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Main Menu -> SALTS -> Pacific Odyessy - 2007 Offshore -> Pacific Odyssey - Leg 4

Pacific Odyssey - Leg 4

Log of Pacific Grace

October 13th 2007 @ 23:00
17°36'18.00 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
it´s been 4 days since we´ve been able to get the log through.  we are in the midst of changing servers and it is still not working properly.  i am sending via imersat c, a more expensive system, and thus have been asked to keep it very short. the crew and remaining trainees have spent the break away from the boat, enjoying some time to rest.  i will describe our time in detail as soon as i can: it was fantastic.  new trainees boarded today: it is always exciting to start anew: to begin the process of creating community once again.   we love what we see already: good conversation, games being played, and trainees generally starting to make the grace their home.  i look forward to sharing the details of our lives aboard the pacific grace very soon.  until then,  good night, bonice.


Observations:
clear blue skies, hot, light winds
October 14th 2007 @ 22:00
17°36'18.00 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
It looks like things are connected again and I can continue in my correspondence with you. We have had a good first day.   The weather is very hot, but there is a slight breeze that, if one stays under the tarps, makes it tolerable.  For new trainees it is an adjustment from fall weather in Canada.  At night most people find a spot on the deck to spread out a sleeping bag and the temperature is quite perfect.  The sky is beautifully clear and we look forward to being out at sea where we will be able to pick out the constellations again. After a delicious breakfast of tropical fruit salad and cinnamon buns, made by Gillian, trainees had a few hours to go into town and do some last minute errands.  At 1300hrs everyone was back for introductions from Jose, Antony, Jordan, Karen, and Gillian and Katie, the cooks. Each crew member is in charge of sharing information pertinent to a certain area i.e. medical, safety, program, galley procedure, ship upkeep etc.  It was a busy afternoon.  After supper and dishes we held our first Sunday service.  We played a game where each of us has the opportunity to disclose something about themselves; the beginning of getting to know each other.  We have a wonderful group; already people are chatting, playing cards and scrabble, enjoying a game of Haki-sack on the dock, helping Jordan the bosun with some antenna work up the mast . . . it feels good.  Trainees are slowly unpacking some of their belongings, putting up pictures, hanging hammocks etc., creating a space for themselves. For our days on the break I have a story.   About a month ago a strong supporter and friend of SALTS, approached the office with a very generous donation for the offshore voyage. It involved a visit to a water sport lodge where trainees could experience amongst other activities, kite surfing. At the same time, just before Rarotonga, we discovered a few bedbugs had come aboard, probably via a hostel. Along with the office, the decision was made to see if we could fumigate the ship in Fiji, before the situation got out of hand.  In Rarotonga we brought in professionals to spray the ship. We brought nearly everything on deck and cleaned and/or checked it all, all clothes were professionally laundered, all bunk mattresses and covers came apart and were sprayed and cleaned, all personal belongings were brought up, etc. Everything was piled high on deck while below decks the experts sprayed.  It was a lot of work but it proved successful and we had only one case of a few bites in an entire month.  The office did an amazing job coordinating a team to deal with the boat in Fiji, meeting us the day we sailed in for a preliminary check.  The fumigation was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, after our workdays, final dinner and departure day. All crew and remaining trainees were required to leave the boat. Our donor friend with support from SALTS made it possible to send all of us to a lodge on Nananui Island while the boat was being fumigated.  The timing was perfect and to us, this story shows Gods hand in our lives.
We all enjoyed ourselves at the Safari Lodge.  We spent some very fun days living together communally with other visitors at a lodge that was set up to experience various water sports. We slept in dorms, lined up for food, ate around a great big outdoor table, wore mosquito repellant morning and evenings, and enjoyed the hospitality of owners Warren and Stephanie and their wonderful staff Sari, Martha, Sotas and Damien.We learned how to kite surf and wind surf, we kayaked and canoed, swam, snorkeled, and water-skied.  In the evenings we walked across the island to watch the sun set. I spent 3 hours with the boys, walking a beach and hiking home over the ridge of the island, our knapsack and hands full of papaya and coconut we found in the woods; very beautiful, delicious, and hot.   We woke up 0500 Saturday morning to take the 20 min. boat ride and 2 hr. ride back to the Pacific Grace. A few hours later the new trainees began arriving and we were ready for them. We want to thank our anonymous donor for an incredible visit to Nananui Island; THANK YOU from all of us. Jordan and Carolyn Campbell´s parents, Allan and Delma, as well as Gillian Hoyer´s dad, Mike, joined us at the island.  It was a great experience for them to live alongside their kids, living as we live on offshore.  We so enjoyed the chance to be and talk with them.  Thank you for coming. Tristan´s parents were in Latoka for a few days visiting him and we were able to meet them as well.  It is always nice to meet the family.  I think this is it; a longer log to make up for the missed days.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
sunny and hot, one rain squall mid-day, then returning to sunshine
October 16th 2007 @ 23:45
17°18'42.12 S 177°8'42.00 E

Ship's Log:
It´s been an incredible day; we spent the entire day until now, 2345hrs, on the island and with the locals. Skipper and Jose went initially to visit the chief and performed ´sevu sevu,´ a ceremonial meeting with the village chief and an official request for permission to visit his village. Skipper and Jose presented the chief, also known as the ´old man,´ with a big bundle of kava from the market in Latoka.  I sent an email yesterday but the new system is not recording our sent messages.  If a log for October 15 was not received, please let the office know and we will look for it. In it I described our first passage and arrival at the southern islands of the Yasawa Group. The chief heartily welcomed the Pacific Grace and basically said ´what is ours is now yours.´  He said we could help ourselves to goats, pigs, papayas, mangos, coconuts, etc.  They offered to teach us basket weaving if we stayed long enough. After dishes we packed a lunch, fresh bread and fixings by Gillian, and doried to the shore.  3 locals, lead by a fellow named Si (pronounced ´sigh´), walked our group through the village pointing out various people, the church, and the fruit gardens.  People came out of their houses and waved, ´Bula, Bula´s´ were exchanged, children ran up to hold hands, look at us, and shyly say hello.  Some just stood in their doorways and waved.  Our guides then took all of us on an amazing hike and climb to the highest peak on the island.  We hiked for 1 ½ hours and found ourselves overlooking the entire island and the string of islands that run northeast in the Yasawa Group. The hike was perfect, not too difficult but difficult enough; an excellent workout with a few tricky rock climbing sections.  The initial part of the hike was through forest and we saw many types of fruit trees:  breadfruit, mango, papaya, coconut, as well as many, many kasava plants, in raised beds, on ground eaked out here and there. The trail was narrow and wet and crossed 2 rivers.  On the way down everyone swam in the pools and showered under the waterfalls, a perfect ending to a beautiful and rather muddy hike.  It was very warm, so the cooler water was invigorating.  Jordan, Chase, Scott and Tavish made supper tonight; spaghetti with meatballs and garlic fresh beans; very delicious, especially after a day of hiking.  Skipper returned to the ship by 1600hrs to make 6 huge trays of the most amazing foccacia bread, which we ate with the spaghetti.  When the dories returned from the hike, about 15 locals came with us to visit the boat and spend some time with us.  We heard that this village does not often have visitors and that we were the first ´foreigners´ to reach the peak of the mountain.  After supper we loaded everyone into the dories and returned to the beach to watch some dances performed by the locals.  They seated us on woven mats under a roof in front of a grass yard.  Here, 3 men, about 18-20 yrs. old, did 3 dances for us, ending it with an amazing fire dance where they moved the fire over different parts of their bodies.  When the flame would go out on the torch, one of the little local boys would run by and give the dancer a newly lit one.  It was quite something, and we laughed and laughed; the dancers were quite funny and knew it, their movements fluid and suggestive, creating more laughter from both the locals and us. After their dances, they brought all of us on the ´dance floor´ and taught us 2 dances, the ´Bula´ and the ´Coco.´  I think they had us wrapped around their fingers, making us look ridiculous and creating mirth for the older women watching.  It was all very fun to be a part of. We were then invited back on the mats to join in a kava ceremony.  A large kava bowl was brought into the middle of the seating area, we sat on the floor, and two of the elders prepared the kava, explaining as they went. They invited Skipper to receive the first drink, teaching all of us the correct words and claps to go with it (clap, then say ´bula´ before you drink, clap 3 times, then say ´vinaka´ when you are done). After the 2 official ´leaders´ had exchanged drinks, the coconut shell was passed around to anyone who wanted to try it. It was a smooth tasting drink with a somewhat medicinal taste, not delicious, but not foul either. Most of us didn´t ask for seconds.  For men, a ´high tide´ was offered, a full half-coconut, while for women, a ´low tide´ was given, a half-coconut half full.  Jose and Antony brought the Marquesian drum, 2 guitars, a mandolin and Elske´s violin along and we sang some songs with and for them. They really enjoyed the singing.  Tavish and Jose did a drum solo which the men especially loved.  Skipper was asked to play something on his mandolin and so he and Elske played 3 variations on the theme song of the ´Godfather.´  The women were spellbound by the violin and afterwards came up to Elske, wanting to touch it and have a closer look.  Partway through the evening the rain started, at times it just poured.  We were under aluminum siding and it sounded loud and steady.  We basically sang songs with them until the rain stopped and we could say our good-byes and dory back to the ship.  Everyone is pretty tired; after the 3 dories were raised back onto the deck, trainees and crew headed off to bed pretty quick.  Jordan was given permission to film the evening and he has some great footage of the time we spent dancing, singing and drinking kava with the locals.  There are some wonderful shots of Loren taking full part of everything, the kava, the dancing, and the laughter at the fire dancers.  It is now time for bed, Skipper and I are the only ones awake.  Scott would like to wish his dad, Chris, a wonderful day, October 16.  Happy Birthday dad, from Scott.
Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.    



Observations:
day started out sunny and hot, cloudy but warm late in the afternoon and evening, rain at night, still warm
October 17th 2007 @ 21:00
17°36'18.00 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
We are back in Lautoka, tied to the commercial dock. Most of the crew and trainees have gone into town for a final evening ´out´ together before we start our 500nm passage to Vanuatu. We arrived just after 1800hrs from the southern Yasawa islands of Waya and Wayasewa. This morning everyone had a chance to snorkel. Antony zodiaced groups of trainees and crew to the northeast point, dropping them off for their first snorkel of the trip. The visibility was not great but they saw interesting coral formations and some smaller colourful fish. Skipper returned to the village of Natawa to make a payment for last nights fire dance and to give a gift of a SALTS mug to the chief and some hats to the elders.  They brought him to their mat to sit down, to chat with them, to ´shoot the breeze´ one last time.  We asked if we could have several breadfruit; Deb sent an interesting magazine on Jamaican Cooking with information and recipes on the Breadfruit, and they gladly gave some to us. The islanders shared with Skipper how overwhelmed and happy they were with what happened last night. They have never had a group come in from a boat to visit with them and be interested in their lives. The Pacific Grace is the first big boat to anchor in their bay. Most visitors travel to the other side of the island where the resorts are; there´s no ´tourist´ reason to visit their village and the road doesn´t travel here.  They asked Skipper when we would be returning and hoped that we could one day. They were teary-eyed and lined up waving when we departed.  We blew the conch as we left as a farewell. On our return to Lautoka we caught 2 waloo, or Spanish mackerel. Chase marinated all of it briefly in teriyaki sauce and then baked it; it was incredible, some of the tastiest fish I have had, and we have had a lot of very good fish.  It all disappeared very quickly. It was a busy afternoon on the ship; trainees on this leg are keen to learn about the boat and interested in beginning a variety of projects. We have book readings happening already, Sinbad´s Voyages and short stories by Salinger. We are hoping to start some sort of literary group where we can listen to and possibly discuss various pieces of literature, poems, short stories etc.  Rachel, Julie and Caley are eager to knit and we pulled out wool and pattern books; others showed interest and would like to learn. Tristan had his hair cut today by our resident barber and Naomi performed her first haircut on Caley. Today we found out who delivered and gave the crew a wonderful ´care package.´  I knew it was delivered by Heidi and John, Tristan´s parents, but I had not been told from whom it was.  I was making tea for everyone from the SILK ROAD TEA CO. we had been given, while Tristan was in the galley with me. We started chatting and it came out that we had a gift from an anomymous giver. He knew from what was in it that his mom and dad had given it. The items were wonderfully chosen. Thank you; I´m thrilled to be able to thank you for all the good things, the little luxuries you included for each of us.  I want to thank everyone who sent packages and mail, and who brought along packages from home in their luggage to give to different people already on the ship. We so appreciate the time and effort it took to pull this all together.  I want to thank Deb and the office staff for the amazing magazines they sent to the ship, they are already being well-read. There were so many wonderful acts of kindness that we were the recipients of, thank you to all of you. The sky is clearer tonight than it has been the past few nights; we´re hoping to be able to sleep on deck without the mad middle-of-the-night scramble below decks when the rain decides it´s going to drench everything. We have heard that the log for October 15 did not make it to the website.  After much searching, Skipper and I cannot find it; who knows where it ended up.  I will try to recount what happened.  It was our first day of sailing and the day was a hot one. We left after lunch after a frustrating morning of jobs that took longer or were more complicated than we had anticipated.  We made our way through many beautiful islands and there were quite a few reefs and sections of very shallow water to navigate through. The sea was calm, a good first day for the new trainees, no seasickness. We raised the two courses and sailed quietly and comfortably to an anchorage at the eastern entrance of the two southern islands of the Yasawa Group. There we saw a tiny village which we hoped was open to having us visit the following day. On the passage we caught our first fish, a 30lb barracuda.  Chase and Scott made their renowned fish nuggets with it; delicious, a nice ´first´ for the new trainees. The rain started that night and everyone slept below.  The temperature gets very warm, especially in the hold and some of the cabins and bunks in the aft cabin.  People were tired from their days in Lautoka and travelling to the ship.  The anchorage afforded a wonderfully quiet night to try to catch up on some sleep.  We have a list of final jobs to do before we can leave Fiji tomorrow, including clearing out, fuel, visa for Papua New Guinea, part for the yard etc.  We hope to leave by mid afternoon.  Until then, good night, Bonice.    


Observations:
cloudy for most of the day, pleasant temperatures in the evening, light breeze
October 18th 2007 @ 22:30
17°36'18.00 S 177°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
Things have taken longer than expected and we are still tied up in Lautoka; we must continue to remember we are now working in ´Fijian time.´  We were able to get fuel, the passports, the Papua New Guinea visa, and the piece for the yard today.  Tomorrow at 1030 hrs we are hoping to start the final clearing out.  We´ll see.  In the meantime we are all enjoying our final hours in Lautoka, spending our last Fijian dollars on drinks, ice cream and internet. A good number of us returned to the ship for a delicious supper of stir-fry, thanks to Gillian, followed by ice cream and coke floats, thanks to Karen and Arwen. Up until a few minutes ago, there was a game of Scategories happening with about 15 people playing; I was putting boys to bed but I heard lots of laughing. Today Loren found the ´Jacks´ store where he bought some board shorts, the quick-dry shorts that all of us seem to end up buying. He also found the Fijian flag shorts and shirts that many of us have already picked up. They look rather smart and we´ve decided they could be the new crew uniform.  Last night Loren went with a group of trainees to view his first Bollywood film. Karen is hoping to have a ´Bollywood Night on the ship soon; I´ll keep you posted. The shipping agent has been in touch with Skipper and the crew several times today and on one of his trips brought a final handful of mail.  Scott was very happy to receive a package he was expecting and Katie is always happy to get a letter from Matt.  Thanks.  Jose spent a good part of the day doing chart corrections; this is a job that needs to be done regularly, it´s somewhat tedious but very necessary. Thanks to Jose our charts are up-to-date.  Antony and Jordan spent some time in town tracking down some last minute bosun supplies. Tavish spent time up the mast wrapping some baggywrinkle onto the shroud; a baggywrinkle is hemp that has been tied in little strands around a length of marlin. The hemp-covered marlin is then wrapped around and around the shroud where the sail rubs the shroud; the 1 m band of baggywrinkle will prevent the sail from chafing.  Jacob climbed to the top of the mast to help Skipper with an antenna.  Gillian and Katie, helped by Andrew and Sarah, returned to the market and the grocery store to spend more money. The woman at the grocery store recognized Gillian and said, "You were supposed to leave a few days ago, what are you doing back here!"  When Katie and Gillian returned again an hour later, she pointed at Gillian and said, "And you, this is your second time here today!" After nearly 2 weeks in Lautoka, we are getting to be known here. We are looking forward to sailing again. The next leg should be incredibly interesting as we have the least amount of nautical miles to cover, stretched over a large number of days. Hopefully we will be able to stop by many islands, beaches, small villages and pretty bays, enjoying evenings at anchor, playing games, watching the stars, and getting to know each other. Also, we should have more time to stay longer in each place if that´s what people want. Today Andrew decided that he´d had enough of long hair and ponytails. He asked Naomi to give him a short haircut, and so Naomi is now apprenticing to become the ship´s barber. For her second haircut, she did an excellent job; Andrew is a brave man!  Lego has been popular the past few days amongst the 3 Anderson boys and several of the trainees as well.  I have seen some amazing creations; jets, planes, Hummers, trucks with trailers etc. I have been asked to leave the Lego out for tomorrow; there are plans to make something big.We enjoyed teatime again with Silk Road Tea and Purdy´s chocolate from Heidi and John. The chocolate had melted and lay together in the package, but that didn´t dissuade us. We put it in the freezer for a few minutes and were able to chop it up and serve it; as good as ever. We are enjoying the time to take some final fresh water showers. It may be awhile before we see a hose again.  2 more small details about life on the ship: We have a group of about 8 of us who have been suffering the past 4 or 5 days with sunburned lips. You may have no idea how painful this is; I think it´s one of the most painful sunburns I have experienced. A group of us went kite surfing at the lodge and ended up staying on an outlying island with no shade, with the instructor for about 6 hours. We had an amazing time but all of us burned our lips. We check in with each other daily, to see how the lips are doing. Slowly things are improving, the yellow scabs are getting smaller, but it still hurts to eat some foods and personally, I´m still not even thinking about kissing anyone yet! We also have some very interesting toilet paper. Initially we were excited about the 2-ply paper and for awhile no one commented on it. But slowly, it´s come out, how frustrating it is to use it. It has no perforations; it´s just two strips of thin paper somewhat lined up on top of each other and rolled up. When you try to rip off a piece, you literally have to rip it off. You are left with a mangled piece of paper, shredded in strips at both ends. Quite funny.  I think this will be it; everyone is already asleep. Last night, we had a massive scramble below decks as the rain continued to dampen everyone´s bedding. Tonight seems drier and the deck is once again littered with positive thinking crew and trainees. Until tomorow, good night,
Bonice.  



Observations:
cloudy but warm, light breeze, comfortable temperature
October 19th 2007 @ 21:30
17°53'60.00 S 176°44'49.20 E

Heading 268°
Speed 6.1

Ship's Log:
The aftcabin is quiet; Jose, Karen and Tavish are already asleep around me, Antony is on watch and Loren is on the wheel. The night is beautiful; the air is incredibly soft, the temperature is perfect and there is a light breeze. The motion has been very stable until about 2 hours ago when a gentle rolling side-to-side started up. The seas are relatively calm and the moon is shining brightly on the water. A group of us have been able to gaze at the sky and find constellations. Chase has been helping Sara R., Brooks, Gillian and a few others find the familiar constellations from previous legs. Chase has an incredibly powerful laser light from his brother and he can pin point an individual star in the night sky to help us see the cluster of stars making up a constellation. We bought a star chart for the southern hemisphere at Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, and it works wonderfully to help us see which stars are where for different days and different times of the night. The engine is still moving us along and thus, it is very warm below.  Hopefully tomorrow the wind will pick up and we can raise sail. We left Lautoka just before lunch.  Everyone pitched in to take down tarps, undo lines and fenders and clear the deck of all remaining personal stuff and garbage. The group of trainees we have now are very eager and interested in learning all their is to know, and in helping the crew run the ship.  It´s wonderful. When the tarps have to come down, there are 3 or 4 people per tarp before I can offer my help. At breakfast this morning, Skipper showed a chart of our route for this leg, Fiji to Vanuata to the Solomon´s and finally to Papua New Guinea. He drew out the weather patterns i.e. trade winds, doldrums, cyclone area, and explained how we would move, time-wise through our route to avoid hurricane and cyclone seasons in different parts of the ocean.  He pointed out the myriad of islands we can possibly visit and a rough amount of time we could spend in each area.  It was exciting to see it all laid out together and have Skipper share some of the science and planning behind the choosing of this route. The afternoon passed smoothly with crew and trainees starting to get busy on different projects. Robyn and Matt learned how to whip an end of line and how to splice.  Robyn was interested in beginning Celestial Navigation during this passage, as are the other new trainees. Caley and Rachel practiced their knots.  Karen and Jose took groups of trainees on a walk through all the pins and lines on the ship, teaching the name and purpose of each. This is mandatory for each trainee for each leg.  It makes sail handling, especially when it needs to happen quickly or at night, much easier. Crew can depend on trainees to know where lines are and thus, to be able to help in dousing or raising sail.  Jose taught a Rules of the Road lesson to the Juniors. We caught a beautiful Spanish mackerel again this afternoon. Chase and Scott filleted it and baked it with garlic, salt, olive oil and chili sauce. It was incredible; we ate it as a snack around tea time. Today Arwen and Tristan baked cookies. To get the 5 eggs they needed, they went through 5 rotten ones as well. The eggs were just bought this week, but there seems to be some bad ones; the smell was quite something. Julie had the job of checking the eggs, throwing out the bad ones, and turning them all in their cartons. Katie made a delicious supper of scalloped potatoes, sautéed beans and carrots with meat, and a green salad.  As the sun was going down, Karen set up the safety lines which run from the stern forward to the bow. Everyone has to wear their harness and have it clipped into the line if they are either up on deck and sitting, or moving from one spot on the deck to the other. It feels safe knowing that everyone is securely fixed to the ship. The harnesses are well made and are comfortable to wear, even when not wearing a T-shirt or just a tank top underneath. We are beginning to read up on the many islands making up Vanuatu; it is a very different and remote place.  It is very hot below decks; this is it for tonight, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.    


Observations:
mostly clear day, light clouds, hot temperatures, light winds
October 21st 2007 @ 09:30
17°55'59.88 S 172°29'42.00 E

Heading 270°
Speed 6.8

Ship's Log:
This is a short note to let you know that all is well. Due to motion and seasickness the log has been to difficult to produce. Everyone is doing well on the first passage of the leg. We have lumpy seas due to a system below us and some 20-25 kt winds locally. Some upset tummies. We are making good prgress towards our landfall of efate in vanuatu. eta should be tomorrow afternoon sometime. tony


Observations:
overcast,sometimes rain,lumpy seas.
October 21st 2007 @ 20:30
17°55'41.88 S 171°1'48.00 E

Heading 283°
Speed 8.9

Ship's Log:
It´s the second day of a stormy passage. I´ll see how long I can stay below before I need to go on deck. More of us have been feeling queazy if we try to read or stay below too long.  The cooks, however, are doing an amazing job and coming up with wonderful meals. Just before supper, a rip was noted in the seam of the trysail.  It was lowered and we are still making close to 9 knots. Jordan, Tristan and Tav have already repaired the seam. Yesterday morning the wind began picking up and the seas increased in size.  Skipper had been reading weather faxes for the past few days which predicted strong winds and big seas in this region. Wind and seas increased as the day progressed. We raised trysail, foresail and jumbo, later lowering the jumbo and raising the squaresail when the wind came more aft. We have been making good speed. The motion is intense side-to-side rolling with the ship taking deep dips on both sides regularly, scooping up enormous amounts of water that come over the rail and wash back, knee height around the after end of the after cabin house and the wheel box. Amidships also takes regular waves over the rail, dousing anyone, often Loren, sitting in that area.  Today an enormous wave towered for a moment 2m above the port rail before it slammed onto the deck and straight below decks down the galley and hold hatches. Immediately people came up from below, wetter than those of us on deck who watched the entire thing happen.  Motion is constant and we cannot forget for a moment to be aware of it when we move about from spot to spot.  For most of us, the day was spent sitting in rain gear, in groups, often the stern, watching the ocean waves, chatting, allowing the time to pass and taking the surprises from the ocean as it passed them out.  Everyone was in good humor and those dealing with seasickness are slowly getting better, eating a little again without sending it back to the sea, and able to spend small amounts of time below.  Mealtimes have been casual, as watches are not all there; often everyone that is able, sits together at the hold table, where the motion is less severe, and the table is gimballed.  For dishes, trainees and crew have been very helpful with everyone who is able, helping, as there are many who cannot stay below for a long period of time. Life has slowed down for a few days. Karen told a large group of us in the stern the story of "Les Miserables."  She has a wonderful gift of storytelling; animated and full of details.  It was an excellent way of passing an hour.  Jordan put together a chess tournament schedule with many people wanting to take part. Karen and Sarah started a BINGO game pitting starboardside sleepers against portside sleepers.  There are different tasks to accomplish and we´ll see who completes most of them.  Arwen and Naomi baked cookies this afternoon and we enjoyed them during the storytelling. The boat has cooled off quite considerably; the air outside is cold and we are in hoodies and rain gear. The sea water though, when it froths over our calves and feet feels wonderfully warm. Every now and then the rain comes and adds some fresh water to our decks. The ship sails majestically; you can hear her surge through the seas, roaring, moving smoothly over and through the big seas, it´s quite something. All that is up now is the port course and the foresail, yet the Grace is flying through the water between 9 and 10 knots. It feels wonderful. This will have to be it; I need air.  I´ll continue tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
grey skies all day, strong winds, big seas
October 22nd 2007 @ 20:00
17°44'12.12 S 168°18'10.80 E

Ship's Log:
We could have been on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the early spring season today with the weather we experienced only the water and the air were warm. We woke up to rain and it is still raining. We have had a good day though. After supper we anchored in Port Vila, Efate, one of the southern islands of the Vanuatu Group. This is where we will clear. We will stay just a day or so and then we will have to continue north to get out of the cyclone/hurricane zone for this time of year. Skipper was going over his weather charts tonight, figuring out how much time we have to spend in these islands. Once we anchored we immediately set up all three tarps so we could be on deck without getting too wet. It also allows the hatches to be opened and fresh air to get below. The hatches have been shut for 3 days, it´s been incredibly warm and stuffy below, the air felt wonderful. It continued to pour and with the tarps up, fresh water was collecting in the dips of the tarps and dripping off the edges sufficiently for crew and trainees to bath and wash their hair. It´s been raining so much that nearly everyone got clean. In the dory tarp so much water had collected that several of us were able to slip ourselves under the zodiac, supporting ourselves on the sides of the dories, and stretch our legs out in front of us, and have them immersed in water. We all agreed this was a huge improvement from our Fiji shower. My 3 little boys loved prancing in the dark, collecting rain water in the deck buckets from the tarp and splooshing it over themselves. What a luxury to be clean.  Today was Skipper´s birthday. He awoke to Karen closing his cabin door saying, ´Good morning Skipper, chill out.´  When he was allowed out the after cabin was filled with balloons and a tray of some of his favourite snack food for offshore was presented:  cold tonic water and a lime, whole wheat crackers and some Edam cheese. Susan had added a fruit and nut bar and a poem she had written.  As the day progressed Skipper received more wonderfully clever cards; from his boys, from his daughters, from the bosuns, from Karen and from his mom and sister back home.  Loren brought a card and great book from the crew and office staff back home. Thank you. Gillian went all out and made humus and foccacia bread for lunch and lasagna for supper, 2 of Skipper´s favorite foods.  The motion was intense today as the trysail was never re-raised due to the strength of the wind. The trysail helps with stabilizing the motion somewhat. This meant that cooking was not easy, things were sliding all over the galley.  It´s not uncommon for us to hear a huge crash from below, it´s normal, and we tend to just wait, laugh, understand, then help clean up whatever needs cleaning up. People were starting to get used to the motion and several even made it below for short periods of time to read, play a game or just to fill a water bottle or make a cup of something hot. Loren was able to hang out in the after cabin with us, a nice change from sitting on deck in the wind and rain for 2 days. There was always a group of 8 or 9 sitting in the stern in raingear around the officer on watch, chatting and drinking hot chocolate, playing 20 questions etc. It is enjoyable; when one gets too wet, one goes below for a change of scenery and to dry out for a bit.  During one downpour, Tavish, Jordan and I got into our suits and had a fresh rainwater rinse from water streaming down off the course and the foresail.  It felt wonderful and made being below tolerable again.  In the hold, Scrabble and Boggle, and the first few matches of the Chess Tournament were being played. Some trainees were listening to their music. There was also reading and journal writing happening for those that could tolerate it without feeling queazy.  In the evening Antony, Jose and Tavish pulled out some instruments and jammed for awhile.  In the aftcabin there was a discussion on options in Vanuatu, and then several rounds of Slap Scrabble.  Sarah B., Brooks, Jose, Karen, Loren and Bo all took part.  In our watches today, more people were around the table and we started getting to know each other through Life Stories and Interrogations.  Everyone has a chance to tell their life story and then be interrogated by the rest of their watch. This is an activity done in the watch around the table at mealtimes.  It´s a lot of fun and there are usually some very good questions asked. Our sailing was great today; we made excellent time, continuing at 7-8 knots for most of the day under foresail and port course only. The waves surged underneath the boat and at times it felt as if the Grace was surfing; the swells were coming from the port quarter and the sound was loud and powerful. The deck was continually wet, with waves washing over the rails and up through the scuppers. It is quite an incredible feeling to stop and notice the ship as it does what it is built to do; it moves through the water so powerfully and majestically, on and on and on, day after day, as well as through the nights; it is a rhythm I feel fortunate to experience and something I hope I can remember once I´m home. It feels good, after 3 days of constant, intense motion, to have a still boat; we are all grateful and looking forward to a good night sleep.  This is it for now, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.    


