling seasick or tired of being below hunkered in their raingear in the stern, bravely taking hits from the sea. People´s attitudes were good, what else can one do but try to make the best of it.  Initially trainees love a stormy day, hanging out in the bow, laughing, jumping, getting wet, and excited by all the movement and sound.  It soon wears off though; one gets wet and cold settles in.  Sam brought up his snorkel and Elske, Bec and Arwen sang Raffi songs in the stern to keep morale up.  We had to keep all hatches closed, the boat was completely sealed against seas entering.  It made for a very stuffy and warm space below decks.  The sound was incredible; a furious howling, insistent. Very intense, as if intent on proving something.  The dory and zodiac tarps were vibrating and flapping madly, every tie-down line, especially those of the anchor and dories, was checked.  The motion was severe; rolling side to side, with very deep rolls that knocked every item on board loose if it wasn´t secured.  I gave up trying to keep the contents of our bunk in its place. Gillian was heroic in the galley all day.  It´s potentially a very chaotic place to be, and it takes a lot of energy to keep spirits up and to physically create a meal with everything sliding side to side, cupboard doors opening, pans flying out, gimballed table bottoming out etc.  Carolyn helped her make a delicious lunch of foccacia bread and humus.  In one of the many rolls, Carolyn and the chickpeas slid across the galley and intoGillian, chickpeas scattering everywhere.  It will be a good story.  The boot-top on the mainmast wasn´t doing what it should be and with all the water coming over the side, gallons made it´s way down the masthole and into the galley, reeking more disaster.  Like I said though, everyone chipped in to help, to clean, to steer a steady course in the rain and wind, and everyone had the right attitude.  It´s always encouraging to see this and to live amongst trainees such as these. We spent a good part of the day below, in our bunks, playing games, listening to music, chatting, sleeping, reading etc. It was a stressful day for Skipper.  At 1500hrs we had to alter course from Rarotonga to Aitutaki further north.  The wind had gone more southerly making it difficult to keep our course and avoid a small group of islands.  We were disappointed to have to miss Rarotonga, it sounds like a very interesting island and the cooks were hoping to take on more food.  Once we changed course, the motion was still intense, but the waves and the wind were now more aft.  We were already sailing under just foresail and continued to do so making 8-9 knots until the evening.  At 2030 hrs the wind began to weaken and Skipper was smiling more, feeling somewhat more relaxed, though still very tired; he´d had only 2 hours of sleep the previous night.  He laughed at himself, at how ironic it was that he was relieved to have to turn on the engine by 2130hrs.  He altered course again and we are now on a course for Rarotonga after all.  For him there are constant decisions and observations to make, especially in any kind of contrary weather.  The motion improved by early morning, offering all of us a better sleep. On a day like yesterday, any job one does becomes a major feat.  We all felt that just to use the head was exercise, just to go below and get something or refill a water bottle required a good deal of energy.  Today has been a day of comfortable sailing with a more pleasant motion. The sun is shining and the temperature is somewhat cooler.  Trainees and crew are on deck resuming what they started 2 days ago: continuing work on the Cook Islands flag, reading, writing, laundry, work watch, SUDOKU puzzles, rope work, and our all-time favorite, just chatting with each other.  Life has returned to normal.  Our ETA at the moment is 2200 hrs tonight if we continue at this speed.  This is it, until tomorrow, enjoy your still beds,
Bonice.
PS  In the last email I wrote that Cook Islands were 50 nm away. That´s incorrect, the passage is 500 nm.



Observations:
sunny skies, cooler temperatures, =
steady
wind
September 6th 2007 @ 23:30
21°12'18.00 S 159°47'6.00 W

Ship's Log:
It is very late; trainees are starting to filter in from their evenings in Avarua, on the island of Rarotonga.  It feels very good to be here; it´s a quiet but beautiful place, very similar to
French Polynesia, yet also, very different because of it´s link with New Zealand.  Skipper, Stephen and I just returned from a short walk, after putting boys to bed.  We heard very loud drumming and followed the sound to where an ´island night´ was being held.  I´d read about these in the "Lonely Planet´ guidebook; it is an evening of food and traditional dance.  We caught the tail end but it was interesting to see the dance and to compare it with the dancing we saw in the Marquesas.  These people are wonderful dancers; we pale in comparison, I can´t imagine what they think when they see how stiffly we dance.  Avarua is a small town, but the biggest on this very mountainous island. There are several high peaks, each very green and lush in it´s vegetation.  We´ve heard there is good hiking here. The main road goes around the perimeter of the island, about 30km.  It is a volcanic island with coral encircling it and passes where one can enter; there are no motus.  We arrived last night about 2200 hrs and anchored off the town in a small bay with swell.  Skipper contacted the port captain by VHF and he was wonderful; an Australian who was very welcoming both on the radio and when Skipper met him in person.  It was strange to hear someone speak English over the radio; Skipper found it refreshing to be able to get to know him somewhat.  When I was in town, I found that my first impulse was to speak French.  The people here speak with a beautiful New Zealand accent.  It reminds me of how they spoke on Pitcairn. The island feels very safe.  We slept well, a gentle lulling roll, something we are all very accustomed to.  We woke early, cleaned the ship and were looking smart in our uniforms by 0800.  We got word from the port captain that we could enter the harbour and that he had secured a spot on the dock for us.  Unfortunately we would be in the flight path of the International Airport, and our masts were higher than regulation height, so we would have to anchor at night and return to the dock during the day.  After some discussion, some sounding in the zodiac and some friendly international relations with a boat already docked, we were able to tie up stern to, to another dock, between two boats.  We are now positioned ´Mediterranean style,´ with our stern to the dock, tied with two stern lines, and with our bow facing out and anchored.  It´s a bit of a tricky maneuver, especially as we started the move already tied bow out to a fishing dock.  Skipper was thrilled with the skill the crew and trainees showed with lines and listening to commands; it was a beautiful docking. We have set up the zodiac on a ´clothesline´ which allows trainees and crew to move from the ship to the dock whenever they want.  We are now alongside a rather ungainly-looking deep sea fishing boat called the Mativa.  One berth over is another Canadian boat named the ´Mostly Harmless´ who apparently has someone sailing whose aunt, Cecille Wickert (I hope I have that right), sailed with us on the Robertson II in the 1980´s.  They apparently saw us sail out of Victoria Harbour June 2.  Late last night our flag crew finished a stunning replica of a Cook Island flag.  It looks good and is flying proudly up the starboard side of the main shrouds; Jen, Sam and Claire, Jacob, and Skipper spent hours coming up with how to make it, what to make it out of, cutting, machine sewing and hand sewing all the different pieces.  Gillian baked bread so people could take a packed lunch with them.  Before noon, trainees began their exploring of Rarotonga.  The crew was busy with several jobs needing doing and were successful in completing them or at least, scouting out materials and information to get them done.  Antony and Jordan are tightening the rig after the big blow.  I made a mistake yesterday; Skipper said that the wind blew at times up to 40-50 knots, not 30, as I wrote in the log.  Trainees found a good and relatively cheap place to have laundry done, internet, money exchanges (the money is NZ currency and is beautiful), a cafe which makes a great espresso and that roasts its own beans, car rentals, scooter rentals, delicious places to eat, a place to play pool, libraries, cultural centres, food stores to buy stash and cold juices . . . the normal run of things we look for on a first time ´go-through.´  I was surprised to find the cars driving on the left side of the road, though I shouldn´t have been, I´ve been to New Zealand.  Many of the products in the grocery store come from New Zealand and there are more visitors from Australia, New Zealand and England.  It is confusing at times because it looks very Polynesian, and feels very Polynesian, yet there is still some strong New Zealand influence that can make you nearly forget this is still Polynesia.  The people look Polynesian, very beautiful and friendly people, they remind me as well of some of the people we met on Pitcairn, who have been influenced by a visit to New Zealand.  It´s interesting.  The trainees enjoyed being able to understand more and ask questions easily and hopefully we will have some wonderful encounters with the local people at the less busy bays and villages.  One thing we have noticed the past few days is a change in temperature.  It is cooler and often we pull out a light sweater to wear in the evenings.  Trainees have mentioned that they are pulling their blankets out and I find that I am turning the fan off during the night.  We are about 5 degrees further south than Papeete, like the northern latitude of Hawaii, and those few degrees make a difference.  It´s quite nice.  The sun is still intense in the middle of the day, but the mornings and evenings are cooler.  This is it; all the trainees are ´home,´ I can go to bed now.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.  
 PS.  Hi Sara W, we think of you daily and miss you.  



Observations:
mostly sunny day, cooler
temperatures relative
to what we experienced in Papeete
September 7th 2007 @ 22:00
21°12'18.00 S 159°4'40.80 W

Ship's Log:
Today was a very busy day, but in the end a very good one, a very satisfying one.  We did a complete boat clean which involved emptying every compartment of the ship, both communal and personal.  We´ve thought about doing a thorough clean before, Rarotonga seemed a good place to go through with the idea.  It was an amazing amount of work, but well worth it.  We will spend most of tomorrow continuing to put the boat back together, recreating our living spaces, cleaning up the little messes on deck that come from everyone going through their things, and deciding that some of it is no longer needed.  There was also time to spend in town.  Several trainees were able to catch up with friends and family at home via the internet, and it´s always good to hear their news.  It´s great to hear from trainees from a previous leg, we pass the news around to those who know them; we love news.  The daily newspaper in Rarotonga published an article on the boat along with 3 good photos.  Helen came by yesterday and chatted with Skipper, myself and some of the trainees and we gave her a tour of the boat.  Graydon was in one of the pictures with Caelen, out on the end of the bowsprit.  The woman working at the bank where Graydon was changing some money this morning, said "hi Graydon, I saw you in the paper,"  completely surprising him.  Both Caelen and Graydon enjoyed the occasion to be in the local paper; celebrities for a day.  This morning I fell in the harbour while climbing back on to the zodiac from the dock.  There was a split-second where I sensed that all was not good, and then down I went, completely under.  It was quite funny, everyone was on deck bringing things up from below.  I found a spigot to rinse myself off but a man came by to check out what I was doing and then offered me a shower.  It turns out that there are 2 showers available for boaters, free of  charge.  We now have a system of signing out the key and being able to take a shower, in a stall, without our clothes on!  What a thought, what a luxury!  We´ve been told they were hot, but mine was definitely cold and so were Skipper and Karen´s.  Not complaining though, fresh water is one thing we appreciate.  We returned to our favorite coffee shop and will try to squeeze one more excellent cappuccino in tomorrow.  The kids and I found an excellent gelato place, where gelato is made daily on the island;  2 large scoops for NZ$3; a good deal.  We´re finding prices are still quite steep here, better than French Polynesia though. Chase rented a car and toured the island. Tomorrow him and Scott have planned to join a fishing charter and enjoy some fishing.  Tom is trying to organize a dive; tanks and fills are more available here than in French Polynesia.  Many of us were able to get our laundry done; it always feels wonderful to have clean clothes again and, especially, clean sheets, pillow cases, and towels.  Clean sheets and a fresh water shower before bed . . . is there anything better?  Skipper, the three boys and I had 2 hours together and decided to get on the local bus and tour the island.  We had a great ride; it really is a beautiful and dramatic island.  There are only 2 buses that cover the island; one route is called ´Clockwise,´ and the other is called ´Counterclockwise,´ they cost the same.  Most of the perimeter was populated with simple dwellings, with the major resorts situated on the south shore, where the lagoon and the beaches are beautiful. Vegetation is lush everywhere and very green.  We saw many fruit trees; papaya, coconut, banana, mango, breadfruit, noni . . . we want more fruit and hoping it will be more available on the smaller, more remote islands.  There are very many peaks along a middle range of mountains, all covered with a large variety of foliage, very pretty.   Another thing we notice everywhere are gravestones.  People often bury their dead on their property, sometimes even extending their roof to allow the ancestors to continue feeling a part of the family.  There are a few larger graveyards, but many houses have 2 or 3 coffin-sized cement tombstones and possibly a headstone in front of their house.  In Samoa I think one finds the same thing.  I read that this began with the influenza epidemic, where graveyards could no longer keep up with containing the dead and so the family would take over and bury them at home. Interesting.  It was nice to leave the village and see the rest of the island.  Tonight Stephen Duff had to return home.  He is flying to Fiji, where, we´ve heard, there has been a coup.  We will miss Stephen, his time with us was so short, but we sure enjoyed his company.  Tav´s sister Miray is having a birthday today and Tav asked if I could wish her a Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday Miray, from Tav.  Have a wonderful day with your incredible family.  This is it again. We will be spending one more day here, then leaving sometime Sunday morning for Aitutaki.  The next two islands are very remote and we look forward  to what awaits us. Time for bed.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.          


Observations:
a beautifully sunny day, light
breeze
September 8th 2007 @ 22:30
21°12'18.00 S 159°4'40.80 W

Ship's Log:
As Skipper and I went on a walk after the boys were asleep, we were discussing how normal our life has come to feel, and how comfortable everyone seems at this time.  Today was a day which reflected this; crew and trainees are accustomed to the pattern of our days and fill them easily and leisurely, doing what needs doing, as well as seeing and participating in what the island has to offer.  It´s a good feeling. We head out at 0700 hrs tomorrow, on our way to Aitutaki, 150 miles north of Rarotonga.  The first European to weigh anchor there was Captain Bligh in the ´Bounty,´ just two weeks before the infamous mutiny in the waters off Samoa.  The oldest church, built in 1828, in the Cook Islands is also on Aitutaki.  We´ve heard there is good snorkelling and people enjoy a quieter lifestyle.  Everyone was off doing various things today; cycling or hitchhiking around the island, fishing, setting up bunks, enjoying a shower, folding laundry etc.  Chase and Scott went on a 3 hr fishing charter and returned with 2 good-sized yellowfin tuna, which we had for supper, breaded, spiced and fried . . . delicious.  Gillian and Katie did another large food shop.  They were helped by Bill Marsters, one of the relatives of the descendants of William Marster who settled Palmerston Atoll.  He came by the boat yesterday and started chatting with Skipper and Jose and was very generous with his time and his truck.  He helped bring all the groceries to the boat and helped Karen with laundry issues, driving her 20 minutes around the island to the laundromat. Simon and Jacob were a huge help in moving all the groceries from the stern to the bow and down below into the hold.  Simon said, "It feels good to be doing something useful; it´s better than being bored."  Gillian enjoyed him, he was very happy.  Jacob rigged up a pulley system to lower the heavy bags of sugar, rice and flour from the deck into the hold below.  In the time we´ve been here, there has been a steady trickle of members from the Marster family coming to the boat and asking if we could take some supplies to Palmerston Atoll for them, for their families there.  They heard from the crew and from reading the newspaper of our plans to go there.  It became a joke to see yet another pick-up truck on the dock, with people trying to get Skipper´s attention. We have on board boxes of eggs, juice, pork chops, vegetables, a washing machine, 2 very large, blackboard-size, dry erase boards for their school, plus many more packages.  We lashed the washing machine down forward of the dories (it´s going to the policeman´s house, and we´ve been told we are welcome to do our laundry there), and put all the other supplies inside the dory.  We´ll be using the zodiac at Aitutaki unless we want to remove everything to raise the dories.  The 4 families we have met, all related, have said that we will be very welcomed by the islanders and that there is the possibility of trainees and crew being billeted in homes while we´re there, if we want.
The island has a population of about 50 inhabitants.  They apparently love volleyball and Jose has already challenged them to a match.  It sounds like our visit may be similar to the Pitcairn visit of last leg, where islanders come out in their boats to bring visitors in through the very narrow pass and warmly include them in their daily lives for the extent of the visit.  We are very excited about it.  Palmerston Atoll has an interesting history.  The inhabitants are the descendants of a patriarchal figure, William Marsters, a Lancashireman who settled there with three Penryn Island wives in 1862.  He fathered 26 children, divided the islands and reefs into sections for each of the three ´families´ and established strict rules regarding intermarriage.  The original home was built using massive beams salvaged from shipwrecks washed ashore.  Some of his descendants control the island while the rest live in New Zealand and elsewhere in the Cook Islands.  Everyone in the islands knows someone from the family and many Cook Islanders have the same last name; it´s a joke that you can guess Marster as someone´s last name and there´s a pretty good chance you´ll be correct.  The wife of Melbourne Marster, a fifth generation member of the family, brought us a large bag of absolutely amazing-tasting
starfruit.  It´s the first time for most of us to have a taste of this fruit.  It´s delicious; a combination of an apple, a pear, and some other things I can´t put my finger on right now.  She brought enough for the entire boat.  It´s a real gift as fruit is expensive here and we haven´t been given as much fruit as we sometimes have been, in the past.  She asked what time we were leaving in the morning, and we were afraid she had even more things she needed us to bring to Palmerston, but instead, she wants to bring us some fresh pies before we leave!  Trainees are starting to trickle back to the boat, as curfew draws near.  Only a few are sleeping on deck; the air is cooler and our blood has thinned enough for us to notice it.  Blankets and sleeping bags have resurfaced.  Thank you to everyone following our voyage. We love the idea that you are ´with us´ vicariously and know some of the details of our lives here at sea and on the islands.  Keep sending emails and mail; I know the trainees and crew enjoy hearing about what is happening back at home.  Time for bed, good night, Bonice.    



