December 7

Here we are in Majuro in the Marshall Islands. Interesting place. It is a rather nice in that there are American-style supermarkets with American products. You have had to have spent 6 months out in the middle of nowhere to get excited about Kool-Aid and real American bacon in a big air conditioned clean store. In addition, it is a clean atoll compared to Kiribati. Minimal garbage and a sewer system which helps keep the lagoon in fairly pristine condition. The harbor is very busy with huge ships always coming and going but the water is so clear you can see to the bottom. 

The Marshallese people are nice and seem to be very hardworking. The town is a busy place with lots of stores and activity. We have been working hard at reprovisioning our basic food supplies which is a lot of work. It mean hauling large amounts of stuff, taking taxis, hauling it all in the dingy and trying not to get it all wet before you unload it on the boat and stow it in various places around the boat while keeping an inventory. We will be spending lots of time places where the stores only sell canned corn beef and rice with bugs if you are lucky. SO when we get to a place with decent provisions we stock up. We kept running low on flour this year as we have been baking lots of bread this year and there is nothing yuckier then buying flour with bugs in it at a tiny store on a outer island – the locals just sift them out but we can not deal with that. So I was thrilled with the Gold Medal flour straight from the US. 

Most of the boats that we met in Kiribati are here and that is great for Jonah as he has lots of kids with whom to play. Yesterday we took them all to the bowling alley and they had a blast. We have done things like visit the Giant Clam farm and had movie afternoons on various boats. The hotel, the Outrigger, has a saltwater pool and we have spent a couple of afternoons there with all the kids. We spent Thanksgiving at the Outrigger which was a lot fun.

We have been getting tons of packages and mail here since the US Post Office services the Marshalls. Its great although we are going to end up stuck here for another week waiting for the rest of the packages. I think we will go to another anchorage far from town for some rest and relaxation and then come back to get the rest of our mail. 

In addition, we have to apply for permission to go to other atolls in the Marshalls. Each mayor of each atoll has to approve the application. In addition when you arrive at an atoll you have to check in at the main village and receive permission to anchor in various places. There is a fee per atoll of around $50 and there are various cultural sensitivities that one must be aware. Women showing a lot of skin is of course like most of the pacific is considered shocking so no short shorts and no walking in public in bathing suits. Bikinis ( the name comes from the Marshall’s!) are considered risqué and I will probably wear my new sensible black one piece that my mother in law kindly sent. I always have a paeru to wrap to cover the legs when I am out of the water. Of course the current western fashion of showing the midriff is frowned on here which luckily is not a problem for me as I have too much of a gut to wear that stuff anyway. Also, they don’t like men without shirts in public. I wear skirts or long shorts in town. All the local women wear skirts or dresses that go below the knee. 

Last night we went to a Korean restaurant which was delicious. Today we are lazing around as it is rainy and cloudy. There is a “chicks only” brunch on another sailboat and hopefully we can drink a lot of coffee and complain about our husbands.