January 11

First, I feel really awful about not writing for the web site lately. I just realized that for the entire month of December I wrote only one Journal entry. Pitiful. Now here it is January the 11th and I am only now writing my first entry of the new year.

I would be stretching the truth if I said nothing has been happening in the last 6 weeks, but really we have been busy going about the job of living life, doing the daily chores, teaching school, shopping, going to parties, having some fun and working on the boat. We just haven't left Majuro Atoll and thus I find I will not have much to say of interest to our readers. Of course, that is only a justification for being lazy and in the future I may regret not having written more as the journal (and the web site where it appears) are not only meant for others but also for ourselves so that we may have a record to tickle our memories when we get old.

During the last 6 weeks we have gotten a lot done, but have also done some flailing (i.e. unproductive expenditure of energy combined with inaction due to indecision - that's my definition, the dictionary my disagree). For starters, we arrived here with 2 serious mechanical maladies which we intended to rectify immediately and certainly before we moved on from Majuro. Neither of those have been addressed successfully. Briefly (because I am sure I have discussed this before in the journal) our generator had been acting funny and we had to stop using it. The part we needed to fix it (or at least, the part we think we need to fix it) was ordered before Thanksgiving and never arrived so that 10 days ago we had the company send us a second one via a different mail carrier (FedEx). It arrived yesterday but we have not yet installed it for a variety of reasons which will become clear soon. Without the generator we are not crippled, we use our main engine to charge batteries. However, it uses about 6 times the amount of fuel and makes a racket, heats up the boat and is not good for the engine.

Secondly, our outboard engine started acting lame in Vanuatu in September. We had our friend Martin (of Windrunner) look at it two times and try a variety of things to fix it none of which worked. About 3 weeks ago he decided we needed a part to fix it (reed valves) which we ordered and which finally arrived yesterday. We installed that part this morning and it failed to solve the problem. We will live with it for now but it means we cannot go very far in the dinghy because the engine is so weak it takes forever to get anywhere - rowing would be just as fast. We cannot, therefore, do any scuba diving, at least not out in the ocean where the really good diving is. That is why we waited so long for this part to arrive. All for nothing. Today we ordered a new engine, larger and more powerful, and a new dinghy to go with it! These will not arrive until mid-February, but we plan to leave Majuro and visit some of the wonderful islands to the North and then come back after it has arrived. Of course it will be difficult to sell our old dinghy and motor in its current condition.

Now we realize we have a new problem which is one of our freezer plates is not working properly and we have determined the problem is moisture in the system. We actually have a spare part (called a 'dryer' which - guess what - removes moisture) but we need a skilled technician to install it and he won't be available until Tuesday or Wednesday, so our earliest possible departure is Wednesday or Thursday next week.

Other then waiting for parts to fix things we cannot fix, we have been getting other stuff done. Also, we have been socializing quite a bit with other cruisers, having dinner parties on the Queen Jane. Jonah has been playing with the kids from other boats almost every day, going to the beach and the (saltwater) swimming pool at the Outrigger Resort. We have also been going to restaurants a few nights a week. Every Tuesday there is Mexican night at the RRE hotel where they serve tacos, burritos and other things like that and it's a party every time. Last Tuesday there were at least 35 cruisers there and its always a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I am very sick today and have been for the last 3 or 4 days. We now think I have strep throat and today I began a course of antibiotics (Amoxycillen) on the advice of a local (Kiwi) doctor friend. My glands are like baseballs and I feel like there are pins and needles in my throat. Every swallow is a chore and the pain is constant even if I don't swallow. At least today I have had no fever, yesterday and the day before I had between 101f and 103f (up and down throughout the day) and that was real fun also.

Because of this illness I had to back out of the cruisers sailing race held today. The second run by the newly formed Meico Beach Yacht Club in which about 7 boats participated. The first race was 2 or 3 weeks ago and only 4 boats ran (see December photo gallery for photos of that race). We had decided to race since it's not a very competitive racing atmosphere (what the call a "fun race") and valuable prizes are given out by drawing lots from a hat. Last race the boat that finished last won the two best prizes, a night at the Outrigger and a 55gallon drum of diesel fuel. We basically wanted the loot but thought it would be fun. Meanwhile, we back out and the race went on without us, only there was no wind. I mean like 2-3k of wind which is a little more then none but not by much. The course was shortened from 11 miles to 3 miles and took about 2 hours for the slowest boat to complete. The quickest boat came in at about 1:34 minutes. Of course, time corrections will be added or subtracted based on handicaps to create a level playing field which is necessary considering the wide variation in boat designs and performance characteristics. So I'm sort of glad we didn't have to race since the Queen Jane won't move in 3k of wind.

What else? Let me see. We went bowling a couple of times with the other kid boats. We all had lots of fun, especially the kids. Unfortunately I forgot to bring the camera both times and have no photos of those events. Tonight is the post-race awards party and Kate and Jonah are going without me. Hopefully I will be feeling better after a few more doses of the antibiotics.