Observations:
cloudy and sunny today, quite hot in the morning, more comfortable later on, winds picking up
September 10th 2007 @ 21:30
18°4'59.88 S 159°4'58.80 W

Ship's Log:
We just finished Sunday service amidships on deck, under the tarp with Jordan´s ´trouble light´ creating a cozy glow. Each crew member chose a song from the SALTS songbook and explained why the song meant something to them. We then sang the song; it opened our ears and minds to the lyrics and what they could be saying that we hadn´t noticed.  We are anchored outside the reef at Aitutaki, quite far from the beach.  We arrived at 0800 hrs, anchoring our bow in 90 ft.of water, with our stern hanging over a 260 ft. drop.  The ship continues to roll gently and regularly from side-to-side, hopefully lulling us to sleep tonight.  Last night, starboard sleepers hugged their leecloths while portside sleepers hugged the hull; there was lots of motion and we were all aware of trying to sleep.  Yesterday there were many of us who did not feel well, were seasick or were in need of sleep.  It was a very slow moving day, people were tired from their days ashore and were dealing with the energy required to live aboard a very moving ship again. It´s been much more difficult for the new trainees to get used to being out at sea without an initial longer stretch away from the islands.  Katie did an amazing job in the galley, french toast and bacon for breakfast and lasagna with ground beef for supper.  We haven´t been able to get ground beef since Hawaii, so we were all looking forward to the lasagna.  The weather was much cooler and though we were heading towards the equator, we were decked out in hoodies, fleece, long pants and raingear for most of the day; it felt strange to be so cold.  We were happy to see the sun again this morning, to be able to jump off the side of the ship, to play on the swing, and to clean ourselves on deck again.  Skipper and Jordan found someone with a powerboat who took the trainees ashore in 2 loads through a very narrow and swiftly moving pass.  Most of the crew stayed aboard, doing odd jobs, schooling for the kids, and catching up on writing.  Gillian made pizza for everyone with the help of Arwen and Kelsey.  Graydon was feeling lowly and stayed to sleep, while Caelen read and is thinking about learning a wider version of the Turk´s
Head knot.  Trainees said the island is beautiful; very quiet but with enough to do and see.  Several hiked a small mountain and had an amazing view of the island, the lagoon and the motus.  Tom, Carolyn and Krista, and perhaps some others, kayaked across the lagoon to a ´paradise-like´ motu and relaxed in the sand and the sun.  Tom said it was the most beautiful place he´s seen so far.  Others walked or hitched a ride around the island, found a nice cafe to write postcards etc., a good day by the sounds of it.  Skipper, the 3 boys and I took the zodiac to the reef and snorkelled for an hour or so.  Jose joined us after awhile.  We saw 2 moray eels, a very colorful parrot fish and lots of other beautiful fish, some as big as 45cm, sea turtles raising their heads for a breath before they dove down deep again and some interestingly shaped coral.  The wonderful temperature of the water is something all of us appreciate and will think of when we are back home again.
Tonight after service, Skipper gave a summary of the time remaining on this leg and the possible stops between here and Fiji. We are nearly halfway through this leg; the time goes quickly.  People are starting to sleep on deck again after quite a few nights of sleeping below because of colder and windier weather.  Carolyn and Krista would like to wish their grandma a wonderful birthday, tomorrow September 11.  Happy Birthday Grandma, from Carolyn and Krista.  Also, Kelsey has an amazingly wonderful best friend, DQ, who is having a birthday tomorrow as well.  Kelsey wishes you the greatest of days, she´s thinking of you.  Happy Birthday DQ, from Kelsey.  We will be staying here tomorrow, leaving early the following morning for Palmerston Atoll, where we will deliver the goods to the Marster families.  Along with what I already mentioned the other day, we also have a 100lb tank of propane to give to them; it could be an interesting visit. This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.      



Observations:
a beautifully sunny and hot day, gusty, strong winds weakening towards the evening
September 11th 2007 @ 21:00
18°51'11.88 S 159°48'25.20 W

Ship's Log:
It has been an amazing day, a day of variety.  Though the island is small and quite isolated, everyone has kept busy and been very content to stay here.  The pass through the coral has a current that is strong and so the zodiac picks everyone up at 1700 hrs so the driver can see the coral and the bottom, getting everyone back to the ship before dark.  There are so many hues of blue in the waters around Aitutaki because there are many coral beds and ledges at different heights where the water deepens drastically.  Colours range from sandy white to non-gel CREST toothpaste blue, to gel CREST blue, to shades of turquoise, to deeper aqua, to light royal blue, to incredibly rich tones of royal blue and so many more in between.  The people on Aitutaki are very friendly and the pace is slow, the silence is desolately beautiful.  We walked a long way along the beach and it reminded us of Ducie Island, one of the uninhabited Pitcairn Islands, where the silence and desolation pounds in your ears.  We loved it. The lagoon was very wide, with coral heads strewn across the width of it and the water never much deeper than 50cm.  The boys and I snorkelled way out towards the reef, staying close to the surface, skimming the coral, and swimming among many small, colourful fish.  Tav and Jose went on a scuba dive off the boat this morning, quite deep, and swam among chasms in the coral where large fish swam with the smaller ones.  The seascape was incredible they said, similar to valleys and mountains on land. Throughout the day, more trainees and crew donned on snorkel gear and swam the 300ft. to the reef and played amongst the fish and the turtles and the moray eels.  Jose thought it was some of the best snorkelling and diving so far.  While Jose and Tav were diving this morning they found that our anchor had snagged on some old chain that used to be part of a mooring for a big American Navy Ship.  Skipper needed to have our anchor and line untangled during the day in case we drag at night and need to raise the anchor in a hurry to reset it and move away from the reef. Once it´s dark, it´s too late to have a look why the anchor can´t be raised and this could lead us into big trouble quickly.  Antony and Jordan were in scuba gear and Jose and Karen were at the bow working the winch and conveying orders from Skipper who was at the wheel and the engine controls.  With the use of an extra line hauled out of the forepeak on the outhaul, thanks to Caelen, and some clever maneuvers and thinking on the part of Skipper, we were able to free our anchor chain and save our anchor.  Ashore today there was a group of trainees who played soccer with some of the local kids:  Gillian, Tristan, Arwen, Tavish, Chase, Robyn and Elske had a great and sweaty time playing.  Yesterday the trainees returned to the ship saying there was a STARBUCKS on the island.  I thought they were trying to pull our leg, but it turns out that a woman from Northern California actually has a license and opened a pseudo Starbucks just four weeks ago. She was a stressed attorney wanting something else and ended up travelling first to Papeete, then to Rarotonga, and finally to Aitutaki, where she met her husband and now lives part-time.  She says that the move has added years to her life and she is so glad she went through with her decision to make a lifestyle change.  She has quite nicely set up a small part of a dwelling with a few chairs, some STARBUCKS T-shirts and other paraphernalia; she has the home-size Barrista espresso machine and the Starbucks beans and charges an arm and a leg for her coffees.  She loved chatting with the trainees today and apparently has no shortage of business. It is a bit troublesome to see the Starbucks logo here, but she´s done it quite tastefully and simply.  There are a few resorts on the island and from those visitors, she makes her living.  Gillian bought one of the Frappacino ´somethings´ and told me it cost her $8.50 NZ, which turned out to be more than her $5 bicycle rental for the day!  Clare, Carolyn, Leslie and Susan stopped by an organic farm and spent time chatting with the farmer.  He gave them bananas and papayas and welcomed them to look around the farm, ask questions and spend some time on the beach in front of the property.  Karen climbed to the highest peak to get a gorgeous view and got lost on the way home.  Fortunately she found the main track again and was able to laugh about it.  Waiting for the last zodiac ride back to the ship, Jacob and I found a spigot that worked, we were so excited.  We quickly bent under the spout and doused ourselves, rinsing off all the salt water, sweat and suntan lotion from the day.  Skipper and Karen saw us and joined in; rinsing in fresh water is a luxury and one that we always appreciate, it´s a gift when it happens.   We are leaving at 0700 hrs tomorrow for Palmerston. We are excited about what may happen there; we´ve heard great things. We have a beautifully clear sky, very dark, excellent for looking at the constellations.  Everyone on board seems quite content to be here, the mood is good, and the group is coming together nicely.  Tomorrow we celebrate Jacob´s 12th birthday.  Gillian would like to wish Andree a wonderful birthday.  Happy Birthday Andree, hope you have a great day, love Gillian.  This is it for now, good night,
Bonice.



Observations:
hot, sunny day with a nice breeze
blowing
September 12th 2007 @ 21:30
18°38'12.12 S 161°28'40.80 W

Heading 285°
Speed 7.4

Ship's Log:
Mug Up is just coming to a close in the stern.  Jose and Gillian are playing guitar, Antony is on the mandolin and Noah is drumming.  It´s a beautiful night; we are surging along swiftly, the breaking water alongside the hull shines white, the wind blows warm on our faces and through our hair, the sky is clear and full of stars, the main, fore, and port course are full . . . sitting on the wheel box and observing all this while mug up was going on, I felt very fortunate to experience the completeness of the moment.  The sailing has been amazing today, perhaps some of the best so far; finally a chance to truly enjoy the motion, a feeling that the boat is free to move as she wants, a sense that this could go on forever, our community living together, accomplishing things, as the ship moves towards its destination. Today reminded me of the long passages we had on former offshore voyages in the 1990´s, where we would set our sails and not touch them for nearly 3 weeks, sailing effortlessly along with the trade winds.  It really does seem at times that weather patterns are changing and are less predictable.  We found this already on the last voyage; that we were searching for wind or that the wind was fickle and behaved differently than we had anticipated.  Is this a result of the earth warming up?  We left at first light with very calm seas; it was wonderful.  After so much wind and big seas we are all somewhat prepared for uncomfortable passages; motoring for an hour because of a lack of sufficient wind was just fine with most of us.  Tom was ecstatic to be feeling so good at sea.  Soon the wind picked up and the sails were raised.  At breakfast we heard the whizz of Chase´s rod and everyone went running back to the stern, hoping we would have a fish.  Jacob, Scott, Chase and Tav took turns reeling in the huge dorado.  It was a fighter and put up a good struggle.  It was one of the largest dorado we´ve caught so far.
Chase, Tav, and Scott filleted it on deck, then cut it up in smaller pieces below.  At supper, Gillian, Scott and Chase battered and fried it.  It was sublime.  We celebrated Jacob´s 12th birthday today.  He has had a wonderful day; the catching of the Dorado being one of the highlights.  He wore the birthday button, was sung to, husked and cut open a coconut we collected yesterday, enjoyed a superlative sail, and received some beautiful gifts and cards.  Arwen baked brownies and we are about to enjoy them.  At mug up tonight he was asked to choose 2 of his favorite songs; yes, he´s had a great day.  This afternoon we had a wonderful storytelling session by Karen.  A small group of us sat in the stern listening to her.  She´s wonderful at telling a tale, moves slowly, gives lots of details, and creates intrigue and suspense.  We felt like we´d been to the movies or something; it´s wonderful to have someone tell a story and to be drawn into it completely, a great way to spend an hour.  Jose made pots of Lychee Congo tea at ´intermission´, between the two stories.  There are many trainees reading when we sail.  Some of the books are:  Count of Monte Cristo, The Time Traveller´s Wife, The Life of Owen Meany, Master and Commander, The Dharma Bums, Papillon, Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, and The Bourne Supremacy.  Two lessons were given today, Seniors Chartwork and Intermediates Rules of the Road.  The watches heard life stories from Jordan, Tristan and Leslie today; lots of laughing again, mealtimes really are a lot of fun.  Sam, Chris and Jacob are researching how to make a Trebuchet, a giant catapult.  They´re thinking perhaps coconuts could serve as throwing material . . . all just talk now, we´ll see what happens.  Sometimes talking about a project and imagining it, can be just as fun. It´s late and the wind has picked up.  The mainsail is coming down, to be replaced by the trysail.  All trainees are on deck, in the dark, handling sail. Yesterday I forgot to mention that we had whales circling our boat nearly all day; it was very exciting.  This is it, time for bed, good night. Bonice.  