Observations:
cloudy, grey, windy and rainy all day
October 23rd 2007 @ 21:30
17°44'12.12 S 168°18'10.80 E

Ship's Log:
After 3 1/2 days of hard, but tremendous sailing, we woke up to a calm sea, a clear blue sky and hot temperatures. What a change. In Robin Lee-Graham´s book ´Dove,´ there´s a piece where he has to sail through a storm and after several days of continuous struggle, admits to his tape recorder that his little ship will probably not survive to see the next port.  He holds onto the tiller and prays a prayer to a God he´s not sure exists, asking for help and for a calmer sea. When he wakes up, the sea is indeed calm, and he´s able to set his mainsail and set a course for Durban. It´s a great little passage and I thought of it when I woke up this morning; there was a feeling of wonderment at how different things were compared to yesterday. When we look back at the past few days, we share the feeling of having gone through something quite special, an experience that only enlarges our knowledge of the sea, of ourselves, and the ship. It was an amazing passage to have lived through together, especially now that it´s over and becoming a story to retell. When I think of the sailing, I remember it as being spectacular; I remember the tremendous forward surging of the Grace, the way she moved over the seas, the seas coming towards her and her, lifting her stern to take the wave underneath her, the wave lifting the ship from stern to bow, and the Grace releasing the wave forward. I loved the thunderous sound of wind and water rushing, rolling, blowing, moving . . . it´s very difficult to capture in words. At times yesterday we were making 11 knots, the fastest so far this voyage. We slept well. The silence when I woke at 0630 was deafening, heavenly, not a sound or a movement. We had one sitting for breakfast at 0800, also changing our clocks to local time, 0700 hrs.  Katie made pancakes and we enjoyed them with real Canadian Maple Syrup; thank you. The sun was already hot but we were comfortable under the tarps. The past few days have created a lot of wet clothing, so we set up lines below the bulwarks so people could hang out everything from pillows to rain gear to towels to underclothing, all wet from the constant wet weather. Karen went over mosquitos and malaria. From here until Papua New Guinea we are in a malaria zone and need to take proper precautions. Skipper called on the VHF to begin the procedure for clearing in.  Fijian time has switched to Vanuatan time and several hours later both Immigration and the Port Captain arrived. Dories were launched and trainees and crew went ashore for the day with a packed lunch, thanks to Katie. Skipper was busy until 1530 completing everything needed to clear in but we are free to explore several islands over the next week or so, clearing out in Santo Esprito, further north.  From the boat the town looks beautiful. It reminded Karen of a Mediterranean village, set into a hillside, promising.  Lonely Planet writes:  "Its beautiful harbour, in combination with a faded French atmosphere, makes it one of Oceania´s most attractive towns."  Everyone enjoyed walking through Port Vila; it was different again to anything we have seen. The people are very friendly and when I wander with the kids, they show interest in them, smiling and trying to strike up a conversation. I enjoy it. One woman, perhaps she thought some of them were girls, asked if they wanted their hair corn-rowed. Noah pulled off his hat, showed his nearly-shaved head, and the two of them shared a beautiful, knowing, understanding smile.  The people are beautiful; you want to stare at their little children, have a better look. We visited the market, walking through the aisles of low tables, piled with fruit and vegetables, mostly papaya, root vegetables, pumpkin and bananas.  Jacob bought his dad a large papaya for 100 vatu, about $1.  Many of the women wear what they call ´Mother Hubbard Dresses´ or ´mission gowns.´  These are loosely-fitting knee-length dresses, decorated with ribbons, lace and made of colourful floral patterns. They were designed by missionaries in the late 19th century to prevent their male parishioners from being distracted by the shapely women. They are somewhat like clothing from Laura Ingalls Wilder´s "Little House on the Prairie."  Port Vila is set up for visitors and cruise ships do stop here, which always makes for a less authentic feeling. One day is usually enough, tomorrow we head north to smaller villages. Several trainees rented scooters and drove to a waterfall 20km away. Kelly said it was beautiful. The group is still out, I´ll hear more tomorrow morning at breakfast. Chris, Scott and Brooks rented Seadoos for an hour and had a lot of fun racing around the harbour. Loren and Sarah B. also rented one together, dropping Elske off at the Grace to take pictures. Jose took Jacob and Noah in the zodiac, giving them the tiller, and teaching them how to handle the boat.  They loved it; they would´ve loved to drive the jetskis as well but . . . There were about 18 of us who returned to the Grace to eat. Arwen had made a chocolate cake with mocha icing for Skipper´s birthday and we sang 3 variations of Happy Birthday before enjoying it for dessert. We all swam before supper; the water is very refreshing, a perfect temperature and very clear. One of my favorite times is about 1730 hrs, when the sun is beginning to set, the temperature is somewhat cooler, people are returning from their day ashore, and sharing what they saw and experienced. We sit on deck, eating and chatting, and after supper, anyone who ate, helps with dishes. Tonight was a great night for dishes; there were many and the galley was hot! But, everyone took it in stride, turned up the music, sang, washed, dried, wiped etc. If you didn´t help, you felt like you were missing out on something really good. It´s all attitude. The dish music lead Loren to perform a little ´hip hop´ on deck to "Sexy Back" by Justin Timberlake. Loren´s really good; we were all wonderfully surprised to learn this about him. Apparently he and his brother used to do hip hop together, picking up new moves, making some up, and even creating an album.  I think this is it, soon the trainees will be returning ´home.´  It will be a beautiful night to sleep on deck; the moon is nearly full and the stars are visible.  There is a wonderfully soft and gentle breeze. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
clear, blue skies, hot sun, light breeze
October 24th 2007 @ 21:00
16°45'42.12 S 167°57'28.80 E

Heading 344°
Speed 5.1

Ship's Log:
It is an incredibly gorgeous evening; one I told Loren to remember. We are sailing along under both courses, making a relaxing 5-6 knots; the motion is a gentle swaying side-to-side, with an occasional deeper roll. The air is very soft and warm and the moon is so bright that some trainees are writing in their journals without the help of a headlamp.  The mood is calm; it has been this way all day. People are reading and writing, and the chess board continues to make its rounds to different players. We awoke to a change in weather. Skipper had been monitoring it throughout the night, taking faxes and watching.  Just after I finished writing the log last night, clouds moved in quickly and with a clap of thunder we were in the midst of a torrential rain squall. Within seconds we were soaked.  All the wet gear from the previous three days, which had been drying out during the day, was rained upon. There was a mad scramble to get below. Simon, Noah and Jacob were sleeping on deck and Skipper and I had to hurry them below with their now wet bedding.  Antony had just returned with the final load of trainees. Nothing is ever for certain out here. This morning Katie went ashore to do a quick grocery shop for New Zealand butter and cheese; something we keep our eyes open for, and then we raised anchor and headed out of the bay. We had to bump into seas for a few hours before we headed north, on a course for Ambryn Island.  Soon after we left, Chase´s reel started whirring. We saw a huge 75 lb. marlin or sailfish fighting at the end of the line and Chase started to reel it in.  The fish, however, got away and we got ´spooled.´  This means that the fish took off with the entire spool of line, leaving nothing. On the end of the line Tavish, Chase and Jacob had put a #7chrome wonder, also known as a silver spoon. Our fishermen were terribly disappointed. We´ve all been spoiled by delicious fish and missed our mid-afternoon taste of waloo. Soon after 1200 hrs, we raised the two courses and lowered the foresail, which had been raised to steady the motion. We turned off the engine and it´s still off. It is idyllic, so silent, just the sound of rigging moving and water rushing by the hull. Port watch did work watch with Jordan today. They sanded and oiled the after rails. Susan and Sean cleaned out the seat lockers which were still full of water-drenched bosun supplies from the storm. Around the table at mealtimes, Rachel, Sara R. and Antony told their life stories and were interrogated. Everyone has interesting details to share about their life though we so seldom have the opportunity to do so. On the ship we grow close quickly and the atmosphere of comraderie and trust makes it a safe place to disclose things about ourselves that we otherwise might not. At times we spend 2 hours sitting around the table talking together. In the afternoon watch, Antony entertained us with stories of his travels in Zimbabwe, Africa. Very entertaining and frightening. Yesterday, Noah swam underneath the Grace with his mask, snorkel and fins. Jordan was with him, coaching him. Noah was very proud of himself. Being at anchor allows for quite a few wonderful water activities. We usually put out a swing, there are surfboards, paddles, snorkelling, swimming, diving, or climbing up the anchor line and the bobstays. The crew would like to wish Martyn Clark a very happy birthday October 23. Happy Birthday Martyn from all of us, have a wonderful day. This will be it for tonight. I will sit on deck for a few minutes longer; it is a memorable night. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.  


Observations:
mostly cloudy with some clear skies, hot, nice evening temperatures
October 25th 2007 @ 22:00
16°8'30.12 S 168°6'54.00 E

Ship's Log:
What a day and how to relive it for you? We sailed gently throughout the night, under courses only and oh so quietly. It was heavenly. Once it was light we lowered courses and moved slowly along the coast looking for the village of Ranon. We had trouble finding it and sent Antony out in the zodiac to scour even closer to the beach. He met some locals and they pointed the way. We were directed to the newly established Tourist Information Centre that has been set up by the United Nations. The UN has encouraged the 12 villages living in the area to create an alliance whereupon they share the talents and gifts which are directed toward tourism possibilities. Each village is responsible for an activity that could bring in an income from visitors wanting to learn aboutVanuatan culture. The monies that are received are shared out evenly between all the 12 villages.  It´s encouraging to see this in it´s initial stages and Barry, the local working in the centre, seems quite excited about it, but you can sense, it is quite new to them and there are things to be worked out. The building itself is made entirely of thatch, like all the village buildings. Some of them have a concrete floor, but that is it. The people build their own house, using either coconut or pandanus fronds. The coconut is woven while it is green, whereas the pandanas is woven after it has been dried. The difference lies in the suppleness of the frond. At 1100hrs a few trainees went ashore to explore while Jose, Antony and Skipper looked into possibilities for some cultural experiences. Most of the trainees enjoyed a relaxing morning on the ship, doing different activities. There was lots of swimming, it is very hot and the air is still. Tristan, Chris and Noah took apart the Trebuchet and built a raft using the boogie board left behind by Dave of Leg 1. Jacob dove to the ocean bottom, about 25 ft down; he was very proud of himself.  Susan began sewing herself a ditty bag, while Andrew took on the ´shoe/flip-flop pocket organizer we promised trainees during Leg 3.  Kaley, Tiana and Sara started knitting and discussing the logistics of several clubs we want to start i.e. literature group, perspectives on faith discussion group. The chess tournament is in full swing and there is regularly a game being played. Jose and Antony returned to the ship with Barry to discuss with Skipper several cultural options for tomorrow. It looks like we can watch the Rom dance, roast 3 pigs traditionally in a ground oven, hunt wild pigs, and visit some Hot Springs etc. Jose was excited to see Barry and some other locals warming up to us. They are accustomed to visitors coming, taking, paying and leaving. It took awhile to show them that we are interested in ´them,´ not just what they could do for us or sell to us. We explained that we wanted the village people to be with us while we watched the dance, roasted and ate the pigs, etc. This was a totally different concept for them and they were quite touched. At 1500 hrs everyone went ashore to play volleyball and soccer. There are many taboos in the culture and the entire time I was on the island and amongst the people I had a sense of an unknown, but definitely felt, set of rules that governed much of what goes on in the village. Girls and boys do not mix in soccer or volleyball. Girls played volleyball, the guys played soccer. We, as visitors, are exempt from these rules and expectations. But, a relationship had begun between us and the villagers, and doors began to open both ways.  It makes a difference when someone feels that someone cares about them, and not just where they live and what they have to offer. There were many, many children and like always, they love to come and look, play, have their pictures taken. Tristan was incredibly popular with about 50 children, all chasing him around one of the buildings.  Arwen and Skipper presented the village with soccer balls and soccer shorts and jerseys.  They were thrilled, overwhelmed, and presented Skipper, Arwen, Jose and myself with a fresh flower lei and a carving.  We also gave the school some school supplies, math workbooks and beginning readers. I met one of the teachers, the only woman teacher, who teaches grades 1 and 2. Most of the women I tried to chat with, are very shy and it is difficult to communicate much. We end up asking each others names, the ages of our children and smiling a lot. They seem to be more comfortable with this. The society on the island is very patriarchical and often the women and children are hiding back in the shadows, watching. They are a beautiful and very varied people. They want to look at us and we want to look at them. There was a good feeling between the groups, they would wave whenever we waved to them, it was a door into their beautiful smiles and a language of its own. We had fun playing together. It is a first for them to have so many young people in their community, or even such a large group of people integrating with them in their village. After the game we were free to wander through the village, look at the tamtam drums which are found in the forests among the growing trees. They remind me of Trip 3 during the summer, visiting older First Nations Villages and their beautiful totem poles, also often grown over in the forests. There is a traditional ´face´ that is carved in one end of the log and then the length of the log is dug out leaving a cavern with a narrow slit into it. The stick hits the left side of the slit, the bigger carved out area, and forms the beat for their dance, and communication from village to village. Skipper, the boys and I met Barry´s mom and dad and his brother Jeffrey´s wife and where they live. All the dwellings are thatch and pandanas; they´re beautiful. There is one for cooking and one for sleeping. They also weave the mats to sleep and sit on. I saw a shower with woven mats forming an enclosure around the spigot on the pole; probably the nicest looking shower I´ve seen in awhile. 2 small children were washing their hair. They cook over a fire and the smell of wood fires hangs deliciously in the air. I could smell it wafting over the water to the ship; a wonderful smell. There are pigs everywhere. Pigs are the most valuable asset in the culture. One´s position in the village, in their society, is determined and can be improved, by the amount of pigs one has. To marry, one needs pigs to get a wife. Each family, or man has pigs and he looks after them. They trim the teeth so that the tusks can grow in a circle, sometimes 2 or 3 times around, depending on the age and care of the pig. These tusks are worn proudly by the owner during dances, special functions etc.; they mean something significant. There is so much to know about these people, but my sense is that most of it is taboo to us, and they are intent on keeping it that way. For this I admire and respect them. This will be it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.    


Observations:
clear, sunny day, light breeze, calm sea
October 26th 2007 @ 22:00
16°8'30.12 S 168°6'54.00 E

Ship's Log:
We´re having trouble sending the logs so you will be getting a few at a time once a satelite is found.  I am with the boys alone tonight while the crew and trainees are enjoying a pig roast on the beach.  The day has been so amazingly full, everything has taken longer and the pigs were not quite done when Jacob, Noah and Simon needed to sleep.  I can hear the drums and the singing from the ship.  It´s a beautiful night to be on deck; the moon looks full though Simon and I decided it has begun to wane, the water is bathed in moonlight, and the sea is calm with a perfect breeze.  We read another chapter of Farley Mowat “The Dog Who Wouldn´t Be” up on deck and then slowly, the four of us drifted off to sleep.  Skipper and Jose have just returned with Freddy and his 2 sons, locals we´ve come to know.  The village is overwhelmed with our interest in them, the practical help with their generator and outboard motor, and the time they spent with us today, both on the island, hiking, and on the ship, traveling with us to where the pigs were to be hunted.  Today was amazing.  Jose and Skipper have done an amazing job organizing 3 major activities.  I will write about the first one, and continue tomorrow with Tavish and Andrew, explaining the pig hunt.  We woke early for one sitting at 0730 and met Barry and 3 local guides at the Centre by 0830.  We walked along the coast and then uphill into the lush vegetation of the island, for about 45 minutes.  The walk was superlative; everything is so green, so lush, and there is so much variety in the types of foliage.  Cicadas were whirring loudly.  The soil is black and very fine.  At 0530 this morning, a team with shovels walked the path digging out the sections that had been partially washed away during the rain.  The air smelled wonderfully of freshly dug dirt and campfire.  We were taken along narrow trails to a village which quietly opened up in front of us, seemingly out of nowhere.  There was something of “The Mission” about our coming upon this village, the people living there and their homes all made out of natural materials.  Little paths joined the houses and cleared areas were dotted with rough planks or woven mats for sitting. Little children and women stared at us from the fringes as we were taken to where a Rom dance was to be performed. We were given drinking coconuts and a chance to see kava being dried on raised frames.  Fanrereo was the name of the village and it is set on a high ridge with a nice breeze; it´s a partly kastom francophone village. I was able to speak French with one of the villagers as French was easier for him than English.  The Rom dance is Ambrym´s most striking traditional ceremony; it takes place for several weeks in August and is followed by a pig kill. The dancers wear the extraordinary Rom costume; a tall, conical, brightly painted banana-fibre mask and a thick cloak of banana leaves.  As the Rom dancer represents a spirit, each costume is burned after the dance in case the spirit takes it over and haunts or impersonates the dancer. Because of this, very few Rom outfits exist and pieces of one cannot be bought.  The dance was done by the men of the village, 5 little boys aged 5-7 to the main chief who is 84 yrs. old. Another chief came out in his traditional costume and shook hands with all of us, welcoming us.  Then a group of traditionally clad men and boys did a welcome dance where the main chief walked forward and back along the clearing, which was the formal invitation to step into the dance area.  The traditional male attire is the
namba.  These tribesman wind large purple pandanus fibres around their penises, securing the loose ends by thick bark belts.  They may have a feather in their hair and a leaf or palm frond sticking in the back of their bark belt.  Katie whispered to Simon as the Chief shook their hands, “Simon, just look him in the eyes.”  The “nambas” men were enclosed in the dancers dressed completely in masks and banana leaves.  The costumed dancers looked like huge masked trees, swaying and stamping. They sang to the rhythm of a tam tam, played by one of the “namba” dancers.  The dance picked up speed, the stamping reverberated through the entire clearing, but it consisted of a repetition of moves and sounds.  My feeling was that the dance symbolized something for those partaking in it, and that was its purpose.  I could imagine the dancers speeding up gradually and long enough to end up in a type of frenzied one-ness.  There was a sense that we were watching something that we were not really meant to see; this was private and we were where we didn´t belong.  The Rom dance is part of a ritual that lasts 3 days during the Yam Festival, and it means something to the dancers and the society, it is not a performance.  Naomi and Victoria felt that they were in something out of  “National Geographic” magazine.  The walk, the village and the dance, altogether it offered so much to take in, to look at, to think about, to place in the whole scheme of things . . . it really made me think.  Visiting Ambryn and experiencing what we experienced today was probably the most different and thought-provoking place I have visited.  I don´t think anyone will forget it. We were back at the ship at 1330 and had lunch with 7 of the locals, who were going to take whoever was interested, wild pig hunting.  We raised anchor and traveled one hour south along the coast.  Pigs are a very big deal here.  Yesterday I mentioned how males take “grades” to improve and raise their position in village society.  Usually grades aren´t started until a youth has passed his teens, when he´ll borrow 5-10 boars to pay his bride price.  As soon as he can, he buys some sows, which become the source of his future wealth and status.  To clear his debt for his wife´s bride price and his sows, the young man starts lending out male piglets, but it often takes him several years to pay off his initial debt.  Once his liabilities are discharged he celebrates with a special yam feast, usually followed 2 years later by a ´nimangki ´ ceremony. The “nimangki” system allows men who can afford to hold only a few pig-killing ceremonies to gain some authority in the village. As you can hear, there is a lot to learn about the culture we are now in.  4 days just isn´t enough.  This is long enough for now.  I will continue tomorrow with the pig hunt.  We are raising anchor at 0300 and leaving for Malekula to drop Loren off at the airport.  Until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.    



Observations:
mostly sunny and hot today, light winds, some clouds
October 27th 2007 @ 21:30
15°31'23.88 S 167°9'54.00 E

Ship's Log:
We are anchored off of Luganville, on the island of Espiritu Santo.  The wind is picking up and the clouds have moved in, but it is still a beautiful night.  There´s a nice, fresh little breeze blowing down through the aftcabin hatch.  Antony and Jose are looking at photos of yesterday´s dance, Jordan and Tavish are building birthday cards for
Elske, and Karen is working on the beginnings of a discussion group; the aft cabin is a busy place.  Sleeping spots on deck have already been staked out with bedding and quite a few are already asleep.
Yesterday was a very exhausting day.  We dropped Loren off on the island of Malekula to catch his flight.  Jose brought him to the dock near the airport, in the zodiac and found a local to take him and his bags to the airport. It felt strange to leave him on an island we did not know; it must have felt stranger for him.  We had a wonderful day sailing with all four lower sails and the maintopsail.  The motion was gentle and slow, and we sat comfortably in the shade of the sails.  It was a great afternoon for doing whatever.  Ryan was working on carving the mother-of-pearl shell, the smaller boys were carving coconut shell, Chase and Jacob are making a holder to help reeling in fish, Julie played music with Jose, and of course the usual amounts of writing and reading.  Robyn and Katie baked brownies, while I made yogourt, teaching Kelly and Sarah R what´s involved.  Mid-afternoon our fishline bell rang. Everyone ran to the stern as there was something huge on the line, jumping and flipping.  It took about 30 minutes to bring the 9 ft marlin alongside the ship.  It´s a beautiful fish, with blues and yellows glistening while it was under the water.  We decided to let it go, but while we were taking the lure out, the gill punctured and so we brought it up on deck after all.  Tavish spent 1 1/2 hours skinning and filleting the fish.  There was a lot of meat.  Chase and Scott baked it two different ways for supper and put what was left in the freezer for tomorrow.  There is something sad though, I find, about seeing a fish like that out of the water.  To see it swimming and playing in the ocean is truly majestic.  Tomorrow Skipper will try to clear out and we will continue on to the Solomon Islands.  
I would like to return to yesterday and have Tavish describe the pig hunt that the locals took a group of about 10 of us on. Before the hunt, the meat was offered to the boat.  The boat has limited freezer space and so we asked if we could give the meat, if we caught any, to the village to be shared amongst the villagers. The locals had brought along 3 of their best hunting dogs and these were huddled in the zodiac as we moved down the coast in the big boat.  They looked like miniature greyhounds, underfed and scrawny-looking.  Once ashore the group started up the hardened lava flow which during the wet season is a river.  The dogs took off immediately to find the pigs and flush them out.  Within 10 minutes there was a frantic yelping up on the hillside and the entire group took off running, following the locals.  The locals were in amazing shape and made our group realize how little exercise we get on the ship.  Running full-speed uphill through the bush, slashing wildly with their machetes through the vegetation, they hardly broke a sweat, while we were sweating buckets.  There were no trails; these were made as the group forced their way to the yelping dogs.  Once the first pig had been caught the dogs were already in the process of cornering another pig further down the hillside.  Half the group split off running down the hill to secure the second pig.  They weighed between 40 and 50 lbs. each and were easily carried down to the riverbed where they were killed and cut up.  When the two pigs were nearly cleaned, the dogs were again yelping, this time quite a ways up the hillside.  Immediately two of the locals took off at a full run, in bare feet, toward the sound.  Tavish, Tristan, Sam and Sean followed, barely keeping up as they chased the pig for 30 =
minutes up and down, all over the hillsides.  The sound of the angry pig was intimidating; it squealed and grunted loudly as the dogs circled and contained it.  When the pig was finally spotted, the group realized it was too big for the dogs to hold down and it took another 30 minutes to finally catch it.  It was a proud group that returned to the rivermouth with their pieces of meat on sticks ready to be roasted.  The third pig was one of the largest the locals have caught.  It was also the first time that they had taken white people with them on that type of a hunt.  Like this mornings visit to the village and dance, the experience of the pig hunt will leave quite an
impression on everyone involved.  It is very late again, everyone except Tavish, Jose and I are asleep.  It´s a beautiful night. Until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.        


Observations:
clear sunny skies, hot temperatures, light winds
October 28th 2007 @ 22:00
15°31'23.88 S 167°9'46.80 E

Ship's Log:
We are just enjoying Elske´s birthday cake, a mocha cake baked by Arwen and Elske this morning.  Very good. We celebrated Elske´s 21st birthday today.  She had a chance to go scuba diving on the wreck  of the SS President Coolidge, now famous among the scuba set as the world´s largest, easily accessible wreck.  It measures 300m long and 40m wide and the guidebook suggests 4 different dives to explore the entire ship.  A group of trainees is hoping to leave early tomorrow to fit in a dive before we leave for the Solomon Islands.  This morning the entire boat, except for Gillian, had a chance to sleep in.  Brunch was served at 0930 and Gillian did a delicious job; 15 loaves of fresh bread, 8 loaves of which was turned into french toast, bacon, granola, fresh yogourt, and fruit salad.  After dishes, dories were launched and trainees went ashore.  Several crew and trainees stayed aboard for the day.  Julie started knitting a cotton, ear flap hat.  Victoria had her first guitar lesson from Gillian.  Katie and Sarah B. taught Arwen how to play crib and Noah, Jacob, and Simon caught up on some school work.  Jacob and Noah wrote in their journals about the pig hunt; it was quite exciting. . . the hunt, not the journal writing.  Simon is slowly learning how to read, but the trainees are usually more entertaining to be with than mom.  The LEGO box came out and both big and little people created.  Ashore, most things were shut, though the gas station was open and was selling spears and harpoon guns. On the dory ride back to the boat, Naomi steered and did a pretty good job for the first time.  Brooks steered the second dory and made a perfect landing alongside the ship, though initially we on the Grace, thought he was going somewhat fast, and grabbed a fender just to make sure.  People have a few more hours tomorrow to enjoy the town of Luganville.  Luganville was once capable of accommodating close to 50,000 people.  Segond Channel, just off Luganville, was chosen as the Allies´ base from which to support their war efforts in the Solomons against the Japanese advance during WWll.  For 3 years, more than half a million military personnel, mainly Americans, were stationed here prior to sailing off to battle elsewhere in the Pacific.  At times there were as many as 100 ships moored off Luganville.  Today Luganville is a sleepy, dilapidated place, with numerous ageing Quonset huts and rusting steel sea walls remaining as evidence of more prosperous days.   A Quonset hut is a rounded, corrugated iron hut. Tonight we had Sunday Service.  We all sat amidships under the tarp with the trouble light shedding a warm yellow light. The focus was on what it means to be known, to be genuine, and the freedom this bestows.  There were readings from "Till We Have Faces," by C.S. Lewis, from "Ragman," by Walter Wangerin Jr., and from "Becoming Human," by Jean Vanier.  All three of these writers and their works are very inspiring and thought provoking.  The deck is already littered =
With bedding and most of the crew and trainees have headed off to sleep.  Something I forgot to tell yesterday:  Sean and Victoria went out on the bowsprit and helped to furl the jib.  Sean also climbed the mainmast to help Tristan furl the maintopsail.   Chase and all of us thank Richard for letting us borrow his rod and reel.  We have already caught 2 marlin on it.  Katie would like to wish Matt´s dad, Jamie MacDonald, a wonderful belated birthday.  Also, Karen and Katie´s dad is having his 63rd birthday October 29.  Happy Birthday Banana George; have a wonderful day.  This is it for tonight, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.        



Observations:
sunny and cloudy periods, warm temperatures
October 29th 2007 @ 21:00
15°32'53.88 S 166°37'19.20 E

Heading 310°
Speed 6.2

Ship's Log:
We are sailing under trysail, foresail and jumbo at the moment, but the engine is still on.  Winds are light. Initially the 2 courses were up, but the wind shifted more to the north and so, at 2000 hrs we lowered them and raised the 3 lowers.  It was a good experience for the trainees to sail handle in the dark.  Andrew was on the main gaff attaching the luff of the trysail by bowlines to the mast; a good exercise for really getting to know your bowline.  The deck lights are on when the moon is not bright enough, so we can see what we are doing and where everyone is.  It´s been a beautiful, hot day.  Skipper went into town early this morning to begin clearing out.  It took about 2 1/2 hours to complete all the requirements needed.  Several of the trainees were up early and went on an amazing scuba dive of a portion of the wreck SS President Coolidge.  Sarah B. was thrilled, saying it was probably the best dive she´s been on. Kelly and Brooks went for the second time, seeing a different part of the ship yesterday.  Matt and a group of trainees took a 40 minute taxi ride north and inland to Matevulu Blue Hole, a pool with fresh water that is stunningly blue and measures 50m across and 18m deep at one point.  It´s a great place to swim and cool off.  Gillian went to the market today with Jose and they were able to buy a taxi full of vegetables for a mere $100.  Instead of plastic bags the groceries were packed in baskets woven quickly from green coconut fronds.  These eventually dry up and decompose, the perfect recyclable bag.  The town was interesting though not at all pretty.  The main street is very wide and takes a bit of time to cross.  There were many quite large warehouse-type stores selling a real variety of items.  Many of the shops were owned and/or run by the Chinese, though the majority of people we saw on the street Vanuatan.  We walked by a beautifully located school, along the beach.  Kids, both male and female, of all ages were having lunch outside, sitting on woven mats in the shade.  They all wore the school uniform and many came to the fence that bordered the school, to say hi, or just to look at us.  The people are very friendly.  Scott purchased a meat grinder and has been busy with it all afternoon and into the evening.  He has been making fish sausages for tomorrow´s breakfast.  It´s great the way he loves to fish and is also willing to take the time to prepare the fish; it´s pretty hot in the galley.  Tavish helped out with the fish sausages during supper for awhile.  The 3 Anderson boys were watching the process for several hours during the afternoon, fascinated by the grinder and the mechanism that stuffed the ground fish into the little sausage ´liner bags.´  We had fish burgers for supper tonight with delicious whole wheat buns and lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and fixings. There is still so much marlin fish in the freezer that tomorrow we´ve been told we are having fish for breakfast, lunch and supper.  The knitting club is getting bigger; Arwen started knitting a scarf today and Rachel is ready to start a flap hat tomorrow.  Tiana is moving along nicely with her scarf, as is Julie with her hat.  Susan´s ditty bag is nearly finished; it looks good.  Lessons started up again today with Karen teaching an Intermediate Chartwork Review to the new Seniors, as well as the Seniors Chartwork.  Antony taught the Juniors while Sarah took a group on a pin tour to learn the name and use of each line. We are on a course for the Solomon Islands.  We´ll be at sea for about 3 days.  It feels as if we are heading into very unknown territory, compared with the beginning portion of the offshore.  For many of us, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are the most ´exotic´ and unknown of the countries we will go to.  It is a beautiful night, the stars are out, the moon is not.  It makes for a good night to stargaze and Chase is out there already with his laser pointing out constellations.  The air is warm and soft, nearly body temperature.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.      


Observations:
sunny skies, warm temperatures, light winds
October 30th 2007 @ 21:30
13°25'41.88 S 165°1'37.20 E

Heading 311°
Speed 5.8

Ship's Log:
It has been a pretty uneventful day except for the lightning squall this evening.  Just 15 minutes ago, the storm moved on just as quietly as it had appeared.  After supper there was cloud to cloud lightning lighting up a 90 degree angle of horizon across the Grace´s
stern.  There was minimal thunder, it was mostly quiet with lightning spidering outwards in the clouds.  The lightning gave off incredibly bright flashes of light that illuminated the entire sky and portion of the sea behind us.  The wind picked up and we flew along at 8 knots during the entire time of the squall which lasted about an hour.  Skipper unplugged all antennas and power cables as a precaution.  It was quite something; we have not had lightning come this close to the ship since the third offshore in 1992.  Many of us were on deck in raingear and harnesses, clipped in to the safety lines. It was quite fantastic, and in a way, also eerie; it was silent yet it was a storm, and the colour grey permeated everything when lightning lit up the seascape.  It has been raining since 1600 hours.  We began the day very early, with the sun rising at 0530 and a handful of us showering on deck under the salt water hose used for cleaning the decks. Already you could feel the heat of the sun and the water felt good. For most of the day we hid in the minimal shade offered by the sails.  The clouds started moving in towards mid-afternoon.  The winds have been fickle and changing direction and strength all day.  The courses have been raised and lowered and stowed several times.  The trysail was switched from the port to the starboard side.  Right now we are under power for as soon as the squall moved on, the wind died, the sails started flapping, and our speed went down to 3 knots.  For most of the day though we were able to sail along quite nicely and quietly.  The motion is rock-n-roll again, it seems to be the ´rhythm´ for this voyage.  It was a day to be together; watches ate together around the table, getting to know 3 more people through life stories and interrogations.  The normal reading, writing, chess games, knitting, ditty bags, chatting, etc. filled our time.  Jose taught the Juniors a Chartwork lesson.  Today we ate fish at every meal.  For breakfast there were homemade fish sausages, 2 flavours, sundried tomatoe and garlic and herb, for lunch there were fish nuggets and scones, and for supper their were fish tacos, baked fish, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes wrapped in homemade soft tortillas which Sarah B. and Naomi helped put together.  All of the meals were delicious but I heard someone mention when the fishing lines went over the side, that they could pass on fish for just a day.  Our course has altered more northerly as there are stronger winds down south and we are moving out of the area with the onset of cyclone season.   We are all well, very happy.  The feeling on the ship is good; people have lots of ideas of things they want to learn and do while they are on the Grace; we have a group of self-starters which helps motivate and encourage everyone to do and try new things. Welcome home Loren.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.  



