September 27

It’s been a great month. Sunny weather and relaxed times. We went to Asanvari on Maewo, a village we visited last year and had a great time. There is a lovely waterfall right near shore, nice snorkeling and a very mellow village. The weather was gorgeous and we all had a lovely time. Jordan and Martin (from the boat “Wind Runner”) even caught a tuna trolling from the dingy. Yum. We gave the fish head to the village which they loved. They do not have the boat or gear to troll for tuna so are relegated to catching fairly small reef fish and bottom fish. We met another peace corps worker who was from a nearby island visiting for a few days. He had wanted to visit a friend (another Peace Corps worker) at a village about 15 miles to the North but was dissuaded by reports of the difficulty of the trail. All the villages on Maewo are on the shore and there are no roads fit for vehicles. It is a high mountainous island and one can bushwhack across with difficulty to the other side and travel North or South, again with difficulty on land. The locals get around by dugout canoe – a somewhat wet and precarious method of travel.

Jonah enjoyed himself although he got into one fight with the local kids because they just stare and giggle at him and try to touch his skin. They don’t see a lot of white children and besides the yachties who come a couple of months a year, they are very isolated.  It’s hard for Jonah to understand how unique he seems to them but we are working on it. It can be overwhelming when 10 kids crowd in around you trying to touch you. White women with long hair are particularly fascinating. Christie (from the boat “Wind Runner”) has a long blond pony tail and it is constantly being touched and gently yanked.

We donated a stack of old Jonah books and school materials to the school. Jonah gives out toys he no longer wants but the thing the kids seem to like the most are pencils. The village is out of flour because they don’t have a regular supply ship and I gave a bag of flour to lady and she was thrilled despite the fact that it was weevil infested, they just sift the bugs out. Christie and I purchased several hand-woven bags the ladies make. Most of what we got was in trade for old clothes. The ladies are desperate for dresses and t-shirts. Hey, every woman wants a new dress once and a while! I have big stack of stuff and I will probably give most of it away in the Banks groups where the lack of clothing is even more severe.

We then left to go to Ambae and the anchorage in the town of Lolowai . The anchorage is a collapsed caldera and the entrance is very shallow and narrow. We didn’t like the village that much as it was a bit dirty and very hot. We stayed for several days hoping for wind. The snorkeling was mediocre and we all wished we had stayed in Asanvari. We left for Luganville and picked up a mooring at the Aore Resort where we stayed last year when we were here. We had to reprovision for the next two months as there are no stores between now and the Marshall Islands except for at Tarawa (in the Gilberts) which is not very well stocked.  

In addition, we had to jerry jug around 60 gallons of diesel fuel from town to top off our tanks and get jerry jugs of gasoline which we use for our dingy and our dive compressor. We did a bunch of mechanical maintenance of the motor and generator so we are in good shape for the big passage coming up. Phew, it was lots of hard work in a hot and dusty town. Plus the resort is on a island across the channel from town so one has to take a ferry into town. The schedule ends up leaving one in town for around 3 hours which is way too long for that small a town.

In addition, I have started on polishing all our stainless. It looks like we got some ash on our boat from fires or volcanoes and it has spotted and stained our metal. Not to mention we haven’t had a good rain in two months. Jonah has been playing lots with a boy from an Aussie boat and we have been hanging out with “Wind Runner”.

We are really ready to leave and we are going to be making brisk progress towards the Banks and then we leave on a long passage to Kiribati (the Gilberts). Jordan thinks it will be 7 days. I am hoping for good weather.  

Every afternoon around 3, we do some “pool time” at the resort and drink some beers and watch the kids attack Martin in the pool. Last night we had Marlee and Lewis from “Green Nomad” over for dinner. They are a charming young couple from Brazil on a home built steel boat.  We have met some lovely people and are having a fairly active social life this year. Jonah is doing ok – there seems to always be a kid to play with although we have seemed to be out of sync with many boats that have kids his age. Right now he plays with Shane from the boat “Kekaimalou”. Shane is 10 years old and despite the age difference they have lots of fun playing together.