Observations:
clear sunny day with a steady
breeze
September 13th 2007 @ 21:00
18°2'35.88 S 163°11'24.00 W

Ship's Log:
We are sitting in the after cabin, listening to a howling wind of 30kts blow through the masts and rigging, with our anchor perched on the end of a coral reef, outside of the lagoon at Palmerston Atoll.  Below decks, our lives continue in our wonderfully communal way; we´ve played cards, we´ve read, we´ve been read to, we´ve had tea together and supper together, and Jamie and Chris even made peanut-butter popcorn for us before we started up a game for the evening. The contrast between what is happening below, cozy and warm, and what is happening on deck, strong winds and desolation, is great.  Half of our trainees and crew are spending the night on the island with families.  It´s called ´homestays.´  Tomorrow night, the other half of us will spend the night ashore.  There are 6 other sailing boats anchored in a row beside us, waiting out the strong winds, before they too head west. We arrived soon after lunch in wild windy weather.  The aluminum boats were ready to meet us, though Skipper had made contact with Jock 2 hours earlier; Jock is a wonderful woman who establishes contact with the boaters.  We met her husband too and they hope to host Skipper and family when they come ashore.  We first unloaded all their supplies into three boats, then organized ourselves and were ready to send half the crew when the boats returned empty.  They told us to pack light, they would basically provide everything we needed, including bedding.
Jordan VHFed and said they´d had a fun afternoon playing volleyball, touring the island, getting to know the islanders and having a bite to eat. There are 70 inhabitants, 12 families, 20something kids. There is a challenge set up tomorrow between the Grace and the islanders, volleyball, at 1600hrs.  Skipper is hoping the wind lets up a bit and we can all come ashore for a massive barbecue on the beach, hosted by the Palmerston islanders for Saturday.  When trainees return tomorrow I can let you know what being amongst the islanders for the 24hrs. was like.  It feels very much like when we go to Pitcairn and are hosted by them.  Back on the boat, life too is good.  Most of us swam the 200ft to the reef and snorkelled.  It was fantastic.  The blue of the water around the boat is so intense and deep in color, there´s nothing like it.  It´s like snow on the first morning, it´s overwhelmingly beautiful and one wishes there was something one could do with it other than just gaze at it.  The blue slowly ends and one sees shapes emerging, coral, and land, shallowing up, until you see fish deep below and shapes in the coral.  The waves are breaking large at the reef and the reef creates a wall with water surging back and forth over the top of it and out of the lagoon.  There are valleys in the coral that we followed, and caves to swim through, fish swimming everywhere; it truly is a magical world and you forget everything else that is happening above the surface.  We saw huge parrot fish, the really colourful ones, with their blunt faces and glowing colours of orange, pink, purples, blues, turquoise, yellow and reds.  We saw a reef shark cruising confidently by us, uncaring.  Some of the others saw a sea tortoise, and like always, there are many beautiful smaller fish which are incredibly intricate in their colours and design.  Supper was great, thanks to Katie, and now we are enjoying our evening.  Last night, just after I finished the log, the wind shifted and started to strengthen. Soon we were rolling around again, deep dips side-to-side.  Nobody slept well.  The ´Hold Symphony´ played all night; cups hanging up were shifting port to starboard clinking handles with every move, pans in the cupboards were sliding port to starboard with every roll, hitting the two sides of wood holding them in, knives, forks and spoons were sliding and jarring harshly against the sides of their prison . . . it really is quite something.  Gillian was kept awake by someone´s water bottle sliding back and forth along the galley floor and a spoon shifting in a ceramic mug on the counter repeatedly.   We all rolled from side to side in our bunks, aware the entire night of trying to sleep.  The water on the deck was amazing.  It was coming over the stanchions (the brass posts on the rail holding the lifelines) on both sides.  We had to keep the aftercabin portholes closed as the water would come knee deep around the house over the rails. The ship would rise up on a huge wave, the wave would move under the ship, cause it to roll and then dump some of it onto the port or starboard quarters, soaking everyone.  The entire deck was wet.  By the break, the water sloshed steadily from one side of the ship to the other.  By morning, we had lowered the foresail and were sailing under the 2 courses and the trysail.  The wind kept veering behind us and in order to keep our course to Palmerston, we had to lower the trysail as well, mid-morning.  We made 7 kts under the courses alone. The sea was beautiful, very blue, and the waves, although big, were even and lovely to watch.  We saw flying fish skimming over the white wave tips.  The sun came through occasionally and although there was plenty of movement in the ship, it was enjoyable to sit in the stern and look at the ocean and us, soaring over and through it, living our lives out on the Grace as if this was normal.  I´m not saying it´s easy, doing dishes, cleaning, using the head, cooking etc. all pose their challenges, but it´s still all worth it, when you stop and look at the incredible nature around us.  This, combined with the fun we have together make this voyage what it is, one-of-a-kind, totally memorable, and life changing.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.          



Observations:
mostly cloudy, occasional sunny =
period, very
strong, gusty winds
September 15th 2007 @ 21:00
18°2'35.88 S 163°11'24.00 W

Ship's Log:
I am somewhat overwhelmed as to how to describe our time on Palmerston Atoll the past 2 days.  Last night, some of us returned very late at night to the ship after ´dance practice,´ which happens 3 times a day, in preparation for the barbecue and ´show´ we had today with the islanders.  Our hosts, Cory and Jock, took us so incredibly skillfully through the winding coral heads and then the pass, in the dark, to the Grace, with only the occasional 30 second check with the flashlight. The islanders grow up living with the sea and it´s instinctual how to respond to it.  As in Pitcairn, the islanders are the transportation between the outside of the reef where the boats anchor, and the island, where we are housed in their homes.  Everyone has had a chance to sleep on the island.  We are staying an extra night so we can fill their beautiful church tomorrow, plus, they asked if we would, and we didn´t need much of an excuse to stay longer in a true paradise.  Palmerston is a flat, sandy island with many coconut trees.  They also grow bananas, papayas, taro root, and breadfruit.  The sand does not allow them to grow vegetables, so they need to bring them in and often ask boaters from Rarotonga if they can bring them over.  The fish are plentiful and each family fishes for themselves as well as for export to Rarotongan fish markets.  Parrot fish are the only fish they export.  They fillet them immediately and vaccuum pack and freeze them for shipping.  Parrot fish is a very white fish that is absolutely delicious; we´ve had it a few times already.  Their diet is simple, they supplement it with pork or chicken when they butcher one of the island penned pigs, or one of the free ranging chickens. They have a supply ship come in every 2 to 3 months from Rarotonga, which comes from New Zealand, and this brings the bulk of their supplies. From food to building supplies to house, and school supplies to washing machines, and other appliances to parts for their boats to clothing etc. Once the supply ship arrives, everything is loaded onto the 20-22ft aluminum boats which then run through the pass and the zigzagging coral heads, with their cargo, back to the island; it´s an incredible feat, and I can barely get my mind around it.  There´s always spray, so everything needs to be waterproofed, and once it´s on the beach, it needs to be brought to the houses and then unpacked and stowed!  Never complain about your shopping!  The homes are one floor, simple dwellings, with many windows that the breeze can blow through.  Most of them have extra beds ready for people to come ashore; they are incredibly hospitable.  There are large tables with benches set up inside and outside, with tarps for shade and protection from the rain.  Everywhere there are palm trees and tarps, and while we were here, there was a constant wind blowing, which made being on the island very comfortable.  The ocean is always close as the motu is only 1km wide. We walked around the perimeter; it is beautiful . . .  soft sand, coral in the lagoon, so many hues of blues, turquoise and greens in the lagoon and in the distance, the motus in a ring, creating the atoll.  All the islanders live on the one motu, they always have.  William Marsters lived with his 3 Maori wives from the Cook Islands on this island, dividing the land in 3 for each of the family groups.  These 3 divisions still exist and are in operation today, i.e. each has a graveyard, members own land only in their section, as a woman, you marry out of your section to your husbands section, the land is looked after and tended by the family on it, each division has a head.  When we got to the island, Bob, the mayor, divided us up in groups of 2 and 3 and assigned us to a family.  We went to our family´s home and were given something to drink, usually a chilled drinking coconut (ice circling the opening) and then fed.  We had several hours to chat with the family, play with the 25 kids, and walk around the island, usually meeting and chatting with more of the islanders.  Slowly one gets to know who belongs to whom, we loved it.  We visited the school and the church, both recently built and nice looking.  They have very good intentions with their education program, hoping to give the younger generation a chance to find work easier, to have more marketable skills than the parents feel they have.  The kids are extremely happy to have so many young people on the island and some of the trainees constantly have a trail of kids behind them, or kids hanging all over them, or are holding one in their arms.  It´s great.  Everyday at 1600hrs there is volleyball.
Beside the volleyball court is the soccer field, and while we´ve been here, there is a game happening in both courts simultaneously.  Every age plays here and we´ve had a lot of fun playing together. They have some very strong players.  Dance and music are a large part of their island culture; they teach both at the school and spent quite a bit of time teaching us. At the barbecue today we had to perform in front of everyone.  Their girls and their boys, whom they referred to as ´island boys´ and ´island girls´ danced for us, and we danced our practiced dances for them, amidst howls of laughter from everyone.  It was a lot of fun.  Their little ones, as young as 3 yrs. old were incredibly cute doing the dancing as best as they could as they´ve been brought up in it.  Most islanders have showers and wringer washing machines. They hang the clothes up on lines, which are everywhere under the tarps, in case of rain.  They collect water in cisterns and most homes also have a well, which has been providing fresh water for a very long time. The islanders take great pride in their island and everything is immaculately kept. The walking roads are swept once a week, each family being responsible for a section.  They have street lamps and minor lights lighting up some of the darker spots on the island between the homes in the more wooded section.  They have arranged coconut husks, older whole coconuts, and lengths of coconut trunks as edges to roads and gardens, just as we would make rock walls, borders etc.  It´s a wonderful place to walk about in.  Their power is supplied by a generator which runs from 0600-1200 and 1800-2400hrs.  Everyone has freezers for the foodstuffs they order in bulk from New Zealand.  Tonight, after the barbecue and the dancing, we played a volleyball and a soccer game and then the crew was brought back to the ship while the trainees have another night on the island.  Tomorrow at 0900hrs, Cory and Jock will come to pick us up for church and one more meal with our host families.  We have had the most amazing visit here; from trainees and crew I hear repeatedly that this is the best island so far, both in terms of beauty and the ability to get to know the people who live here.  It is a chance in a lifetime to experience what we have experienced here. We leave tomorrow afternoon for Samoa, if the wind stays as it is tonight.  I think this is it.  Tomorrow night I´m hoping to get some impressions from the trainees and crew on their stay here.  Until then, good night,  Bonice.



Observations:
cloudy and sunny today, winds strengthening in the afternoon, hot temperatures in the sun
September 16th 2007 @ 22:00
17°49'30.00 S 163°37'55.20 W

Heading 295°
Speed 6.7

Ship's Log:
Tonight Sam and Gillian are going to share some of their impressions of staying on Palmerston.
 
We anchored midday on the 13th and there were two skiffs manned by islanders waiting to pick up the supplies we had brought from Rarotonga.  Moments later a third skiff with the customs officer, Alex , arrived.  Shortly after the third skiff arrived, boats were back to pick up all of Port watch and half of Starboard watch. Upon arrival at the island, we were split up into families by the mayor, Bob Marsters.  Tavish, Becca and I were taken by ATV to the other side of the island (a mere three minute ride), where we were welcomed into the household of Grandma, Simon (her son), Edward (his son), Shirley (Ed´s wife), and their children David and John. The three of use were immediately embraced by the family and were shown to our rooms.  It turned out that our ´rooms´ were actually an almost finished house with full kitchen, den, and bedroom.  After we dropped off all of our belongings a massive dinner was served.  These are just a two of many examples of an amazing level of hospitality extended by the family and entire community of Palmerston. The first time ashore (we came back to the boat for one night) was a time to get our bearings, but when we returned the following day (Sept.15th), we interacted more with the locals.  Eventually I found myself connecting with the kids through games and conversations, more specifically with our host kids.  They were interested in what it is like in Canada, and we were interested about their life on the island. It was somewhat challenging to say goodbye today after all that they gave us.  It has been the strongest connection with the locals I have felt so far in my time on the boat.  There are not too many places that will embrace a group of young people like ourselves. I feel blessed to have been able to travel to this amazing place, and to have been asked back in future years to "our other home", in the words of Simon, my host.  I´m sure I am not the only one.  Thanks for listening, and goodnight.  Hi to Mom, Dad and Si, hope you are well.
Sam
 
 
These last few days spent on Palmerston Island will become some of my most cherished memories.  The people here are incredible in the way they welcomed us into their homes and firmly told us as we left that this is now our home - if we ever return to the Island, we are to remember our family and come home.  I was "adopted" by the family of Bill Marsters, the gentleman who took Katie and I shopping on Rarotonga.  Katie and I swapped up our cooking days to give each of us the chance to spend the night ashore and
I went with the first group.  Inano, Bill´s mother, hosted me (at the "Palmerston Island Country Club") while Chase and Leslie stayed next door with Bill´s wife, Metua (at the "Palmerston Island Yacht Club," they have a fabulous sense of humour!).  Bill´s oldest three children (Julianna, 7; Ned,  4; and Caroline, 2 or 3) toured us around the Island, each holding one of our hands and pointing out this tree, that road to the beach, or the public telephone box over there.  Eventually, the hand-holding turned into piggy-back rides and then carrying them as they got tired from the walk.  The kids loved to have the attention and we were constantly pestered for hugs and piggy-back rides.  Caroline was especially enamored with Chase and never left his side (or lap) the whole time we were there. Julianna loved the similarity of our names and had no trouble remembering mine.  I really enjoyed the chance to talk with Inano, the grandmother.  She is 4th generation Palmerston Island - her grandmother was William Marster´s daughter - and has seen a lot of history on the Island.  She regaled me with stories of cyclones and tales of visits by the Duke of Edinburgh in his yacht as well as some of the general history of the Island.  By the end of the first day, I was so tired after long games of cards and talking that I barely managed to journal by the light of the oil lamp, as it was well past midnight and the power was no longer on, before collapsing into bed.  Leaving the Island today was harder.  Inano and Metua were both crying, Caroline was alternating between crying in the corner and clinging to us.  It is incredible the impression that people can make on each other in such a short period of time.  Three days on Palmerston Island and we are family.  -Gillian



Observations:
sunny and cloudy skies today, some
rain, some stronger winds around mid-day
September 17th 2007 @ 21:00
16°39'18.00 S 165°57'25.20 W