Observations:
started out clear and sunny, clouds moved in during afternoon and rain and lightning squalls late afternoon and into the night
October 31st 2007 @ 21:30
11°55'41.88 S 163°15'7.20 E

Heading 311°
Speed 6.5

Ship's Log:
Happy Halloween.  We had a great day today.  The temperature is very hot, it is 55 degrees celsius in the engine room and the crew head has running hot water.  People are doing what they can to try to stay cool.  There have been 6 haircuts in the past 2 days.  Yesterday matt, Antony, Simon and Scott all shaved their hair short.  I had my first lesson on using the shaver, first on Matt, then on Simon.  Today I cut skipper´s hair and Sam´s hair.  Seeing how easy it is for these fellows and their very short hair, it seems tempting to cut mine short too.  The jumbo, foresail and trysail have stayed up for most of the day but there is no wind, they help with the motion and they offer some shade.  The decks are scorching hot and we have to bucket salt water on them to be able to walk on them.   In the mornings, Sara r. and Susan have begun doing yoga exercises on the foredeck: I know there are more people wanting to join in, but so far none have shown up.  Skipper did a celestial navigation lesson with Andrew and Victoria.  They took one sight in the morning and another in the afternoon.  Tomorrow Skipper will plot their information with them on a plotting sheet and they will get their fix.  Antony taught chartwork to a large group of juniors.  Skipper and Julie played some mandolin together, with Skipper passing on a few more tunes to Julie.  Julie came on the boat last summer and it was here that she saw Skipper playing and took an interest.  Susan has finished her ditty bag, punching in the grommets today with Jacob.  She wears it proudly over her shoulder.  Rachel has decided to knit a hat and get a good handle on knitting and pearling before she takes on making a flap hat.  She´s on until Japan, so we have lots of time for knitting hats.  At mealtimes today Sarah b., Andrew and Tristan gave their life stories and were interrogated by their watches.  It´s always interesting and often very funny: at home it seems we do not find or make the time to go back in detail into someone´s past and learn about what brought them to the point they are today.  We know each other well enough that pretty well any question can be asked: it´s quite freeing to go through the life story/interrogation process with a group you spend so much time with and feel comfortable with.  After lunch dishes we lowered sail and had a swim stop, the first this leg.  The engine is turned off and we wait until the boat drifts to a stop.  We swim in our watches for 15 minutes at a time, while the other 2 watches keep a look-out for sharks.  The heads are off limits during the swim.  The colour of the water is an amazing deep royal blue.  The intensity and depth of colour is what I love most.  I tell everyone to take a mask so as to see the colour and depth better, even the bubbles are beautiful.  The temperature is close to body temperature, nothing that really cools you off for any length of time.  If you dive deeper, the water feels cooler.  The ship rolls deep rolls and we can see many feet of her red copper paint when she rolls away from where we are swimming.  Many of the crew and trainees climbed up the bobstays, under the bowsprit.  They create a challenge to see who can climb higher or faster.  Late in the afternoon we held a costume and trick ´n treat extravaganza.  Karen, Sarah b., and Gillian organized it.  Nearly everyone dressed up and there were three stations set up where  trainees went in groups and performed a task i.e. create a Halloween song and perform it.  There was candy for everyone: Scott´s mom sent candy enough to fill goody bags for all of us.  Thank you.  Also, Scott would like to wish his mom a very Happy Birthday today, October 31.  Happy Birthday mom, from Scott.  There were prizes for costumes:  most creative (Sara r. and Susan for dressing up as knitting needles and wool), best boat materials used (Kaley and Rachel for making angels out of mast hoops and rope),  best group (Brooks, Ryan and Thomas for dressing up as salts calendar boys in their foul weather gear and bare chests), and most realistic (Chase for looking just like Antony´s dad, with runner up Arwen and Tristan as wonderfully tacky tourists).  It was a lot of fun and everyone partook.  There were some great meals today.  At supper tonight we had our 6th marlin fish meal.  The fishcakes we had tonight were probably my favourite way of preparing the marlin out of all the different ways Scott and chase prepared the fish.  I am so impressed by the time these 2 put into preparing the fish they catch: it´s wonderful and admirable.  For lunch, Katie and Robyn made ´witches fingers.´  these are absolutely delicious shortbread cookies in the shape of fingers, with knuckle creases pressed in with a fork, fingers formed from nuts, and colour on the nails made with dabs of red jam.  they were eaten up pretty quickly.  I think this is it: it´s a beautiful night.  There are stars to be seen, though there is some heavy cloud as well and we have had the occasional lightning flash.  So far, no rain.  It is stupendously hot below decks, especially in the hold and in the sleeping areas on either side of the engine room.  The temperature on deck is perfect and the air is very soft, though the breeze is very light.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
hot and sunny, very light winds, calm seas
November 1st 2007 @ 21:00
10°25'48.00 S 161°15'54.00 E

Heading 320°
Speed 4.5

Ship's Log:
We are having trouble with the mail system; this log will be short.  Last night was the hottest night for sleeping we have had so far.  A downpour just before midnight soaked Karen and her helmspersons, but we woke up early to another hot, hot day.  The wind gradually picked up and we were able to turn off the engine for most of the day.  The southern Solomon Islands have been on our starboard side all
day.  Juniors wrote their exams today and started getting some of their oral exams marked off in their log books.  The sky is quite
clear.  The wind is lessening and the threat of the engine looms.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
very sunny and hot for most of the day, clouds and rain showers with increasing wind in the afternoon and evening
November 2nd 2007 @ 21:30
9°25'48.00 S 159°57'28.80 E

Ship's Log:
We´ve arrived in Honiara, the main city in the Solomon Islands, on the island of Guadalcanal.  This is the port of entry and clearance for all boats.  We are here for only a day to pick up some charts of the other islands and to do some provisioning.  The day has been very hot and still.  We motored through the night and all through the morning, setting up the tarps while still at sea.  Many of us had a quick salt water shower while we still had clean water.  If we anchor, we can usually still bucket ourselves, but tied to the dock, the water is too dirty.  It was a good day on the ship.  Because of the heat, most of us were huddled under the tarps reading, writing, playing cards, playing chess and chatting.  We were moored by 1430 hrs.  The port officials came to the boat after an hour or so: it was a very hot wait in our navy blue crew shirts, shorts and socks and runners.  When we came into the slip at the commercial dock, there were Solomon Islanders watching from every corner.  There are old cargo ships, former fishing boats, tied bow-to, and all their crew stopped to gawk at the big beautiful schooner coming into their harbour.  It was almost intimidating.  Once we were tied, quite a few came right up to the rail, and skipper started talking with them, asking questions, firstly about the port officials, then about them, about their families, about their island, about their culture . . .  they were eager to talk and they also became immediately less intimidating . . . it´s that fear of the unknown that creeps up and makes one want to hide.  Rather, if we can just walk amongst them, look them in the eye, smile and say hello, the world becomes an even place, less frightening, and incredibly interesting.  We had a chance to walk through the town.  There isn´t much to boast about, the guidebook warned of that, but there were many very friendly people, just as interested in us, as we were in them.  They are a beautiful people with amazing smiles, and their skin colour seems to be getting darker and richer as we move west and closer to the equator.  I have enjoyed noting the differences as we move west, away from Polynesia: the changes in topography, in details of the culture i.e. dance, ceremonies, food, in the way the people look, in the way the villages and cities look, in the vegetation etc.  We´re looking forward to continuing on to the smaller villages and bays, hoping to confront the traditional culture more and do some snorkelling and diving.  The Solomon´s played a huge part in WWll.  In April 1942 the Japanese occupied Guadalcanal.  Allied troops fought ashore in August, losing 1270 men. After six months the Japanese withdrew to New Georgia.  During the Guadalcanal campaign, 67warships were sunk - this area is now called iron bottom sound.  Around 7000 American and 30,000 Japanese lives were lost.  WWll battlefields are in every direction.  We have been able to get a hose, a fire hose.  The 3 Anderson
 boys loved it, offering to douse anyone wanting to take a shower.  Simon could hardly lift it.  It sure feels good to clean in fresh water again.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
hot and sunny, light winds
November 3rd 2007 @ 22:30
9°12'24.01 S 159°34'55.20 E

Heading 266°
Speed 6.5

Ship's Log:
We left Honiara at 1800hrs after a very busy day of errands.  Thanks to contacts Skipper had made and being in the right place at the right time, some of the jobs we needed doing and were seemingly not possible, became possible.  Honiara is quite run-down looking and we were warned to move around in groups.  We were advised not to go beyond town limits as safety cannot be guaranteed.  While the crew did jobs for the ship, trainees explored the town, bought fishing supplies, swam in a nearby hotel, did internet, laundry, showers, bought stamps, enjoyed good food in a little cafe  run by an Australian couple (it was also air-conditioned), bought carvings etc.  The open air market was the most crowded market we have seen to this point: standing room only.  Many people in the Solomons and Papua New Guinea have orange-red teeth.  This comes from chewing the betelnut.  On the sidewalks and roads there are dried up spots of red dye where locals have spat it out.  Apparently it gives a buzz like the kava plant and helps people get through their day.  I guess everyone has something . . . coffee, chocolate, gum, kava etc.  When we left the dock, there were at least 30 men who worked at the dock, seeing us off.  We had Graydon´s sleeping bag left over from the last leg and we offered it to the locals: many hands reached out for it.  We hope to arrive tomorrow mid-day.  Jose would like to wish his grandma a wonderful 94th birthday today, November 3.  Happy Birthday Gramma, love from Jose.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny and very, very hot, clouds in the late afternoon, some light showers during the night
November 4th 2007 @ 23:00
8°43'41.99 S 157°54'18.00 E

Ship's Log:
We have just finished Sunday service and are all standing in line waiting for the head.  We anchored at 2030 hrs off south of New Georgia Island in Nono Lagoon, off the smaller island of Vangunu. Winds shifted during the night and we motored into headwinds for most of the day, making speeds as low as 3.2 kts.  Toward evening, the wind died and the seas were calmer.  The anchorage is rocky-roly, but the sky is beautifully clear.  We are still having trouble with the computer.  Skipper has spent hours trying to figure it out: it´s incredibly frustrating.  Logs will be kept shorter because of the cost of sending them via the other service.  Tomorrow we are going to explore Marova Lagoon: the world´s finest example of a double barrier-enclosed lagoon harboring hundreds of beautiful islets.  Hopefully there will be some great snorkeling and diving.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
sunny and hot, stronger winds, turning to flat calm tonight
November 5th 2007 @ 22:30
8°40'48.00 S 157°49'4.80 E

Ship's Log:
It is close to 2230 hrs and I am the last one awake.  The deck is littered with bodies as the night is still hot.  I am still in my swimsuit and others also are sleeping in their suits.
Tonight Karen taught the entire ship about 5 basic moves of the Swing Dance.  This was all in celebration of Jordan´s 25th birthday, which is tomorrow.  It was so much fun and lasted a good 2 hours.  Karen had music to dance to.   Jordan had a blast and has some pretty good dance moves!  Karen and Antony also baked maple walnut iced cupcakes as birthday cake, and we sang a loud and boisterous Happy Birthday as Jordan blew out the candles.  We left our very roly anchorage this morning and moved deeper in to Nono Bay. The chief of Nineva came by the ship and gave us permission to visit any of the villages, islets, bays etc. in this area.  We found a perfect little “motu” and spent the entire afternoon there.  There was great snorkeling off the edge of a reef, where the drop off was deep and straight down.  The color and shapes of the coral was spectacular, and there were many colorful fish to look at.  Everyone snorkeled.  Then we just played, and played, and played.  It felt great; we´ve been moving a lot, and visiting villages and towns, meeting many people and having great cultural visits, but it felt good just to stop and be with each other off the boat, not moving, not motoring, not rolling, not checking out a new place . . . we are looking forward to slowing down and enjoying the water during the remainder of this leg.  People collected shells, played volleyball, Frisbee and football.  We dug massive holes the size of a large Jacuzzi in the glorious, yellow, continual sand.  Skipper husked a coconut and some of the new trainees were able to try it fresh for the first time.  Some trainees explored the island to find drinking coconuts, and a few of the fellows tried their hand at spear fishing.  The evening was gorgeous and the sun shone orange and blues as it went down.  Yesterday we had a marlin on the line that Chase figures weighed at least 250 lbs.  It was on the big line and pulled off the spool out from the rod.  It was flipping and jumping, giving us a great show. It charged toward the stern of the ship and managed to unhook itself and get away.  The lure was “boatmade” from the materials bought in Honiara the previous day; it was pretty exciting.  This is it, it´s time for bed.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
very, very hot and sunny, light winds, calm seas
November 8th 2007 @ 22:00
8°7'5.99 S 156°54'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
It´s another incredible evening; I wish you could really feel it. There is a slight breeze and the air is warm. The sky is clear and full of stars and the water makes small lapping noises as the wind blows on the waves.  Nearly everyone is up on deck because of the heat below; just Gillian is quickly grinding some wheat for the bread tomorrow morning.
Spots of light are scattered all over the deck; headlamps each offering just enough light to a trainee or crew who are busy writing, reading, listening to music, knitting etc.  Others are in groups, lying on the deck, in the dark, talking. Occasionally we´ll all hear out-of-control laughter over something funny, often from Tristan, Bec and Elske; laughter so infectious we all start laughing, wondering what we are missing. The atmosphere on deck is one of complete satisfaction and ease; this is our home, our floating home and we are at peace here.  We are becoming more in tune with each other, and to routine life aboard the ship.  We are perfectly placed in this community that we have created and it suits us.  At times we can even forget that we are so far from home, because this is home, this feels like home. We´ve had a good day. After breakfast we went through a very narrow passage called Diamond Narrows, between the islands of New Georgia and Kohinggo.
Skipper scouted it out with Antony last night in the zodiac.  We went through very slowly with the zodiac ahead.  All along the edges of the river, there were small, very simple homes with people waving and running to follow the ship as she made her way down the pass.  It was wonderful; it was beautiful, and I think the locals thought so too; there was something magical about being so close to land on both sides, seeing the people, connecting with them with a wave, a smile, or a good morning.  It felt like we were in the jungle because you could hear the birds singing and whistling in the trees, and the vegetation was so close to either side of us.  Brooks and Sam were up on the yardarm keeping an eye on shallow patches, while Jose was seated on the very top of the mainmast, taking photos.  It was a great little passage.  An hour after we came through the pass, in a small bay south of Tunguivili Point, we hove to for 2 hours of snorkeling.  There was a 100ft. cargo ship from the war which was on the bottom in about 55ft of water, lying on its side.  It was covered in very varied shapes of coral and colorful fishes were swimming in and around the stacks, masts, holes in the frames etc.  Trainees and crew could dive down and swim from one side to the other, looking in passageways and rooms.  Noah, Jacob and Simon came along too and were excited about what they saw.  A wonderful, very old man named Gideon told us it was “his” boat and that we were welcome to see it for a minimal fee of $20 Solomon (about $3); everything here costs something.   He was somewhat overwhelmed at the size of our group as dory load after dory load kept coming with snorkel gear!  We all chatted with him, let him know we were honest and good people, and I think in the end he enjoyed it.  We continued to motor until supper.  Just as it was beginning to get dark we had another visit by some carvers.  Skipper tried to tell them that most of us had bought carvings, but they were still interested in showing us their work.  They boarded, spread out their carvings and stayed quite a while.  It was a good visit, but near the end they kept asking for stuff:  “do you have____, or ____, can I trade for your headlamp,” etc.  It became a bit annoying, though we can understand their need and desire for these things. They were interested in shoes, clothing, headlamps, tools, fuel, peanut butter, meat, sugar . . . the list kept growing.  They even offered us wives because “the girls here like white babies” they said.  It was time to see them off.  We gave them fuel and peanut butter, as well as cash and exchanges for several of their carvings.  I think they still would have liked us to give them one of our “torches (flashlight)” to see by, but . . .we´re already down to a minimum.  It´s been a full day; the ship is quiet, everyone is asleep, the silence is stunning, it´s wonderful.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
mostly sunny, very, very hot, some clouds and light showers in afternoon, lightning in the evening
November 10th 2007 @ 22:30
8°5'53.99 S 156°50'24.00 E

Ship's Log:
It´s been an easy-going day with a variety of things happening, like a busy Saturday at home. We are anchored in the bay for a couple of days; Skipper will clear out of the Solomon Islands on Monday morning. On an island nearby are the untouched remains of a Japanese Naval Base.  We are hoping to go by it, but only if we can clear out here and continue on without having to return to clear out.  Last night was a very noisy night. The Gizo Bay Yacht Club had a Disco Night, which our trainees enjoyed until midnight, but the music went on well into the morning, echoing throughout the entire bay; it was quite annoying.  The morning was incredibly hot and it continued that way throughout the day.  We stayed wet and under the tarps.  This afternoon, trying to stay cooler, I was in the water with the boys for about 45 minutes, swimming and treading water while they snorkeled and played with the local kids in their small dug-outs, chasing and tipping each other. Andrew was with us; it was fun to mix with these beautiful little boys and girls who I think were just as fascinated to be playing with us.   When we finally climbed back on the ship though, we weren´t any cooler, just wetter, which helps for awhile.  We´re fortunate to be able to swim off the ship; it´s an advantage over being tied to a dock.  This morning Naomi, Susan, Victoria and Julie pulled out some of the instruments and worked together for several hours on chords and tunes, culminating in some very good playing and singing of some Mug-Up songs and Christmas Carols.  A large group of trainees and crew went snorkeling nearby at a Japanese ZERO plane wreck.  It is a very small plane: a one seater about 25 ft. below the surface. Many of the trainees and crew could get all the way down and actually sit in the cockpit.  The rest of us could get close enough to get a good look.  The starboard wing, the body, the cockpit and the propellers were all still there.  Skipper and Jordan did some filming with the underwater camera.  There was one small brightly colored red fish which hung out with us and managed to get its picture taken.  Gillian and Katie went shopping to the market and the small grocery shops but the pickings are slim; it is not an easy job supplying the boat, and offering the variety we are used to back home, in this part of the world.  I greatly admire and appreciate what Gillian and Katie do for us.   Brooks and Matt went surfing on the other side of the island; they said is was good and plan to return there tomorrow with Jordan.  They hired a fellow and a boat for several hours and he stuck with them, moving from place to place, transporting boards and returning them to the ship.  Sam, Arwen, Jacob, Noah and Simon went rowing in a dory to a nearby reef, where they all snorkeled and tried to spear some fish, which weren´t in abundance.  They saw lots of sea urchins with small bodies (10 cm in diameter) and very long, thin quills (about 30 cm long).  Several of the local kids rowed over in their dug-outs to check them out.  Actually, there were local kids around the boat all day, just looking, tipping their boats, and playing with my kids.  Tavish jumped into the water with them and tried out their dug-out. Sitting on deck for most of the day, it was enjoyable to hear the constant sounds of kids splashing and laughing just outside the perimeters of the rails.  There are also little birds sitting in the rigging.  They sound very pretty but they are pooping all over the deck and the tarps, not so nice.  Today was garbage day; the forepeak was full.  It isn´t always easy to figure out where the garbage needs to go.  Many of the places we´ve visited will not take it, and many have a special quarantine area where we need to bring it.  Nothing is as easy as it is back home; small jobs, errands we take for granted in North America, can easily become a half-day job out here.  We have a system on the ship for minimizing garbage and recycling anything we can, but with 37 people on board, we still end up with bags to get rid of.  After grocery shopping, Gillian explored the village and found a large group of young people from a church, gathered to play volleyball and soccer. She joined one of their 6 teams and her team ended up winning the round-robbin tournament. She loved it and said it was an amazing cultural exchange. The church invited her back tomorrow for a morning service and for a youth service in the afternoon.  I think a group from the ship is hoping to go in the afternoon.  After supper we had an amazing lightning and thunder storm; I was awed at how loud and bright it was; it was almost frightening.  It lasted about an hour.  Skipper says we have had so many lightning storms recently because of where we are and the temperature fluctuations.  The night is warm; everyone is up on deck in their suits or tank tops. The deck is covered in bedding; if you don´t stake your spot early on, you´ll end up with no space to sleep. We are very well and happy, our life is good.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
clear skies, hot temperatures, light breeze
November 11th 2007 @ 21:30
8°5'60.00 S 156°50'31.20 E

Ship's Log:
Today was remembrance day: we paused to remember for a minute at 1100hrs.  The Solomon Islands seem to be an appropriate place to think about all the soldiers who have died in wars everywhere: so many died here and we´ve talked about what a horrendous place this would be for those soldiers in the heat, so far from home and the familiar.
It has been a wet and cloudy day.  It was a nice change, though I don´t think it would take too long before we complained about the cold and damp.  On the boat, we live in the wet. Either we are hot and sweaty, and thus wet, or we are dumping buckets and swimming to keep cool, and thus wet.  We barely use towels, the sun dries quickly, and shorts just get pulled over our wet suits.  The guys wear and swim in their board shorts.  When it rains, we know we´ll dry again soon.  Gillian, Naomi and Julie went to a church service this morning.  When they arrived, Gillian was welcomed by one of her team-mates from yesterday´s volleyball game and encouraged to sit with the others of the team, second row from the front.  All three of our girls were welcomed publicly and asked to come forward and introduce themselves and this was followed by a round of hearty applause.  They enjoyed the service and understood most of the pidgin English that was spoken.  Brooks, Matt and Jordan left soon after breakfast for surfing: they were gone for most of the day and had a super time with good waves and terrific rain and wind squalls.  Several trainees, who weren´t able to snorkel yesterday at the Japanese zero war plane, had a chance to see it today.  Many crew and trainees remained on the ship in the morning doing different things.  Mid-morning the sky suddenly became very, very dark, the wind began to blow and everything around us was socked in grey.  Jose, Antony and Jordan were ashore, so Skipper, Karen, Sarah and I, along with some of the trainees worked together in the wind and the rain, lowering and stowing tarps, raising a dory, pumping out the zodiac, and resetting the anchor.  It went well with trainees knowing what needed to be done.  There was quite a bit of gear lying around the ship, i.e. from snorkeling, doing laundry etc. and that too needed to be dealt with or it could blow away.  Afterwards we all went below and dried up, made some tea and played cards or read.  Sara r. and Kaley have bought fabric and are sewing dresses for themselves.  Tiana also has bought fabric and hopes to make some pants.  It was quite cozy below, which was nice for a change.  Tav, Elske, Noah, Sam and Andrew lowered a dory and took a mast and tarp along with several other bits of paraphernalia and rowed upwind in the rain to explore an island.  It was awful weather when they left and it continued until they returned.  They had a lot of fun though.  they rowed upwind and then created a sail out of the tarp and sailed the dory downwind, back to the grace.  It worked reasonably well, good enough to want to row into the wind a second time so they could try downwind sailing again.  They were happy, cold and wet and looking forward to some hot chocolate when they came back.  The air is always warm though, which is so different from home.   In the afternoon Skipper, Jacob, Simon and I walked through and beyond the small village of Gizo.  Last April there was a tsunami here which devastated several villages, Gizo included.  Because Gizo is inside the bay, it wasn´t damaged as much as some of the nearby villages down the road.  We walked and saw the remaining foundations, the steps without a home, and the unicef and care homes that have been set up, further inland and up the hills as temporary accommodation for the families that lost their homes.  It was tragic to see: the force of the ocean upon the land and its people was devastating: Simon couldn´t stop asking questions.  We enjoyed walking through the village and amongst where the locals live.  We were without a camera, as I feel it just increases the already vast distance between our two cultures.  It was good to be where they were, in the woods, along a very muddyroad, smiling and waving to them, and chatting with some of them.  There is so much we don´t understand about each other because culturally, we are so far apart.  Yet, a smile, a hello, a wave, or just an honest look in the eye says, hopefully, to them, ´its okay, I care and am interested in you asa person and that´s enough for us for now.´  On the way home, we stopped in at church.  It was full of nicely dressed men, women and children. they smiled and welcomed us in and we enjoyed sitting and listening and looking around us.  They really are a beautiful people.  It felt good to be sitting in church, sharing something we had in common.  Supper was an hour later so people could stay for the entire service.  Gillian made dumplings and Chinese chow mien, very good.  The rain has returned off and on, and the wind has died down somewhat.   We have set up all three tarps again.  There are people sleeping on deck though the sky looks ominous. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
cloudy and rainy, much cooler
November 12th 2007 @ 22:30
8°3'11.99 S 156°48'10.80 E

Ship's Log:
We woke up to clouds and squally weather.  Those who remained sleeping on deck throughout the night had wet bedding needing to be dried out in the sun.  We are experiencing the end of a trough of low pressure, which should be moving ahead of us by the end of today.  Skipper cleared out with customs and immigration first thing this morning.  The contact he made in Honiara with the custom official came in helpful today, though we are not allowed to go to the Shortland Islands without returning to Ghizo Island to clear out again.  The fellow tried his best to give us the permission but apparently they´ve recently had trouble with someone taking advantage of the situation; so, it looks like the opportunity has been spoiled for honest people like us; that´s a shame.   Skipper and Antony are trying to find a 2-person dugout canoe for the Grace.  They are a lot of fun and would be easy to throw in the water and play around in at anchor.  We received a wonderful children´s book from Deb in the office, about the dugout canoes made on our coast.  It explains their history and how they are made; my boys love hearing it over and over again.  The dugouts we see everywhere here are probably made in quite a similar way.  We raised anchor and motored slowly around the island to a beautiful and incredibly peaceful lagoon which reaches nearly 2/3 of the way into the island.  It is beautifully quiet with just 2 very small villages tucked back into the trees.  We can´t even see them; we know they are there because as soon as we anchored, canoes of children, women and men came to look at the ship that sailed into their bay. Sometimes it´s a bit uncomfortable having them all stare at us. Sometimes they´ll stand up in their canoes, holding on to the rails, and peer over the sides and look at us and everything else there is to see.  The little kids are great.  They stay around the longest and the sounds of their playing, laughing and splashing are music; they know how to have fun, they have no main worries.  Today a woman and her 4 very small children came by, in a dugout, with flowers and a bag of small green peppers, long purple eggplants and a few tomatoes.  They were a gift, she said, for letting all the children come and look at the ship.  The vegetables came from her garden down the lagoon a ways, and when Katie asked what else she grew, she offered to sell us what she had.  Her name is Ruth and she sells her vegetables every Friday at the Gizo Market.  She canoed back an hour later with the bow of the dugout filled with green vegetables; a nice sight.  Both sides were happy; we had vegetables, and Ruth had some cash.  Later on around supper, 2 more women and a daughter came by, rowing a power boat, with more vegetables for sale; they must have been neighbors of Ruth´s who heard we were interested.  I really enjoy all these exchanges over very normal things and they are often the more memorable and meaningful bits of a visit.  We spent the afternoon swimming, reading, writing, knitting, sleeping, doing schoolwork, and playing chess, cards and Catan.  Sarah and Karen each taught a lesson.  After supper we had an excellent Sunday service.  Karen, Tony, and Jordan all spoke, and we sang several songs.  Jose and Gillian play the guitars, while Sarah B. and Antony played the mandolin.  The night is so quiet.  There are no lights from the small thatch-roofed and walled houses on the beach.  We can see where the villages are by the smoke that wafts up from their fires for cooking.  I love the smell.  Tomorrow we leave for Papua New Guinea.  We talked today about how strange that feels.  Papua New Guinea has always been so far ahead, so far away, the place we have more questions about than any other place we are visiting.  We have a passage of about 2-3 days ahead of us; it should be nice to be at sea again for a few days, though its been wonderful to slow down and, especially tonight, be anchored in such an idyllic spot.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice


Observations:
clouds and rain squalls in the morning, sun and hot temperatures in the afternoon and evening
November 13th 2007 @ 22:00
7°27'47.99 S 155°49'22.80 E

Heading 258°
Speed 5.4

Ship's Log:
We are motoring under a very star-filled and dark night sky.  On deck the temperature is perfect, body temperature and soft.  Below decks it is incredibly warm; uncomfortably so.  Trainees are sweating while they sleep. We raised anchor at 0800 with Tavish and Simon in the rigging checking for shallow patches, coral and coral heads.  We started the passage with the port and starboard course sails up, and sailed along slowly and idyllically for about 6 hours.  The decks were hot and everyone was crowded on the foredeck staying in the shade cast by the sails.  Elske, Kelly, Susan and Katie did exercises amongst us, with squats, sit-ups, push-ups, stretches etc.  Sarah B. and Katie then went bowsprit hanging.  Bowsprit hanging is when trainees put on harnesses and attach themselves to a line on the forward end of the bowsprit.  They hang in the water and let the boat pull them along on the bow wake; it´s lots of fun.  We allow it when the engine is off and our speed is slow.  Elske and Kelly went after them.  They all loved it and stayed out for at least ½ an hour.  When you come back on deck you feel like you´ve had a great workout, but it´s really that you´ve been hauled along and buffeted by the sea.  Our Noah loves to wrestle and letting him bowsprit hang is like one long wrestle with the water, he loves it. Trainees go out in pairs and wear shirts and shorts under their harness because the pressure of the water pulls a bathing suit completely out of place!  Today was a good day back at sea.  People settled into various activities; sleeping, reading, knitting, journaling etc . . . the usual. The chess tournament is down to 3 final players:  Brooks, Chase and Tavish. They´re drawing straws to see who plays next.  We put up one of the tarps over the helmsman and the watch officer and continually dumped buckets of salt water over the decks to try to make the decks somewhat cooler for walking on.  We poured many buckets over ourselves, just to keep wet and cooler.  Tavish spent the day sanding the fife rail, the rail around the mainmast in which all the belaying pins are fitted.  It´s a big job and it´s looking good.  Jordan did work watch with port watch; they sanded and oiled rails again.  The bright work on a wooden boat is constant.  When one set of rails, hatches, combings etc. is done, there´s always another set waiting. Jordan was having some trouble with the generator last night and spent most of the day figuring out what the problem was.  We used the motor to charge the batteries in the interim.  By 1700hrs he had it figured out and everything was running perfectly again.  Most of his day was spent in the 55 degrees Celsius engine room or in the lazarette; 2 of the most hottest and sweat-inducing places of the ship.  The lazarette is the very after end of the ship and is entered by a small and narrow passageway, it´s incredibly awkward to get into and to work inside of.  On one of his many trips out of the lazarette, he exclaimed that he felt like he was being reborn again every time he headed out of the lazarette and into the after cabin. Sometimes, he said, it even feels like 16 hours of labor, doing what he needs to do in there.  He definitely emerged from the ´birth canal´ wet and slippery and close to naked, in just his board shorts!  It is very hot in there.  We all had a good laugh over his analogy, a sense of humor is a handy attribute ´out here.´   I admire what Jordan does; his job is not easy, yet he keeps up an amazing attitude toward his work and keeps the boat in wonderful shape and working order.  Just before supper the wind suddenly picked up and we could see grey skies and rain coming toward us from the north.  We quickly closed all the hatches, grabbed shampoo and spent a wonderful 30 minutes having a fresh water rain squall shower; it felt terrific and was just what we all needed.  It kept most of us cool for quite awhile afterwards, especially if we stayed on deck in our wet suit.  What a gift that rain was, it perked all of us up, we were like little children in a fresh field of snow.   Karen, Sarah B. and Gillian have begun some Advent activities in preparation for Christmas.  Today everyone pulled a name out of a hat, of the person for whom they are to make a gift, with materials costing no more than $5.  We´ve done this on previous offshore trips and what comes out is truly amazing.  The names are meant to be kept secret though we will all be able to see the gifts in progress.  This is it for now, time for sleep, good night, Bonice.


