January 14, 2005

We are finally going to leave Pohnpei. Tomorrow, Saturday, we set off for Lukunor in the Lower Mortlock group of islands in the Southern part of Chuuk State. We ended up staying here in Pohnpei much longer then we had planned for a variety of reasons. Boat repairs, bad weather, the usual stuff. It will take 2 days to reach Lukunor, an atoll about 5 or 6 miles long and 2 or 3 wide. The atoll has a population of about 1,000, a bit higher then the atolls in the Marshall Islands of similar size. We plan to stay only a few days in Lukunor, then we will sail another 300 miles to Puluwat, one of the most lovely islands in the Carolines, we have heard. This atoll has only 2 islets or motus and an anchorage between them. We hope to stay at least a week there before moving on to Wolei (pronounced Whoa-lee-eye) another small atoll about 5 miles long. This one is very unusual though, it looks like 2 atolls, both round, crashed into each other and now looks like 2 rings joined. Islets are on all sides of the twin atoll.

All that in one month. January 15th to February 15th. On the second of those dates we hope to be arriving in Palau. The sooner we arrive there, the more time we will have to spend, because we are fairly committed to leaving before March 15th. This is my best guess of the latest we can depart for Indonesia without risking running into contrary, Southerly, winds on our route. In fact, we must get all the way South to the island of Flores in Indonesia (where we turn to the West) before the seasonal winds shift from NE to SW. Once we are in Flores we can work our way West, day hopping, on the Northern coast of the string of islands that stretch from just North of Timor all the way West to Java. Our plan is to continue West until Bali, and then after a suitable repast, head North to the Southern coast of Borneo, perhaps stopping at a place called Benjarmasin which has caught my eye lately.

Our latest idea is to head North along the Western coast of Borneo to Kuching in Sarawak, on the Malaysian side of Borneo. Here there are opportunities to travel upcountry in river boats to visit people living in the traditional longhouse structures common in Borneo and parts of Malaysia.