Heading 297°
Speed 5.4

Ship's Log:
Today was a good day at sea. We are now listening to Leslie sing; she has a beautiful voice. We are having another Mug Up in the stern with cookies thanks to Tristan and Arwen. It´s a nice night; the sky is full of stars, the air feels soft, we have the 2 courses and the trysail up and the mood amongst crew and trainees is good. The wind has gone down somewhat, the sailing is gentle.  We had an amazing visit with the people of Palmerston, but we´re also ready to be with each other on the ship again.  After church, lunch with our host family, and a final walk around the atoll to say our good byes, the aluminum boats returned us to the Grace. Many of the islanders came with us and stayed for nearly an hour and a half, chatting, looking through the boat, basically, delaying a final good-bye.  The islanders became much attached to us, as we did to them, and repeatedly asked us to return to the island in a few years.  Skipper had a chance Saturday morning to go reef fishing for parrot fish with Andrew Marsters.  Antony dropped him off at the mouth of the passage where Andrew was waiting with his aluminum skiff and nets.  For 3 hours they walked waist-deep in the water, along the reef, setting nets and waiting till the parrot fish moved in.  Andrew knew all the intricacies of the coral, where the deeper holes were, where the fish tended to swarm, etc.  Once they had caught about 20 fish, Andrew filleted one of them, broke open a coconut and ate the fish there, raw and with fresh coconut, in the water.  He said, "Captain, often I don´t enjoy the fish once I get home; this is how I like it best, here out on the reef."  And so they ate; Tony loved it and made a wonderful connection with Andrew.  At 1530hrs yesterday, we raised anchor and headed downwind towards Samoa.  The motion is very rocky-roly, something we have grown accustomed to, but have not fallen in love with yet.  I think when Skipper promised trade wind sailing once we hit Marquesas; we interpreted it as sailing with less motion, or at least a smoother motion.  Sailing downwind implies rolling side to side; the trysail gets raised to try to offset some of that roll.  We have had several days and some shorter passages where the motion has been idyllic and I´m sure I´ve written about it; it´s a wonderful way to travel.  The sun shone beautifully today, we´ve had more cloud and rain the past few days at Palmerston, it felt good to return to shipboard life, people were reading, studying, listening to music, and catching up in their journals.  Jordan began work watch; we began sanding and oiling the aftercabin hatch and making more baggywrinkle.  Making baggywrinkle is a great time to do something useful for the bosun and chat with the others baggywrinkling with you; it´s one of those mindless jobs like folding laundry or winding wool, therapeutic in its own way.  The younger kids had school and made a kite out of a plastic bag on string, filling the cavity with wind.
Jordan taught celestial and Karen continued telling the story of ´Gone With the Wind.´  At 1430 simultaneously, the bell on the trolling line tinkled and Chase´s fishing pole started zinging.  We hauled in 2 large Dorados.  It took Chase and Jose 20 minutes to reel in their Dorado, a whopper, the biggest so far, probably close to 35lbs. It´s always exciting to catch fish and Scott and Chase are going to fix it up in 3 different ways for us. I´ve been hearing reports from the foc´sle and the hold of interesting activity at night.  Apparently Susan works up quite the snore during the night.  She complained to me of her mother snoring, saying, "There´s no pattern in her snoring, she´s quiet, then she´s loud and very irregular."  From what I hear, Susan takes after her mom, and when she told me about her mom, she paused, laughed, and then acknowledged the similarity.  Elske said that one night, the snoring was keeping her awake and she sat up asking gently, but out loud, if anyone else was still awake; the answer in the hold and the foc´sle was a unanimous ´yes.´  We all laugh about it; it´s part of sleeping together, earplugs are available.  In the hold, Caelen has the habit of walking in his sleep, trying to make sense of people´s questions, but obviously not pulling it off coherently.  One night, he emerged from the head after only 5 pumps, finding Jordan and a few others standing outside the head and sending him back in to complete the last 25.  Caelen remained in the head, in the dark for several seconds, not pumping, and then stumbled out, stretched on the table, nodding to the group, "there, that´s 30 pumps," and then continued into bed.  Caelen laughs about it, we all look out for him. He´s given me permission to write about it, as has Susan.  I think this is it.  Time for bed, there are bits of all kinds of conversations on deck, filtering down through the hatches.  It is fun to be here.
Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.      



Observations:
sunny, blue skies, winds becoming
lighter
September 18th 2007 @ 22:00
15°34'0.12 S 168°7'1.20 W

Heading 300°
Speed 6.3

Ship's Log:
There isn´t too much to relate to you today.  We´ve had a wonderful day at sea.  The winds have calmed down somewhat; the courses and the trysail is still up, but the engine is also on.  We need to maintain a certain speed in order to fit in our passage to Tonga.  It is a perfect night, yes, one of those I want to remember when I´m back home.  The moon is a half-crescent, very bright on the water.  We can see each other on deck.  Nearly everyone is up on deck enjoying the night. Most are part of a conversation, many are reading with their headlamps on, and a few are writing.  Karen finished her telling of "Gone With the Wind."  It´s a good night for looking at the stars; Jupiter has become our star of reference, as well as the Southern Cross.  The temperature is slightly lower than body temperature, and it feels very soft.  When you lie on deck, looking up at the stars and the moon, you see the outline of the 2 masts making nearly 70degree arcs as they roll from port to starboard.  The motion has become less, but is still something you cannot forget about.  We slept well last night; we´re learning how to wedge ourselves into our bunks, setting bags, knapsacks, clothes, and towels in optimum places to create something to push or wedge against.  I sense that people are happy to be here, to be at sea together again.  We have been able to sit around the table with our watch, learning more about each other as we tell our life stories and answer questions from the watch members.  Sometimes we sit for 2 hours listening, and laughing . . . just hanging out together.  It´s good.  Tonight for supper, Chase, Scott and Tavish cooked the fish from yesterday.  They marinated half of it in a homemade teriyaki-style marinade, and fried the other half into the very popular seasoned nuggets.  Rounded out with corn and brown rice, it was a delicious supper. At suppertime tonight, another Dorado was caught.  10 minutes later, Chase was again reeling in a fish, this time something bigger and something that was putting up a wonderful fight.  After 25 minutes of hard work, Chase brought in a 70lb marlin.  We were just about to unhook it and let it go, when it snapped the line and took off for freedom, leaping and spinning in the air, a wonderful show.  Jose caught some of it on film.  Sam, Chris, Jacob and Noah started thinking about how to make a trebuchet again, looking into the EYE WITNESS books on Knights and Weapons and Armour for ideas.  Jacob and Tavish also made a fish gaff for hooking larger fish.  Tavish had brought the hook part, it needed a solid stick, a groove to fit it into, and a nice whipping to keep it all together.  They did a great job and thought they would be able to use it on the second fish tonight.  Next time.  Many trainees and crew took some time to ´shower´ today.  I think the award for the longest cleaning session, goes to Robyn.  She spent a good hour shampooing, cleaning, shaving, filing, etc.  It feels really good when it´s done; though it´s never like the 5 minute shower we´re used to at home. Like most things on the ship, deciding to have a bucket shower and getting clean is not just a decision or habit, it´s a plan . . . it´s what you´re deciding to do for a good part of your morning.  Katie and Arwen run a close second for having complete showers.  Jen and Jaimie did some yoga on the foredeck today, stretching muscles that just don´t get the stretching they do at home.  It´s quite tricky to do any kind of exercise on a rolling deck; it adds to the fun and perhaps even makes the stretch more efficient.  Today there was some sun tanning happening on the afterhouse; some of the trainees leaving in Fiji are working hard to get rid of those short and tank-top tan lines.  It was a very hot day, most of us tried to stay in the shade of the sails.  At 1800 hrs it was still very warm.  Our ETA for Independent Samoa is tomorrow evening sometime.  Samoa sounds like a very interesting place, very Polynesian with a strong tradition-based culture.  I´ve read that they are said to be some of the friendliest people in the South Pacific. We´re looking forward to it.  We have crossed another time zone and are now 4 hours behind Victoria or 11 hours less than Greenwich Mean Time.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.      


Observations:
beautifully clear and sunny day =
today, light
winds, very blue water and slightly calmer seas
September 19th 2007 @ 22:00
14°30'6.12 S 170°27'10.80 W

Heading 278°
Speed 6.2

Ship's Log:
It´s been another good day; a regular day at sea.  The wind has lightened up and it´s mostly engine power moving us forward.  Late in the afternoon the 2 courses came down, they weren´t drawing enough anymore.  We still have the trysail up to help with the roll.  We can tell we are travelling north; it´s getting much hotter as we near the equator.  To keep cool we continually throw buckets of coldish sea water over us and try to find a spot in the shade.  I noticed that during work watch today, many of the trainees were covering up in thin long sleeved hoodies, or sarongs, trying to keep from burning.  Just before supper, after a senior lesson on Tides and Currents, about 15-20 trainees had a communal shower, all with one deck bucket.  They couldn´t find the second bucket and the third bucket went overboard yesterday (turns out the second bucket was hiding forward of the dories).  Intermediates had their final lesson on Tides and Currents and have now covered all their course work and will have an exam in a few days, probably during the passage to Tonga.   Katie prepared some amazing meals today; for breakfast we had freshly baked granola and homemade yogurt, for lunch we had fresh fish prepared a different way by Chase, this time he baked it with butter, garlic, and spices, and for supper we had lamb, roasted potatoes, beets, quinoa and sauce for the quinoa . . . all very delicious.  Our cooks do a great job despite it being so incredibly hot in the galley.  At 1630 hrs today Skipper mustered everyone in the stern and with the help of a chart he had drawn on the dry-erase board, showed us the route we have travelled so far and the planned route for the remaining 3 weeks, always allowing for a change in plans if trainees find a place especially interesting or are done with it earlier than anticipated.  Bonice read out some information on things to be aware of in Samoa i.e. dress code, food and water, dogs, cultural expectations and assumptions etc.  Of all the countries we have travelled through so far, Samoa is by far the most conservative and probably the most easily to be offended by something we may be unaware of.  The Lonely Planet guide has some good tips and precautions for visitors and we shared those with the trainees and crew.  The Pacific Swift was in Samoa on the first offshore voyage in 1988, and had an incredible visit.  Jordan had his first ´boat´ haircut today and Tom and Susan have requested theirs. Sam,
Chris and Jacob began building the trebuchet today with wood they found in the
lazarette; it´s a great exercise, especially for Jacob, I consider it school as they need to figure out how to make it work and also do the calculations for cutting the wood.  Chase spent over an hour with the Anderson boys making new lures and cleaning his reel; something they all love to do.  It got darker and darker so the four of them grabbed their headlamps and all 4 lights were focused on the fishing supplies and Chase´s and Jacob´s hands putting the pieces together. Story time had to wait.  A bunch of girls and Karen spent the morning of her watch discussing a vast array of films and musicals, both classics and more temporary.  Karen has an amazing knowledge of actors, actresses, story lines and a great memory for some of the exact lines from the various films; its very admirable, it was a great talk.  We´ve come up with a great list of films to look up and work our way through once we return home.  Work watch resumed today, with Kelsey opening up her finger on the baggywrinkle.  We´re also working on the hatches, sanding and oiling them so they look smart and stay protected from the weather.  Tomorrow, September 20, is Jen´s dad, Carl´s, birthday.  Jen would like to wish her dad an amazing day.  Happy Birthday dad, from Jen.  This is it for tonight, it´s a gorgeously soft, warm night, the moon is bright, shining beautifully over the ocean, and the stars are visible . . . definitely a night to remember. Good night, Bonice.  



Observations:
hot and sunny, very light
winds
September 21st 2007 @ 22:30
13°49'36.12 S 171°45'43.20 W

Ship's Log:
It is quiet on the boat, life ashore continues.  We´ve had especially hot weather the past 2 days; the boat is very warm below and unless you find a spot under the tarp, in the shade, you soon feel the intensity of the sun´s heat.  As soon as we could, we set up all 3 tarps.  Yesterday we arrived at Apia Harbour about noon, but it took until 1500hrs until we were tied up and we had the clearance we needed to go ashore.  We need a shipping agent in Samoa, which the Port Captain helped us with.  Skipper had quite a few meetings with various people at different places, discussing, presenting papers, making copies, paying fees, and collecting forms and customs declarations filled out by everyone on board.  Nearly everyone had a chance to go ashore and do the initial exploring; I like to take the kids on a walk and just look, notice things.  The people are very friendly and we´ve taught ourselves ´hello, good-bye,´ and ´thank you´ in Samoan.  The languages here are English and Samoan, everyone speaks English.  In earlier years Samoa has had a stronger link with New Zealand; one still sees remnants.  The town of Apia is relatively big, stores have interesting combinations of items for sale, and some of the buses and buildings are painted in bright colours.  All along the harbour is a beautiful walkway with no shops.  They use the coconut husks broken up like we use sawdust or woodchips on trails and around plants in a garden.  The dress code is more conservative here; we´ve decided that the girls on the ship should wear knee-length skirts and T-shirts, while the guys are wearing longer shorts, and T-shirts as well.  Many of the men here wear the lava lava, or sarong.  The kids we see coming out of school are also all wearing uniform lava lavas.  It looks quite smart actually; the men are often wearing a tapa patterned short-sleeved shirt and the women wear beautifully coloured, floral and tapa patterned dresses and skirts.  We are on a commercial dock, similar to Hilo, Hawaii.  There is no hose but there are 2 showers we are sharing with the cockroaches.  Cockroaches are harmless though, somehow they´ve been given a bad name; they really do no harm to us, just skitter away when we turn on the light.  The showers have good pressure and you can lock the door.  Yes, they are cold, but here . . . who wants a hot shower?  Many of the trainees have gone to the cinema to watch The Bourne Identity #3.  It´s always strange to see a North American film in a foreign country.  You forget where you are; when you emerge from the blackness and the ´American-ess´ of the last 2 hours, you feel a bit transposed initially.  Tonight, a group of trainees and crew went to a Fire Dance Show, which includes dinner.  Our shipping agent suggested it and provided the details.  A few of them have returned and they are ecstatic about what they saw.  Many different things were seen and experienced by crew and trainees today.  A few girls got up early and went to the market, the ´maketi fou,´ which is said to have the "biggest and best selection of fresh produce, as well as the lowest prices in the South Pacific.  It is busy 24hrs a day and to have a stall there is so prestigious that family members take turns staying the night in order not to lose their privileged spots (Lonely Planet)."  They tried some of the ´koko samoa;´ a hot drink made from Samoan cocoa beans.  It is quite good.  Many of the rest of us went to the market later in the day, it really was quite something.  It´s all housed under a large tent, about the size of a football field.  There are tables and tables of vegetables, cooked food, wooden bowls and other wooden products, wicker products, jewellry, clothing . . . the list continues, as did the tables and the women and men manning them.  Gillian, Skipper and I had a fun exchange with a woman who was ready to ´give us a great deal.´  We ended up chatting with her about the ava bowls and how they were made, the process for colouring them, who makes them etc. She also sold vegetables and gave the boys a big bunch of the delicious small bananas they love.  Tavish found a great park and settled to write some letters but found that people would come up to him and ask if he was okay, and when he answered ´yes,´ they would stay and chat for awhile.  A busload of children from a nearby orphanage also came for their weekly play at the park and Tav found himself playing along with them too.  So, not much writing, but he was excited about the time he spent there.  Bec, Tristan and Elske were given a tour of one of the larger churches by the concierge and he took them all the way up one of the 2 towers to the bell tower.  The view was amazing, they said.  Many trainees caught up on email and laundry.  Jose and Antony did some work on the propeller which involved several hours of scuba diving.  Jordan has a list of jobs that need attention and spent the day working through some of them.  We went to Robert Louis Stevenson´s house which is now a museum.  We had an excellent tour by a Samoan man, who had a great knowledge of Stevenson, his family, his writing, and the history of his home since his death. The house is situated high on a hill, it´s a beautiful house, beautifully built with wood from California (his wife was from there), large windows, high ceilings, simple and tasteful in design.  Stevenson only spent 4 years in Samoa before he died, he suffered from TB and his sickness was the reason for them leaving Scotland and building a home for his family in Samoa; Samoan weather agreed with.  He was a big advocate for the Samoan people and spoke up and fought for them during the years he was alive.  Samoans loved him and bestowed honours on him as if he was royalty.  We hiked up the mountain to where he is buried, a beautiful, steep climb to an amazing view.  His story here in Samoa is a wonderful one and I feel enriched by having learned of him today.  Many of us are still humming the dance song we learned at Palmerston, the dance the girls were taught.  I have written enough for tonight, but I will share the words with you another night.  I hope we keep practicing so we have something to show you when we return.  Gillian found out tonight that her dad is joining us for a week in Fiji; she is so happy.  It´s always fantastic when someone we know comes to visit in a foreign port.  Chase´s parents and brother, as well as Jaimie´s boyfriend Rob, are also coming.  Very exciting.  This is it, most of us are sleeping up on deck as it is so hot below. There are mosquitoes but we have insect repellant.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
clear, blue skies today, very hot, =
light
breeze
September 22nd 2007 @ 23:00
13°39'47.88 S 171°53'24.00 W