November 14th 2007 @ 22:00
6°20'53.99 S 154°9'10.80 E

Heading 318°
Speed 5.8

Ship's Log:
We are heading toward the north end of the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea.  Rabaul is one of the main towns on the Gazelle Peninsula and this is where we will be clearing in.  We´ve read that it is supposedly quite nice and boasts one of the finest vegetable markets.  Our ETA is for tomorrow night around supper if conditions remain as they are now.  Just after supper we went from glassy, calm seas to light headwinds, though our speed has remained pretty well the same.  We lowered the jib, jumbo and foresail and are motoring with the trysail still up.  Kaley and Sam helped Tristan lower and furl the jib.  The sunset was gorgeous; seeing the sun come up and seeing it set is a big part of our day at sea.  At home it is easy to forget to notice the movements of the sun, moon and stars, whereas at sea, it frames our days.  The wind shifted several times today, though it was always light; we are in the latitude belt where winds are predominantly weaker.  It did allow us to do some sail handling though, up and down, up and down.  We woke up to cloudy skies and a squall that brought a cool wind but only light rain.  A few of us thought we had woken to a fresh water shower, but were dissappointed, the pressure wasn´t enough to do anything with.  Once the squall had passed, the sun heated everything up immediately and it remained very warm for the remainder of the day.  On deck now it is a perfect temperature.  Several trainees and crew have been bothered by a tummy bug of some sort; not major, but uncomfortable enough, especially away from home and in the heat.  Rachel and Brooks were a bit under the weather today.  Jordan had work watch with Karen´s watch; they sanded and oiled again and made a wonderfully long strip of baggywrinkle to wrap around the shrouds.  In the morning, volunteers had already made the first strip of baggywrinkle.  Baggywrinkle is a long, double line of marlin around which 15cm strips of hemp have been knotted.  These knots get bunched together until Jordan has about 50ft of it.  He then takes his strip of ´baggy´ and climbs the mast and wraps it tightly around the shrouds where it ends up looking like a 60cm length of fuzzy cat.  When the sail is up and let out so it rubs into the shroud (the cable supporting the mast from side-to-side), the baggywrinkle prevents the cloth from wearing through on the cable.  I like making baggywrinkle; it´s therapeutic.  You can let your mind wander or chat with fellow knot-ters.  It looks and feels like you´re doing something useful (which you are), but it´s actually quite wonderfully mindless.
Julie finished her cotton hat today; it looks great.  Chris has been busy doing an amazing drawing of some shells he found in Gizo.  He is using black and white and has some beautiful detail in it.  Tiana has finished hemming the edges of her sarong and continues to knit her scarf; it looks good and is getting long.  Mid-afternoon, we lowered sail, turned off the engine and had a swim stop.  It was wonderful . . . the water is so soft and it felt wonderful to be immersed in it rather than just to bucket oneself with it. Everyone had a chance to swim for 15 minutes with their watch, wash their bodies and hair, float and dive, hang on the bobstays etc.  It´s a real ´pick-me-up.´   While fore watch was in the water a sea turtle came by and stayed to let everyone touch it.  Usually the turtles are quick to get away and will dive deep, but this one seemed to need some company before it swam off again.  It was quite neat.   Crew and trainees are beginning to think of gifts they can make for each other.  It is easy to forget that Christmas is so close, though I´m pretty sure it´s quite evident back at home.  This is it for today, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
mostly sunny and hot
November 15th 2007 @ 22:00
4°44'35.99 S 152°39'46.80 E

Heading 335°
Speed 3.1

Ship's Log:
Light headwinds continued through last night and today.  After supper tonight they increased in strength and we are now crawling along at 3 knots. Our ETA keeps moving further into tomorrow.  Today was a very hot day: dealing with and discussing the heat is an ongoing part of our day.  Nothing too extraordinary happened today, it was a usual day at sea.  There were dolphins playing at the bow in the morning.  Yesterday we caught a 75lb marlin, but it got unhooked when it charged the boat.  Everyone did a massive tuck-n-tidy and wipe down of their bunks today.  Work watch with Jordan continued between 1300-1500 hrs today: more baggywrinkle, sanding, and varnishing.  On Antony´s watch he noticed about 200 coconuts and some coconut fronds floating by the boat, almost as if following a tideline.  It was a good day for starting a project:  Jose is sewing a ditty bag, Sara r. is knitting socks, and Tiana continues knitting on her scarf.  Thomas tried his hand at splicing rope and whipping the ends of it.  Jose also taught some trainees how to knot starknots and monkey fists, two very ornamental and attractive knots.  Naomi and Julie played backgammon, while there were several games of scrabble played on a travelling board brought by Thomas. The 2 smallest Anderson boys are still busy working on their wooden boats and have managed to get trainees involved in different aspects of its construction, i.e. designing, laminating wood, sawing, shaping, mast making, mast stepping, sail making, naming etc.  They love it and it´s kept them wonderfully busy.  The hints and support from the trainees is great, a true learning experience.  Today Victoria was sewing jibs, while Jacob was helping paint the hull green like the ´Pacific Swift´s.´   Others who have been involved are Tristan, Andrew, Chris and Sam.  We sighted land about 0900 hrs this morning.  Now we are alongside the long narrow island of New Ireland.  Though it is big, there are no lights to be seen, quite different from some of the other islands though obvious signs of civilization have been becoming less.  I mentioned that in the Solomon´s we thought we were in a quite and uninhabited bay because there was nothing to be seen, but then, dugouts or smoke could be seen that gave us clues to people´s whereabouts.  2 birthday wishes for today.  Jose would like to wish his Mom a great day, November 14 is her birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom, from Jose. Also, Kelly´s Mom is having her birthday on November 15 and Kelly would like to wish her mom a fantastic day.  Happy Birthday Mom, from Kelly.  This is it for now, early tomorrow morning we should be anchored in Rabaul, one of the busiest ports in Papua New Guinea. We´ll see what that means . . . things are so different in this part of the world.  We´ve learned to take everything we hear regarding a place, with a grain of salt, and have the patience to see what is really there, when we get there.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.





Observations:
sunny and too hot
November 16th 2007 @ 22:30
4°12'24.01 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
We are anchored off Rabaul in Blanche Bay, at the top end of new Britain Island in Papua New Guinea.  We welcomed Ryan to his country of birth: he spent the first year of his life here and proudly wears the ´bird of paradise´ of the PNG flag, tattooed on his back.  I discovered today that we are now in Melanesia.  In ´landfalls of paradise,´ a cruising guide for the South Pacific, Rabaul is cited as the South Pacific´s ´finest natural harbor . . . the most beautiful harbor in the south pacific.´  It is still recovering from the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tavurvur in 1994, which put Rabaul under 3-5m of volcanic ash.  Deep deposits of ash wetted by Rabauls normally abundant rainfall managed to destroy most of the buildings´ and Papua New Guinea government has decided to rebuild its offices at Kokopo, 25km down the coast.  Many businesses have moved there as well.  Rabaul was the capital of German New Guinea (end of 19th century), as well as trading headquarters for the trading empire of Samoan ´Queen Emma´ before WW1.  It was in the opening WWll battle for control of Rabaul that Australia lost its first lives in the pacific war.  The Japanese invaders made Rabaul their major regional base during the occupation years from 1942 to 1945 and dug countless tunnels into the hillsides to conceal supplies and equipment and provide bombproof quarters for troops.  Many of the wartime relics and earth installations can still be seen in the area (landfalls of paradise, p 212).  Our understanding of the war in the pacific continues as we learn more about this part of the world: it´s fascinating.  Some of the trainees were able to visit one of the Japanese bunkers that are still intact.  In the one hotel that has been rebuilt, there are all kinds of weapons decorating the lobby:  guns, rifles, bullets, bombs etc., not very cozy.  Brooks said that you can see the ash, several feet high, where it has been pushed aside to build the roads and has now solidified into the soil layer.  When we motored into the bay, which is indeed a beautiful harbor, we could see the smoke coming out of Mt. Tavurvur.  Tonight, it glows orange and the ash is mounting in a plume up into the sky.  apparently it has been smoking off and on steadily since the eruption in 1994.  We were anchored by 0900 hrs and had to wait for an hour for the customs and immigration people to arrive.  We immediately put up the three tarps, wet our crew shirts to stay cooler, and sat in the shade talking, playing scrabble, knitting, reading, stitching etc.  It was very comfortable and people were relaxed about waiting.  Katie had made a delicious lunch which she set out early and let us help ourselves to.  We moved our clock back another hour this morning.  We are now 18 hrs ahead of victoria.  By 0930 hrs this morning, Katie had baked 8 dozen muffins, a pot of porridge, 4 dozen whole wheat oatmeal buns, and  5 loaves of banana bread.  I thought that definitely deserved to be put into the log, I was impressed, I am constantly impressed by what Gillian and Katie are able to do in the galley for us.  Most of the trainees went ashore and explored.  Andrew said that Rabaul was like nothing he´s ever seen before, and other trainees echoed that feeling.  The road from where the old Rabaul lies under ash to where the new Rabaul is being restored is layered ash and very interesting.   Scott found a beautiful basket: the weaving is intricate and the dyed browns used to color the fronds are stunning.  The market is good. Gillian and Katie were able to find some vegetables, and Tiana bought oranges and fresh lychee nuts, which she shared with us.  On the dock where we waited for the dory there were 20 or so young kids jumping and swimming off the dock.  Thomas climbed a piling and invited them all to play, upon which they cheered and followed him in.  Jose has some great photos of these happy, playful children.  On the ship Jordan, Tav, Jacob, and Simon were sanding the lids of the deck boxes, preparing them for varnishing.  Noah and Simon did their lessons without too much fuss.  Skipper prepared a schedule of places and dates for visits between now and the end of the leg.  Before supper, he presented it to the trainees, reminding them that it is always open for revision.  We had a bit of time to swim off the ship before we ate pasta Jambalaya and salad.  The very informal Rabaul yacht club offered music and drinks for interested trainees tonight.  They will be returning to the ship soon.  Naomi would like to wish her Uncle Al a Happy Birthday for November 15, Happy Birthday, from Naomi.   As well, she wishes her Gramma Qualicum a fantastic 70th birthday, also November 15, Happy Birthday Gramma, from Naomi.  It is a beautiful night once again, a wonderful reprieve from the intense heat of the day: we look forward to it.  Most of us will be sleeping on deck and spots are already being spoken for and slept in.  The moon is waxing slowly, the night is clear, and the light breeze is absolutely delicious.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
sunny and hot, light breeze
November 17th 2007 @ 22:00
4°12'24.01 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
Today was a very full and wet day.  Most people are sleeping below as the deck is soaked, the tarps are up to give us shelter out of the rain, and to be able to open the hatches to down below. Jordan, along with several of the crew got fuel today.  They met two brothers from Australia who have grown up here, but who were sent to Canada to finish their grade 8-12 schooling; they studied at Shawnigan Lake School just north of Victoria on Vancouver Island  . . .  sometimes itB9s a small world.  After a bit of work on Skipper and JoseB9s part, and with the help of our shipping agent Jelta, we had 2 vans with drivers to take trainees to some nearby sights.  Before we were even in the vans, we were soaked due to rain.  Many of the roads were washed out; we were driving down what looked like a river, the drivers slowly making their way around the biggest of the potholes.  We were pretty sure we would be pushing the vans at some point during the day.  Our first stop was Mount Tavurvur, the active volcano.  A chasm had opened up on the ash and the vans had to stop; from there we walked about an hour, gazing at the indescribable landscape and destruction of the ash and lava that flowed out of the volcano on 2 separate dates.  Our guide was very knowledgeable about the area and the events of the past 150 years.  It was so interesting, captivating, yet tragically sad to see how changed and seemingly irreparable that area of land was.  There were spots in the bay where the water burned out feet at the beach edge.  Springs offered boiling salt water, it was amazing.  The silt of the ash mixed with the water formed the softest paste I have ever felt.  A year ago, on October 7, the volcano erupted with lava, spewing pumice and boulders from its crater.  The boulders exploded into the water creating a tidal wave that pushed the water 500 m up the beach, moving the big boulders with it.  The area looks like a moonscape with hundreds of massive ash dunes, with crevasses moving down them at various places, from the rains.  The vegetation was destroyed and many fish were found floating dead.  There are now just coconut trees, suffering under the ash.  I don´t think they are expected to make it.  We lifted huge boulders with one hand; rocks filled with air spaces that would float when you threw them in the water.  A handful of pumice stones floated on the surface before sinking when the small air holes filled with water . . . it made one think. There were still a few remnants of buildings, steel frames, cement foundations, but not much; most of the infrastructure was covered and pushed over.  The sound was that of winter surf at Long Beach, breaking constantly, and a huge mushroom of steam wafts out 24 hrs. a day.  Everywhere around the base and slopes of the volcano are plumes of steam and it smells like sulfur. From here we visited several Japanese war sights.  First was General Yamamoto´s bunker with a 3 shooter gun outside.  Brooks, Andrew, Sean and Sam seemed to know something about it and Jacob was fascinated.  The bunker was built into a hill, with several narrow stairways, 2 rooms and 2 round rooms 1m in diameter with maps and charts with markings, longitudes, latitudes etc. on them . . . all very interesting and unclear. We visited the Japanese war veteran memorial up on a hill.  It was partly covered in ash, but had been cleaned up.  We were then taken 20 minutes inland, past many people and small villages, lush vegetation with lots of banana and mango trees, to the Japanese submarine base.  This is on the south coast and was where the Japanese submarines brought their supplies from Japan to the soldiers fighting.  This is where the B3Tokyo ExpressB2 began, which took these supplies further east towards and into the Solomon Islands.  The coral extends about 20 m. from the beach and then drops off to depths of 75m.  The submarines could come right up to the reef and the men could walk on the coral, and unload supplies.  Other than at one small piece of beach, the coastline here is cliff only and there are tunnels from the water up through the cliffs to carry the supplies to higher spots on the shore.  We walked through several of these tunnels, saw some more bunkers and artillery and had a chance to snorkel on the reef.  It really is quite something.  One of our guides, George, lost a toe because of the war and was helped by a Japanese soldier.  He proudly showed us his 4-toed foot, and said he was about JacobB9s age and remembers it.  The rain poured the entire time we were at the base; by the time we left, we were soaked through. We were returned in the vans to the fuel dock where Jordan and Skipper were just finishing up.  It was a great day; we were happy and wet and tired.  We anchored in our original spot and had a chance to jump in the ocean and rinse the sand off our bodies before supper.  The evening was filled with writing, reading, music and games.  We celebrated JulieB9s 20th birthday today with lots of singing, a great tour, and blond brownies with a burning candle.  Simon reminded us all that he spent his 6th birthday also climbing a volcano, but in Hawaii.  This should be a memorable birthday.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
very wet day, regular torrential downpours, wind
November 17th 2007 @ 22:00
4°12'24.01 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
Trouble with sending.  Short messages only.  Filing detailed logs.  Excellent day: Julie´s 20th birthday. Very wet.  Visited volcano: landscape and damage absolutely mind boggling.  Visited Japanese wartime landmarks:  General Yamamoto´s bunker, Japanese war veteran memorial, submarine base for bringing in supplies from Japan, various guns, underground tunnels, cannon etc.  Roads turned to rivers but didn´t get stuck.  Pray for satellite to work so you can get the details.  Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
very wet day, torrential rain showers, strong winds
November 18th 2007 @ 22:00
4°12'24.01 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
Happy b-day Julie´s Dad. Everyone snorkelled in bay at ´beehives.´ 2nd visit to volcano. Easy afternoon. Big rain/wind squall in evening, watched ´Letters from Iwa Jima´ together, about Japanese in WWll. Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny and hot, some clouds in afternoon, wind gusts, rain squalls in evening
November 18th 2007 @ 22:00
4°12'24.01 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
We woke up to sunshine again; always nice after a wet day.  After breakfast we raised anchor and moved 1km within the bay to a huge rock called the ´Beehive.´  We spent an hour snorkeling and climbing the rock/island, and jumping into the water from its sides.  There were some beautiful clown fish swimming and eating amongst the soft-armed anemones. They swam quite close to us.  There were also black and white striped fish in large groups, also clustered around one particular type of coral, very beautiful.  We saw some sea snakes with their bands of black and white. They are poisonous so we gave them lots of room.  We returned to our original anchorage and after lunch brought trainees ashore. A few people, who weren´t able to visit the volcano yesterday, organized a trip there today.  The volcano was less active and they were able to hike up to the lip of the crater.  It was awesome they said, a ´once in a lifetime chance.´  Aboard the ship, most people read.  The Anderson boys did their lessons, Sarah B. played guitar, Julie really finished her hat, Ryan had his hair cut short with the shaver, and Kelly did some creating with shells she´s been collecting. Susan played Playmobile with Simon when he was done school . . .knights and horses and armor.  A group of 3 local kids came by on a surfboard to say ´good day,´ giggling and looking.  There was a nice breeze this afternoon which made being on board somewhat more comfortable.  It has been more difficult to meet the local people as we have been repeatedly warned to be careful and to travel in large groups.  The town feels less safe, though people in the outlying villages seem quite friendly.   In the city, people seem more surprised to see us and not sure how to react; it´s too bad the interactions aren´t there, but we´ve decided to heed all the warnings and suggestions.  Some of the crew and trainees have made some contacts through the hotel and through errands that brought them to people. Skipper met a tug-boat operator from Australia, who´s been working this coast for 20 years; he´s been a great resource.  Another few fellows, brought up here, but originally from Australia, have also been able to offer help, information and advice. Tonight after supper everyone went to the ´yacht club´ (basically a roof with tables underneath where one can stay dry, feel protected and buy a drink),  and watched the film “Letters from Iwa Jima,” a story about the Americans taking the island of Iwa Jima back from the Japanese during WWII.  Sunday service was cancelled until tomorrow because the wind and the rain soaked the entire deck and we were unsure how long into the evening it would continue.  Julie would like to wish her dad an amazing birthday, today November 18. Happy Birthday dad, from Julie. This is it for now, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny and hot, some clouds in afternoon, rain/wind squall in
evening
November 19th 2007 @ 22:00
4°12'24.01 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
We are still anchored at Rabaul, waiting out some weather and getting
some jobs off the list. Our plan was to go to the business center of Kokopo=
,
but the harbor there is unprotected and winds have created big seas, making
it difficult to bring crew and trainees ashore.  We=B9ve decided to remain
here and people can bus cheaply to Kokopo.  Several trainees took the bus
today and enjoyed wandering and exploring the town.  After breakfast we hel=
d
Sunday service on deck.  Trainees went ashore with a lunch and did various
things.  Tristan, Ryan and Robyn played golf at Kokopo Golf Course.  Scott
and Chase are participating in a fishing derby; we=B9ll hear how they did
later on.  The sky remained cloudy today though the temperature was warm; w=
e
still stayed under the tarps.  Even on cloudy days we seem to get sunburned=
.
Mid-day those of us who were on the ship, looked up briefly to see a sheet
of wind and rain coming toward the bow of the ship at an incredible speed.
With amazing rapidity everyone grabbed whatever was on deck, lowered tarps,
and tied down life jackets.  Skipper even had Jordan start the engine in
case the anchor began to drag.  Jose raced ashore in the zodiac with the
cooks, getting them to the dock just before the squall hit him.  It was
awesome; I loved how everyone noticed the change in the weather and reacted
immediately. This evening we had another similar squall; the decks are now
wet and people will have difficulty finding a dry spot to spread their
bedding.  Onboard today Julie pulled out the dremel kit and did some fine
work with shells and line.  Sarah B. was painting with watercolors, while
below, Bec, Victoria, Chris and my younger boys were working on Christmas
cards and coloring.  Gillian and Karen are making an advent calendar
together.  The crew is trying to make arrangements with various contacts
we=B9ve made here to get certain jobs done.  Milton the tug operator gave us
some charts for areas we still need, Bruce at the hotel is helping the cook=
s
and finding transportation, Jelta the shipping agent is great and also
helping us find mechanics, refrigeration experts, transportation, wholesale
food outlets etc., and Oliver, Nathan and their father Paul, owners of
Mobile Fuel, have also assisted with all kinds of favors.  They have also
invited the entire boat, crew and trainees, to their new home tomorrow in
Kokopo, for a catered dinner and housewarming party!  We are very excited.
He is arranging all the transportation to and from Kokopo, 45 minutes from
Rabaul.  This evening a group of girls started =8Cevening exercises;=B9 they
followed it with a dip and clean in the ocean, in the dark.  The temperatur=
e
here allows us to do that; the evenings are actually quite comfortable if
you stay on deck.  A big part of our stay here has been the awareness of
living in view of an active volcano.  All night and all day, huge wafts of
steam and smoke emanate from the crater.  At night it glows red, and the
clouds above reflect some of this color along with a grayish hue from the
moonlight.  It=B9s quite something.   Naomi would like to wish her dad a
fantastic day on his birthday, today November 19.  Happy Birthday dad, from
Naomi.  The night is late, trainees are about to come home.  Until tomorrow=
,
good night, Bonice.


Observations:
cloudy,very variable weather
November 21st 2007 @ 22:30
4°12'24.91 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
two absolutely amazing and very busy days.big grocery shop yesterday an=
d today in kokopo with jelta,our shipping agent,a great guy.amazing dinner =
yesterday evening with paul blewitt and his 3 sons at their wonderful home.=
anchored at kokopo this morning, 3 hrs along the coast.wind strengthened,ha=
rbor not safe so returned to rabaul for night.leaving tomorrow for duke of =
york islands.final day to visit kokopo and finish errands for ship.we´ve ha=
d some amazing interactions with friends we´ve made:learned so much about t=
his country and its people already but feel there are so many ´unknowns´ be=
tween png culture and ours.we continue to be careful but we find the people=
 very friendly.weather very variable and wet.happy birthday to betsy from j=
ulie and to thomas´ brother.happy birthday from julie and thomas.good night=
,bonice.


Observations:
cloudy but warm, wind in the afternoon, rain in the evening
November 22nd 2007 @ 22:00
4°12'24.01 S 152°10'30.00 E

Ship's Log:
Last night was an incredibly windy and stormy night; we probably had th=
e
strongest and longest bout of rain and wind so far; I can=B9t imagine what a
cyclone would be like, when the wind doesn=B9t stop.  With the squalls we=B9ve
been experiencing regularly the past week, the weather is intense, but we
know that after 20-30 minutes the wind will subside and calm seas or light
winds will resume.  Skipper visited our friends the Blewitts at Mobile Fuel
and was able to download all kinds of weather and 72hr forecasts from their
computer.   He was also able to finally pass on the detailed logs of the
past 3 days.  Internet and satellite communication is very off and on in
Papua New Guinea.  Enjoy the logs.  Skipper decided to remain an extra day
to wait out the low pressure systems that are bringing such wet, windy and
variable weather.  We have a safe harbour and an amazing shipping agent tha=
t
makes us feel so safe here.  Jelta has worked with the top line of police
enforcement here in Papua New Guinea and as long as we stay with him, we ar=
e
safe.  People everywhere know him and listen to him; he has shared some
amazing stories about his work here, about the people who live here and
their lives, their expectations etc.  He also shared personally about some
of his struggles and outlooks on things. Fascinating.  The day was spent
waiting out weather.  Some of the trainees went ashore after lunch either t=
o
be at the yacht club or the nearby hotel lobby to read, write and play
cards, or to wander through town picking up supplies for Christmas gifts;
there are several pieces of wood being worked on, leather is being turned
into something, and the sewing machine has been pulled out though we=B9re
having trouble getting it to stitch properly.  Tristan, Tav and Jordan were
working on the mainsail, fixing several small rips in the cloth.  Simon has
begun a new boat, a longer and narrower one for speed, an Emergency vehicle=
.
He=B9s been chiseling out the cockpit and sanding it all day, with various
trainees helping out and offering advice. Many trainees have bought a
DIGICELL phone and card which allows them to phone from the boat the entire
time we are in PNG.  It=B9s quite something to be able to speak across the
world so easily.  Gillian is sewing pants for her teddy bear, trying to gai=
n
points for the starboard-side sleepers in the on-going BINGO game.  All
throughout the day we have had rainsqualls with wind, followed by a drier
period.   Today we celebrated American Thanksgiving with an amazing supper
of roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, salad, stuffing,
cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.  Delicious.  The 4 American trainees,
Chase, Scott, Julie and Kelly, helped Katie with the cooking and cleaning
and did an amazing job.  After dishes there was a Mug-Up ashore under the
roof at the Yacht Club. Trainees are trying to sleep on deck, but my guess
is we will all be sleeping below by the morning. Happy Thanksgiving Day to
everyone, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly cloudy and rainy with wind squalls
November 23rd 2007 @ 21:30
4°13'5.99 S 152°26'49.20 E

Ship's Log:
We are anchored in Mioko Harbour on Mioko Island off the bottom of Duke
of York Island, just slightly northeast of Rabaul.  We left the Gazelle
Peninsula on New Britain Island before noon, after Skipper revisited Paul
Blewitt and his sons at Mobile Fuel to check the weather on their computer.
They have been very good to us and we hope to keep in touch.  On one of the
final nights at the yacht club, their son Oliver joined the trainees for
cards, talking and a coke.  The night was incredibly wet and everyone ended
up sleeping below decks, even Skipper, who often braves out the night on
deck anyways, thanks to an excellent mattress donated to him by Stephen
Duff.  It rained hard all night and all morning; it reminded us of a winter
rainy day in Victoria, grey skies and continual rain.  Only, we all still
swam in the ocean and rinsed off in the fresh water that gathered in the
buckets and tarps.  The 3 Anderson boys and Chase spent all morning playing
in the water, teaching Simon to dive from the zodiac edge and also to jump
in from the rail of the ship.  Noah, Jacob, and Chase, plus some more
trainees, set up the outhaul rope to swing into the water.  We were all
comfortably cool and making cups of tea and soup.  Several evenings ago, I
was moving from the foc´sle with Simon to the after cabin when it was
absolutely pouring with rain.  When I got to the top of the forward
companionway, Sean was standing by with a huge umbrella, ready to escort
Simon and I to the stern of the ship; a very friendly offer and one we took.
All the tarps are up again.  Just after we anchored and were swimming off
the boat, an incredible grey-black sky developed and within minutes a deluge
of sheet rain and wind hit us and the surrounding area.  It was
exhilarating, awesome, unbelievable . . . we could see it coming, consuming
the pass, the island and the sky in its darkness.  We stood on deck and
watched, rinsed and shivered.  The rain continued well into the evening and
still goes on in spurts.  It is nice to be somewhat cooler.  The passage
from Rabaul to the Duke of York Islands took about 4 hours.  We were able to
have the charts that Milton the tug operator gave us, copied in Kokopo.  The
nuns at a Catholic School run a stationary workshop and copied 8" x 14"
sections of each chart at a time and taped them together; they worked
wonderfully.  We had a bit of intense rocking and rolling, reminding us to
secure our gear, but after 2 hours we were again in the lee of some islands
and the motion stabilized.  The sea was calm and the rain let up all
afternoon.  We spent the afternoon doing various jobs.  Sara R. finished her
first sock and feels incredibly satisfied with it.  We are wondering whether
anyone will receive the pair as their secret gift this Christmas.  More
questions of a similar kind are being asked as trainees and crew begin
making their gifts.  We are not sharing names but we can all see the gifts
in process.  We wonder who will be receiving the gift we see being made or
wonder whether it will be us, because we like what we see.  So far we are
seeing game boards i.e. Mancala being started, leatherwork, jewelry being
carved and shaped from mother of pearl shells (bought in the Tuamotus just
for this purpose), water color drawings being painted . . . just to give you
an idea.  Caley and Rachel have headed up a stocking-making team and the
group has already hand-sewn 20 of them.  Gillian and Katie have begun
looking for items to fill them.  Scrabble has become a big hit among the
trainees and crew.  Kelly and Bo played several games of Slap Scrabble and
created puzzles that motivated them to create their own crossword puzzle
books.  They photographed one of their completed puzzles and will work in
reverse until it will be a grid with blanks and black squares with clues
going horizontally and vertically for others to figure out.  Karen, Tiana
and Susan have started their pants, vying for the spot on the BINGO board.
Jose and Antony also have plans to create pants of their own and have been
given a deadline by the judge to kick start them into motion.  Antony has
also been very busy the past few weeks on a Christmas present for his
special not-so-secret friend . . . no more details allowed.  We have all
enjoyed watching him put it together, giving him valuable advice along the
way.  The Chess Tournament is now officially complete.  Brooks is the
Champion, with Tavish close behind.  Chase is third runner-up.  Tavish and
Elske spent the day sewing pieces of leather onto the safety lines between
the after stanchions; they finished all of them and they look great.
Tonight after dishes a group of trainees and crew got together to discuss
and explore what it is they believe.  Several trainees have asked for
something very informal which gives those who are interested a chance to ask
questions, offer their thoughts, or just to listen to what belief systems
others have explored.  It is now very late and time for bed.  Enjoy the
detailed logs which Skipper was able to send thanks to Mobile Fuel yesterday
and today.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mainly wet day, warm temperatures
November 23rd 2007 @ 22:30
4°13'5.99 S 152°26'49.20 E

Ship's Log:
Wet night, everyone ended up below.1200hrs left Rabaul, anchored Mioko harbor 4hrs later, bottom end of duke of York islands. Terrific rainsquall before supper. Everyone swam off boat and rinsed in fresh rain water. Simon learned to jump off side of ship. Nice afternoon working on projects mostly for Christmas. Sara r finished sock. Happy birthday to Tav´s Dad, Ross, November 21. Happy birthday dad, from Tavish. All well and happy, Arwen made delicious cupcakes as the galley was somewhat cooler. Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mainly wet with warm temperatures
November 24th 2007 @ 21:00
4°13'48.00 S 152°27'10.80 E

