May 13

For the most part today was great. We had school in the morning and then went for a walk and swim on the beach. The island we are anchored at has a fabulous beach and no one lives here! We went back to the boat, had lunch and in the PM we played some card game with Jonah and then took the dinghy across the lagoon near the main island of Aur and crossed the reef (which is easy to do when the tide is up as there is a good 3 ft over the reef then) and anchored outside and checked out the reef with mask and snorkel. It was awesome and we are planning to go back tomorrow to dive it properly with scuba gear.

The reef in question, which surrounds the atoll of course, thus forming the lagoon, is full of healthy coral and tons of fish. In just ten minutes we saw 4 sharks, 2 white and 2 black tips, all very small, less then 3 feet (one only about 2 ft). Jonah was enthralled. At the edge the water dropped off to at least a couple of hundred feet and was clear and blue.

We are going to re-anchor the boat over at the main island of Aur (where we anchored briefly our first night here before the weather turned to shit) then we will be in easy striking distance of the outer reef, less then a mile away. In the PM we watched a movie and then had a nice dinner.

The only blemish on the day (and it is a big one) occurred after dinner while running the reefer, which we usually do before bed. The generator blew out again. No idea yet what is the problem, it did sound a bit rough and Kate (who was sitting at the nav desk using the computer) remarked that it sounded rough, but I couldn't hear anything unusual. A minute later it started making a terrible noise and Kate immediately shut it down. I couldn't tell what had gone wrong since it all happened so fast, so tomorrow we must investigate. We have had an incredibly bad time with the generator since the day we launched the boat in May of 2000. It has only 900 hours on it, all of which were put on in the last 15 months since the damn thing never worked for more then a week straight till last year.

In the last few months we have had problems with the main drive belt breaking. Twice it broke, once in Vanuatu and again in February here in the Marshalls. I do have one spare belt left and if that is the problem I can have it running again tomorrow. But still, the problem is obviously systemic in that case and probably has to do with mis-alignment (a problem I was sure I had solved last time I replaced the belt). It is our albatross and I would love to just toss it and buy a new one of a completely different design and manufacture, but the cost is prohibitive and that is out of the question. If it is dead this time and I cannot fix it then we will have to run the main engine two or three times a day instead to satisfy our power and reefer requirements, and that will suck because it uses a huge amount of fuel compared to the tiny motor on the generator and makes an incredible racket!