March 10

Well, its seems that the wind blows like stink here all the time here. Its been between 18 knots and 28 knots with occasional forays into the 30's. Blissfully our wind instruments read low so we always are thinking positive thoughts. We are up in the northern corner with good protections. The islands here are stunningly beautiful with long soft white sand beaches. There are maybe 30 people on the island we are anchored in front of and 5 people the one just north. The sailing outriggers zip up and down the Atoll giving the people a lot of mobility. The family on the north most island splits their time between that island and the main village in the south. The sailing outriggers move at around 6 to 10 knots - just blasting along sometimes with the stabilizer part fully out of the water and someone hiked out to keep it down. You can read accounts from 200 years ago by people like Robert Louis Stevenson and before and they were all amazed at the speed and agility of the these sailing canoes. Our friend, Jeanette on the boat "Dancer", got a ride on one and she said it was amazing how well the boats handled. Tacking is a bit of a drama as it requires moving the mast!

On the way from the southern anchorage our autopilot fried. Rather one of the control boards in the brain melted. Ahhhh, the smell of burning electronics. I hope the wind vane is good form for the trip back to Majuro because hand steering a boat is exhausting for hours on end.

Today was rainy and we stayed on the boat. I think we will move a couple of islands south tomorrow. Perhaps we will have a gathering of the 2 other cruiser boats here. I don't know if we will get to do any diving - it blowing too hard and the inside coral heads are not really diving material but ok for snorkeling.

The village on the island in front of us is very sweet - very low key. I walked around the island the first day with Jonah and trailing some local kids. We gathered awesome shells. People in the village gave me heaps of drinking nuts and wanted to give me pandanus fruit which I declined. It was enough for 2 fruit a day for each of us for the next month. Its okay tasting but kind of fibrous and sticky sweet. One of the little girls who had trailed me around the island gave me some shells that were lovely. I promised her lollipops! I gave a small jar of sugar to another lady. I gave a ride to about 10 village kids in our dingy and took them out to look at our boat. They were amazed and very shy and sweet. I gave my little shell girl her lollipop and some magic markers. The next day 3 girls canoed out with more shells and I gave them pencils, paper and markers. They came out the next day with more amazing incredible shells and we traded again for little stuff. I did give them some t-shirts of mine that had shrunk and were no longer viable for me. I had to tow them back in the dingy because the wind was blowing so hard their canoe was moving backward! I want to go into tomorrow morning before we leave to say goodbye and get some more drinking nuts.

We explored the islands north and south. Its fun to see what the ocean washes up on the beaches. Tons of flip flops - none matching. Hundreds of fishing buoys used to hold up nets or long lines. Lots of plastic bottles. Sometimes the weird and unexplainable like a refrigerator door or a part of an airplane flap. James on "Rainbow Chaser" calls the atoll a catcher mitt because it runs south to north with the islands all on the eastern side where the wind blows from.

We have been making lots of good school progress which is great because then we can goof off when we get back to Majuro. I am so bored with the program currently that I have been adding things to make more interesting. Thank god I bought an awesome history component call The Story of the World. Jonah begs for history every day! Jordan is teaching Math and is doing well although appreciates some extra math puzzles books as a change of pace. Jonah's reading skills are just awesome - he is reading at about a third grade level. His current challenges are spelling and composition. Spelling is just work and practice and he is pretty good at it as he finds it somehow empowering to be able to spell lots of words. We added a word of the day where we take out his wonderful Young People Dictionary from DK (beautiful photos and well designed) and close his eyes and pick a page at random. Our opening word was "Devil" - what a pip! It was interesting because to understand the definition we had to look up some other words like mischievous. Writing is about a assigned topic is akin to water torture for him although if it is disguised as a letter or a story, he seems to have no problem. Oh well. He spends about one hour to two hours a day reading on his own outside of school and school work so things are looking good for that academic scholarship to college. Basically when there is no TV, no video games and few amusements , children turn to books. We have DVD's, of course, but he has watched them all so many times, he is a bit bored with them. The laptop on which he plays games is limited as the cd drive broke and most of his games require the cd to be in the drive for the game to launch. I read to him more difficult books like Harry Potter, Lemony Snickett, and other stuff like that.