Ship's Log:
We woke up to a wet morning, meeting briefly on deck for a reading about the islands from Lonely Planet and singing grace for breakfast.  We ate down below, cozy and warm together.  Katie had made delicious granola with almonds and sunflower seeds, and yogourt.  We haven´t had sunflower seeds since Tahiti (August).  I continue to write to you about these small things that make a difference, or, that become more important than they would be at home.  It´s good; we are more appreciative of what we are so blessed with in Canada and the States.   We moved the anchor deeper into the bay, closer to the village of Palpal.  Immediately outrigger canoes with men, women and children rowed over to have a look at us.  One woman had her two small kids with her and asked if we wanted vanilla beans, 2K per bean, about 75cents a piece.  She handed over a plastic bag with probably 100 dried beans and let Katie sort through them.  Some trainees met other local people in the village who also sold them beans; it´s an amazing price.  In Tahaa, in French Polynesia, they also grow vanilla beans, but they cost much more. The boat smells quite nice now, vanilla beans are stashed throughout the ship.  The smells on the ship can get to be quite something . . . wet laundry, salt water washing, waiting laundry, lots of sweating, produce going bad under bunks, etc.  We do our best but . . .  Skipper and Jordan went ashore to visit the chief and find out what our options and restrictions were in this area.  The people were very friendly and welcoming, asking us to join them in a funeral service for a young boy this afternoon, joining them in music tonight and in playing soccer tomorrow. The young people of the village are incredibly interested in us and asked questions of those who went ashore and wanted to hear ´our´ stories tonight at the Mug Up.  Many of the people have lighter colored hair.  When I asked Jelta, he explained that this area of Papua New Guinea is known for their fairer-haired and skinned people.  It is all natural; almost red or blond. They have wonderfully frizzy hair that sticks out; sometimes it is corn-rowed down, or pulled back in little ponytails, but mostly it just stands out beautifully from their gorgeous faces.  The men and women have simple tattoos on their faces and these signify what area of the island they are from.  The symbols bind them together as brothers and sisters and when abroad, i.e. Kokopo on New Britain, they feel safe when they see others with similar markings.  A small boy named Frances rowed to the ship and offered us pawpaw, or papayas, for sale at 5K ($3) for 2 huge ones.  Gillian and Katie also bought bananas and green beans.  Skipper and Jordan arranged 2 local boats to take everyone snorkeling on the reef for an hour or so.  The snorkeling was mediocre but it always feels good to be in the water, focusing on what is there.  Many of the fish were small, but very beautiful and colors were vibrant.  The smaller fish were almost translucent they were so slim and delicate.  The sea urchins are incredible with their 35cm long thin needles, housed deep in caves in the rock.  A few trainees went ashore and were welcomed by 60 children who took them on a walk to the remainder of Queen Emma´s house.  Queen Emma was queen because of personality; she was born in Samoa of an American father and a Samoan mother.  She was the image of promiscuity.  She started a trading business with her second husband at Mioko in the Duke of York Islands in 1878.  She extended her empire to include plantations, a number of ships and a string of trade stores.  Whole provinces became hers in return for a few trinkets.  Men found her irresistible and she held big parties with visiting German naval ships and traders, and Samoan protégés.  Brooks and Sam tried eating betelnut with the locals.  They both said they felt something different, but also that it was disgusting.  The betelnut looks like a small green mango.  It is halved and inside is a soft pit the size of an almond.  They take a bite of the pit, chew it, and add lime, and keep chewing.  The lime, which they grind down from the coral, creates instant salivating and a bright red colour.  The mixture gets chewed for about 10 minutes with regular spitting out of the red saliva and pieces of the pit.  All over the roads are smears of redness - spat out betelnut - and signs everywhere caution people against spitting betelnut on the premises.  Chewing betelnut does something awful to the teeth and gums of the people here.  There is a high incidence of tongue, throat, and gum cancer.  Lime is highly corrosive and people here (as well as in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands) have red lips and teeth (teeth if they´re lucky, many just corrode away and fall out, leaving bloody-looking toothless smiles).   There are even kids with red teeth; it´s quite sad. Many trainees stayed aboard this afternoon and worked on Christmas presents or had fun swimming and swinging.  Jacob taught Andrew how to dive and tweaked some of Tavish´s diving skills for him.  The 3 Anderson boys were in the water most of the afternoon, finally clean again.  Kelly, Chase, Elske, and Karen were making jewelry out of mother of pearl shell, using coping saws, sandpaper, and belt sanders.   Tristan, Tiana, Tavish, Thomas, Arwen and Jacob were working with wood using a power planer, hand plane, sand paper, clamps, and a hand saw.  Susan, Caley and Gillian were sewing, and Julie and Tiana were knitting.  It was a veritable Santa´s workshop, very industrious and noisy, with plenty of shavings and shell splinters everywhere.  There was a wonderful mug-up ashore tonight with about 400 locals there, huddled together under a roof, sitting in trees, clustered around the edges.  We brought guitar, mandolin, the marquesian drum, and the violin.  Elske let the women try the violin and they squealed and giggled in embarrassement when it made a sound.  There were many kids who just adored Noah and his drumming.  We laid the large marquesian drum horizontal and kids came to drum with him.  It was a wonderful evening and everyone returned to the ship energized by it.  They have invited us to their church service tomorrow and to a game of soccer in the afternoon.  The night is wet again, we are cozy and dampish under the tarps, but it isn´t cold.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly cloudy today with some rain squalls, some sun
November 24th 2007 @ 22:00
4°13'48.00 S 152°27'10.80 E

Ship's Log:
Great day. Visited Palpal, small village. Very friendly people, very interested in us. Vanilla beans for sale. Snorkelling on reef. Santa´s workshop on ship in afternoon. Some trainees walk ashore with 60 kids. Grand mug-up ashore in evening with instruments. 400 locals attend. Cloudy and wet today. Some sun peeked through in afternoon. Fun swimming off boat. Invited to church and soccer tomorrow. Good night,bonice.


Observations:
mostly cloudy, rain squalls and some sunny periods
November 25th 2007 @ 22:30
4°13'48.00 S 152°27'10.80 E

Ship's Log:
We´ve had a very full day.  Last night was the first in awhile with minimal rain and more people remained on deck till the morning.  So far the day has stayed dry and there are quite a few sleepers on deck already.  A group of trainees went to church ashore at 0900hrs.  Though the sermon was somewhat ´hell, brimstone and fire-ish,´ the locals were thrilled to have visitors to their church.  Jose led our group in a few songs, borrowing their guitar, and when it was time to go, the pastor had all our crew and trainees line up outside so every member of his congregation could shake hands with their visitors.  Frances returned this morning from an island across the bay.  He stood in his dugout and peered over the side making conversation and looking; he has a beautiful smile like many children here. He wanted a pencil and I gave him one; such a small thing for us, yet a gift for him.  Another girl, Bonnie, accompanied us on a walk and asked if I had any gum for her.  She ended up rowing out to the boat with a small sibling in her wooden dugout outrigger, bringing a bag of star fruit and limes to get some gum, as I didn´t have any on me ashore.  She was so excited over a small bag of chewing gum, a big beautiful smile on her face, and ´thank you, thank you, bye, bye´ waving and rowing at the same time as the wind was picking up and she needed to get home again.  Everywhere we went ashore there were lots and lots of children; it was wonderful, it was wonderfully overwhelming.  They stared and stared at us, never getting enough, just like us; we were quite something to them as well.  We spent the entire day with the people of the two neighboring villages of Palpal and Mioko.   After lunch we went ashore and had 3 games of soccer with them.  They played hard and were excellent players; it was good soccer and our trainees were exhausted.  Mioko played once against us, and Palpal played twice; our players having no rests and no spares.  They realized and felt how little exercise they have been getting.  The entire population of the 2 villages sat around the perimeters of the field and watched; small ones played and ran, mothers nursed babies and scolded children, young people chatted and laughed, men chewed on their betelnut and spat, it was very festive, a true Sunday afternoon feeling.  After the games, we all sat around the field with the locals that stayed behind, which was quite a few.  Interesting to see was that single male trainees would be encircled by a group of locals of approximately the same age, asking questions, talking animatedly with each other.  Thomas was alone with about 15 young fellows and they shared with him how we are the first group, apart from foreigners who have moved in to help for a period of time, who have shown an interest in the people and stayed to interact with the local people.  They do have a few boats who come to look, but they tend to leave quickly again.  He said, ´they aren´t interested in us.  Why are Canadians so nice?´  Julie and Naomi were each surrounded by young girls wanting to hold their hands and be their friends, giving gifts of bead and feather bracelets and necklaces.  Naomi had brought a set of jacks with her and taught the children how to play, they loved it and she always had a group of little ones around her, trying to throw the ball and pick up the jack.  After soccer Elske and Bec played a game of volleyball with the girls (who didn´t play soccer; it seems segregated that way, just like in Vanuatu).  The male trainees swam with followers of kids, to a nearby tree overhanging a sandy beach and played with the kids in the water.  Just before the zodiac came at 1700hrs to bring us back to the ship, Tristan, Tav, Arwen, Bec and Elske had a large group of the children playing toss football in a large circle . . . the children just love it.  As we moved through the village, people wanted to shake our hands and exchange names with us, several joining our walk to the end of the spit.  The people are very friendly.  Simon and Jacob initially felt quite uncomfortable and overwhelmed, but by the end of the afternoon, they were running around the field with the local boys, all of them tickling each other with long pieces of grass.  The village children were interested in our boys, asking their names over and over again, and how old they were and in what grade.  This information would be passed on from child to child and we would then ask each one of them what their name was and how old, what grade etc. They wanted to touch Simon´s hair and skin, and checked out my wrinkly hands and finger nails. Bec said they were intrigued by her freckles.  When we left, the beach was covered in children waving good-bye with their older siblings and parents standing behind them; quite something. On the ship, Santa´s workshop was in full swing.  There are some beautiful pieces of jewelry being made; trainees and crew are quite excited about what they can make with just a few tools, shells and some hard work.  After supper tonight we held our own service with several crew and trainees sharing why their faith matters.  Supper was delicious; spaghetti with meat sauce, beans and fresh garlic bread.  This is it, Skipper will try to send the November 23rd detailed log out soon, hopefully with this one.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly cloudy, some sun, no rain
November 26th 2007 @ 22:30
3°29'35.99 S 151°44'34.80 E

Heading 310°
Speed 6.2

Ship's Log:
Today we swam with whales.  About 1430 Noah sighted a whale and we watched them swim towards the ship, there was a pod of them.  They were quite small, but much larger than dolphins or porpoises.  Initially we thought they may be pilot whales, but after having a chance to swim with them, be up close, and to film them, Skipper and Antony think they may have been Pygmy Killer Whales.  We have an excellent book aboard for identifying whales and dolphins and we used it alongside the footage of the whales, to see which characteristics came closest.  The whales were probably about 10ft long, mostly dark grey in color with patches of white along the belly.  As soon as we saw them come towards the ship, we slowed the engine right down. They seemed just as interested in us, as we were in them.  They came right beside the ship and seemed to lie on their sides and peer up at us.  When Skipper gave the word, we grabbed our masks and snorkels and jumped in the water.  It was amazing, spectacular, a once in a lifetime experience.  Chase said it was probably one of the finest ´moments´ for him on offshore, Antony said he was incredibly moved at the chance to be inches away from them. They swam back and forth around the ship, surfacing and diving deep.  If we stayed on the surface, they would swim up to us, roll on their sides, and turn their eye towards us.  They seemed to be checking us out and, figuring we were safe, stayed around us and allowed us to get within inches of them. They swam alone or in groups of 4 - 10.  At one point there were close to 20 swimming around us . . . it was phenomenal.  Nearly everyone chose to swim, and all those who did, had a very good look at them.  Jordan and Skipper took cameras and filmed them.  Noah, Jacob and Simon all swam with them too. Part of school today was a journal entry about their experience.  Crew and trainees came out of the water ecstatic and full of emotion over what they had seen.Chase and Scott returned from Kokopo early this morning.  They were picked up last night by John, the man who ran the fishing derby, to attend the final dinner and awards ceremony.  Scott´s 102 kilogram marlin was in first place until the final hours of the derby, when a smaller marlin, but on a lighter line, was caught, and claimed first prize.  Scott received 2nd prize; some money, a gift and an amazing dinner.  He was very happy, a little disappointed of course, but content.  We had fun following the events with him.  Today was one of the hottest days we´ve had so far.  The sun has returned with a vengeance and I heard repeatedly that people just couldn´t cool down, that the heat was unbearable.  The winds are light, so we have left the forward and wheel box tarps up for shade, but still . . . The swim with the whales afforded some wonderful relief.  This is it for today, enjoy the cool weather, here it seems to be either damp and very warm, or too hot and sunny.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
incredibly hot and sunny, clouds in afternoon, light winds
November 27th 2007 @ 22:00
2°35'6.00 S 150°47'6.00 E

Ship's Log:
It was a very hot sleeping night last night; we sweated away in our bunks and awoke to one of the hottest days on this offshore.  There is no wind, the sea is calm and we are motoring and  . . . we are 2 degrees below the equator.  It all makes for very hot conditions.  People were complaining good naturedly about the heat; it´s a fact, it´s just plain hot and shade is minimal.  We are anchored at the northern end of New Ireland in front of the town of Kavieng.  It is a small town, but the main one of the entire island.
Trainees who visited it said it is pretty basic.  Kelly found good ice cream (that means not melted and refrozen several times) for 1K, about 40 cents. Nobody has found internet that works yet.  The market seemed to sell only betelnut, perhaps we came too late.  We arrived after lunch and immediately an Australian woman came by in a zodiac to welcome us and give us some tips. She said it is very safe here and the people are friendly; so far, that is what we´ve found as well.  Only one small dugout rowed out to check us out, I guess they are more used to visitors here.  Close by on Nusa Island, is a simple but tastefully done resort which is used mostly by surfers and divers coming from Australia.  All the dwellings are made of thatch and wood and the floors are either wood or fine white sand.  It´s very cozy and comfortable.  The manager came by and welcomed us to wander around the island, buy cold drinks, play ping pong etc.  Skipper checked it out this afternoon and it´s a nice place to sit for a change.  We celebrated Rachael´s 21st birthday today.  A group went to the resort for a buffet dinner to celebrate with her.  She´s had a good day.  We plan to have cake when everyone is on the boat tomorrow or the following day.  Kavieng is surrounded by many small islands and the entrance into the harbor was laced on both sides by shallow water, coral, motus and small islands.  Skipper and Jose followed the lines of entry marked on the chart to navigate their way in.  It´s very beautiful here; quiet, peaceful and calm.  The water is wonderful to swim in and many of us have swum and/or bathed.  Quite a few were swimming laps around the ship, perhaps reminded by the soccer game of how out of shape they´ve become.  Simon is swimming around on his own now, up to the bow and away from the side of the ship; he´s very proud (so is mom).  We set up the bosun´s seat on the end of the outhaul rope and Julie, Tav, and the 3 Anderson boys enjoyed swinging out over the water, being dumped into the water, hauled out again and swinging back in to the ship. All 3 tarps were set up as soon as we had anchored; it makes quite a difference, especially when we can swim as well.   There was a small group that stayed on the boat for supper.  Gillian and Bec made at least 10 pizzas for us to enjoy; delicious.  It´s quiet on the ship; almost everyone is at the resort.  Karen, Jose and Julie are playing SCRABBLE in the stern, under a trouble light; it looks cozy.  Antony is watching them.  We are having trouble with the satellite again, be patient, it eventually seems to right itself.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
hot and sunny
November 28th 2007 @ 21:30
2°35'6.00 S 150°47'6.00 E

Ship's Log:
We woke up to rain and were now just forced below because of a strong wind and rain squall.  The hold is quiet; everyone decided it was time to sleep.  The deck is empty as it is soaking wet.  It was a mad scramble to get the drying laundry off the lifelines, the sleeping boys below, the loose paraphernalia under control, and ourselves under some kind of cover.  The day itself though has been beautiful and many of us got too much sun.
Swimming, swinging, diving, and hanging off the boat is very popular and there is always someone in the water.  It begins before breakfast.  Simon went off the rope swing for the first time this morning.  Tristan, Sam, Noah and Tav were his coaches.  Tristan was standing by in the water, ready to be there when he landed and to escort him swimming, back to the rope ladder. Simon is very proud of himself; he´s a fortunate boy with so many supporters on board.   The bosun´s seat hung off the starboard outhaul rope all day and trainees took turns swinging out, or just sitting in it and hanging out over the water.  Sean loved it.  Kelly, Katie, Sarah B., Robyn, and I swam laps around the ship, the water feels great.  We had some amazing diving happening off the rope swing.  Jose and Elske both managed some fancy double back flips with a hoisting team of Thomas, Tristan and Sam, hauling the line at the right time to help increase the height above the water before the flip.  Kelly learned how to dive off the rope swing, but not until after she did several inverted U-shape dives first.  Sean played SCRABBLE for the first time with Karen (probably the best player on board), Sarah B., and Kelly.  He did well.  Chris, Chase, Matt, Victoria, Naomi and Scott all rented kayaks from the resort and paddled around the harbor.  Naomi and Matt tipped theirs and had to bail out, quite a job with these ocean going double cockpit kayaks!  Victoria was playing near the beach with Jacob, Noah, Chris, and Simon in a kayak and decided to tip hers, and it too proved difficult to upright.  The resort is a nice basic place to sit around, and half of the group spent some of their day there, just hanging out, chatting and reading, enjoying a cold drink.  There´s a beach to play in and you can also wander the trails on the small island and visit the villagers.  The boys and I left the resort area and met up with several young girls who took us around the island, showing us their homes and the school.  They seem to love just following around with us, asking questions about the boys and telling us a little bit about themself.  The resort supports the villages and villagers on this small island, employing some of them, selling their crafts in their workshop and putting some of the money made by the resort directly back into the villages.   Caley, Chase, Scott and Ryan rented a boat from the resort and a guide took them fishing for Spanish mackerel and marlin.  Jose found out about a WWll Japanese plane wreck near by that is nearly snorkel-able.  It´s quite deep, about 10 m (30 ft), but some of the trainees can free dive that deep.  Sam, Sara R., Jose, Thomas, Brooks, Kelly, and Andrew were all able to see the double cockpit, winds and fuselage of the plane.  Visibility was poor but it was still a good wreck to see.  Skipper scuba dived down with the camera so he could film everyone around the wreck.  Kavieng was a naval base for the Japanese during the war, and there are more wrecks we can explore.  We try to find the ones that are free and that we can do without a guide.  Robyn made amazing white chocolate, walnut and oatmeal cookies today; we enjoyed them all day as she made about 5 plates of them in the morning.  Katie made delicious lasagna for supper with fresh green beans.  After supper Karen, Kelly and Sara R. took turns readying out loud from Farley Mowat´s "The Dog that Wouldn´t Be."
A group of us sat on deck in the cool air listening to someone read us a story . . . wonderful.  Partway through a sentence in the third chapter the rain and wind squall took over.  Our reaction to the rain was slow; the day had been so nice and we had just commented on the clarity of the sky, and that we could finally see the stars again.  I think we were all hoping nothing would come of it.  Once we realized how familiar this felt, we moved fast to prevent anything from blowing overboard.  We will be staying in
Kavieng for a few more days; it´s a nice spot and there are enough things to do.  We are setting up some scuba diving with an Australian couple who take scuba tours out to the reefs, and also there may be a chance for those wanting to go surfing.  There are 9 reefs close by, so hopefully . . . The daily routine of writing, reading, laundry and working on Christmas presents continues like always, as does deck duty, dishes, heads, floors and night watch.  The mood on the ship is good; everyone seems content and is having no trouble filling their days.  Several trainees have discovered aerogram letters and hopefully, you will benefit from this find soon.  This is it for tonight, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
mainly sunny, some light clouds, rain/squall shower in evening
November 29th 2007 @ 22:00
2°34'59.99 S 150°47'13.20 E

Ship's Log:
Kavieng is starting to feel familiar; it doesn´t take long to figure our way around the town, get to know a few people, find activities to fill our day, and fall in to a routine.  Early this morning Rachael, Jordan, Kelly and Jose were picked up by a dive group to go scuba diving.  They motored 45 minutes to the east around the tip of New Ireland Province.  Their first dive was a coral wall dive where they saw lots of beautiful soft corals and brightly colored fish of every size.  Their second dive was a current dive below another coral wall where they saw bigger fish, different types of sharks, and  barracudas.   A group of trainees went ashore and explored town, visited the post office and the bank, and checked out the market for lychee nuts, pineapples and papaya.  I noticed that there didn´t seem to be any other ´visitors´ and everyone has a good look at us as we definitely stand out.  People once again are friendly, especially if you look them in the eye, smile and say hello.  It feels safe here.  The vegetation was very lush, things grow easily and market gardens grow well in the Highlands of the island.  Women wear knee-length floral dresses with gathered sleeves and a different colored or patterned sarong underneath.  Men wear long shorts and t-shirts or sleeveless shirts.  Their hair is incredible and some of the men have very long ´dreds.´  Many of the men and the women wear crocheted hand bags around their necks to carry their belongings in.  Men also often carry a flat, woven ´purse-like´ bag.  It is woven with coconut fronds and these slowly dry out turning the bag from green to brown.  Apparently the men weave these ´handbags´ while women weave the mats and baskets.  It´s the best recyclable bag I´ve come across.  A different type of basket is woven for carrying bigger amounts of produce and you can see these on waste piles when people are done with them.  Someone who learns to weave often learns to weave one thing only, and people will come to them for that item.  A little disappointing today was to see the extent of the use of betelnut.  We saw it everywhere and everyone seemed to be chewing, eating, buying or selling it. Half of the market stalls were selling, either the betelnut, the lime, or the bean (explanation of betelnut and how it works is in a recent log).  The people are gorgeous yet when they open their lips to smile, a red-orange mess of nut, teeth and sore gums smiles at you; still friendly, but sad in a way.  I ask myself what in our culture could compare with the betelnut?  Is it like a cheap cigarette (they are expensive here; most people can´t afford them) or, is it like a cheap beer?  They do get a bit of a buzz from it and it supposedly puts them in a better state of mind.  Everywhere you see men, women and older children walking or sitting with a little jar of white powder in their hand, dipping a green fuzzy-looking bean into the jar and adding it to the chewed betelnut in their mouth.  After a few minutes the spitting starts and everywhere on the street and in the garbage cans you see the remains of the process.  Today we felt the dependence upon it, and were forced to think about ´why.´  Papua New Guinea is like no other place I have visited and   everywhere I go, I am confronted by new thoughts, questions, things I wonder about . . . what do these people´s lives look like?  What do they think about?  What do they want?  What are their choices and options?
What do they think about us?  Are the women happy and are they loved . . . and so many more.  We have had some good discussions because of it.  I met several young women today in the market with very small babies and they love to have you look at them and ask their names.  I too am interested to see and know.  Today I met a 2 month old tiny boy, sleeping contentedly in his mom´s handbag which was lying in a hammock under the table, which she´d made from a sarong; his name was Frank.  Another woman, Wendy, showed me her little girl, Francesca.  She and her 2 female friends, probably family, also sold us 2 pamplemousse for 1 kina, about 40 cents.  In the afternoon a group visited the resort.  Chase and his group caught Spanish mackerel yesterday and decided to try their luck again today.  Tav, Elske, Andrew and the 3 Anderson boys played with the tamed tropical birds which roam freely around the resort.  There are various types of parrots, toucans, eagles, and herons.  Some of the smaller parrots will sit on a shoulder or finger; when Tav was holding one of them, she made laughing sounds at him, intimidating him, and making the rest of us howl with laughter.  At one point he had a toucan on his arm, holding on to his finger and the parrot on his shoulder laughing at him.  The toucan has an amazing jump; it can jump 40 cm off the ground, looking like it has springs in its legs.  The workers feed the birds delicious-looking fruit, passion fruit, papaya, etc. we were wanting some of it ourselves!  Trainees haves returned from the beach and are now settling down on deck, wondering whether they will be there in the morning.  We still have squalls regularly and they come quite suddenly.  Mid-day we had an amazing wind and rain squall when we were still at the market.  It was a fun place to be for half an hour, squeezed in with all the other locals, staying dry and chatting with them about the rain.  Little children came up to stare a little more closely at the boys . . . it´s very cute; the children here are very beautiful and are fascinated with Simon, Noah, and Jacob, kids just like them.  I remind the boys to look out from under the big brim of their sunhats and say hello and smile; that the kids are way more interested in them than they are in us.  It is late, time to sleep.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
mostly cloudy, rain/wind squall mid-day
November 30th 2007 @ 22:00
2°35'6.00 S 150°47'6.00 E

Ship's Log:
Today is Brooks´ 24th birthday.  Everyone is out tonight celebrating with him.  Someone cancelled for the surf trip from the Nusa Resort this afternoon and they offered the spot to Brooks; a great birthday present. Today was a very windy day.  Chase, Scott, Robyn, and Ryan tried to go fishing again but the waves were standing about 8 ft tall and they were in a small open boat.  The boat had to return early but they´ll try again tomorrow.  Our freezer is slowly filling up with delicious mackerel, one of the best tasting fish we´ve had so far.  Some of us tried doing laps around the boat but the water was quite lumpy and the swimming was not that fun; too much work.  Kelly, Elske, Sara R., and Sarah B. decided to do some water aerobics instead.  Last night a group of trainees and crew went to the
Kavieng Hotel for supper, one of the best restaurants on the island.  When trainees asked the waiter for a menu, he initially looked somewhat confused, but left them and returned with a piece of paper torn from a pad with two options, handwritten:  1.   Fish
2.      Chicken. They chose one of the two options and said the food was delicious.  They had a good laugh though.  Gillian visited the market early this morning as today and tomorrow are the major days for fruit and vegetables.  Farmers come in from the Highlands where the best gardens are.  She was able to get avocadoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, beans, cabbage, bok choy, egg plant, papaya, pineapple, bananas, coconuts and more.  Katie is returning there tomorrow with Skipper.  Skipper, Thomas, Sam, Andrew, Tristan, Noah, Jacob and Simon went snorkeling at a nearby reef.  They brought their spear guns but only Tristan got caught by the end of the spear when he bumped into Noah, thankfully there was no broken skin.  Karen organized an expedition to Nusa Island in the dory.  Sarah B., Gillian, Sara R., Julie, Sean, and Karen packed a picnic and rowed the dory against the current to reach the beach on the outer side.  They landed the dory and went ashore.  Sean and Sarah B. played Mancala in the sand and Gillian evicted 2 hermit crabs from their homes by singing to them.  On the return trip, they made a sail from Gillian´s sarong by tying the four corners to two oars and holding them upright. Skipper and I were on the beach with the boys in the pass and we saw them sailing beautifully at about 6 or 7 knots, it was quite something.  Tomorrow is most likely our last day in Kavieng.  We are waiting for laundry and there are still some trainees and crew who would like to go scuba diving. There are no dryers here; the laundry gets washed, by machine if you´re lucky, otherwise it is washed by hand, and hung out to dry on the many clotheslines you see everywhere here.  With the regular rain squalls we´ve had lately, it´s been hard for the local women to dry the laundry.  Do not take your washing machines and your dryers for granted; they are a luxury. Because our clothes are so salty and sweaty, the handwashed clothes never feel as clean as when they´re washed in the machine, but, I´m not complaining; my laundry will be done.  The women come looking for us to offer us their services.  For them it´s a bit of extra money and they don´t seem to mind doing it.  Often they have their sisters, aunts and mothers help them and share out the money.  I´ve made good friends with Ethel, a mother of 5, who has been cleaning our clothes for us.  It is late once again; the trainees are just being picked up and the rain has just started. Because of the frequent rain squalls, trainees have not been reserving spots; we never know when we have to pick everything up off the deck and rush it below.  Karen and Gillian have made an advent calendar which will start tomorrow . . . no chocolates behind windows, but a wonderful depiction of the Christmas story; the prophecies, the history, and the foreshadowing of the life it promises.  This is it for now, until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.