Heading 294°
Speed 5.1

Ship's Log:
We are out at sea and the entire group is meeting in the stern to talk about the trip and how things are going for everyone.  It´s a good chance to talk about the positive aspects of our lives on the ship and the issues that need improving.  The night is beautiful; the moon is waxing and it´s already so bright we can see each other on deck.  The sky is clear so there may be some stargazing during night watches.  We do not have very far to go so we have just the starboard course up and it´s moving us along at a nice 5kts, hopefully slow enough to get us to Savai´i by first light.  There is a gentle rocking motion on the ship; Tom has already been coughing up over the side.  He has been such a good sport about his seasickness; he takes it in stride and after heaving, often has something very funny to say; he keeps us laughing.  Savai´i is the second largest island in Independent Samoa. It is less peopled and everyone we talk to says it is beautiful.  We will have a day and a bit to look around before we start our passage to Tonga.  Today was a good day, but a very hot day. Saturday is a relatively quiet day in Samoa, most shops close by lunch and don´t open until Monday.  Sunday is a day for church and life slows right down. About half of the trainees visited Fatumea Pool, 18km east of Apia.  Here you can swim in clean, clear springs and explore water-filled caves.  Susan and Jen both shared with the group how they were nervous to swim below the water and through the caves, but that, with encouragement from Tom, Chris and Carolyn C. they did it, and felt incredibly satisfied with them selves because of it.  Karen, Katie, Gillian and Jose visited Robert Louis Stevenson´s house and hiked up Mt. Vaea to see the view and the gravestone.  Jaimie told us tonight that although snorkelling in deep water makes her anxious, she went with Chris to the reef at Palmerston to check out the fish, sharks and tortoises. The wind was blowing wildly and the waves kept filling up her snorkel but she swam the 200m to the reef.  When Chris was stung by a jellyfish, she offered to return to the ship with him.  On their return, she saw a huge tortoise swim by and she grabbed Chris and told him how she was quite nervous and could she please hold on to his arm.  It´s wonderful to see and learn about what is in the ocean, but being in such an abyss of blueness and seemingly bottomless-ness, can be un-nerving.  Chris let her hold on to his arm, sticking it out again for her to grab once she had taken a photo of the tortoise, and checking regularly to see if she was okay, waiting for her ´thumbs-up´ signal before continuing.  She said he was wonderful, so gracious, and when she reached the Grace again, she didn´t care that she saw toilet paper floating, she was thankful to be climbing up the rope ladder.  She laughed as she told the story, we laughed with her, she told it so wonderfully.  Yesterday Jordan shaved Noah´s head.  He´s not bald, but it´s pretty short.  Noah loves it and his little brother Simon, now has a hair appointment with Jordan for tomorrow.  Susan had her hair trimmed by the resident barber; she says she feels pounds lighter.  A small group of us went and asked permission to spend a few hours in the swimming pool belonging to the Aggie Grey´s Hotel.  It was wonderful to play in fresh water; it felt very luxurious lounging among the paying guests, staying cool, enjoying the sun and trying to read a few pages of a book.  The kids loved it and were in the pool the entire time.  Several trainees and crew returned to the Maketi fou, the market, and came home with some great souvenirs; bowls, swords and trays made of wood and carved with Samoan motifs.  Before leaving the dock at about 1830 today, many crew and trainees were able to squeeze in a final fresh water shower.  I found out today that Tristan´s parents are also coming to Fiji to visit the boat.  It should be a good time.  This is it, good night, until tomorrow, Bonice.        


Observations:
clear skies, hot, sunny day, light
breeze
September 23rd 2007 @ 21:15
13°26'30.12 S 172°22'12.00 W

Heading 270°
Speed 6.5

Ship's Log:
We have just finished Sunday service on deck, under the protection of the tarp; the evening has brought several downpours already and Antony and his watch are putting on raingear and expecting to get wet.  Firstly, Jordan and Carolyn want to wish their mom a very wonderful day, it is her birthday today, September 23.  Happy Birthday mom, from Jordan and Carolyn.  Secondly, all of us on the ship want to wish Stephen Duff a most terrific day; today is his birthday as well. Happy Birthday Stephen, from all of us. Thirdly, Chase wishes his brother Bannock a very fun 12th birthday, also today.  Happy Birthday Bannock, from Chase.  We have more birthdays coming in the next few days.
We arrived at first light near the island of Savai´i and lowered anchor at about
0730.  After one sitting for breakfast most trainees went ashore. Savai´i is wonderfully undeveloped, though there are a few places for visitors to stay.  As we arrived on a Sunday, almost everything was closed.  Everywhere we saw people dressed in their Sunday best, either going to or returning from one of the many, many churches on the island.  Many were in white.  Many of the men especially were wearing white dress shirts, ties, and white lava lavas (sarongs). Women wore white dresses, some quite elaborate and made of a shiny fabric, or very colorful, mostly floral-printed dresses.  It was beautiful to see all the smaller kids in pretty dresses for the girls and white shirts and lava lavas, and ties for the boys, and the young people dressed similarly.  There is something to learn from them, something admirable; making a clear day of rest, a day where everything stops and families and friends hang out together.  We are anchored in Matautu Bay, on the north coast.  Jose took the zodiac on an initial reconnaissance trip to see if there was a way to the shore through the coral.  It reminded us of our friends at Palmerston, just on a smaller scale.   Today was our day to walk and notice details as none of our time was focused on getting jobs such as email, laundry, shopping etc. done, because nothing was open.  It´s actually a relief to visit a village on a Sunday, as ´town´ can very easily become a busy time of ´doing.´  Some of the things we noticed were the large amount of breadfruit and banana trees.  We didn´t see many fruit trees, but I´m pretty sure they are somewhere here, the weather is ideal.  We did see pineapple gardens, and were told that guava grows here.  The island has large patches of black lava rock and many of the ´yards´ around the very basic houses, is just black lava.  We decided it must get incredibly hot.  Some of the lava was covered in palm or pandanas fronds; I´m not sure why, perhaps to deflect some of the heat. There was an amazing number of structures on this island.  Every home seemed to have 1 or 2 shelters in front or beside the home, used, it appeared, for resting, lounging, staying out of the sun, and being with small kids.  They consisted of a roof, usually rectangular and slightly sloped, or domed, supported by many 3-5m poles, spaced 1-2m apart.  Most of them were empty of furniture and things; some with just a mattress or blankets and a chest of drawers.   People would be lying on the cement or on a mattress sleeping, sitting on the floor together etc.  We were astonished at how many of them there were. They seem to be typical of Savai´i, we didn´t notice them on Upolo.  In Apia, we saw wooden ´ava´ bowls sold at the market with many legs.  The women we bought our bowl from said these bowls represent the houses.  We are now thinking that perhaps it was these many-posted shelters that she was referring to.  Many of the houses were painted in bright colours, the predominant colors being light pink and turquoise blue, quite unattractive I thought, but colorful, nonetheless.  We saw kiosks selling coconuts and papayas in green baskets made roughly from palm fronds.  We experienced these in Pitcairn the first time we visited; they called them their ´working´ baskets, though I found them quite beautiful.  Everywhere we walked we saw pigs, of all sizes.  The tiny ones were cute, the big ones were . . .well, big, and not so cute.  Chickens run everywhere as well. There were also horses with their foals, tied alongside the road or in a field, and quite a few cows, compared to what we´ve seen on other islands.  Some of the crew and trainees visited blowholes in the lava, along the shore, where the surge of the water is forced through a lava tunnel and shoots explosively up through a hole at the surface closer in to the beach.
It´s stunning to watch, the power of the sea . . . and the sea wasn´t even that big.  Some of them also visited a beautifully cool waterfall where you could swim,  One of the locals told me it was the only waterfall on the island.  I think it was here that Petra Eggert was baptized on the very first Pacific Swift offshore trip in 1988-9.  We loved it, the temperatures are so hot at the moment; we actually remained feeling cool for about an hour as the water was cooler than the ocean, delicious.  Carolyn, Krista, Tom and Susan had an amazing day swimming with turtles, visiting volcanoes and chatting with locals.  The mountains on these volcanic islands have the ability to catch clouds and create squalls within a very short time.  We were caught in several downpours, all fresh water rinses if one makes the best of them. There are some beautiful white sand beaches on the island and a group of trainees spent the day relaxing on one of them, Katie worked hard making very tasty calzones for all of us, for supper.  They are very labor intensive, and the galley is hot.  We so appreciate the work Gillian and Katie do.  I think this is it.  We are underway and the ship is a rockin´ and a rollin´.   Except for the regular rain and wind squalls, the wind is generally light, and so the engine is on. We´re hoping to raise some sail soon, if only to steady the motion. Everyone on the ship seems quite happy.  We have been able to have some good discussions as an entire group and in our watches. This morning, when Tony and I were sitting with the four younger kids, at a table in a restaurant, having a cold drink, I realized I was enjoying the moment in large part because we were feeling comfortable temperature-wise; we were in the shade, with a breeze, and by the ocean.  It was something I savoured, and appreciated, one of the many, many good moments.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.          
 



Observations:
mostly hot and sunny today, rain squalls and wind squalls in the latter part of the day and into the night
September 25th 2007 @ 13:23
13°49'59.88 S 176°10'1.20 W

Ship's Log:
We have been in touch with the Pacific Grace and skipper Tony reports all hands are well. We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with our satellite communications. Daily log entries will resume as soon as communication is re-established. We apologize for the delay.


September 25th 2007 @ 21:00
15°26'24.00 S 173°23'16.80 W

Heading 202°
Speed 4.8

Ship's Log:
Today at 1600 we crossed the International Date Line.  If you are wondering what happened to the log for September 24th, well, that´s what happened to it.  We never got to the end of the 24th, and now it´s the 25th.  Arwen was joking that her birthday would be shortened or missed altogether as it falls on September 26, tomorrow.  She´s happy because she has had to wait one day less.  Today´s birthday wishes go to Bo Large, from Arwen, whose birthday is September 24. Happy Birthday Bo.  Also, Skipper, Elske, Bec, Arwen, Jacob, Noah, Simon and myself would like to wish my dad a very good day today, September 25, it´s his birthday.  Happy Birthday dad, opa, Rin from all of us.  Skipper pulled out a world map which indicated the different time zones and explained our traverse over the date line.  The Intermediates were excited as their test was supposed to be September 24, but we ran out of that day. Now they have a few more days to study as we have decided to stop at the very small and not often visited island of Niuatoputapu, the most northerly group of islands in the Tongan group.  Skipper was doing some research today and brought it up to the group as a whole, as an option to visit on our route to the Vava´u group; the decision to go there was unanimous, we´re thinking it may be more similar to Palmerston than some of the places on the bigger islands. Today was a good day; the weather was inconsistent.  It started out very hot and there are no sails up, which meant there was no shade.  Bodies were lying in pencil shapes, hugging the narrow shade produced by the hatches and houses.  Just after lunch the sky turned incredibly grey and ominous and the sea looked black; the wind started to pick up and was blowing spray off the tips of the waves.  We had time to get everything down below i.e. books, pillows etc. and were standing by with shampoo and in our suits, ready for our fresh water shower.  It was luxurious, there´s no other word, we were all pretty silly with happiness at the sensation of cool, fresh water running over our hot and sweaty bodies.   We were able to catch significant amounts of water in the foredeck tarp (we put it up around lunchtime for shade).  By crouching down at the edge of it and pulling down gently with a finger, we could lead the water over our heads and down ourselves.  The squall lasted a good half hour and the clouds stayed for the remainder of the day.  We all felt wonderfully chilled, goose bumps standing proud on our bare skin.  There have been a couple of smaller squalls since then.  The air became somewhat less hot and the fact that we were all wet and had had our bodies cooled down, made for a more comfortable afternoon.  The boat below decks is still very warm.  I heard from Sam that Matt´s bunk is so unbearably hot that he has taken to sleeping under the hold table.  Every night he lays his mattress down and spreads out his sleeping bag on the sole of the hold, and sleeps . . . well.  His bunk is one of the top bunks in the hold, where all the heat collects and the air does not circulate.  Skipper taught celestial navigation to Carolyn, Krista and Tom today.  They weren´t able to take their afternoon sights as the sun was behind the clouds. Tomorrow.  Arwen baked cookies again for us today; she is a wonderful baker and loves to do it, and, like I´ve said so many times, the galley is very hot.  Jordan´s work takes him into the engine room regularly and there too, it is intensely hot.  The temperature the other day was 51 degrees centigrade, a new high . . . in more ways than one.  I´m not sure how Jordan, Gillian and Katie do it, in that heat. They tell me that one tip for surviving is to drink lots of water, like 3-5 litres a day.  Gillian made hotdogs for supper.  This sounds like an easy meal, but it isn´t.  She has to make about 100 hotdog buns and shaping them isn´t as easy as you think. She also made relish, fried onions, and a large salad to go with it.  Sam, Chase, Gillian and Caelen stayed up late in the hold last night, learning some Chinese words from Gillian, who has spent several months there before sailing with the Grace.  Apparently it turned quite silly as the night wore on and Chase and Gillian´s journal writing didn´t get done.  Jacob, Sam, Chris and Susan continued working on the trebuchet.  Today they lashed a pig of lead from the galley bilge onto the swing arm with marlin.  It looks pretty impressive.  We had several bites on our fishing line today.  One took Chase´s lure and snapped off 200ft of line, the other just got off the hook as we were reeling it in.  When we brought in the fishing lines tonight, the tale of the lure was completely eaten away.  We are looking forward to fish again, it´s something most of us enjoy.  This is it, time to cool off up on deck for a few minutes.  Good night, Bonice.  


