September 1

It is the first of September here and we are having a lovely time in the Maskelyne Islands. We are at Awei Island still, have been for the last 10 days. It is a beautiful spot. Peaceful and calm. Yesterday afternoon we made everything ready to depart, we are going to Pentacost Island next, about 50 miles away. In the evening a new boat arrived with a little girl aboard, Marissa, whose 8th birthday is next week we discovered. Her parents, Mark and Jane, rowed over when they saw Jonah on deck screaming hellos. They stayed for an hour or two chatting and having tea in the cockpit while the kids played below. Their boat is "Tavakenui" which means tropic bird in Polynesian. Mark is a French Kiwi and Jane is English (both now settled in New Zealand). Mark speaks with a Kiwi accent and I never would have guess him to be a Frenchman, though he did admit that he does all the cooking, as I do, a rare bird indeed.

After they left Jonah begged us to let him play with Marissa tomorrow, and even though we have already packed up the dinghy and everything we agreed to stay one more day. I told him though if he wants to go over to her boat he would have to swim for it because we are not re- launching the dinghy today.

Yesterday Jonah and I went on a hike with the people from "Toucan" and "Wind Runner" across the tip of the mainland to the South facing beach where we had a little picnic lunch of cheese, crackers and salami. We met a group of locals who were walking the same way and we walked with them. Two of them were little girls who giggled with glee as Jonah chased them the whole way, unable to catch them of course, they being older and much faster.

He had a wonderful time, chiming in now and then with remarks like "I love the forest" and other similar sobriquets (I got that one from the Thesaurus). On the way back he was slacking and muttered "wait up" over and over till I conned him into distraction by using his watch to time the walk back. It was only about 23 minutes. The walk through the forest took us through one of the villagers "gardens" which is a wild and unkempt looking collection of banana plants, taro and cassava (tapioca) patches as well as numerous mounds of husked coconuts. It looked as if the jungle would devour it in a week if it were not constantly tended.

Tomorrow we will certainly leave in the early morning. Winds are predicted to run in the 15k range today from the ESE and tomorrow 10k from the SE. East South East would make things a little difficult for us, as this is the direction we are traveling, and SE is certainly better for us, but a 10k wind is not quite enough to push us along so we will most likely require the engine to make quick work of the passage tomorrow. Diesel is very expensive here in Vanuatu, but fighting upwind, even in a relatively light 15k is still a chore compared to motoring with the wind on the beam, which is a breeze.