Observations:
mostly sunny, windy
December 2nd 2007 @ 22:30
2°27'18.00 S 150°26'24.00 E

Ship's Log:
Today is 6 months ago since we boarded the Pacific Grace in Victoria. It was a beautifully sunny day and today was as well, just about 20 degrees hotter!   Some trainees said they figure today was the hottest day so far. It is the closest to the equator we will get on this leg, 2 degrees south of it. The seas were calm; no swell, with just a couple of rain squalls later in the day, bringing gusts of wind and hard rain for 30 minutes or so. While
I was reading Roald Dahl to the kids tonight on deck, I was still finding it unbearably hot and we were all still in our swimsuits.  I think we live in our swim suits.  We raised anchor this morning and motored under tarps through many beautiful small green islands to the island of Lenus.  We were told there was good snorkeling here.  The zodiac brought groups out to a good-sized reef and we spent 2 hours looking at all kinds of amazing coral and fish. The shelf followed the northern end of the island and we swam along it, just looking and looking at all there was to see.  There were thousands of fish of all sizes; we saw some very large and colorful parrot fish, as well as some dinner plate-sized angel fish, very pretty.  There were schools of 20cm long yellow and black striped fish which swam about 1m below the surface most of the time, and followed Tristan around, they seemed unafraid.  The coral was colorful and beautiful, a mixture of soft and hard corals. One looked like a cloth of shiny gold velvet which had wrapped itself over a textured layer of ripples, about 1m square, gorgeous.  Jacob found an enormous clam shell, about 80 cm in width; Skipper had trouble lifting it to the surface and had to do it in shifts, moving it from shelf to shelf before getting it into the zodiac and on to the deck of the Grace. It is covered in crusted coral but after a little bit of scraping, it´s starting to look better, though it has quite the sea-smell.  We´ve seen some beautiful white ones on the beach; locals use them to decorate with.  We were thinking they would make a good birdbath!   When we arrived we spotted a large sea turtle peering over at us. Brooks and Sean dove in to join it but it quickly dove deep.  Yesterday there was another dory expedition to Nusa Island.  Elske, Tavish, Noah, Sam, Tristan, Bec, Naomi, and Victoria rowed, paddled on a surfboard or were pulled on the bowline of the dory on a surfboard.  The surfboarders had an excellent workout and today were complaining of sore arms and ribs; the current was strong.  They beached the boat and amongst other finds, discovered a rope swing that hung over the ocean.  On the return trip, we passed the final straggling surfboarders, Tristan, Victoria and Bec, and offered them a pull in.  It was very funny seeing them all fit onto the surfboard (less drag for the zodiac), trying to balance, getting mouthfuls of salt water, and eventually falling off near the Grace.  After snorkeling we raised anchor again and motored the final 3 hours to an anchorage mid-channel by the Tsoi Islands.  Intermediates wrote their exam underway.  Chase and Matt were in the galley with Katie making fish nuggets for supper with the Spanish mackerel they caught fishing at the Nusa Retreat; they were delicious.  Katie made baked French fries with a root vegetable that was not a potato, looked more like a turnip, but which, the market women said, could be used similarly to a potato.  It was different, more dense, but good, and they all disappeared.  Bo finished knitting a cotton striped hat and Julie has finished her second ear flap hat; several trainees have offered to pay her for it, it turned out well.  The night is very hot, but incredibly clear; it´s nice to see so many stars again.  We held a Mug-Up on deck after dishes.  We will be sleeping on deck tonight; it looks like it will stay dry.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
incredibly hot, calm, rain squall in afternoon
December 3rd 2007 @ 21:00
2°26'30.01 S 150°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
At 0530 hrs this morning, Skipper was awake and the sun was already hot.
I heard several of the girls talking today how they woke up at 0630 sweating in their bedding.  At 0700 hrs Bec was putting on 50SPF sunscreen!  It gives you some idea of what kind of heat and intensity we are dealing with; it´s quite something.  As soon as we could, we were in the water . . . before breakfast swim, after breakfast swim, after dishes swim, mid-morning swim . . . and it continued through the day until crew were pulling us out of the water at dusk from our after supper swim.  The water is absolutely lovely here and we are incredibly thankful for it. The day was hot and sunny and calm.  Our Sunday service this morning was focused around Promise, the first week of advent. The pastor of a nearby village, Joseph, rowed over and listened from his dugout.  Afterwards he let Skipper and his boys try out his outrigger canoe. He invited us to his village and asked for books.  We raised anchor and moved closer in to the beach, in front of the village on the northern tip of Tsoi Boto Island.  There are lovely sand beaches all along the western coast and the color of the water near the beach is bright turquoise blue.  There is a narrow pass between the north tip of Tsoi Boto and Tsoi Vuka Islands which some trainees canoed across.  The village is very tidy with sand everywhere to walk on.  The houses seemed well kept and newer than those in Mioko and Palpal, and were made of thatch. The people were friendly and eager to have us join them in a game of soccer tomorrow.
A group of locals is taking some of our trainees and crew who are interested, spear fishing tonight.   Pigs are still very important to the people here, just as in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.  The children speak only their native language and are very shy.  Those who stayed on board the Grace this afternoon kept very busy reading, knitting, carving and sanding shell, sewing (the pants competition is going strong with several completed entries already), swimming, snorkeling etc.  Thomas, Andrew, Jacob and Noah donned masks, snorkels and fins and spent an hour scraping all the barnacles off the hull; it looks much better now. The female crew was practicing a song and dance routine they have prepared for Antony´s birthday, which is in two days.  We were all entertained; more information coming on December 5. We are also hoping to celebrate Sinterklaas on December 5th. Several crew and trainees have Dutch in their background and would like to share this tradition with everyone. It is a gorgeous night; the stars are many and brilliant.  Chase has his laser out, teaching whoever is interested all about the different constellations, itB9s fascinating. The sea is very calm, there is a light, light breeze; and the temperature is comfortable on deck. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
clear, hot, sunny, calm
December 4th 2007 @ 21:30
2°26'30.01 S 150°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
Full day. Happy Anniversary to Caley´s parents December 3. Spearfishing successful. building dugout canoe with local builder. Found log in woods today, one-of-kind experience, Jordan got it on film: first white people to want to build canoe. Staying longer so we can finish it. Soccer and volleyball with locals, traditional food prepared for us for afterwards, very friendly and happy to have us here. Good night,bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny and hot, some clouds, wind and rain in afternoon
December 4th 2007 @ 22:00
2°26'30.01 S 150°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
It was a very full and wonderful day.  The spear fishing team of 10 fellows returned late with lots of small reef fish; a successful night. They gutted and cleaned them today and locals prepared them on the beach forus. Another spear fishing trip is scheduled for tomorrow night with the girls being specially invited.  It was very, very hot again this morning; Sam measured 41 degrees Celsius on his thermometer on deck.  The pool was open early for before-breakfast swims.  After breakfast Robyn set a life ring horizontal off the starboard rail of the ship and a wild game of water polo was played with about 10 trainees and crew.  There is someone in the water at nearly any time of the day.   This afternoon Caley was pulling Simon, who was on the surfboard. He called her his sea horse and she called him Poseidon. He fell off when he failed to duck under the bobstays.  It was very funny, Simon loved it.  Arwen swam under the forward end of the ship for the first time.  A dory with Kelly, Chris, Tiana, and Sara R. rowed to the pass to do some snorkeling and had a long, patience-testing row upwind back to the ship (a wind and rain squall had just hit) but apparently Tiana provided loads of laughter when she was put in charge of checking the quality of the snorkeling by sticking her masked head in the water from the side of the dory, rear end sticking high in the air.  The criteria for the pants being sewed for BINGO was created today and made public.  Karen, Susan, Julie, Tiana, and Gillian have been busy hand sewing their pants for the contest.  After the squall and the return of the rowers most of us went ashore for soccer and volleyball with the local people.  At mid-day Skipper, Jose, Tristan, Sam, Jacob, Noah, and Andrew left in a panga with Boston and some panga drivers to New Hanover Island to find a log for the building of a dugout canoe for the Pacific Grace. Boston is an older man Jose met yesterday who has taken us under his wing.  When he heard that we were interested in learning to build a traditional canoe he found a builder that would teach us and some locals that would take us to find a log.  They had an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience; similar to the pig hunt expedition.  Boston said that we were the first white people to be interested in building a canoe and he called our group the crazy Canadians, all in fun.  The group wandered knee-deep through a marshy wood to a felled tree.  With some villagers they prepared part of the shape, using adzes, axes, machetes and a huge chainsaw.  My boys loved it. Once the log was somewhat lighter in weight, but still incredibly heavy, a path was whacked through thick pandanus fronds, which have small barbs up the sides of them, direct to the ocean. They tied a line onto the tree and it required all of them working hard, slipping in the thigh-height wet mud, to run and drag the tree out of the bush.  Jordan filmed the entire procedure; it is amazing.  The tree was dragged back to the Tsoi Islands where David the boat builder lives.  He was thrilled and got excited about the crazy Canadians wanting to make their own canoe.  Tomorrow at 0700 work will continue with whoever is interested.  We are now staying an extra 2 days so as to complete our dugout outrigger canoe.  The tree fellers joined us at 1720 on the soccer field, looking like they had had the experience of their life; wet, muddy, tired, and happy.  Boston=B9s wife made some traditional food for all of us at their home close to the shore; rice, fish, and a whole lot of other food I´m not sure what it was, but quite tasty.  When we were done we were all loaded into their panga and returned to the Grace where Katie was ready with her amazing lasagna . . .At 2030 tonight I sat and took note of everything that was happening on deck.  Here is an account of what I saw:
- Amidships on the port side a group is peering overboard with flashlights looking at cuttlefish. Last night Jordan was “Cinked” when he grabbed at one.
- 20ft from the edge of the ship 2 dugouts of locals watch the ship in the dark, silently.
- In the stern a game of SCRABBLE is being played with headlamps on.
- Gillian and Katie are lying on their backs, on the aft cabin, looking up at the stars, chatting.
-Starboard stern side Jordan is surrounded by 8 trainees watching the footage he took of chopping the tree and pulling it out of the woods, explaining all the while what is happening.
- Amidships on the starboard side Port watch is showering and swimming after a very sweaty dish session in the galley.
-Port side toward bow, Chase and Sara R. are checking out the constellations in an absolutely beautifully clear night, with Chase´s laser.
-In the bow, hiding behind a huge bag of life jackets there are at least 4 girls doing exercises.
- Amidships under the boom, Julie and Susan are singing and playing their ukuleles, wonderful.
-Matt is blowing up his extra deluxe air mattress . . . phhhh, phhhh, phhh, with the foot pump; this sound is part of everyone´s audio night routine.
It´s a very busy group we have, it´s wonderful and there´s never a dull moment.  By now, many of the trainees are asleep on deck. When I lie on deck it feels to me like we are all sleeping together in one huge tent, because of the tarps and our proximity to each other.  There are a whole lot of bodies close together and a lot of breathing going on . . . it´s quite something to experience and what´s special is that it´s become so normal. Parts of our life here together are like that of a large, very large, family. I wish you too could know this life as the 37 of us do.  It´s a beautiful night, somewhat cooler than last night I think.  Caley would like to wish her parents a Happy Anniversary.  Happy Anniversary mom and dad, love Caley.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
mostly sunny and hot, some clouds, rain, and wind in afternoon
December 5th 2007 @ 21:45
2°26'30.01 S 150°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
Today we celebrated Antony´s 28th birthday.  Gillian has stored a gift for Antony from Leighsa Smith all the way from Victoria, and today he opened it, with all of us watching.  It was an "Air Hog", an air-pressure-propelled toy plane.  After a few failed attempts, it took off wonderfully and traveled at least 600ft across the ocean with the zodiac standing by to retrieve it.  Thank you, Leighsa.  Katie, Karen, Sarah B. sang and danced "Sweet Caroline" to a beaming Antony, while Gillian accompanied them on the guitar. It was great; they had incorporated all the dances we have been taught so far i.e. at Palmerston and Waya Islands.   The first "carvers" left the ship at 0700 to start work on the dugout canoe with David, the boat builder:  Tristan, Tavish, Jordan, Sam, Bec, Naomi, Victoria, Sean and Andrew.  We were told that Victoria, Naomi and Becca are probably the first
white women in Papua New Guinea to carve a canoe.  In PNG culture, women are not allowed to be a part of the canoe building process; even felling the tree is taboo for them.  Janeth, the 20 year old mother of 11 month old Willy, was eager to get to know the female trainees and talk with them.  She shared this information with Becca, saying "you´re lucky; we´re not allowed to do that."  Usually, the women aren´t even allowed to watch the process, but today, I think, an exception was being made; there were several women moving in and out of the area as well as lots of children playing ball and watching us. Everyone that wanted had a chance to help in carving the exterior shape or carve out the excess wood in the interior of the dugout. It is looking good.  The local builders working with David, do most of the work, they know what they=B9re doing.  It is amazing to watch what they do with just an axe and an adze; what in our culture would be called crude tools, used for rough shaping or chopping firewood.  These men have an incredible ability to fine tune and shape details into the wood with ax and adze.  They use these two tools for everything; they have no others. For sand paper they use the dried skin of a shark, just as the First Nations People used to use dried dog fish skin for sanding their dugout canoes (info thanks to book given us by Bev in the office).   Skipper and Jordan brought along a hand plane from the ship and the men marveled at it; they loved it and now want one.  Is this a good thing?  David used the plane for shaping the paddles.   The carvers were using the adze to dig out the wood so the thickness of the hull would end up 2cm.  People rowed dories or came in the zodiac to spend time at David=B9s place.  He and his extended family all live at the southern tip of a beautiful, sandy island on the north side of a pass.  The water is so clear; the bottom is sand and the current moves swiftly keeping the water clean. About 200 ft away the surf breaks, the coral drops off and the snorkeling is apparently very good. Several trainees have snorkeled there.  The children again, are beautiful and incredibly shy, though they love to look at us, and when we try to talk to them, they smile and turn slightly inward, covering their mouth, giggling.  There are always several though, who are somewhat more courageous and will talk and explain things, and answer our questions.  I enjoyed talking with the women, they were eager to talk.  Many of them are very young mothers with one or two children already.  We were able hold baby Willy; he didn´t mind and stuck his tiny fingers in my mouth, checking out my face.  The women also showed us how to grate the coconut by hand.  Several of us had a turn at it and passed the grated, moist coconut around for a snack.  They squeeze the
grated coconut and use the milk for cooking; for fish, for rice, for taro or breadfruit.  Many of us had a chance to row in the dugout canoes.  They row wonderfully and feel very stable; it=B9ll be fun to go out for a row when we are anchored in the different harbors.  My kids stayed out with Andrew for an hour, just paddling around, visiting different beaches across the pass etc.  It´s a veritable paradise for my kids here, and the Social Studies lessons they are living are a teachers dream.  We left the beach just after 1700hrs and will be back tomorrow morning to finish everything off, about another half day. Skipper built one of the paddles and Jose, Sam, Tristan, Naomi, Bec and a few others all worked on the outrigger portion of the dugout, planeing the long pieces that stick out from the dugout towards the support beam.  Caley, Gillian, Susan, Bec, Simon and I spent several hours this morning making peppernuts, small spicy nickel-sized cookies, eaten in the Netherlands on Sinterklaas, December 5th. They are somewhat tedious to make, but absolutely delicious to eat, and  with so many people helping, the process went quite quickly.  We celebrated Sinterklaas tonight.  Gillian spent about 4 hours making poffertjes, a dutch yeast pancake usually made
in a specialized fry pan; they=B9re silver dollar sized.  Gillian made them for 37 of us on the top of the stove, a huge job.  She served them with butter, icing sugar and sausages with fruit on the side; they were delicious.  Sara R. was a huge help to Gillian and stuck with her in the very hot galley while they were being made.  We ate the peppernuts for dessert.  Before supper when the group was all together, we talked about what Sinterklaas was and how each of us (Gillian, Matt, Andersons and Naomi) celebrate it at home.  Tonight everyone has been encouraged to put out their shoe or flip-flop around the hold hatch, in expectation of something from St. Nikolaas tonight.  Today Chris had his hair cut by Robin and Rachael had hers trimmed by Naomi; they both look great.   It´s late again, everyone is asleep and the shoes are out. There was supposed to be spear fishing tonight but it had to be postponed until tomorrow because the pig that is to be barbecued for us tomorrow, got out of his pen and the islanders have to catch it again.  The boat has bought a pig and Boston is having the women roast it in the traditional way (in the ground) for us for tomorrow as part of the dugout canoe launching ceremony.  Everyone is invited; it will be a very full day.  Last night as I was lying on deck I realized how normal it is for us to be surrounded by absolute darkness and absolute quiet.  There is no electricity on these islands so once the sun has set we see only a few spots of light from a fuel lamp or a bonfire.  There are no cars, no shops, nothing that creates noise at night or in the day really, just people living simply.  The night is clear and full of stars; I love this part of offshore. Chase would like to wish his mom a Happy Birthday.  Happy Birthday mom, from Chase, have a great day. Good night to you all, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny, clouds, thunder and lightning in afternoon
December 5th 2007 @ 23:00
2°26'30.01 S 150°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
Great day. Work on dugout continues: exterior shaped and smooth, all with axes and adzes, amazing work they can do with these tools. Most of us at David the builders home with his extended family, lovely spot, lots of kids. Trainees tried out canoes, fun and stable. Celebrated Antony´s 28th birthday and Sinterklaas (Dutch Holiday) with poffertjes (mini pancakes) and peppernuts (spicy cookies). Chase wishes his mom a great day, Happy Birthday Mom. Beautiful night, absolute quiet and darkness. Good night, bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny, lightning, thunder and clouds in afternoon
December 6th 2007 @ 22:00
2°26'30.01 S 150°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
another great day, we are now proud owners of a png dugout canoe we made ourselves (with help and guidance from locals). we are probably some of the few white people ever to build one. all those who wanted to help, helped with chisel and planes to complete and assemble the dugout. dugout launched mid-day with prayer, wise words from david the builder and a gentle push into the water. skipper and david, took it out together for its maiden voyage, then all had a chance to  paddle the new canoe. it takes on a bit of water, baler was included. dugout now lies on deck next to our shell, which is holding our coconuts. celebrated with everyone ashore with coconut rice and fish. karen spent afternoon with the local women helping prepare food. no pig roast: they couldn´t catch the pig, funny. we leave tomorrow to new britain. good night, bonice.


Observations:
sunny morning, clouds moved in during afternoon bringing wind/rain squa=
lls in evening
December 6th 2007 @ 22:30
2°26'30.01 S 150°26'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
We have had an amazing day today; one that just keeps me thinking about people, cultures, differences and similarities, how little we need yet how much we have and how little difference it makes in how “happy” or “fulfilled” we feel, what changes we can make in our lives in Victoria to incorporate what we can learn from this trip, etc.  I´m reading ´Guns, Germs, and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies´ by Jared Diamond, a big book that I´m hoping will shed some light on so many questions I have. Today we finished the outrigger dugout canoe with David, Clement, and other local builders. Everyone who wanted to help had a chance to use the chisels and planes and rope to complete and assemble the canoe.  Everyone had a part somewhere along the process of getting it from standing tree to finished floating canoe.  It looks great; we are proud owners of a PNG dugout, probably some of the first white people to build one.  David and his crew were incredibly helpful and were very emotional about the project.  At the launching and afterwards, David had tears in his eyes and continually told Skipper that having us with him and his family, on his property and building the canoe with us, the entire experience had been such a “blessing (his word)” to him and his family.  When it was time to say good-bye, he wanted us to stay and repeated how much he would miss us.  He built Simon a beautiful paddle Simon-size.  He noticed how much Simon enjoyed paddling the outriggers in the pass.  The last 2 days both Noah and Simon have spent the majority of their day out on the water in the canoes (as have many of the trainees and crew).  They can each row it by themselves, maneuvering it with ease. Noah tried “gallumping” on his (standing on the end and bobbing it up and down) and ended up in the water. Mid-afternoon we had a launching ceremony with trainees and locals.  David and Skipper each shared a few words, Skipper prayed, and then with a gentle push, the dugout went into the water.  Jordan filmed the ceremony and recorded David´s words:  ´In the Spirit of God we have been united, we have become one.  I´m now turning over this New Hanover culture to Canada.´   Skipper and David took it out for its maiden voyage.  It takes on a bit of water but it came with a baler. Once it dries out a bit and we seal it, it will leak less.  On the paddle back to the Grace, a torrential rain and wind squall swamped the canoe.  Skipper grabbed the radio as it went down and called us on the Grace (just Sarah B., Jordan, the 3 boys and myself were on the ship; the others were all at the celebratory dinner ashore) to launch a dory and rescue him.  Jordan took Noah and Jacob, rowing downwind, and Skipper and Jordan had an arduous but exciting row back upwind to the Grace . . . another great story.  The canoe is now sitting on deck next to our huge clam shell, which is holding our coconuts. We are in the process of finding a way to secure it to the hull but make it accessible in port.  Traditionally in Tsoi culture, when the man is building the dugout canoe his wife leaves the area, and returns when the canoe has been launched.  David´s wife, Colleen, followed this tradition and we met her yesterday when she returned from the neighboring island.  She came and watched while all the trainees were trying out the new dugout.  She is the translator for the school on the island; translating from English to Pidgin and vice versa.  2 of her daughters were at the building site and we got to know them and their kids.  They exchanged addresses with Elske and want her to keep in touch.  This morning David and Boston rowed to the ship for final good-byes, and thank you notes and beautifully woven baskets from the women. There is so much to learn from each other; this leg especially has given us so much to think about.
While the canoe was being finished, many trainees and crew went snorkeling at the reef where there was lots to see and good visibility. They saw a gigantic clam, alive, about 1m in width.  If you by accident step in a clam such as this one, it could close and break a foot or ankle.  They can move at an unbelievable speed. All afternoon dark skies were looming in the distance with thunder and lightning taking their turns. At 1730 the skies finally broke and we had a tremendous downpour and wind squall, delicious.  Jordan and I had so much fresh water pouring off the dory tarp we could have taken 10 baths.  The locals prepared a wonderful coconut rice and fish meal for us and themselves to celebrate the launching of the dugout.  Karen spent most of the day with the local women preparing food; she loved it and it sounds like the women really took to her, thinking it initially strange that she should want to help but in the end putting her to work alongside them.  We did not have roast pig.  The pig was too quick and the locals were not able to catch her. Quite funny; they felt somewhat sheepish. I was just reading to the boys when I heard the trainees and crew coming home in the panga singing Christmas carols.  The zodiac followed with all the instruments; they had had a great evening.  It´s been an amazing day and everyone, especially Skipper and Jose, are very tired.  Jose spent quite a bit of time getting the project organized initially and Skipper spends hours negotiating and chatting with the locals in charge, ensuring that things are clearly understood and that both sides are satisfied, especially when money is involved.  We brought the village some soccer balls and adult, teen and children books. They were so excited with the books and began to read immediately.  These people live so simply, and live fully and generously with so little. Being here makes it seem obvious that we in North America have too much and that “our stuff” prevents us from living as fully as we could.  I think it may also separate us from each other and prevent in some ways a strong sense of community and dependence upon each other. It is very, very late. A spear fishing trip is still in the plan, but the panga is taking its time.  We´ll see.  We are giving everyone a chance to sleep in tomorrow morning, providing brunch at 1000.  The boat needs to be ready for sea again and that may take a few hours.  We hope to leave for New Britain, 180 nm away, about noon. Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.



Observations:
sunny morning, clouds moving in during the afternoon, wind/rain squall
in evening
December 7th 2007 @ 21:30
3°23'12.01 S 150°23'24.00 E

Heading 187°
Speed 5.9

Ship's Log:
Relaxed, slow morning with breakfast at 0930.

Swimming and quiet chatting. Major clean up of decks, rig, bunks, and below decks; preparing for motion at sea. Hot, hot, hot. Sam´s thermometer read 47 degrees Celsius by the wheel on deck, 31 degrees in the galley.  Saw dolphins. Caught fish, a trevally, member of the Jack family, very different looking to others.

Easy day with mostly reading, sleeping, journal writing. Ate around table with watch; nice to chat in our groups again. Headwinds begin 2000hrs, motion begins, fore and aft rocking. Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly clear, incredibly hot, flat calm until 2000hrs,then headwinds
December 8th 2007 @ 20:30
5°17'53.99 S 150°2'52.80 E

Ship's Log:
Continued troubles with sending detailed logs. We´ll send them asap we´ve had some amazing days and its been fun to write in detail about them.

Today is the halfway mark for this offshore voyage, and for the crew that sail until June 2008. We are anchored in a bay on north coast of New Britain, outside of Talasea, village of perhaps 2 houses.  We can smell wood fires but otherwise it is dark. Today was incredibly hot again and we stayed under the tarps, sweating and drinking water.

Easy day motoring on calm seas. Everyone is working on Christmas presents; there are some great ideas happening. Noah and Antony together reeled in a very heavy fish only to find it was one of the Grace´s big sponges that Antony had just previously dropped overboard by accident. By coincidence it got snagged on the fishing line! Water is very warm; before supper it was warmer than the air temperature. We´ll go ashore tomorrow, then on towards Madang, first exploring some of the outer islands and looking for a nice quiet Christmas anchorage.

Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
sunny and very, very hot
December 9th 2007 @ 22:30
5°25'59.99 S 150°5'24.00 E

Ship's Log:
We are anchored in front of Walindi Plantation Resort, about 20 miles west of Kimbe, the closest village.  The owners Max and Cecilia have been here since 1972, starting the resort in 1983 on an old palm oil plantation site.  It is very tastefully built, using wood and woven thatch for walls, thatch for roofs and wood for floors and furniture.  The few cabanas are surrounded by huge trees and the air is very humid, like being in the jungle; the mosquitoes are thriving.  A small 4cm yellow-green frog landed on Skippers ear when he walked under a tree.  The area around the Willaumez Peninsula has a lot of very good diving and visitors coming here from Australia, North America and Europe often come to join a dive cruise of several days, traveling to as many of the dive sites as they can. A group has arranged a diving trip for tomorrow morning.  We were welcomed to enjoy the resort; it has a comfortable place to sit outside, an excellent marine library, cold drinks, internet, a small pool, and an undercover area where you can sit, read, or enjoy their buffet supper if you give them some notice.   The cooks have arranged a van that will take them to Kimbe to do some grocery shopping; it=B9s been awhile since they have been able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.  Around 1700 hrs the sky turned very, very dark and ominous-looking. There was lightning and thunder but the rain didn´t start until about 1900 hrs when it completely let loose. It poured hard for about one hour, giving anyone who wanted, a good chance to get clean. Tavish pulled out his laundry and washed it and rinsed it in fresh rain water.  The dory tarp filled up with fresh water and continued to fill up with water every few minutes from the tarp.   Elske and Sara R. were able to sit in the dory and be fully covered in fresh water, like a bath.  Sara even added some bubbles.  Skipper joined them, showering beside them, scooping buckets of water out of their “bath” and over himself.  Many of us stayed on deck during the storm, in the dark, with the lightning flashing bright and the thunder clapping louder than we´ve ever heard it before on this voyage. It was an incredible hour, yet at the same time, it felt quite normal . . .to be taking advantage of the fresh water rain to get clean, outside, in the dark, all of us together.  We will spend a few days here so some shopping can be done and trainees can fit in some diving.  It´s a nice place to hang out for a bit; many of us are reading good books and have Christmas presents to make.  The deck is completely wet and it is still raining; not many dry spots remaining.  Skipper was able to send the last 5 or 6 detailed logs off today from the resort.  Enjoy them; we´ve had some great days lately.  Katie and Karen would like to wish their granny a very wonderful day on her birthday.   Happy Birthday Granny, from Karen and Katie.  Until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
mostly cloudy, very humid, lightning and thunder storm at night
December 11th 2007 @ 19:00
5°25'59.99 S 150°5'24.00 E

Ship's Log:
Today was a wonderfully lazy day swimming, relaxing and basically enjoying Papua New Guinea.  I was swimming with my 3 boys this morning, treading water by the anchor line, looking around me at the lush islands, hearing the many birds, looking across the ocean at sea level, watching my boys enjoying playing in warm sea water . . . and I was reminded how fortunate we are.  I am always aware of this, but because our life on the ship has become ´normal´ for us, I can move through my days taking this life we lead for granted.  The sun was hot today but the water is everywhere and the pool was open early this morning for pre-breakfast swimming.  A group of trainees and crew went snorkeling on a reef close by the ship. The zodiac shuttled the trainees back and forth, with some of them choosing to swim back.  Many trainees chose to relax at the resort, reading, writing, catching up on email when the power was on, enjoying cold drinks and sitting in the cool library.  There is an excellent collection of Natural History and Papua New Guinean History books.  Jacob found wonderful magazines and books on the sea life of this area, with beautiful photographs.  There is an amazing photo collection of pictures from pre-1900´s Papua New Guinea, taken by Frank Hurley, who was the photographer for Earnest Shackleton aboard the Endurance.   He wanted to photograph the people and villages of Papua New Guinea unaffected by the white people and the missionaries.  The photos are black and white; they are superlative, one just wants to keep looking.  He also kept very detailed journal entries and these are with the photographs as well as some background to what was happening in the picture.  It seems he made a real effort to get to know the local people, befriend them and because of this, they allowed him to take their pictures, and pictures of their homes and villages.  ´Nurse" Karen is working diligently dealing with lots of cuts and sores, usually stemming from something very minor like a mosquito bite or a coral cut.  Every morning and evening she has 5 or 6 patients coming into the after cabin for inspection, cleaning and bandaging of their sores.  Tomorrow morning early, Joyce from the resort is taking Gillian and Katie to the market in Kimbe to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. We have met some beautiful people along our voyage.  If we can stay at least 2 or 3 days, the local people get to know us and are more willing to help us out and offer help.  Joyce is a local woman who works at the resort and she told me about the market, wondering whether we needed fresh produce.  She is accompanying the cooks just to make sure all goes well.  A good sized group of trainees ate at the resort tonight; the buffet offers delicious food with good variety.  The atmosphere is wonderful.  In a way it´s difficult to leave a place where we´ve made friends and feel ´at home;´ on the other hand, it´s exciting to explore something new.  Madang has always loomed in the distance, and now, it´s our next destination.  The time has gone so quickly; this has been an amazing leg.  Yesterday we were asking out loud amongst ourselves:  "How can we not be changed, after traveling through the countries we´ve traveled and being amongst the local people as we´ve been?" Out of any offshore I have been a part of, this leg has affected me the most, and caused me most to think, reflect and wonder.  I am very grateful. The sky is clear once again, there are lots of stars to study.  We will be sleeping on deck; this is one experience of offshore that I think we will never forget, the slightly cooler breeze, the tarps covering all of us like one huge tent, the quiet, the stillness of everything, the darkness of the night. Good night, Bonice(EL)


Observations:
sunny and hot, calm

December 12th 2007 @ 21:30
4°56'48.01 S 149°40'48.00 E

Heading 265°
Speed 6.4

Ship's Log:
We are underway, on our way to Madang.  Our ETA for Madang is mid-day
Friday.  There is still no wind and the seas are calm and so we are
motoring. We would love to have one more chance to raise sail; this leg
began with so much wind while Loren was on, but it truly feels like we are
close to the equator.  We remind ourselves to enjoy the heat for soon enoug=
h
we will be cold and dreaming of this leg with its soft nights, bathing suit=
s
and swimming.  It has been a good day.  Gillian went to the market in Kimbe
to buy fresh produce.  Before and after breakfast we swam; this leg has bee=
n
so wonderfully full of swimming, snorkeling and diving at all hours of the
day.  For Christmas day and the few days preceding and following it we will
be anchored somewhere quiet, away from Madang, on one of the surrounding
smaller islands.  We raised anchor at 1000 hrs.  We kept all 3 tarps up as
the sun was intense. The temperature is above 40 degrees Celsuis every day.
Yesterday at the resort, the library was air conditioned and many of us wer=
e
finding it too cold and would leave to find some place warmer.  The
thermometer read 22 degrees Celsius; we realized how acclimatized we are to
the heat, despite how hot we find it. Mid-afternoon lots of dolphins came t=
o
play with the bow of the Grace.  For about 20 minutes we watched them as
they continued to come from every direction.  We were allowed to turn off
the engine and jump overboard to see if we could swim with them but they
didn=B9t want to play . . . they swam off, leaving us looking silly in our
masks, snorkels and fins in the middle of the ocean.  As soon as we got out
and were making way again, they returned to play with the ship.  They were
quite small dolphins, very beautiful to watch.  Karen taught a senior lesso=
n
on Rules of the Road to the trainees who passed their Intermediate exam.
Skipper gave a lesson on Celestial Navigation.  He also sat with some of th=
e
senior trainees and taught them how to take a night sight from a star.
After supper, Jordan, Tavish, Tristan, Bec, Chase, and Elske took turns wit=
h
the sextant taking a sight off a star.  They were excited to try and come a=
s
close to our position as they could.  Chase=B9s laser helped to point out the
various stars and constellations. Katie, Thomas, Chris, Tiana, Scott, Caley=
,
Arwen, Noah, and Simon made perogies for supper.  It=B9s a big job to make
enough perogies for 37 people by hand!  They were delicious. There are some
incredible gifts being made:  Matt is making canvas deck shoes with leather
bottoms, Naomi is making moccasins, Thomas is making a washboard, Tiana mad=
e
wooden knitting needles, Antony made an amazing fishing lure, Robyn is
making a crib board, Arwen is making a mancala board, Jose is making a
wooden picture frame, Tristan is making a wooden box, Caley is making a
leather bound book for writing in, Simon is sanding wooden guitar picks,
Julie is knitting a fleece-lined ear flap hat and the list goes on . . .
ditty bags, jewelry etc.  We can all see what is being made but we won=B9t
find out who it is for until Christmas morning.  The night is clear and the
moon is a sliver, lying down, smiling at us. The wind has picked up slightl=
y
but it is heading us.  The jellyfish were shining with phosphorescence this
evening like little lights.  They are not big, about 3cm in diameter, clear
with small dark dots inside; we=B9ve seen them in the last few anchorages.
They don=B9t sting like some of the other jellyfish we=B9ve swum amongst.  It i=
s
a nice temperature on deck but it is incredibly warm below; it will be a
sweaty sleep.  We=B9ve been fortunate to be able to ssleep on deck for so muc=
h
of this leg.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
sunny and hot, calm seas, light winds
December 12th 2007 @ 21:30
4°56'48.01 S 149°40'48.00 E