Observations:
sunny and hot in the morning, =
cloudy in the
afternoon and squally into the night
September 26th 2007 @ 23:00
15°56'24.00 S 173°46'4.80 W

Ship's Log:
Everyone has just come home from a ´kava´ ceremony ashore.  Apparently the men of the village do this 3 times a week, and we were invited to join them.  The women usually serve the ´kava´ from a wooden bowl, with a ladel, into a half coconut and this gets passed around. This continues till . . . we´re not sure.  Every now and then the men would sing; they had ukuleles, guitars and good-sounding voices. ´Kava´ is made from a root; those I asked said it tastes like ´muddy water,´ ´dishwater,´ and ´ground roots.´  Elske was permitted to serve and they enjoyed her serving.  The night is incredibly beautiful.  A few of us stayed on the ship tonight and it was a gift to be here.  There is no wind and the seas are calm in the lagoon.  The moon is full; there is lots of light shining on the water. There is a very light breeze, the temperature is perfect.  After putting the boys to bed, I took some time to lie on deck and listen to music, as did the others who were here; it is so peaceful. Today we celebrated Arwen´s 14th birthday.  She went ashore with most of the trainees during the day and they walked or hitch-hiked 3 km to a small spring in the next village.  A cargo vessel came in to the harbour today and the islanders were very busy moving their groceries off the ship and to their homes.  The ship brings supplies once a month, so we´re assuming today was a big day.  We were welcomed on the radio by a woman named Sia.  She asked us to stay until October 4 and join in a big feast that happens once a year.  We arrived early this morning and hove to until there was enough light to see by.  Skipper went with Jordan in the zodiac to sound the passage in through the coral before he took the big boat in very carefully.  Tavish was up the mast as look-out, Chris was on the radio calling out depths, and Jordan was in the zodiac pointing out the shallower sections and standing by.  It worked out well and we were able to anchor in the lagoon.  Soon after we entered, we saw a huge, rust bucket of a cargo ship, slightly heeled over, barreling her way, full speed through the passage.  It was quite a contrast to the care and speed with which we approached the island.  Trainees and crew who went ashore enjoyed themselves while those of us who stayed on the boat, also enjoyed the quiet.  We swam off the boat, swung on the outhaul and snorkelled to the reef.  Skipper, Antony, Jacob, and Noah took the zodiac to the reef to look for lobsters.  They anchored and swam about 200 m further out when Skipper looked up and saw a humpback whale about 50ft from them. He moved the younger boys closer to him, gave Antony a ´heads-up´ and then they watched the whale swim by them, about 10ft away, lifting and swinging her pectoral fin towards them.  She had a calf swimming close by her. They were astounded, ecstatic, completely overwhelmed by this amazing mammal, by seeing this huge shadow move so gracefully and so near to them.  We´ve read that there are quite a few whales around the Tongan islands; some were spotted early this morning before the pass.  Simon helped Katie make delicious lasagna for supper; it was wonderful.  After dishes tonight we sang Happy Birthday to Arwen and had cheesecake for her birthday cake.  We got word from Loren today that the past few days of logs have not been making it through.  Skipper has tried to send them all off again, as well as the log for September 16, the Sunday we left Palmerston.  Sam and Gillian wrote that night on their impressions of their stay on the island.  I hope you get a chance to catch up, the last few days have been full.  This is it until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.    


Observations:
mostly sunny skies today, very hot,light breeze
September 27th 2007 @ 20:00
16°58'36.12 S 173°54'25.20 W

Heading 184°
Speed 6.3

Ship's Log:
I am giving Bonice the night off tonight as she is not feeling 100% and is in need of some
Re-energizing.  This morning during the second sitting of breakfast (0800), we pulled up the anchor and began navigating the narrow channel that leads out of the lagoon surrounding the island of Niuatoputapu.  The original plan was to try and meet up with some of the Humpback whales (which make this region the place they grow their calves), and possibly swim with them, as some of the crew and trainees did yesterday. However, when we spotted them 1nm off the reef, we decided that the whales were not up to seeing visitors, as they kept disappearing and reappearing a good distance away from us.  Around the same time, in the hold, Gillian said that the lineup and usage of the head was the largest she has ever seen (from the time she woke up at 0520 to prepare breakfast and onwards).  Last night many of the trainees went back to shore after Arwen´s birthday dinner and took part in a kava ceremony, where a drink was served consisting of the kava root and various other mysterious ingredients that was described by all as muddy, dirty, woody, dish water. It seemed to have an interesting affect on the digestive systems of those who drank it. Today was a low activity day for all. We began heading down a course of around 160-170 degrees with jumbo, fore, trysail and engines, and with wind fine to port to dead ahead all day.  This made for much fore-aft and athwartship rolling- including some moments with the bowsprit submerged - upsetting some tummies, and forcing many to pull out the stugeron tablets.  During the pounding into the weather this morning, there was some entertainment in the bow. Kelsey decided she wanted to get soaked, providing an opportunity for Jose to take some good action photos. As well, Jordan, Tristan, and Caelan got soaked trying to fit the cap over the Naval Pipe, which feeds the chain from the locker below decks to the windlass above.  Focusing was also a challenge below decks, in all areas of the boat; Gillian in the galley, and Skipper in the aft cabin trying to fix the weather fax which has been only partially working the past few days.  For parts of the day the sun was intense, prompting Tavish to set up the small tarp amidships to provide some shade for those trying to sleep (Stugeron, the seasickness medication can make a person sleepy).  We saw some amazing sea life besides the humpbacks, including dolphins and two large Pilot whales that surged towards us in the swell, and under the boat.  Mid afternoon and into this evening the wind has died mostly, still dead ahead, and we are making 7 knots, still with sails set and sheeted tight, which are providing some stability. Our ETA for Vava´u, Tonga is around 1100 hrs tomorrow, and we will be spending a few days there before ending the leg in Fiji.  We found out in the past two days that our port in Fiji will actually be Lautoka, only 20km from the Nadi airport.
 
Robyn would like to wish her brother Clayton a happy birthday this September 27th.  Happy Birthday, Clayton!
 
It was nice to have an overly peaceful and restful day today, in preparation for the days to come in Tonga.  Thanks for listening, and have a great evening. Sam



Observations:
mostly sunny and very hot today, strong winds in the night and into the morning, tapering off towards mid-day
September 28th 2007 @ 21:30
18°39'11.88 S 173°59'6.00 W

Ship's Log:
It´s been a quieter day again.  We arrived in Neiafu, in the Vava´u Group at 1500hrs.  The weather was cloudy when we awoke, and cooler.  Many of us were wearing light sweaters today and raincoats in the evening.  It was nice to have a break from the heat, we´re hoping it´s a bit drier tomorrow.  Skipper cleared with Immigration and then we could go ashore.  The Immigration Official was very business-like initially.  Once he found out that we were a Christian crewed, Sail Training Organization, sailing with students aboard, he began to warm up. When Tony mentioned we were hoping to leave on Sunday, after going to church, we had won him over.  Tonga is, on the surface at least, a very religious country, and a letter from the Chief of Police is needed to leave on a Sunday.  We were given permission by the Immigration Officer to leave Sunday, after church.  The town looks somewhat rundown and unkempt.  We´re hoping to visit another island where there is no village, but a sandy beach, where we can play on the beach and snorkel.  The Vava´i group is apparently a yacht haven in this part of the Pacific.  Jacob said he counted 70 boats at anchor, mostly sailboats, and flying flags from many different countries.  There are more sailboats here than we have encountered all together during the past 4 months.  Many of the trainees have gone to the yacht club to have a drink and chat with the yachters about their adventures.  Last night was a calmer night.  The wind died down quite a bit and we continued motoring, leaving the trysail, fore and jumbo up to stabilize the motion.  We slept well.  There were just a handful of people on the Grace for supper; Katie made pilaf and creole stew, very good.  Jaimie and Robyn made peanut butter and chocolate rice krispie squares.  Jaimie has had a craving for them for several weeks, and we´re all grateful that it got the best of her and we were all able to benefit.  This evening before supper, Karen, Jose and myself started playing Slap SCRABBLE with a passion, a game started on the last offshore, but not often played yet on this voyage.  Nothing could divert us from our game, concentration was focused.  When the supper whistle went, we needed to be called twice by Skipper, before we reluctantly emerged from the aftcabin mid-game.  After the dishes, SCRABBLE resumed with Tavish and Katie joining in.  Most of the trainees have left the boat to have a look around as we are not staying here very long.  This is all I have to say for tonight; it´s comforting in a way to hear the rain on the deck and live with cooler temperatures.  It feels like we may not be as far from home as we are.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.    


Observations:
cloudy and cool day today, rain late afternoon and into the evening
September 28th 2007 @ 21:30
18°39'11.88 S 173°59'6.00 W

Ship's Log:
it´s been a quieter day again.  we arrived in neiafu, in the vava´u group at 1500hrs.  the weather was cloudy when we awoke, and cooler.  many of us were wearing light sweaters today and raincoats in the evening.  it was nice to have a break from the heat, we´re hoping it´s a bit drier tomorrow.  skipper cleared with immigration and then we could go ashore.  the immigration official was very business-like initially.  once he found out that we were a christian crewed, sail training organization, sailing with students aboard, he began to warm up.  when tony mentionned we were hoping to leave on sunday, after going to church, we had won him over.  tonga is, on the surface at least, a very religious country, and a letter from the chief of police is needed to leave on a sunday.  we were given permission by the immigration officer to leave sunday, after church.  the town looks somewhat rundown and unkempt.  we´re hoping to visit another island where there is no village, but a s
 andy beach, where we can play on the beach and snorkel.  the vava´i group is apparently  a yacht haven in this part of the pacific.  jacob said he counted 70 boats at anchor, mostly sailboats, and flying flags from many different countries.  there are more sailboats here than we have encountered all together during the past 4 months.  many of the trainees have gone to the yacht club to have a drink and chat with the yachties about their adventures.  last night was a calmer night.  the wind died down quite a bit and we continued motoring, leaving the trysail, fore and jumbo up to stabilize the motion.  we slept well.  there were just a handful of people on the grace for supper: katie made pilaf and creole stew, very good.  jaimie and robyn made peanut butter and chocolate rice krispie squares.  jaimie has had a craving for them for several weeks, and we´re all grateful that it got the best of her and we were all able to benefit.  this evening before supper, karen, jose and my
 self started playing slap scrabble with a passion, a game started on the last offshore, but not often played yet on this voyage.  nothing could divert us from our game, concentration was focused.  when the supper whistle went, we needed to be called twice by skipper, before we reluctantly emerged from the aftcabin mid-game.  after the dishes, scrabble resumed with tavish and katie joining in.  most of the trainees have left the boat to have a look around as we are not staying here very long.  this is all i have to say for tonight: it´s comforting in a way to hear the rain on the deck and live with cooler temperatures.  it feels like we may not be as far from home as we are.  until tomorrow, good night, bonice.


Observations:
cloudy and cool day today, rain late afternoon and into the evening
September 29th 2007 @ 21:00
18°42'54.00 S 174°5'16.80 W

Ship's Log:
Today was a very different day; the weather set the tone for the day.  It was cool and rainy, clouds for the entire day.  We were pulling out our sweatshirts, light jackets, pants and T-shirts from the deep recesses of our nets.  To me, it could have been a cloudy summer day on the west coast, trip 4.  We actually felt cold and would go below to get out of the wind!  Gillian made a huge pot of hot chocolate this morning, something hot we could help ourselves to. Today was a big day for Tongans; Britain played rugby against the Kingdom of Tonga and beat them, although I heard that Tonga fought hard and that it was a good game to watch.  Since we arrived yesterday, we´ve seen everyone walking around in red shirts, the national colour of Tonga.  Because of the cooler weather today, those who were going to go whale watching and cycling, changed plans and caught up on internet and shopping, drinking coffee and eating delicious food at the ´Tropicana Cafe and Internet.´  Today being Saturday, everything closed at mid-day.  This cafe was open basically because the 35 of us took turns filling it and enjoying the atmosphere there.  Gillian and Katie were able to do a massive shop today.  Katie said they found the biggest selection of fruit and vegetables at the market here, more than at any other stop.  They were also able to stock up on some staples.  In one of the shops Gillian noticed the owner watching an old episode of ´American Idol.´  The woman noticed Gillian and started asking her who the different contestants were; Gillian was tempted to tell her who she should vote for, as Gillian remembered seeing this episode.  Gillian cooked an amazing supper of roast chicken, brown rice and a wonderful green salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and peppers.  The ´trebuchet´ team visited the hardware store today and bought 2x4 ´s to build the triangular-shaped support frames.
They´re ready to try it out on the passage to Fiji in a few days. Jacob loves it, as do the other 2 little boys, not to mention all the ´big´ little boys inside each of us.  A Japanese fellow, single-handing around the world, which Skipper and Jordan met in
Victoria is here in Neiafu with us.  He has been sailing for 2 years already and has plans to sail for another 8.  He came by the boat and spent a wonderful hour with Jordan and Skipper, chatting and having a tour.  A couple from Prince Edward Island also came by the boat for a visit.  They have been sailing for 2 years and seem to be having an incredible time.  A week in Columbia turned into 6 weeks, they enjoyed it so much.  Tonight, work is in progress for tomorrow´s surprise birthday brunch to celebrate Arwen and Jacob´s birthdays.  Jordan has spearheaded the entire operation, initiating ideas and plans with a few trainees, several weeks ago.  Helping him are Carolyn C., Sam, Paul, Scott, Jen, Chase, and some more.  I was asked to make yogurt to go with the granola and fruit salad and I saw three bottles of Canadian maple syrup on the counter as well. Yogurt and maple syrup . . .mmmm.  I´ve heard there will also be hashbrowns, sausages, personalized omelettes, and pancakes.  Everyone, except the ´new´ cooks, who are waking up at 0400hrs, is being given an extra hour to sleep; breakfast is at 0900.  It should be fun; I´ll tell you more tomorrow.  Jen and Chase are busy making chef hats out of paper.  Tavish took the 3 Anderson boys to the Fish Tackle shop today and they spent a wonderful hour buying new lures and fishing equipment for the ship.  Lately we have lost several of our best lures and some of our gear; this will replace those and allow us to continue catching fish.  On the way back to the ship, Elske joined them and offered to hold Simon´s hand but he let go of her hand and went to Tavish saying,
"I want to hold Tavish´s hand."    Right now we are just finishing up Mug Up with those not involved in the breakfast preparations.  The singing is improving, but the second leggers have definitely been our strongest singers so far.  At 1600 hrs today we left the harbour of Neiafu and motored for an hour to another bay in the Vava´I group.  There are many small islands all around us, with a variety of beaches and good snorkelling.  We hope to snorkel tomorrow after Sunday service.  At 1400hrs tomorrow, we will leave the Kingdom of Tonga and begin our final passage of this leg to Fiji.  I know people are starting to think about the leg ending, many are continuing their travels to New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines.  The leg has gone quickly.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice    



Observations:
cloudy, cool and rainy
October 1st 2007 @ 21:30
17°50'17.88 S 177°39'46.80 W

Heading 276°
Speed 7

Ship's Log:
We are under sail making good speed.  We raised the two courses and the trysail at 0800hrs, and have been making between 6-8.5 knots for most of the day.  The engine has been off all day, very nice.  Tonight we expect to enter the area where the easternmost islands begin.  We will adjust our course to sail amongst and between them.  We lowered courses and raised the jumbo and foresail in preparation for the course change.  The wind has blown onto our port beam for most of the day.  Last night was a cold night; watch officers Jose, Karen and Antony wore their foul weather gear to keep warm as well as to keep dry.  Today as well, has been cold and sweaters, fleece, jeans, windbreaks etc. are the norm.  Last night nobody slept.  We may have experienced some of the rolliest motion of the voyage so far. Many of the girls in the foc´sle gave up trying to keep their things on the ledges (the shelf clamps) above their bunks and just kept them on the bunks once they were rolled out of their place.  Antony had trouble with his lee cloth and just caught himself on a beam as he was flung out of his bunk on a starboard roll. The hold had too many misplaced water bottles wandering back and forth along the sole. We generally spent the night trying to wedge ourselves in sufficiently to minimize rolling in our bunks.  The motion has somewhat subsided but there is still the regular rolling side-to-side and the occasional deep dip, which scoops water, sometimes frothing knee height on the deck.  The water washes over most of the deck, and swashes port to starboard amidships. It´s been a good day, everyone seems quite happy to be at sea again.  Crew and trainees found time to catch up on sleep, read their books, and chat in the stern.  We caught fish today; at lunch Noah and Chase brought in a large 25-30lb dorado, and later in the afternoon, there were 2 wahoo on the lines.  We kept the larger one.
Chase taught Noah how to fillet the Dorado.  Chase and Scott also baked the wahoo and made the famous and much-loved fish nuggets out of the Dorado, all for an afternoon snack.  They were delicious; there were many of us who were longing for the taste of fish again.  It´s always exciting to catch fish; when the little bell goes or we hear the gears of the reel clicking on Chase´s rod, we all run to the stern, expectantly.  Jacob was able to try out the new gaff him and Tavish made a few weeks ago.  Tavish has been carving a new lure head out of wood and a few more trainees have been learning how to make
Turk´s Heads.  We are now tying up in the town of Lautoka, north of Nadi, the airport.  Because of the political situation in Suva, this is safer, as well as more convenient for trainees leaving and coming.  Our shipping agent in Suva will still be the same and will be helping us with whatever we need, bringing mail, etc.  Karen has been busy with several ´patients, mostly small cuts and mosquito bites on the feet, that have become infected.  In the tropics, with the heat and the humidity, the coral and so much walking on bare feet, small injuries, which we would ignore at home, can easily become a bigger issue. It has kept Karen busy as she checks and cleans, and administers what´s needed, at least 2 to 3 times a day on each of the 4 fellows.  I think things are looking better now, and the sores are beginning to dry out and scab nicely. The time is going quickly, we are surprised our 57 days together are almost over.  We still have lots of good plans though for the next 9 days and intend to make the best of them.  The sailing is beautiful right now, there is no moon or stars, because of the clouds, but you can hear and feel the boat soaring with the waves.  We saw flying fish again today as well as several seabirds.
This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.        



