November 22

Well we are still here in Butaritari. It has been lovely. We spent some time at the northern pass which had lovely coral. We snorkeled but couldn’t dive as Jordan had cut his toe open on our lovely port lights. We were there with the boat “Dirty Dottie” and Mark and Dorothy are lovely people. The other kid boats were about two miles away at another anchorage. We dingied up one day to play. We left after a couple of days and went back to the main village anchorage where we met up with the boat “Roxanne”. Tom and Lynne have two boys: Jack, 11 years and Tristan, 7. 

All the cruising boats in Butaritari (7!) went north to a village where they never get any visitors. We ended up there because someone had met the Peace Corps person there and said she was really nice. It was a lovely anchorage and Jill, the peace corps person, helped by being the intermediary to the village. The village of around 150 people never have any yachts and so they were thrilled that we all came there. They did a big feast for us and showered us with their hospitality. Jill was great because she speaks fluent Giblertese and most of the villagers English is rudimentary. The kids had a blast playing with the local kids and running around the village. People were constantly giving us drinking nuts or fruit. The gift giving ethic is very strong in the Gilbertese. In turn we brought in books for the school and various little gifts the village enjoyed. A Frisbee was adored and they played with it so much it got cracked. 

Jonah has been in heaven as there were 3 boats with kids and he had tons of fun. I must say the rural life style of these remote villages is very peaceful and mellow. It was really great having Jill explain the life of the village and the attitudes of the locals. They are sweet and generous people with great attitude. Two days ago two Chinese fishing boats turned up though and caused great anxiety and concern among the villagers and us. They are here to fish the lagoon or “fish out” the lagoon. They have a permit from Tarawa but they have to negotiate with the local village. The locals want jobs and the Chinese are balking and trying to lowball them. Apparently the Chinese want the Grouper, they catch them on lines and ship them live to Hong Kong. Apparently, the Chinese are trained to do this. Our worry is that they will over fish and leave the locals hungry. The local understanding of maintaining a eco –system is not very good and they are mostly concerned about getting jobs that pay decently. The locals want $7 Aus a day and the Chinese only want to pay $5. 

Today we moved anchorages and came back to the main village. We were going to leave but it was raining and there was no wind. Tomorrow!