Heading 265°
Speed 6.4

Ship's Log:
We are underway, on our way to Madang.  Our ETA for Madang is mid-day F=
riday.  There is still no wind and the seas are calm and so we are motoring=
.  We would love to have one more chance to raise sail; this leg began with=
 so much wind while Loren was on, but it truly feels like we are close to t=
he equator.  We remind ourselves to enjoy the heat for soon enough we will =
be cold and dreaming of this leg with its soft nights, bathing suits and sw=
imming.  It has been a good day.  Gillian went to the market in Kimbe to bu=
y fresh produce.  Before and after breakfast we swam; this leg has been so =
wonderfully full of swimming, snorkeling and diving at all hours of the day=
.  For Christmas day and the few days preceding and following it we will be=
 anchored somewhere quiet, away from Madang, on one of the surrounding smal=
ler islands.  We raised anchor at 1000 hrs.  We kept all 3 tarps up as the =
sun was intense.  The temperature is above 40 degrees Celsuis every day.  Y=
esterday at the resort, the library was air conditioned and many of us were=
 finding it too cold and would leave to find some place warmer.  The thermo=
meter read 22 degrees Celsius; we realized how acclimatized we are to the h=
eat, despite how hot we find it.  Mid-afternoon lots of dolphins came to pl=
ay with the bow of the Grace.  For about 20 minutes we watched them as they=
 continued to come from every direction.  We were allowed to turn off the e=
ngine and jump overboard to see if we could swim with them but they didn=92=
t want to play . . . they swam off, leaving us looking silly in our masks, =
snorkels and fins in the middle of the ocean.  As soon as we got out and we=
re making way again, they returned to play with the ship.  They were quite =
small dolphins, very beautiful to watch.  Karen taught a senior lesson on R=
ules of the Road to the trainees who passed their Intermediate exam.  Skipp=
er gave a lesson on Celestial Navigation.  He also sat with some of the sen=
ior trainees and taught them how to take a night sight from a star.  After =
supper, Jordan, Tavish, Tristan, Bec, Chase, and Elske took turns with the =
sextant taking a sight off a star.  They were excited to try and come as cl=
ose to our position as they could.  Chase=92s laser helped to point out the=
 various stars and constellations.  Katie, Thomas, Chris, Tiana, Scott, Cal=
ey, Arwen, Noah, and Simon made perogies for supper.  It=92s a big job to m=
ake enough perogies for 37 people by hand!  They were delicious.  There are=
 some incredible gifts being made:  Matt is making canvas deck shoes with l=
eather bottoms, Naomi is making moccasins, Thomas is making a washboard, Ti=
ana made wooden knitting needles, Antony made an amazing fishing lure, Roby=
n is making a crib board, Arwen is making a mancala board, Jose is making a=
 wooden picture frame, Tristan is making a wooden box, Caley is making a le=
ather bound book for writing in, Simon is sanding wooden guitar picks, Juli=
e is knitting a fleece-lined ear flap hat and the list goes on . . . ditty =
bags, jewelry etc.  We can all see what is being made but we won=92t find o=
ut who it is for until Christmas morning.  The night is clear and the moon =
is a sliver, lying down, smiling at us.  The wind has picked up slightly bu=
t it is heading us.  The jellyfish were shining with phosphorescence this e=
vening like little lights.  They are not big, about 3cm in diameter, clear =
with small dark dots inside; we=92ve seen them in the last few anchorages. =
 They don=92t sting like some of the other jellyfish we=92ve swum amongst. =
 It is a nice temperature on deck but it is incredibly warm below; it will =
be a sweaty sleep.  We=92ve been fortunate to be able to ssleep on deck for=
 so much of this leg.  This is it, until tomorrow, good night, Bonice. =


Observations:
sunny and hot, calm seas, light winds
December 13th 2007 @ 22:00
5°1'54.01 S 146°53'31.20 E

Heading 267°
Speed 6.9

Ship's Log:
Tonight Sarah Brizan will be writing the log.  Sarah is our volunteer
watch officer for this leg and she=B9s been an incredible help in all areas.
She has several years of experience with SALTS cooking and commanding a
watch. She joined us in Fiji, after finishing her coastal season as watch
officer on the Pacific Swift.  She will be replacing Karen Neale as watch
officer and nurse for leg 5, 6, and 7.   Karen will be sailing on leg 5 as
volunteer and in Japan she will be leaving us to travel in Southeast Asia
with her brother. Enjoy the log, she writes beautifully.
Happy Lucia Day! It=B9s the first day of Christmas, and coincidentally also
St. Lucia Day; a holiday that I celebrate with my family involving the
baking of a sweet almond bread rolled into traditional shapes and a crown o=
f
candles, which due to the constant breeze, we didn=B9t even try to carry out.
We were also spoiled today by cold (always a treat, no matter what it is)
chocolate pudding (even better!) at lunch and this evening we were spoiled
once more, by Arwen=B9s peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. It seems that a=
s
soon as Christmas arrives, so does the baking.
Before I get onto today, I must recap on last nights squall. Most squalls
come in and move out in just as much time, this one however lingered for
almost 4 hours! The cracks of lightening and thunder were incredible and th=
e
rain was pelting down relentlessly on the deck. This of course meant that
all the hatches were closed up and people slept rather poorly in the
stifling conditions. Not to mention the rude awakening at 3 AM when an alar=
m
went off to notify us that the lightening was getting a little too close to
the radar. From an optimist=B9s point of view however, at least the alarms ar=
e
working!
After insufficient sleeps we were all overjoyed to wake up to a refreshingl=
y
cool day. Peopled donned =B3real=B2 clothes like jeans and t-shirts and even th=
e
occasional light zip-up hoody instead of the usual bathing suit and board
shorts. I even managed to eat an entire meal sitting right next to the
galley, with a shirt on, and didn=B9t even break a sweat. Skipper later
informed us that it was 29=BA. It sure says something about acclimatization
when 29=BA becomes =B3refreshingly cool=B2
Today however, has been fairly normal in the grand scheme of days at sea.
There was a seniors tide interpolation lesson taught by Jordan and an
intermediate review led by myself. Work watch got underway today with more
baggy wrinkly being made and sanding being done. This leg has not had a lot
of time at sea to do work watch so we=B9ve decided to have three work days in
Madang. The trainees signed up today for one of three groups, galley help
(where they will help the cooks clean storage areas and shop and stow food
for next leg), rigging crew (where they will assist tightening the rigging
and help out with various sanding, painting and oiling on deck, also known
as bright work), or hull painting (our hull is due for a once over sanding
and painting).
We spotted plenty of frigate and boody birds as well as some fish making
their best attempts at flight. In other areas of our wildlife watch, plans
are being made to try and catch our elusive 38th trainee. He (or she) seems
a bit shy right now, but has enjoyed running the decks at night for the pas=
t
few weeks. So far the attempts have failed. He seems to come out more often
at anchor.   Tonight=B9s entertainment has been Karen and Katie as they
recounted with much expression and fervor Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the
Opera, and Jurassic Park. These two sisters are blessed with an incredible
mind for detail and a great story telling voice full of expression and
passion. I believe Miss Saigon came about after 9 year old Noah asked Karen
for a love story.
We should arrive in Madang tomorrow morning to get some supplies before
heading back out in a week for Christmas. With a cooler day, all hands are
hoping for a better sleep tonight.  Goodnight, From Sarah .


Observations:
a mostly cloudy day, temperatures somewhat lower at 29 Celsius
December 13th 2007 @ 22:00
5°1'54.01 S 146°53'31.20 E

Heading 267°
Speed 6.9

Ship's Log:
Tonight Sarah Brizan will be writing the log.  Sarah is our volunteer w=
atch officer for this leg and she=92s been an incredible help in all areas.=
  She has several years of experience with SALTS cooking and commanding a w=
atch. She joined us in Fiji, after finishing her coastal season as watch of=
ficer on the Pacific Swift.  She will be replacing Karen Neale as watch off=
icer and nurse for leg 5, 6, and 7.   Karen will be sailing on leg 5 as vol=
unteer and in Japan she will be leaving us to travel in Southeast Asia with=
 her brother.  Enjoy the log, she writes beautifully.
Happy Lucia Day! It=92s the first day of Christmas, and coincidentally also=
 St. Lucia Day; a holiday that I celebrate with my family involving the bak=
ing of a sweet almond bread rolled into traditional shapes and a crown of c=
andles, which due to the constant breeze, we didn=92t even try to carry out=
. We were also spoiled today by cold (always a treat, no matter what it is)=
 chocolate pudding (even better!) at lunch and this evening we were spoiled=
 once more, by Arwen=92s peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. It seems tha=
t as soon as Christmas arrives, so does the baking.
Before I get onto today, I must recap on last nights squall. Most squalls c=
ome in and move out in just as much time, this one however lingered for alm=
ost 4 hours! The cracks of lightening and thunder were incredible and the r=
ain was pelting down relentlessly on the deck. This of course meant that al=
l the hatches were closed up and people slept rather poorly in the stifling=
 conditions. Not to mention the rude awakening at 3 AM when an alarm went o=
ff to notify us that the lightening was getting a little too close to the r=
adar. From an optimist=92s point of view however, at least the alarms are w=
orking!
After insufficient sleeps we were all overjoyed to wake up to a refreshingl=
y cool day. Peopled donned =93real=94 clothes like jeans and t-shirts and e=
ven the occasional light zip-up hoody instead of the usual bathing suit and=
 board shorts. I even managed to eat an entire meal sitting right next to t=
he galley, with a shirt on, and didn=92t even break a sweat. Skipper later =
informed us that it was 29=BA. It sure says something about acclimatization=
 when 29=BA becomes =93refreshingly cool=94
Today however, has been fairly normal in the grand scheme of days at sea. T=
here was a seniors tide interpolation lesson taught by Jordan and an interm=
ediate review led by myself. Work watch got underway today with more baggy =
wrinkly being made and sanding being done. This leg has not had a lot of ti=
me at sea to do work watch so we=92ve decided to have three work days in Ma=
dang. The trainees signed up today for one of three groups, galley help (wh=
ere they will help the cooks clean storage areas and shop and stow food for=
 next leg), rigging crew (where they will assist tightening the rigging and=
 help out with various sanding, painting and oiling on deck, also known as =
bright work), or hull painting (our hull is due for a once over sanding and=
 painting).
We spotted plenty of frigate and boody birds as well as some fish making th=
eir best attempts at flight. In other areas of our wildlife watch, plans ar=
e being made to try and catch our elusive 38th trainee. He (or she) seems a=
 bit shy right now, but has enjoyed running the decks at night for the past=
 few weeks. So far the attempts have failed. He seems to come out more ofte=
n at anchor.   Tonight=92s entertainment has been Karen and Katie as they r=
ecounted with much expression and fervor Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Op=
era, and Jurassic Park. These two sisters are blessed with an incredible mi=
nd for detail and a great story telling voice full of expression and passio=
n. I believe Miss Saigon came about after 9 year old Noah asked Karen for a=
 love story.
We should arrive in Madang tomorrow morning to get some supplies before hea=
ding back out in a week for Christmas. With a cooler day, all hands are hop=
ing for a better sleep tonight.  Goodnight, From Sarah .


Observations:
a mostly cloudy day, temperatures somewhat lower at 29 Celsius
December 14th 2007 @ 22:30
5°12'36.00 S 145°48'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
Today we celebrated Tiana=B9s 19th birthday.  After a delicious pasta
supper and chocolate cake with vanilla icing made by Arwen, all the trainee=
s
and some of the crew went to a nearby resort to celebrate.  This morning at
0930 hrs we tied up at a very safe dock in Madang.  We had to have a pilot
take us in, but it gave Skipper a chance to chat with a local and ask
questions about Madang. The Lonely Planet guide says that the =8Cprettiest
town in the Pacific=B9 is often applied to Madang.  It is perched on a
peninsula sprinkled with parks, ponds and waterways decked in water lilies.
There are many huge trees which tower over the Madang streets.  Some of
these are called casuarinas, and they house huge colonies of giant bats.  W=
e
saw hundreds of them flying around the town during the day, making lots of
sound.  We could see them hanging upside down in the branches of any tree
but the coconut palm.  The peninsula is surrounded by harbors, bays and
nearby islands, all very picturesque.  During WW11 Madang was demolished an=
d
had to be completely rebuilt.  Coming into the harbor we had a good view of
the town from the water; it is quite pretty and the many small islands have
villages on them, with locals rowing their dugouts back and forth to Madang=
.
We could smell their wood fires.  Clearing in was quick and easy.  PNG has
been nice that way compared to some of the other countries Skipper has had
to clear in to.  Our shipping agent has secured us a very good spot, within
15 minutes walk of most places in town.  It is a fenced-in area, with 24
hour security; we are thankful and feel safe. The shipping agent also
brought 2 large bags of mail and it was like an early Christmas, very
exciting. Mail is very important on the ship and we look forward to it.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write or put together a
=8Ccare package=B9 for someone on board.  It means a lot.  Once the mail has
been passed out, everyone takes their treasure and finds a quiet spot on
deck to =8Cvisit=B9 with friends and family in the guise of these letters.
Throughout the ship you hear exclamations as they read, or open a gift,
receive some chocolate, much needed clothes, newspaper articles, a magazine=
,
a postcard etc.  We share our news with each other; often one just has to
share one=B9s news or gift with someone who is physically close by. We spent
the remainder of the day exploring Madang.  The people are very friendly an=
d
easy with their smiles.  Noah had several young fellows smile, say hello an=
d
reach out to hug him; all in good fun.  This is the main tourist town for
PNG but we didn=B9t see any other =8Cwhite=B9 people in our wanderings.  The
market is interesting with a wonderful assortment of vegetables coming from
the Highlands where gardens grow well.  We even saw broccoli!  We bought
some pineapple, carrots, oranges and passion fruit to share with the kids.
It is fun to interact with the vendors, each one sits with his or her neat
pile of produce.  There were lots of peanuts in the shell for sale, sold by
the pile on a blanket or plastic sheet. Some of the peanuts had been shelle=
d
and were being sold in groups of 10 wrapped tight in saran wrap.  Often
women sit cross-legged with their young babies sleeping across their knees
sleeping or nursing and younger children playing nearby.  It=B9s all very
friendly and family-oriented.  The local people enjoy looking at our boys;
they=B9ve seen adult =8Cwhite=B9 people regularly, but not often =8Cwhite=B9 children=
.
For me, the children are a wonderful stepping stone to befriending the
women, even if it=B9s just through a smile and a shy wave. We have been
enjoying the fresh water hose arranged for us by our shipping agent.  Water
is costing us 3kina ($1) per ton; Skipper gave us permission to =8Cshower
away, just don=B9t waste it.=B9  Being able to wash under a hose with pressure
is a luxury and we are enjoying it.  Never take your shower for granted.
The few who remained watching the boat tonight played SCRABBLE or read and
wrote in journals.  Katie told Noah, Jacob and Simon a story about climbers
on Mount Everest (paraphrased from =8CInto Thin Air=B2).   She also read them
the Christmas story from the book of Luke in the Bible.  Bo is reading to
them from Arthur Ransome=B9s =8CPeter Duck.=B9 Tonight the night watchman came by
to make sure we were okay, and apologized that the dock lights were no
longer shining but they had no back-up generator once the town electricity
went off.  We are fine with that, it=B9s what we are used to and it=B9s much
quieter; we can now see the stars. It=B9s hard to believe we are finally in
Madang, the end point of this leg and the city we were anxious about. Papua
New Guinea has turned out to be one of the most fascinating parts of this
voyage, very thought-provoking, and an experience I would not want to have
missed.  We still have 2 weeks left and they will be very full weeks. We
will be here for one week, working on the ship and restocking her with food
for the following leg. We will leave Madang for one of the quieter outer
islands for Christmas and then return before December 28th to say good-bye
to some of our trainees and to be here for the ones arriving for leg 5.
It=B9s been a great day and the mood on the boat is good.  This is it until
tomorrow, good night, Bonice.s


Observations:
sunny and hot, light winds
December 15th 2007 @ 22:30
5°12'36.00 S 145°48'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
in madang since yesterday, tied up inside 24hr surveillance dock, feel =
safe. madang is quite small in size and basic in supplies, supposedly the p=
ng tourist center but we´ve seen no other tourists yet, pretty waterways an=
d small islands, quite green, big trees with large bats hanging, flying and=
 making noise. interesting market, lots of crafts, vegetables (broccoli.) a=
nd fruit. people very friendly and interested in us. hose on dock for fresh=
 water showers: luxury. shipping agent brought mail: very exciting, thank y=
ou. tried today to get last 3 detailed logs out, but unsuccessful. we´ll ke=
ep trying. all are well and happy. bug bites are healing. enjoying cold dri=
nks, a salt water pool, continuing work on gifts, and staying under tarps a=
s temperature is very hot, about 45celsius. good night, bonice.


Observations:
sunny and hot, no wind
December 16th 2007 @ 22:00
5°12'36.00 S 145°48'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
today was a perfect sunday.  the town is quiet: people are spending tim=
e with family usually close to the water somewhere.  everything is closed a=
s of yesterday afternoon.  we just finished sunday service, celebrating the=
 third sunday of advent, looking at ´light.´ intermediates and seniors wrot=
e their exams this morning. chase, scott, sara r., and matt are taking the =
scuba diving course and spent the day in the pool and the classroom. antony=
, jose, tavish and jordan went for 2 dives this morning.  one was on a japa=
nese bomber, where they could sit in the cockpit and look out through the s=
mall window and the second was a current dive where they were surrounded by=
 very large fish. the rest of us spent the day between the boat doing laund=
ry and working on christmas presents, and a good sized salt water pool at a=
 nearby resort . . . a good day.   antony and karen are having their end-of=
-leg 2 days off right now.  antony laughed as he told us that he had to tur=
n up the air conditioning in his hotel room to 27 degrees celsius because h=
e was freezing.  at 27 degrees he found it comfortably cool enough to still=
 put a bed sheet over top of him.  we talk about the trainees returning to =
canadian winters and the temperature adjustment they will experience: also,=
 those trainees who are joining us from canadian winters . . . should be in=
teresting.   tomorrow crew will be busy buying materials and getting ready =
for the 3 workdays tuesday, wednesday, and thursday.  we continue to enjoy =
our simple lifestyle together on the ship and value each day that we still =
have.  we are aware that our days together are numbered and i think this st=
ands out more in our minds than how many ´shopping days till christmas.´  u=
ntil tomorrow, good night, bonice.


Observations:
hot and sunny, calm
December 18th 2007 @ 22:45
5°25'59.99 S 145°47'16.80 E

Ship's Log:
Today was the first workday and the temperature was 52 degrees Celsius
at 1100hrs; it was a hot, hot day.  Trainees and crew were divided into
three groups, either working on decks and rigging, hull sanding and
painting, or galley cleaning, shopping and stowing.   People had good
attitudes toward working on the boat and preparing her for the next leg,
just like Leg 3 trainees prepared the boat for Leg 4 trainees. Everyone
worked  hard; the work isn=B9t always easy and it=B9s often very dirty.  We wer=
e
able to get a lot done today, the boat is starting to look good and the
rigging feels solid; Jordan is quite satisfied.   Water jugs were kept full
and everyone was encouraged to keep drinking water.  Gillian and Katie
provided soft drinks and granola bars for a mid-afternoon break.   At 1700
hrs everyone showered on the dock. A 3inch diameter fire hose was hooked up
for us to use as our shower, it=B9s great.  The pressure is fantastic and the
price of water is cheap and getting cheaper.  It sure feels good.  The air
temperature is so warm that once I am finished putting the boys to bed on
deck, about 2130 hrs, I can still have my shower and remain in my wet
bathing suit until bed.  Yes, it is definitely warm enough here; we could
shower at all times of the night; it just doesn=B9t cool down.   This too is
something I want to remember; comfortably cool evenings in our swimsuits on
deck.   At the saltwater pool today Simon dove 10 ft to the bottom to
retrieve a coin.  He has become very comfortable in the water; it=B9s really
fun for him.   Everyone is very tired, sleeping bodies litter the deck
already.  Skipper will try to send this off tomorrow. Until then, good
night, Bonice.


Observations:
an extremely hot day, no wind
December 19th 2007 @ 22:30
5°12'36.00 S 145°48'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
We have had another very productive day.  Gillian and Katie and their
crew of galley help, emptied all storage areas for food in the foc=B9sle and
the hold, cleaned them out, vacuumed them and re-stowed them with food or
put in newly purchased food.  The galley and the after cabin were also
cleaned. Katie returned to the store today with Caley and Sara R. to buy
more food, while Gillian went with Sean and Kelly to the market for fresh
fruit and vegetables.  When I was leaving the dock area with my kids, I saw
a parade headed by Katie pushing the first of about 6 grocery carts full of
food. The road is very gravelly and potted and steering the carts was
difficult.  There were clerks and young boys from the store helping push
carts or trolleys full of boxes of food, each of them concentrating intentl=
y
on the road and their stack of boxes.  Beside them all, walked a security
guard swinging his stick, just like a drum major; it was priceless, I wishe=
d
I had my camera.  The cooks will continue to buy food for the next few days=
.
Produce always get picked up the final morning before leaving and the meat
is ordered ahead of time and then frozen before we bring it into our
freezer.  On deck most pieces of wood were given a sanding or scraping and =
a
new coat or two of oil, linseed oil, or paint.  The deck iron work was give=
n
a hard rub with the wire brush and then repainted; it looks very smart now
and we have a few people stained with black paint.  The hull crew continued
sanding the crew while standing in the zodiac, moving slowly around the
entire ship.  The dock side was done awkwardly from the dock, or hanging
over the side, or sitting in life jackets in the water (we call it in
diapers).  Once the hull is sanded, it gets a wipe with paint thinner and
some areas will be primed.  Then the ship gets a coat of black paint, also
applied from the zodiac.  The transom was done today and Tav and Elske were
in the water hand painting it, as the zodiac comes too high under it.  It
looks like new.  Brook painted the boot top (the white strip above the
water), also in a =8Cdiaper.=B9  He did a good job. The green was sanded and
primed and is ready to be painted tomorrow.  All 3 dories are on the dock
and are getting a new coat of paint and oil.  Karen said we were going to
make the dories look =8Cblinging (flashy);=B9 Kelly said we were going to =8Cpimp
our dory=B9 after the TV show  =B3Pimp my Ride (a TV show that shows how to tur=
n
a run down looking car into something flashy).  The dories are now sanded
and waiting for paint.  The dugout is also getting several coats of oil.
Mid=ADafternoon, Gillian, Kelly and Caley walked to the grocery store with th=
e
coolers and filled them with tubs of ice cream.  5987u9u7Everyone was given
a spoon and told to grab a tub and form a group to share with. All over the
dock there were clusters of trainees and crew around tubs of various flavor=
s
of ice cream. The hose was moved and we were not able to hook one up until
after 1900 hrs, when everyone was well overdue wanting and needing a shower=
.
Crew is very impressed with the work that was done and the attitude behind
it.  Walking around town I have noticed how much weight the women here can
carry.  They carry bags around their neck and very large and heavy ones,
full of produce, on their heads.  The strap fits over the head and the bag
hangs down their back.   In their hands they will be carrying more bags, or
a child.  Yesterday I saw a woman bent over trying to pick up a watermelon.
She had a huge bag of produce over her head and hanging down her back, she
had a smaller bag around her neck and down her front, and she already had
one large watermelon in one arm. She was having trouble picking up the last
watermelon with just one hand left free.  We stopped to place it in her arm=
.
It=B9s fascinating to watch them.   Katie, Karen, Tavish and Elske have been
telling great stories to the Anderson boys; usually more of us end up
listening, everyone loves a story.  Jacob, Chris, Andrew, and a few other
trainees joined with the security guards in procuring some drinking coconut=
s
with the help of the ship=B9s pike pole.  They were very big and held a lot o=
f
liquid, enough for 4 or 5 people to enjoy.  A few more big ships have come
to share the dock in the past few days. Thomas spent some time chatting wit=
h
some fellows off a Phillipino fishing boat last night who were interested i=
n
the Pacific Grace.  We are quite the beauty amongst these large, steel,
rusty fish boats.  It is late again.  Most people are asleep.  Earlier on
there were games of SCRABBLE and Trivial Pursuit, and some mandolin playing
by Julie and Skipper.   A few trainees walked to the Madang Lodge to enjoy =
a
cold drink, play cards, relax etc.  It=B9s a nice place for a change.  Gillia=
n
would like to wish a very 25th Happy Anniversary to Wanda and Rob. This is
it, until tomorrow. Thank you for the mail that has made it; it=B9s a great
part of our day.  Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
another hot day, clear in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon
December 20th 2007 @ 22:00
5°12'24.01 S 145°35'60.00 E

Ship's Log:
Today was the final workday and the ship looks wonderful. It is a very
satisfying feeling being part of such a complete overhaul.  Susan and Tiana
greased the two masts, seated in bosun=B9s chairs, and wiping the mast with
both their hands covered in grease.  Someone on deck raised and lowered
their chairs; it=B9s a big job.  Robyn was also suspended in a bosun=B9s chair
hanging on the end of the main boom out over the stern.  She was painting
the area around the ship=B9s name on the transom.  A crew of Matt, Chase, Sam=
,
Tristan, and Thomas worked on sanding and oiling the bulwarks and covering
board (wide outside plank on the deck that the wooden stanchions of the
bulwarks fit into).   Andrew and Noah painted the halyards that run through
the dead eyes that connect the shrouds to the chain plates on the hull.
Rachael and Victoria were in charge of the hause holes (the hole in the hul=
l
where the anchor chain runs out); wire brushing, wiping and painting them
red. Susan was part of the dory crew along with Tavish, Becca, Chris, Julie
and Elske (whose main job was the hull of the Grace), Jacob, Brooks, Bo,
Simon, Karen, and Sarah B.  The dories were sanded, wiped, primed and
painted while the rails were scraped, sanded and varnished.  They look
great.  Tavish, Becca, Elske, Chris and Julie also painted the hull of the
Grace; it looks like new and they were able to get minimally covered in
black paint themselves.   Gillian and Katie were helped by Naomi, Caley,
Sara R., Arwen, Kelly, and Sean.  They made more trips to the grocery store
and the market and once the food was stowed continued cleaning below decks.
The floor was scraped; definitely not a fun job but it sure feels great  an=
d
looks great when it=B9s done.  Scott is in Port Moresby trying to get his vis=
a
for China.
It was another incredibly hot day; I=B9m not sure where else it=B9s hot enough
that sweat drips from between your eyes!  Rebecca was painting the hull
below Elske and Tav and felt the latter two dripping on her . . . she wasn=B9=
t
impressed.   Sweating and dripping is a part of being here, everyone
experiences it.  After a delicious supper of hamburger patties and fresh
buns with all the fixings, the female trainees went out for desert to the
Lodge restaurant, while the guys went to play water polo in the pool.
Everyone is celebrating the conclusion of 3 excellent workdays. Last night
we had a terrific storm; only Skipper, Jordan and Simon managed to stay on
deck.  The wind blew and the rain poured for several hours, hard and steady=
.
We still have lightning and thunder nearly every night.  The flash and crac=
k
of both of them is intense. Tonight seems the same; the wind just picked up
and the rain has been falling steady for half an hour.  I enjoy the sound o=
f
the rain on the deck and the smell is wonderful.  Everything will dry
quickly again, perhaps even before the trainees return from their night out=
.
Jose enjoyed a night of Kereoke with some Phillipino fishermen last night.
They gave Jose a tour of their very new boat and Kereoke is how they spend
some of their time; they let Jose have a go.  Simon made friends with
another little boy at the pool this evening, diving together for coins. Whe=
n
we arrived at the pool, the woman from whom I bought a necklace and her
small daughter, to whom we gave several of Simon=B9s T-shirts came up to us
and said hello.  She noticed I was wearing the necklace and we chatted for =
a
bit.  These people live on the edge of the land belonging to the Lodge wher=
e
the pool is.  Some of them work for the Lodge, and the Lodge allows them to
live, or =8Ccamp=B9 here.  It is very primitive living; all of them live
together under a thatch roof and here they sleep, cook, play, live, and mak=
e
and sell their crafts. We=B9ve gotten to know them slightly, we see them
nearly every day and it=B9s a part of their and our day to share a moment.
Then there is James, a man from another village who sells carved alligators
and seahorses. He stands in the same place every day and continues to try
and convince us we need one.  We=B9re not sure who will win yet, but we=B9ve
made a friend and we can laugh with him.   The street vendors are pretty
persistent.   There was a group of 4 men, all brothers they claimed even
though one looked old enough to be their father, who followed Tony, the kid=
s
and I every time we walked through town.  They always managed to find us.
We started talking to them the first time we met them.   We asked them thei=
r
names and where they are from (they come to Madang from the villages in the
Highlands to sell their baskets, biloums [tightly knitted or crocheted
handbags], hats and carvings), and also how their crafts are made and from
what etc.  Both Skipper and I enjoy learning from these people and are not
big buyers. It became somewhat annoying after a few days to have them alway=
s
asking if we wanted a basket, hat, etc. and eventually I bought a few, one
from each.  Now, when we see them in town, they say hello and offer a baske=
t
for a great deal . . . we laugh with them, say we have baskets, they should
know etc. Along the road we saw two women, each was carrying a huge bushel
of freshly cut-from-the-tree bananas on their heads.  It looked spectacular
and funny, all these green bananas falling every which way around their hai=
r
while they continued to walk and chat as if this was the most normal thing.
It was definitely worth a picture, but as I=B9ve written before, we don=B9t wal=
k
around with our cameras, so pictures will be minimal, they will have to be
recorded in our minds.  It=B9s unfortunate because there are so many great
photos to be taken here.  Near where we are docked is the boat terminal for
transportation to some of the nearby islands.   We watch them leave and it=B9=
s
remarkable how fully packed with people the boats are; often they list to
one side and look very precarious.  The people always wave and holler to us=
,
and we do likewise.   Papua New Guinea really is a remarkable country; ther=
e
are always interesting things to notice and wonder about; we will miss that=
.
It is late and very hot below.  Trainees are still out, curfew is at
midnight; they=B9ll be walking home together.  Until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny, clouds in the afternoon, slight breeze
December 20th 2007 @ 22:00
5°12'24.01 S 145°48'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
Today was the final workday and the ship looks wonderful. It is a very
satisfying feeling being part of such a complete overhaul.  Susan and Tiana
greased the two masts, seated in bosun=B9s chairs, and wiping the mast with
both their hands covered in grease.  Someone on deck raised and lowered
their chairs; it=B9s a big job.  Robyn was also suspended in a bosun=B9s chair
hanging on the end of the main boom out over the stern.  She was painting
the area around the ship=B9s name on the transom.  A crew of Matt, Chase, Sam=
,
Tristan, and Thomas worked on sanding and oiling the bulwarks and covering
board (wide outside plank on the deck that the wooden stanchions of the
bulwarks fit into).   Andrew and Noah painted the lanyards that run through
the dead eyes that connect the shrouds to the chain plates on the hull.
Rachael and Victoria were in charge of the hause holes (the hole in the hul=
l
where the anchor chain runs out); wire brushing, wiping and painting them
red. Susan was part of the dory crew along with Tavish, Becca, Chris, Julie
and Elske (whose main job was the hull of the Grace), Jacob, Brooks, Bo,
Simon, Karen, and Sarah B.  The dories were sanded, wiped, primed and
painted while the rails were scraped, sanded and varnished.  They look
great.  Tavish, Becca, Elske, Chris and Julie also painted the hull of the
Grace; it looks like new and they were able to get minimally covered in
black paint themselves.   Gillian and Katie were helped by Naomi, Caley,
Sara R., Arwen, Kelly, and Sean.  They made more trips to the grocery store
and the market and once the food was stowed continued cleaning below decks.
The floor was scraped; definitely not a fun job but it sure feels great  an=
d
looks great when it=B9s done.  Scott is in Port Moresby trying to get his vis=
a
for China.
It was another incredibly hot day; I=B9m not sure where else it=B9s hot enough
that sweat drips from between your eyes!  Rebecca was painting the hull
below Elske and Tav and felt the latter two dripping on her . . . she wasn=B9=
t
impressed.   Sweating and dripping is a part of being here, everyone
experiences it.  After a delicious supper of hamburger patties and fresh
buns with all the fixings, the female trainees went out for desert to the
Lodge restaurant, while the guys went to play water polo in the pool.
Everyone is celebrating the conclusion of 3 excellent workdays. Last night
we had a terrific storm; only Skipper, Jordan and Simon managed to stay on
deck.  The wind blew and the rain poured for several hours, hard and steady=
.
We still have lightning and thunder nearly every night.  The flash and crac=
k
of both of them is intense. Tonight seems the same; the wind just picked up
and the rain has been falling steady for half an hour.  I enjoy the sound o=
f
the rain on the deck and the smell is wonderful.  Everything will dry
quickly again, perhaps even before the trainees return from their night out=
.
Jose enjoyed a night of Kereoke with some Phillipino fishermen last night.
They gave Jose a tour of their very new boat and Kereoke is how they spend
some of their time; they let Jose have a go.  Simon made friends with
another little boy at the pool this evening, diving together for coins. Whe=
n
we arrived at the pool, the woman from whom I bought a necklace and her
small daughter, to whom we gave several of Simon=B9s T-shirts came up to us
and said hello.  She noticed I was wearing the necklace and we chatted for =
a
bit.  These people live on the edge of the land belonging to the Lodge wher=
e
the pool is.  Some of them work for the Lodge, and the Lodge allows them to
live, or =8Ccamp=B9 here.  It is very primitive living; all of them live
together under a thatch roof and here they sleep, cook, play, live, and mak=
e
and sell their crafts. We=B9ve gotten to know them slightly, we see them
nearly every day and it=B9s a part of their and our day to share a moment.
Then there is James, a man from another village who sells carved alligators
and seahorses. He stands in the same place every day and continues to try
and convince us we need one.  We=B9re not sure who will win yet, but we=B9ve
made a friend and we can laugh with him.   The street vendors are pretty
persistent.   There was a group of 4 men, all brothers they claimed even
though one looked old enough to be their father, who followed Tony, the kid=
s
and I every time we walked through town.  They always managed to find us.
We started talking to them the first time we met them.   We asked them thei=
r
names and where they are from (they come to Madang from the villages in the
Highlands to sell their baskets, biloums [tightly knitted or crocheted
handbags], hats and carvings), and also how their crafts are made and from
what etc.  Both Skipper and I enjoy learning from these people and are not
big buyers. It became somewhat annoying after a few days to have them alway=
s
asking if we wanted a basket, hat, etc. and eventually I bought a few, one
from each.  Now, when we see them in town, they say hello and offer a baske=
t
for a great deal . . . we laugh with them, say we have baskets, they should
know etc.  Along the road we saw two women, each was carrying a huge bushel
of freshly cut-from-the-tree bananas on their heads.  It looked spectacular
and funny, all these green bananas falling every which way around their hai=
r
while they continued to walk and chat as if this was the most normal thing.
It was definitely worth a picture, but as I=B9ve written before, we don=B9t wal=
k
around with our cameras, so pictures will be minimal, they will have to be
recorded in our minds.  It=B9s unfortunate because there are so many great
photos to be taken here. Near where we are docked is the boat terminal for
transportation to some of the nearby islands.   We watch them leave and it=B9=
s
remarkable how fully packed with people the boats are; often they list to
one side and look very precarious.  The people always wave and holler to us=
,
and we do likewise.  Papua New Guinea really is a remarkable country; there
are always interesting things to notice and wonder about; we will miss that=
.
It is late and very hot below.  Trainees are still out, curfew is at
midnight; they=B9ll be walking home together.  Until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.