Observations:
cold and cloudy, wind arrives
October 2nd 2007 @ 21:30
17°44'17.88 S 179°51'18.00 E

Heading 270°
Speed 6.5

Ship's Log:
We are now officially in the eastern hemisphere, as of about 2000 hrs.  It´s been a good day; many smaller events forming a full whole.  The wind strength has varied, changing between stronger and weaker, giving us the opportunity to do some more sail handling.  Skipper is trying to arrive at the island of Ovalau by 0700 hrs tomorrow to clear in to Fiji; then we will continue 80nm further to Lautoka, on the island of Viti Levu, the main Fijian island.  The weather was beautiful today, like a perfect summer day in Victoria, cool in the morning and evening, and comfortably warm during the middle of the day.  We were glad to see blue sky again and feel the sun´s warmth. The sea is gentler, the boat rocks quite comfortably with just the occasional cocky wave surprising and wetting us.  Tavish, Jacob, Noah, and Simon had a papaya and lime party on the foredeck this morning, all of them squeezed between the port rail and the jibboom.  They got unripe papayas the day the four of them bought fishing lures and today it was ripe enough to eat.  The papayas were quite big and there were 2 of them; the boys were happy and full.  We caught two more Dorados this afternoon, quite big, about 25 and 30 lbs.  Tavish, Jacob and Noah filleted them and one of them is being marinated in teriyaki marinade in the freezer, while the other one is ready to turn into fish nuggets.  Someone said today that it is normal for Dorado to travel in twos.  Several of the crew and trainees were practicing strength exercises by hanging on the line below the main boom by the wheel, and bringing their body through their arms, and continuing through to the ground and back again.  Skipper taught a few of his tricks from his gymnastic days 25 years ago.  It was fun to watch and fun to participate.  Jen, Caelen, Paul, Jose, Noah, Elske and Skipper were some who challenged each other.  Today quite a few trainees finally had the chance to go bowsprit hanging.  Trainees don a harness and clip on to the foreward end of the bowsprit, lowering themselves into the water and then letting the boat drag them through the water.  It´s very fun.  We only allow it when we are under sail and when our speed is below 6 knots.  Some of those who tried it are Tom, Krista, Kelsey, Jen, Matt, Caelen, Tristan, Paul, and Graydon.  Claire went out on the bowsprit for the first time and was very proud of herself.  Tom, who repeatedly gets seasick, climbed up the mainmast without feeling queasy.  He brought the deck bucket along with him just in case he needed to throw up; he didn´t want to surprise those of us underneath him, what a gentleman.  As it turned out, he felt fine and was even able to go down below right after, for lunch, without any bad results.  Simon completed all of his Junior knots today in front of Jose.  He was also able to explain when the knots were to be used. Jose has decided he is ready for his very own logbook and thinks Simon may be the youngest member of any crew to learn all the knots.  Today Tom visited the resident barber; he´s getting ready for his trip to New Zealand.  Paul also stopped by for a bit of a trim.  It has been wonderful to have more time at sea; we´ve been able to spend time with our watches, chatting around tables at mealtimes.  This seems to be when we really get to know each other.  My general impression is that trainees leaving the boat would like to remain longer, but that, for many of them, there are some good things awaiting them.  Like I mentioned earlier, quite a few are continuing their travels, and this is exciting.  It will be quite different for them to be suddenly on their own, making more of their decisions, and having a much less disciplined schedule.  Karen had her watch each write something positive they´ve learned about each of their fellow watch mates on a card, which they kept.  She also had each of them write themselves a letter about the trip, which she would mail to them, from a foreign port, later in the voyage.  Sometimes the changes one has undergone aren´t apparent until one is home and in a completely different context from the boat; life on the ship becomes the norm very quickly.  The night is very dark; the moon is still not showing, though there are a few clear patches where the stars are visible.  We haven´t had many good, clear nights lately to stargaze; hopefully we will still get a few.  This is it until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.        


Observations:
sunny and cloudy periods, nice
temperature
October 2nd 2007 @ 21:30
17°44'17.88 S 179°51'18.00 E

Heading 270°
Speed 6.5

Ship's Log:
We are now officially in the eastern hemisphere, as of about 2000 hrs.  It´s been a good day; many smaller events forming a full whole.  The wind strength has varied, changing between stronger and weaker, giving us the opportunity to do some more sail handling.  Skipper is trying to arrive at the island of Ovalau by 0700 hrs tomorrow to clear in to Fiji; then we will continue 80nm further to Lautoka, on the island of Viti Levu, the main Fijian island. The weather was beautiful today, like a perfect summer day in Victoria, cool in the morning and evening, and comfortably warm during the middle of the day.  We were glad to see blue sky again and feel the sun´s warmth. The sea is gentler, the boat rocks quite comfortably with just the occasional cocky wave surprising and wetting us.  Tavish, Jacob, Noah,and Simon had a papaya and lime party on the foredeck this morning, all of them squeezed between the port rail and the jibboom.  They got unripe papayas the day the four of them bought fishing lures and today it was ripe enough to eat.  The papayas were quite big and there were 2 of them; the boys were happy and full.  We caught two more dorados this afternoon, quite big, about 25 and 30 lbs.  Tavish, Jacob and Noah filleted them and one of them is being marinated in teriyaki marinade in the freezer, while the other one is ready to turn into fish nuggets.  Someone said today that it is normal for dorado to travel in twos.  Several of the crew and trainees were practicing strength exercises by hanging on the line below the main boom by the wheel, and bringing their body through their arms, and continuing through to the ground and back again.  Skipper taught a few of his tricks from his gymnastic days 25 years ago.  It was fun to watch and fun to participate.  Jen, Caelen, Paul, Jose, Noah, Elske and Skipper were some who challenged each other.  Today quite a few trainees finally had the chance to go bowsprit hanging.  Trainees don a harness and clip on to the foreward end of the bowsprit, lowering themselves into the water and then letting the boat drag them through the water.  It´s very fun.  We only allow it when we are under sail and when our speed is below 6 knots.  Some of those who tried it are Tom, Krista, Kelsey, Jen, Matt, Caelen, Tristan, Paul, and Graydon.  Claire went out on the bowsprit for the first time and was very proud of herself.  Tom, who repeatedly gets seasick, climbed up the mainmast without feeling queasy.  He brought the deck bucket along with him just in case he needed to throw up; he didn´t want to surprise those of us underneath him, what a gentleman.  As it turned out, he felt fine and was even able to go down below right after, for lunch, without any bad results.  Simon completed all of his Junior knots today in front of Jose.  He was also able to explain when the knots were to be used. Jose has decided he is ready for his very own logbook and thinks Simon may be the youngest member of any crew to learn all the knots.  Today Tom visited the resident barber; he´s getting ready for his trip to New Zealand.  Paul also stopped by for a bit of a trim.  It has been wonderful to have more time at sea; we´ve been able to spend time with our watches, chatting around tables at mealtimes.  This seems to be when we really get to know each other.  My general impression is that trainees leaving the boat would like to remain longer, but that, for many of them, there are some good things awaiting them.  Like I mentioned earlier, quite a few are continuing their travels, and this is exciting.  It will be quite different for them to be suddenly on their own, making more of their decisions, and having a much less disciplined schedule.  Karen had her watch each write something positive they´ve learned about each of their fellow watchmates on a card, which they kept.  She also had each of them write themselves a letter about the trip, which she would mail to them, from a foreign port, later in the voyage.  Sometimes the changes one has undergone aren´t apparent until one is home and in a completely different context from the boat; life on the ship becomes the norm very quickly.  The night is very dark, the moon is still not showing, though there are a few clear patches where the stars are visible.  We haven´t had many good, clear nights lately to stargaze; hopefully we will still get a few.  This is it until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.        


Observations:
sunny and cloudy periods, nice
temperature
October 3rd 2007 @ 20:30
17°29'35.88 S 178°48'54.00 E

Heading 263°
Speed 7.4

Ship's Log:
We spent a wonderful day visiting our first Fijian port, Levuka, on the island of Ovalau. Skipper had intended to come here merely to clear in but decided instead to let everyone go ashore to experience a small town and another island, and we would travel the remaining 80nm during a night run and into the morning. The last bit of our passage takes us through many reefs and small islands, so we will do that once it´s light.  We arrived early and dealt with a slew of officials, one of our shipping agents even flying from Suva to meet us.  They were all wonderful people and enjoyed being on the boat.  We served them tea, coffee and juice, and in the afternoon, they even got to try some of the fish the ´guys´ were making for supper. Skipper chatted several hours with them, asking them about their interests, their families, their country, etc. . .  they loved it, they loved the attention I think, they didn´t want to go.  When we left the dock, they were there with big arms waving, calling out the names of the kids they remembered, saying they´ll see us again; and we were only there about 6 hours!  The shipping agent brought mail; this is a big event.  We have been thinking about mail for awhile.  I always hope everyone gets something.  Thank you to everyone who wrote and sent something.  We loved it, it´s wonderful the way people are being supported and are supporting, it´s something we can learn from.  If you phone the SALTS office you can find out the addresses of where mail can be sent.  It was like Christmas, once the mail has been passed out, everyone finds a quiet corner and disappears into the lives of their loved ones.  Every now and then, exclamations are aired as something just needs to be shared out loud. Thank you again. Today we changed our clocks again, an hour extra to our day.   We spent the majority of the day wandering through the town.  It is very different from French Polynesia.  The buildings and houses are somewhat run down, but painted all kinds of bright colours.  Someone said it looks like a railroad town, everything lined up along one main street.  The stores sold interesting mixes of items, things that at home we would not find in the same store.  They were more like general stores with a bit of everything.  People were very friendly, men, women and children would lean out their schools, homes and cars to wave and say ´Bola,´ which is Fijian for ´hello.´  Katie, the boys and I walked along the one road, along the beach, to a hundred year old Anglican Church.  It looked somewhat run-down from the outside but inside it was warm and welcoming.  There were beautiful stain-glass windows and wooden pews and it was tastefully decorated.  We stopped by a Fire Station so Katie could introduce herself and her dad and brother, and a very friendly man introduced himself, gave Katie a T-shirt and chatted with us and the kids for a bit, asking about the ship, the program etc.  He told us about himself and then asked if we liked mangoes.  He and his mates got a ladder and picked a bag of delicious mangoes for us.  The kids were thrilled.  We were already carrying an eating coconut and palm fronds with us.  Behind us on the dock is a Taiwanese fishing boat.  A large group of the fishermen came to where we were tied up, and were all sitting on their haunches, lined up on the dock, looking at the Grace.  Jordan, Skipper and Jose started trying to talk to them, their English was limited, and eventually invited them for a tour.  They were from different countries and some of them were very young.  Jose and Jordan were given a tour of their boat. Jose was surprised at how little they were being payed for contracts that went anywhere from 4 - 12 months.  He had the sense that working on the fish boat wasn´t easy or altogether healthy, although things seemed well-organized.  They too were on the dock waving good-bye when we left.  The island itself is very beautiful.  It reminded me of Moorea, Bora Bora, or the Marquesas; it is very mountainous and the vegetation is very lush and varied.  There were many flowers, both on bushes and trees, and a variety of fruit trees.  Tav, Chase and Scott prepared the 2 dorados for supper tonight; delicious, once again.  I think this is it, we are planning on arriving at Lautoka tomorrow morning at 1000hrs. Until then, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
cloudy day, cooler temperatures,
rain showers off and on
October 4th 2007 @ 22:00
17°36'11.88 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
We are tied up to a brand new dock and beside us towers a new crane about 4 masts high.  We have a security guard watching over the boat 24 hours a day, plus we are inside a fenced and watched compound.  To the east of us is the sugarcane refinery.  We can smell the burning of the cane; it´s a nice smell, kind of molasses-like.  The wind blows cane ash and dust everywhere, producing a fine layer of dirt on everything; the shipping agent warned us about it. There is a shower for us to use, it pours a dribble of cold water in a somewhat sketchy cubicle within the compound.  The guys need to bring a wrench along in order to get the water going.  It still feels good though, we´re thankful.   We had a wonderful final passage.  Soon after leaving Levuka we were in the lee of Viti Levu, where there were innumerable islands, coral reefs and shallow water.  The motion became negligible and Tom was thrilled at how well he was doing.  Today him, Tristan and Bec found a small fair and went on some rides.  Tom went on the ´Spider,´ and came off feeling not so well, muttering, "I needed my Stugie (Stugeron is our seasickness
medicine)."   Coming in we could see the Yasawa Group of Islands in the distance, as well as the island where "The Castaway" was filmed.  The entire starboard watch (minus a few) was up at 0400hrs to watch the sun rise and have a final stash bash and deck dance to ipods.  They had fun and were ready for bed after breakfast dishes. It was wonderful to wake up and see blue skies and feel the warmth of the sun.  The lee side of the island is the drier side; we´ve had cloudy and rainy days for about a week now, not long, just seems long; it felt good to feel we were back in the tropics, even if it meant sweating in our navy blue uniforms again.   The land looked much drier and it was hilly.  Jaimie said it reminded her of the interior of British Columbia, close to Kamloops.  Here in Lautoka, it looks quite green.  Skipper had several matters to reconcile with the port officials and the shipping agent once we tied up, and then everyone was free to visit the town. Lautoka has a population of about 43,000. There are shops, internet, laundry, library, cinema, etc. The fair I spoke of earlier had a ferris wheel that cost $2 fijian dollars (about $1Canadian) and Sam, Tristan and Bec rode it for half an hour.  What ran it was a rear car axle with a car transmission built into it.  A generator was driving the axle and a belt connected the two.  Tristan noticed a large puddle of oil around the generator and a fellow filling the generator with coolant.  When they wanted to try another ride, the man in charge had to grab a battery from one ride and move it to the next.  They said it was fun though and several others have returned there tonight for ´Fijian Night.´  This entire week
Fijians are celebrating their Independence from Great Britain in 1870.  It is the biggest celebration of the year and all kinds of events are planned.  October 8 everything closes down, so Fijians can have a holiday long weekend.   I hear the town is very interesting with a very varied population, who are very friendly.  Elske and Tav found a huge market and bought a wheelbarrow-size load of papayas, mangoes, pineapples, and bananas, all for $4.  It was delicious, fresh picked and ripened on the tree.  They said there was such a selection to choose from and the fruit made everything very colourful and photo friendly.  There were also vendors selling a large array of spices and herbs.  There is an equal mix of IndoFijians and indigenous Fijians, and on the whole, I think they co-exist quite comfortably, although they do have their differences. The Polynesians came to the various island groups from the movement of people from west to east, from the West Indies and Malay Peninsula; this is more noticeable here in the look of the people and the types of stores and items we see in the villages and towns. There are shops with beautiful sari material, as well as food stores that sell East Indian food.  There is quite a difference between here and everything we have seen up to this point.  It should be an interesting visit.  We are eagerly anticipating the many family members and friends who are coming to visit us here.  As well, Loren Haggerty and Sarah Brizan will be joining us; something we are really looking forward to. Trainees have returned to the Grace, excited at how cheap everything is.  After French Polynesia, this is very nice.  Trainees seem excited about being here and the variety of things there are to see and do.  We have a very full week ahead of us, Skipper has already been incredibly busy finding information on various issues and sourcing out options.  Jordan and the cooks will need to do a big shop and we have several visas for China and everyone´s visas for Papua New Guinea to obtain.  Antony, Jose and Karen all started researching different supplies needed in the next few days, i.e. work days, final dinner, medical supplies.  Skipper Tony would like to wish his brother Jeff a wonderful day, October 4.  Happy Birthday Jeff, from Tony and family.   I think this is it.  More tomorrow. Good night, Bonice.        



Observations:
sunny, warm day, blue skies, light
winds
October 5th 2007 @ 21:30
17°36'11.88 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
I am sitting in the aft cabin with Arwen beside me reading Farley Mowat´s "The Dog Who Wouldn´t Be," and Sam across from me putting finishing touches to our Leg end slide show which gets shown on the night of the final dinner.  Jose and him were working all last evening and into the night going through about 10,000 photos from cameras from at least 10 crew and trainees.  There are so many amazing photos of this voyage; one sometimes feel overwhelmed when you see them, the feeling that you want a copy of nearly all of them; each one is so full of a memory we can all relate to.  Sam and Jose worked all day today as well, staying on the Grace putting the show together out of the photos they chose. They also have about 10 bits of video clips and are setting the entire show to music.  It will be wonderful; something we´ll want to be shown over and over.  Today was a very hot day, but a good day.  People were spread out in many directions.  At 0600 hrs Karen, Antony, Jordan and Susan left with a driver to Suva.  Antony and Jordan are shopping for the boat and Karen and Susan are getting Chinese visas for several of the trainees who don´t have them yet.  Carolyn C. and Katie visited Nadi and Krista, Carolyn S., Robyn, Jaimie and Leslie rented a car and visited Suva.  A group of fellows, Caelen, Graydon, Paul, Scott, and Chase took a few days in a hostel in
Nadi visiting and relaxing.  It´s a quiet boat.  Skipper and his boys are asleep on deck.  I was able today to take a walk into town with the boys and look at everything.  We loved it; there was so much to notice.  The town is not large and I was pleasantly surprised at how many green spaces there were.  We picnicked in a large park with big shade trees, picnic tables and benches.  There is a wonderful grocery store here for the cooks, Gillian and Katie.  Claire helped Gillian begin some of the shopping for the next leg.  We were able to find rye pumpernickel bread, extra old cheddar, real juice and some chocolate for a wonderful lunch.  There are about 3 long blocks of shops, 3 streets deep, and they were very busy today.  I was surprised at how many shoe, watch and clothing shops we walked by.  We were able to find some cheap shirts for Simon, he wears the same favorite day after day, for $3 Fijian (about $2 CA) a piece.  I need to steal his shirt off him overnight, wash it, and leave it hanging on his curtain rod for the morning (mom, it´s his Indonesian shirt).  It is wonderfully inexpensive here; we noticed it with the food as well.  We went to the open air market which was incredible!  We´ve seen a few large markets, this is probably one of the largest and it takes place daily in a huge, very high-ceilinged, covered, but open-sided building.  There were tables and tables of the most beautiful fruit . . . and it all cost so little.  We bought 3 ripe, delicious pineapples for $2Fijian (exchange rate is $l.6Fijian to $1CA).  You could get 3 papayas and at least 6 or 7 mangoes for the same amount.  And the taste is so good, they are 100% tree ripened.  Once at home I´m pretty sure that tropical fruit we buy at Thrifty´s will pale in comparison, taste watery and not sweet enough.  We are truly enjoying the fruit. Gillian was also able to find brocolli and fresh mushrooms, something we haven´t had for months (except for canned).   It was a small group at supper and she made a delicious stir fry.  At the market there were also many tables selling all kinds of Indian spices.  Big bags of incredibly beautifully coloured curry, turmeric, masala, and I don´t know what else; bright yellows, oranges, reds, greens, and varied shades of browns, light to deep chocolate coloured, a real treat for the eyes.  There were also lentils of every colour, in large plastic bags, spreading their bright hues to us, the viewers.  We so enjoyed the colours and the smells of that section of the market that we asked permission to photograph. The people in Lautoka are beautiful and very varied in their appearance. After a few days observing I am starting to be able to distinguish between the Indo-Fijians and the native Fijians. The native Fijians look more African than the Polynesian we´ve grown used to the past few months.  Both groups of women are beautiful, simply but stylishly dressed in floral mixed with plain prints, usually a shirt and skirt, minimal make-up if any, often a flower behind the ear and a simple but elegant necklace of shell, bone or pearl.  Some of the men wear the lava lava.  There is a special one made for the men which looks like a wrap-around and is often in a dark blue, brown or black colour. They wear it with short-sleeved cotton, button-up shirt, also often printed, and leather sandals; it looks pretty smart. The people are friendly and quickly ready with a ´bula,´ the fijian word for ´hello.´ I am trying to learn four words from every island group, though I forget them pretty quickly, once we leave.  It feels good to be able to at least greet them in their language, and they seem to enjoy it, they smile, we probably sound ´cute´ and ´childlike.´  Workdays this leg are October 7th and 8th. Our final dinner will be on the 8th and then crew will be taking turns having their 2 nights away from the boat before Leg 4 begins.  The feeling on the boat is good.  People are enjoying the freedom to visit the island, still having a ´home´ to return to.  I enjoy the evenings where those on the boat chat about what they did or bought or saw that day; we live off each others experiences that way and make plans for the next day because of them.  We will miss the trainees from Leg 3, it´s been a very full and fun leg.  Only 7 trainees are remaining with us for Leg 4.  This is it for tonight, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.    



Observations:
hot and sunny today with a light breeze
October 6th 2007 @ 22:00
17°36'11.88 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
Today was a very hot day with no wind to even evaporate the moisture on our bodies, feigning coolness. It was one of those days where everyone can feel the sweat running between the shoulder blades, our faces shine, our hairlines are damp and droplets sit above our lip . . . hot. I took the boys twice to the shower to douse them with their clothes on; no need for towels here, we drip-dry pretty quickly. Today was a day about town for most of the trainees. I´m not even sure what they were all up to. Most of them are away from the ship for the greater part of the day; things are inexpensive here and I think they find a cool place to sit, write, have their meals, do their emails etc. There are some very interesting markets and festivals to visit because of the Independence Day celebrations. There is also a big Sugar Festival taking place. At this festival there is a covered area set up as a market with at least 75 tables full of East Indian stuff layed out for sale.
We saw fabrics, linens, blankets, saris, clothing, the most ornate and carved furniture I have ever seen, handbags, cosmetics, kitchen gear, pillow slips . . . so much, and so much of it was bright colours and sequins or something sparkly enmeshed in it somehow. We enjoyed walking through the stalls, looking and asking questions; we learned some words for ´thank you´ and ´hello´ in Hindi. There are always opportunities for connecting with the people and their culture; people are very friendly here. The market was hot, extremely interesting, and crowded. I kept the children close. Nearly all of us have taken some time to go there and most of us have returned to the boat with either blankets, shawls, handbags or shirts. Gillian taxied into Nadi and spent some time in the largest Hindu temple in the South Pacific. She said it was spectacular. It was ornately carved and vividly painted by craftsmen brought in from India. She also had her hair cut by a Indo-Fijian stylist in Nadi. Karen, Jose, Skipper and myself spent some wonderful hours preparing the entertainment for the dinner. We have created a Trivia game that brings together memories of Leg 3; questions about events, people, places, cultural info., etc. It was very fun and we laughed a lot. I think the evening is going to be wonderful. Karen, Jordan and Antony spent an ´epic´ but successful day in Suva yesterday, they returned to the boat at 2300hrs. Jordan and Antony managed to find everything but 2 items on a
2-page list of things needed for the ship. At the Chinese and New Papau Guinea embassies, Karen refused anything but what she was sent there to get; she is amazing. We now have Chinese visas for all those on board and the process for obtaining visas for Papua New Guinea has been started. Our shipping agent was telling Skipper that it would take at least 10 days to get visas; like I said, Karen is amazing. The gatekeepers at the front gate have invited the entire boat to watch the Rugby match between South Africa and Fiji Monday morning at 0100hrs. It should be fun; the town is abuzz with excitement about the game. They are incredibly proud of their win against Wales. This is it, it´s late and it´s very warm down here. Tristan´s parents have arrived today, we haven´t met them yet, but they are the beginning of a good-sized group of friends and parents coming to the Grace to see crew and trainees, or joining us for the Leg and beyond. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
very hot day, no wind
October 8th 2007 @ 23:55
17°36'11.88 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
We have just returned from our final leg end dinner; it was a good
evening.  My boys are asleep, it didn´t take long. We had a full evening with a wonderful meal, slide show with video and photos,music and readings from the log, a trivia question game that covered leg 3 details, and awards. It is late so I will give more information tomorrow.  The boat looks fantastic, everything that Jose, Antony, Jordan, the cooks, and Skipper wanted done, was completed.  Tomorrow should be quieter, one last day to spend together, packing up, beginning to say our good-byes.  Jose and Karen start their 2 days, 2 nights off tomorrow morning.  We wish them a restful break. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
hot and sunny
October 9th 2007 @ 21:00
17°36'11.88 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
Happy Thanksgiving Day! Gillian made a wonderful Thanksgiving Day meal of roast chicken, pumpkin as vegetable dish, mashed garlic potatoes, and pumpkin pie for dessert.  She picked up the pumpkin in Rarotonga where pumpkins were in abundance.  Thank you Gillian.  I am back on the boat with the family and enjoying the company of the crew and trainees once again, though I had a very fun time with the kids at the pool; we feel good and clean once again.  We had our first warm shower since Victoria.  The boat has been quiet today.  Forewatch had breakfast together at the Latoka Hotel, while Starboard watch has just left to the Waterfront Resort to enjoy a drink and some dessert.  Karen and Jose are enjoying some time off.  Most of the trainees spent the day looking over all their stuff and contemplating getting it all back into their bag. There is still quite a bit of packing to do. The day was spent finishing off last minute shopping, buying plane tickets, internet, visiting the market, enjoying a meal with a few friends one won´t see for awhile, or just being on the boat for one more day, reading or writing. At about 1600hrs we moved the boat closer in to the gate.  It is easier to get off the boat and we now have a hose on the dock we can rinse ourselves under; this is luxury.  There does seem to be more big truck traffic moving containers to the waiting ships, and they churn up the dust something scary.  At the moment they are still at work and it is rather noisy.  This affects those sleeping on deck which is most of us. Skipper was able to rinse the entire deck, all seat lockers, houses, rails, hatches, etc. with the hose; everything has gradually been collecting quite a layer of black soot from the cane factory and road dust from the trucks.  The night is quite nice, the air has finally cooled somewhat and a light breeze has picked up, blowing away the majority of the flies and mosquitos.  The stars would be visible if there weren´t so many big working lights shining.  Tomorrow is a sad, transition-type of day.  We will be saying good-bye in the morning to about 13 trainees; this is always a difficult time.  We grow into a group and then suddenly we are no longer together.  For two months our lives have been so intensely linked; it´s a strange feeling to have to separate so abruptly.  For those of you waiting at home for your trainees, I wish you a wonderful re-uniting; it´s a beautiful part of the trip, the returning home, and the seeing each other again.  Quite a few of the trainees are continuing their travels and parents and friends will hear of a different type of life from here on.  That too will be interesting; life moves on. Last night we had our final dinner.  The table looked beautiful, as did all the trainees and crew.  All of the guys wore sarongs or lava lavas; they looked really smart, perhaps we should start the trend back home.  The meal was excellent and was set up as a
Smorgasbord.  We began with pumpkin soup followed by a selection of 3 entrees, curried beef, traditionally baked chicken in coconut, and a delicious fish dish.  There were 4 salads to try and for dessert we had tea and coffee with a variety of tropical fruit and coconut slices. Throughout the meal Trivia questions were asked by crew members and the trainee who responded correctly received a prize of a Cadbury mini chocolate bar
(do they have Halloween here?), Chupa-style sucker (but stickier) and some Werther-like candies.  The questions walked us through the entire leg, providing memories of places, incidents, experiences, people, funny exploits and bits of information gleaned through all the life stories and interrogation sessions held within each watch.  It was a lot of fun and elicited much laughter. After the meal Jose and Sam showed an absolutely fantastic 45 minute slide show of Leg 3.  We sat absolutely quiet as again we relived so many good moments.  Nothing needed saying, we were all there. The photos and video clips were more than just an image, it evoked an entire mood, group of friends, type of weather, mix of feelings and experiences, cultural exchange . . . we wanted to watch it again and again, make it all last just a little bit longer.  I think Leslie made some copies of the show so you may have a chance to see it. The evening ended about 2230 hrs and my boys were done.  Noah had swam so much on the bottom of the pool that the bottom of each toe had a blister and these were causing him grief.  Groups mingled and some went out for a drink together, trying to make the most of the last few evenings.  Tomorrow and the following 2 nights, the computer will be unavailable to me.  We will try to find an alternative but there may be minimal logs for the next 3 nights.  Amongst those 3 days, Skipper has his 2 days off, and so I think I too will take some time off from typing the log in the evenings.  The 2 days between legs are pretty quiet; everyone is off doing their own thing, providing their own meals, so the log tends to become more of a personal journal, as we are more out of touch with each other, the crew members are resting, finding some quiet. Until I write to you again, enjoy the return of the trainees, the ones that we´ve loved and enjoyed living with these past 55 or so days.  We will miss them.  Good night, Bonice.



Observations:
hot and sunny with occasional cloud cover, no wind

salts
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