Observations:
mostly sunny, clouds in the afternoon, slight breeze
December 21st 2007 @ 21:30
5°12'36.00 S 145°48'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
It has been a day with a bit of everything.  Crew spent the day getting
the ship ready for sea again; putting another coat of varnish on the dory
rails, fixing the zodiac, checking the zodiac engine over, lashing all the
deck boxes back to the deck, buying more groceries from the market, and
putting the dories and the zodiac back on the ship (they=B9ve been on the doc=
k
for a few days).  All the lifejackets were rinsed in fresh water and dried
in the sun and the boat laundry was done by hand by Starboard watch and als=
o
hung to dry. Chase, Matt, Sara R., and Scott continued with their scuba
course, completing their first three dives in the ocean.  They were quite
excited about what they saw.  Tristan went along with them and had his own
private dive master take him on two more advanced dives, one of them a B25
Bomber, and the other one a shelf dive.   Port watch went out for supper
together to the Madang Club, a large community hall-type building that
serves very good Chinese Food.  Skipper was finally able to meet Sir Peter
Barter.  He has been in Papua New Guinea for 43 years and began here by
flying missionaries in to the Sepik River area.   He is originally from
Australia and has done quite a bit for Madang.  He owns the Madang Resort
where we have been welcomed to come and enjoy the restaurant and pool.
Trainees were able to go ashore and finish final shopping before we leave
Madang for a few days.  Some of us are still working on our Christmas
presents and stayed aboard. We are still luxuriating in the availability of
fresh water and the feeling of going to bed clean. Fresh water is high on
the =8Cbest things=B9 list, along with cold drinks and Cadbury Milk chocolate
bars. The chocolate bars are not always available and when they are, they
melt as soon as you leave the store. This doesn=B9t stop us from buying them
though, we just scoop up the melted chocolate with a spoon or with our
finger and enjoy . . . Once we get home, we will never look at a Cadbury
Milk chocolate bar in the same way again.   Tonight I was talking to the
kids about how special it is that we get to lie on deck together every nigh=
t
in port, under the tarp, on our bedding, in our swimsuits, and with our
headlamp reading books.   The temperature is warm, the breeze is often soft=
,
most of the time it is quiet and our =8Cfamily=B9 of 37 is all around us. We
need to remember this. Tonight we saw the transit boat full of people
arriving at the dock and this time they unloaded three huge squealing pigs.
The pigs made quite a ruckus and a commotion but finally we saw them being
carried away, upside down, and with their feet tied to a pole carried by 2
men . . . something new every day.   Well, we bumped into James again today
and I guess we do need a carved crocodile.  He brought out a small,
unvarnished one, just what we asked about!  He is now a happy man and can g=
o
back to his village for a few days.  I was walking down the road with the
kids when a woman warned me that there was a fight going on up ahead.  We
walked a bit further and came upon several women yelling, pushing and
screaming at each other by the market where we were heading.  We waited and
watched along with many other locals, until several men grabbed the women
and walked off with them, the women crying and angry as ever.  Just as we
started moving with the crowd toward the market, James came up to us and
accompanied us the entire way.  He explained what was happening; it was a
holiday and the women had been drinking too much alcohol.  The security
guards were at the scene pretty quick, trying to separate the women.  He
said he=B9d already seen Captain Tony and given him his crocodile.  We chatte=
d
a bit more about his family, his two young children, his carving and how hi=
s
father and his grandfather before him both carved, and how he was now
waiting for the bus to return him to his village.  It was a great little
exchange and I=B9m sure we=B9ll see him again.  Today the shipping agent brough=
t
mail and made some people very happy.  Thank you.  Noah received a wonderfu=
l
package from his class at Prospect Lake Elementary School in Victoria.
Everyone in his class had written him a letter, telling him about
themselves, their class, their hobbies and any other detail that they were
moved to add. The letters are beautiful and as Noah was reading them, a
crowd slowly gathered around him wanting to hear them too.  They are
wonderfully written, very refreshing, and indicative of each of the writers=
=B9
personalities.  We read about the snow, about =8CSpike=B9 the classroom pet,
likes and dislikes and many other amusing details.  By the time we reached
the last letter nearly everyone on the ship was gathered around enjoying
hearing from these kids.  I=B9ve mentioned before that mail is very important
and we all share in each other=B9s good news; the time we had together with
Noah=B9s mail is such a good example of this.  Once the letters were written,
people hung around and reread them quietly on their own.  Thank you very,
very, very much Mrs. Challinor and her grade 4=B9s.  You will be hearing from
us.  The rain has started already but the night is still beautiful.  We are
continuing our =8Cword of the day=B9 and =8Cquote of the day=B9 on the wipe board.
Trainees have been regularly putting up their own favorite quotes.  Today=B9s
word is =8Cpodobromhidrosis=B9 which means =8Csmelly feet, something we can all
relate to.  Anyways, it is late, time for bed.  Until tomorrow, good night,
Bonice.


Observations:
mostly cloudy day, still very hot, rain in the evening
December 22nd 2007 @ 16:00
5°12'18.00 S 145°46'1.20 E

Ship's Log:
It is late in the afternoon and we are squeezing in a final swim at the
pool while Skipper sends off last night=B9s log from the internet cafe at the
lodge.  I will send today=B9s as well, as we=B9re not sure when we=B9ll get the
chance to send again.  We=B9re still having trouble transmitting the detailed
logs. The weather seems to be changing; although the temperature is still
hot, the sky is cloudy and the wind is steadily picking up.  We are leaving
Madang early tomorrow morning.  Antony and Caley were successful in
obtaining a Chinese visa for Caley.  Scott also was successful; we are
thankful.  Trainees are again filling a day with swimming and relaxing at
the pool, visiting the market, doing laundry and finishing off Christmas
presents. Some of them are beginning to think about packing up their bunks,
at least making a start.  We spend so much time during the day and night on
deck that the bunks become a collection depot, rarely being cleared for
sleeping, except for when the rain sends everyone below.  Even then,
trainees often sleep on the table or on the floors where it is cooler (at
least that=B9s what they claim; perhaps the task of clearing their bunk is to=
o
daunting).   It will be difficult to say good-bye to the trainees that are
leaving; some of them have been with us since Victoria and Hawaii, they are
like family.   Even the trainees that joined us in Fiji, it feels like they
have been with us for a longer time.  After so much intense time together,
it is hard to leave as well, although many of them are continuing travels
and they look forward to that.  For those going home it will be nice to see
family and friends again. Simon is quite preoccupied with the fact that
Tristan is leaving.  He talks about it to me regularly and has plans to mak=
e
him a care package for the plane and a new boat for him for when he returns
to the Grace in Japan as bosun=B9s mate.  It=B9s very poignant.   Skipper and
Karen each spent a few hours this morning cleaning their laundry by hand.
It=B9s now hanging all over the ship, nearly dry.  Crew got together this
morning and set a schedule for the next few days; it looks like a great few
days, with lots of good food and fun activities.  Besides that, we will be
anchored in a quiet bay where we=B9ve been told there is good snorkeling, goo=
d
diving, and good swimming off the boat . . . just what we ordered.  Karen
took her watch for ice cream this morning; one kina (about 40 cents) for a
large scoop.  Skipper received word from Duncan our shipping agent that we
are being given our dock space for free; this is amazing as initially we
were told that fees were $460 US per day!  It helps that the ship works for
a non-profit society and is full of students plus, I think they like us
(smile).  Karen is on morning clean up this week, her final week before she
takes over Sara Brizan=B9s place as volunteer watch officer.  She has been
busy with preparations for the Christmas days, making all kinds of things t=
o
make the boat more Christmas-like. We are grateful and she loves to do it.
This morning she hung a beautiful little Christmas ornament in all of the
crew members bunks.  We are going to Bagabag Island, 35 nm away.  We will
anchor in New Year=B9s Bay.  Around the corner from this bay is another bay
named Christmas Bay.  We inquired into staying there but apparently there i=
s
a village with 2000 people and though we would like to visit with them, the
plan was to find a quiet place to celebrate Jesus=B9 birth together.  This is
it; it looks like rain soon.  We would like to wish everyone an amazing few
days, and a beautiful Christmas day.  We love you and will be thinking of
all of you.  Good bye, Bonice.


Observations:
cloudy and windy, still very warm
December 24th 2007 @ 22:30
5°10'0.01 S 145°49'48.00 E

Ship's Log:
We are anchored out in the middle of the ocean with small islands all
around us; it=B9s very private and there=B9s a bit of a swell, just so we don=B9t
forget what=B9s coming to us in leg 5.  It=B9s been a very full day.  The
Christmas tree hunt was successful and we are now the proud owners of a
betelnut palm Christmas tree.  Finding this tree took our team about 6
hours; they walked miles talking to various people who tried to help, mostl=
y
in the form of sending them along to someone else.  Several times a boat
ride to one of the neighboring islands was promised but after a wait of an
hour, plans would change.  Finally the hunters walked to the wharf and aske=
d
two local fellows if they would take them to an island to find a tree and
they agreed.  They were paid for their trouble and the village from where
the tree was cut, also received some money.  The tree hung over the side of
the Grace in salt water for de-bugging and now stands decorated amidships o=
n
the port side.  Caley and Antony returned to Madang at about 1830 hrs, both
of them very happy to be back home; Simon ran to Caley and hugged her.  As =
a
group we decided to leave in the morning for a quiet spot somewhat closer
than Bagabag Island, near the Pig Islands.  We held a Sunday service after
dishes, lighting the fourth candle of Advent.  This morning Thomas and the =
3
Anderson boys were up at 0630 opening coconuts and getting the meat out to
be grated for the covering of the rum balls.   After a slightly later and
wonderful brunch, Jordan did a final check with the shipping agent for mail
and then we left.  Susan wore her Christmas socks and it started to feel a
bit more like Christmas.  Naomi and Sarah B. decorated the ship with green
and red ribbon tied around the wheel, the stanchions and the lifelines.
People are commenting just how strange it feels to be celebrating Christmas
in such intense heat and sweat. I know that all of us find it somewhat
difficult to be away from home at this time of year, but yet we are excited
to have the chance to celebrate the day in a completely different manner an=
d
setting.   Yesterday we played Stuart McLeans=B9 =B3Dave Cooks the Turkey=B2 out
loud through Elske=B9s ipod.    People loved it so much we ended up listening
to all of his stories; it created a wonderful atmosphere, something
familiar.  Thomas has been learning how to play the guitar and is practicin=
g
for the talent show tonight.  He is well backed with Jose=B9s guitar and
voice.   Once we were anchored Jordan and Tavish and their team of
volunteers, began cooking a feast for the evening meal while trainees had a
chance to swim, snorkel on a nearby reef, read, play SCRABBLE, and finish
off presents.  There was beautiful coral at the reef.  One in particular
looked like a group of very large barnacles that were draped in soft, thick
green upholstery velvet.  When you came up close and moved your hand over
it, millions of little tentacles, making up the =8Cvelvet=B9 swayed in the
current; stunning. It feels very good to be anchored again, and the sense
that this leg is ending has disappeared somewhat; for now we are still one
group living together on the Pacific Grace.  We lowered the dugout into the
water and tried it out.  It leaks less than it did but Matt and Brooks stil=
l
managed to swamp it somehow; it could have been a wave, though there=B9s
minimal wind.  The clouds moved in, in the afternoon and made it somewhat
cooler, about 38 degrees Celsius rather than 45!   Supper was incredible:
fresh buns (thanks to Skipper and Chase), cream of carrot soup, steak,
twice-baked potatoes, fried tomato slices with cheese, and broccoli.   At
2030 hrs everyone mustered amidships for a talent show.  I think it was
probably one of the better talent shows we=B9ve had. Kelly, Sara R., Thomas,
Tristan, Sam, Jose, Caley, Karen, Sarah B., Katie, Gillian, Sean, Noah,
Brooks, Matt, Susan, Julie, and Antony all took part.  A lot of it was
musical.  There was a small break in between for relaxing and joining in a
game of Christmas Trivial Pursuit, and at 2330 hrs we gathered again for a
midnight service.   Karen and Gillian had made copies of the words for 16
carols and we sang all of them.    Sarah B. read the Christmas story out of
Walter Wangerin Jr. =8Cs  =B3The Book of God.=B2  The final candle of Advent, the
Christ candle, was lit.   It was early in the morning before everyone went
to sleep on deck.  Karen and Sarah B. stayed up even longer filling
stockings and hanging them up in the rigging.    Yes, it=B9s been a very full
day and one filled with so many mixed feelings; excitement and anticipation
to celebrate Christmas together on the Grace, and thoughts of home and
what=B9s happening there.   I am even more grateful for this =8Cfamily=B9 of ours=
,
at times like this, it=B9s good to be able to lean on each other.  Until
tomorrow, good night, Bonice.


Observations:
very, very hot, short wind quall in afternoon
December 25th 2007 @ 23:30
5°10'0.01 S 145°49'48.00 E

Ship's Log:
We woke up to a hot, clear, sunny day.  Stockings for all 38 of us were
hanging below the fore boom.  Brunch was at 1000 hrs and so we had a slow
morning, looking through our stockings, reading mail and enjoying Christmas
packages from home, swimming around the boat, sleeping longer etc.  Gillian
and Katie had been up since 0600 making blueberry pancakes, mincemeat tarts=
,
cherry pies and stuffing.  Chris=B9 parents donated real, Canadian maple syru=
p
for our pancakes; this is a very big treat, thank you very much from all of
us.  After breakfast the two dressed turkeys went into the oven and
starboard watch started on the dishes while the rest of us cleaned up the
deck and brought all our bedding below.   For Gillian and Katie, the
Christmas preparations, especially the cooking of the meals, are very
labor-intensive.   Everyone pitches in to do whatever they can, but the
ultimate responsibility still rests on their shoulders; they do an amazing
job and we are all incredibly grateful for their effort in to making
Christmas what it is food-wise.   A few days earlier, Gillian and I had bee=
n
sharing thoughts about Christmas at home, me admitting I was okay with not
having to organize everything for one year, despite the enjoyment it
provides.   Yesterday she came to me again and said, =B3I think I understand
now what you meant about not missing the organizing of food, shopping etc.
for one year!=B2   I checked with both Gillian and Katie yesterday, and both
admitted, that although yes, it was a lot of work, they were happy and
enjoying themselves.
The 3 Anderson boys went rowing in the dugout canoe together; very cute.
Everyone was continually jumping into the ocean to try to cool down; though
it sounds like we are complaining, we are aware that we will miss the
swimming, the days and nights in bathing suits, the cool breezes in the
evening etc.   The water feels beautiful to swim in. Mid-day Sarah B. and
Bec began taking orders for hot drinks; a mocha, hot apple cider, a
peppermint steamed milk, a cappuccino (thanks to a whisk), tea etc.  Elske
and Sarah then began the job of standing in the galley, making and heating
milk, cocoa, coffee, tea and making drinks; they did an amazing job and we
were grateful.  Drinks were served with vanilla/almond biscotti, chocolate
biscotti and gingerbread men, thanks to Gillian and Sarah B.  We are
definitely not short on food this holiday.  Yesterday we enjoyed chocolate
dipped shortbread cookies baked by Robyn and during the Talent Show we had
Tiana=B9s caramel cake and Thomas=B9 rum balls, all very delicious. Once
everyone had a drink we sat amidships, in the shade, by the tree, now
surrounded in presents, and Bonice read =B3The Gift of the Magi=B2 by O. Henry.
We then began opening the gifts, one at a time.  I think this experience of
opening our homemade gifts together was the pinnacle of our Christmas
experience.  We had all shared in the process of creating each gift, not
knowing for whom it was, hoping it was for us, and today, to see the intens=
e
pleasure and feeling of fulfillment, satisfaction and thankfulness of both
the giver and the receiver . . . it was quite something . . . the true
return of the giver was experienced.  This experience is what sets our
Christmas apart and makes the more difficult parts worth it.  We will have
more Christmas=B9 at home; this Christmas will be remembered forever along
with the lessons we=B9ve gleaned from it.   We had Christmas dinner together
around the after cabin house.  We transform it into a big table with
tablecloths (clean bed sheets), candles, cutlery, napkins (paper towel), an=
d
seating (fenders, 20 litre oil buckets and dory thwarts). With Karen and
Katie=B9s dad=B9s Christmas lights hanging around the after cabin hatch, it
looked very festive and fancy.   The dress code for the meal was
semi-formal, which in our shipboard life now means =8Cwith underwear.=B9   For
supper we had salad with sliced almonds, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes,
gravy, brussel sprouts (yes!  Gillian found them frozen in the supermarket)=
,
peas and mincemeat tarts and cherry pie for dessert.  It was wonderful.
Everyone was dressed in nice clothes and there were a lot of photos taken.
As soon as we had finished eating, the rain started and continued for an
hour.  We moved under the tarp that was still up amidships.   Here Jordan
handed out specialty awards for everyone.  These are little anecdotal award=
s
that point out characteristics in each other that we have all learned to
love, appreciate and put up with.  There was much laughing.   At about 2200
hrs everything was finished and the crew set to work cleaning up.  It has
been an amazing day; one I hope the trainees will remember for a long time.
Good night, Bonice. Christmas from the following;
Mum, Dad, Amanda, Clayten and Bonnie: I hope you are all having a cozy
Christmas Day together; I am thinking of you, all my love, Robs.
Merry Christmas Mom, Dad, Rich, Greta, Paul, Ava, and Marcy; I miss you all=
,
especially Ava who I haven=B9t met yet.  Love Matthew
Merry Christmas Mom, Pops, Grams, siss, and bro.  Hope all is well thinking
about you a lot this very very hot holiday season. Love Scott
Mom, Dad, Erin: Merry merry Christmas; love and miss you so much and
thinking about you tons and can=B9t wait to talk to you all soon!  Love Cales
Family and Friends, hope everything is well and your Christmas is enjoyable=
,
love you all and look forward to seeing you, Sam.
Dad, Mom, Josh, Betsy, Grandma Jo, and Papa, nana and Grandpa, Merry
Christmas! I love you! See you soon! Tell everyone else hi for me =AD Love
Julie
Merry Christmas Mom and Dan.  Hope all is well in the cold.  And I guess Da=
d
to. Talk to you all soon, Sean.
My dear and wide-scattered family =AD Much love at Christmas and prepare for =
a
fantastic New Thanksmas in January, love Kelly.
Merry Christmas everyone!  Have fun skiing, see y=B9all in Guam, love Chase.
Merry Christmas Diamond Bay! Can=B9t wait to see you all in a few days! Stay
warm, love Tav.
Merry Christmas in Calgary and Mexico! I love you all: Dad, Mom, Becky,
Andrew, Stephanie, James, and Kurt; miss you lots!  Love Sara.
Merry Christmas Mum, Dad, Jen, Jess, John, Veronica, Hanna, and Everyone in
Europe.  Love you and miss you, Rachael.
Merry Christmas all. Hope you are having a warm and pleasant holiday, love
Tristan.
Merry Christmas! Jocelyn, Ariana, Kara, Bo, Robyn! I hope your holidays are
great! Have a great Christmas! Arwen.
Hi everyone back home, I=B9m having a blast here and we=B9ve been having a
fabulous Christmas. Enjoy the snow for me and have fun in Big White and
Vancouver! Love you Mom and Dad and the rest of the family, Love Tiana
Merry Merry Christmas Mom, Dad, Marijke and Bo. I love you all so much,
enjoy the white Christmas, can=B9t wait to see you! Love Naomi.
Merry Christmas my fellow Ladysmithers and Chemainiacs! Thanks for
everything Mom, Dad, Jake, and crew=8A I love you guys, Susan
Merry Christmas to all my amazing family in Pennsylvania and Canada!! Can=B9t
wait to see you all again! Love Brooks.
Bula P-units, Ally, Jaya, and rest of my lovely family, I=B9m sweating my
brains out wearing my C underwear happily, hope you are too, love love love
Tory.
Love you all =AD hope Christmas was super; see you soon, Andrew.
Thanks for the presents, everyone loved maple syrup, making popcorn soon,
wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Love Chris
Merry Christmas! I hope it is raining=8A Love Thomas
Merry Christmas Dad, Jen, & Colleen, Bev, Gord, Lynne, & Dan, Nancy, Trixie=
,
Ed & Andree, Jeff & Anna, Natalie, Wanda, Rod & Hanna, Kay, and all my othe=
r
wonderful friends: Love and Hugs =AD Gillian
=B3Two angels 2nd class fall asleep counting their blessings=8A and slip slowly
into madness. Hot Dog!=B2 Love K&K
Matt =AD Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Be strong, I love you.  See you
soon!  Love always, your Katie.


Observations:
very hot, no wind
December 26th 2007 @ 22:30
5°10'0.01 S 145°49'48.00 E

Ship's Log:
Last night was a very hot night on the ship and people slept restlessly=
.
It also rained.   Breakfast was pushed to 0900hrs and the pool was open
early.  By 0800 hrs people were enjoying the perfect temperature of the
ocean and rowing around the Grace in the dugout canoe. Breakfast was cereal=
,
one of the favorite breakfasts on board, and wonderfully simple for the
cooks. Skipper began right after breakfast making his mom=B9s famous turkey
soup.  Chase and Katie started a batch of buns to go with the soup and it
was all done by 1400 hrs, when we had lunch.  Delicious.  Today we held the
Pacific Grace=B9s second Boxing Day Water Sport Extravaganza.  This offshore
it was more organized than last offshore.  Skipper and Antony were in charg=
e
but were ably assisted by a bizarrely dressed crew of Elske, Bec, Gillian,
Sarah B., Tav, and Arwen who were the judges. For the first event 2 members
per watch free dived down the anchor chain which was marked off with a line
every 5 ft.  The trainee who went down the deepest won naturally.  Kelly wa=
s
the only female who participated.  The second event was the dory race.  All
members of the watch had to get into a dory, row it around the Grace and ge=
t
out again.  They had to wear lifejackets, row with proper technique, and be
the fastest dory around.  This event was a testament to how little we used
our dories this leg!  Fore watch did a quick loop of the ship only to swamp
the dory on disembarking.  The third event was rope swing tricks and diving
from the shrouds. Points were given for difficulty of maneuver and grace of
landing.  Chase sat on Tom=B9s shoulders off the rope swing for an impressive
trick, while synchro dives seemed to be the stunt of choice for diving off
the side of the ship.  The fourth event involved surfing behind the zodiac;
there were lots of laughs.  We are still waiting for the winner to be
announced but the rumor is that Starboard watch earned the highest number o=
f
points. Word is also out that a Boxing Day Sale is going to happen today.
It will give trainees a chance to get rid of any items they don=B9t want to
take home; they can try to exchange them or give them away.   After the
Water Olympics we continued our Boxing Day Water Sport Extravaganza with
surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Around the ship people continued to
swim, jump, and row the dugout canoe.  Matt and Brooks went surfing on a
nearby wave that was breaking with the swell and shallow water.  Sam,
Tristan, Noah and Jacob snorkeled on the reef.  Antony, Jordan, Skipper,
Tavish and Bonice went scuba diving on the same reef, but just in deeper
water.  The reef is incredible; there are hundreds and hundreds of fish,
from 2cm small ones to 1m long ones, and in every color and shape
imaginable.  The coral too was amazing with its many shapes, colors, and
textures.  There was so much to look at, so much to want to know about. The
day stayed hot and there were quite a few brown/red backs and faces; it was
a true day on the water. Everyone returned by 1800 hrs for lasagna.  Katie
made 3 huge pans and they all disappeared.  After dishes we watched a 48
minute slide show of Leg 4 put together by Jose and Thomas.  It was
beautiful; there were so many memories brought to the forefront again.  We
sat spellbound, not needing to say anything, as we were all present at the
experiences being seen on the screen. This leg has taken us to some
incredible places with even more incredible people.  There is a lot to lear=
n
from this leg; I hope we remember it as we return to our own culture and
somehow try to incorporate the best parts into our lives at home.  While we
watched we ate brownies that Arwen had baked and vanilla steamed milk made
by Katie.  After the slide show many crew and trainees went to bed; it has
been a big day.  Good night, Bonice.


Observations:
hot and sunny, calm in the morning, wind and swell pick up in
afternoon
December 27th 2007 @ 22:30
5°12'36.00 S 145°48'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
We woke up early to a beautifully clear, hot and calm morning.  By 0700
hrs people were swimming in the ocean.  Tavish, Simon, Jacob and I were
hanging around the anchor chain, chatting and enjoying a good moment.  We
were reminding ourselves to appreciate these times as soon, everything woul=
d
change.  Tav is returning home after 7 months on the Pacific Grace and the
ship will be slowly heading north to cooler and more unfamiliar waters and
cultures. The water and the sky melded into each other and the horizon was
barely visible from our =8Cfloat point=B9 in the water.  Breakfast was at 0800
hrs and then we raised anchor and headed back to Madang and the dock. We
were remembering how strange it felt the first time we came into Madang.
Now it=B9s like home and we know what to expect.  The day was spent packing
bags and finishing off loose ends.  Many trainees are continuing their
travels in Australia or New Zealand.  Some are returning home, while others
are remaining with us on the ship.  The mood was calm, relaxed, and
peaceful.   It has made a huge difference to the overall feeling in the
group that we left Madang and found a place where we could be uninterrupted
and together for the few last days.  It was easier to imagine that the leg
could go on for awhile longer and forget the impending leg end.  Many crew
and remaining trainees were writing letters and preparing packages to be
sent home with returning trainees for family and friends.  The general mood
was good.  Tonight we all had supper together on deck and then everyone wen=
t
to the pool for a final game of water polo and drinks. Tomorrow will be a
sad day. A group of 8 trainees are leaving at 0545 hrs on a shuttle to the
airport.  Their flight will take them to Port Moresby for departing
International flights later in the day.  The crew and remaining trainees
will stay on the ship to say good bye to trainees leaving later in the day.
Skipper was able to send the detailed logs for December 24th and 25th.   In
the December 25th log we sent personal Christmas wishes to everyone.  Jorda=
n
was distracted somewhere and still sends the best of Christmas wishes to hi=
s
parents and siblings.  =B3Mum and Dad, Merry Christmas you guys and thanks fo=
r
all your love and support.  It makes the hardest days great days. Many hugs
from afar, Jordan PS. =8CSailor=B9s wife?=B9=B2
I think this is it. The boat is quiet as the trainees and crew are still
together at the pool.  For those expecting trainees home in the next few
days, enjoy them, we sure did.  Have fun listening to their many, many
incredible stories and looking at their photos.  Until tomorrow, good night=
,
Bonice.


Observations:
hot and sunny, flat calm

sailing
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