Saturday, December 30, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!


Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting 
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST  "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY  - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014  
20152016, 2017  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It has been another spectacular year!  We have sailed from New Zealand in the spring to Fiji for six months, and now find ourselves in the Marshall Islands this Christmas...

Sadly, none of our children were able to join us this year, but we are planning a trip to Canada In June 2018.  We did have some Christmas Joy this year, A TURKEY and all the trimmings!  We were in mexico in 2014 the last time we saw a turkey, so this has been quite a treat...



We gathered with Lanny & Ginger (SV Swiftsure) and Peter & Lisa (SV French Kiss) at an out island here in the Majuro atoll for a great feast and fun...  It did rain most of the day, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits...



Ginger...

Scoots, the cat...




Tonight we will be celebrating New Years Eve at what the locals call the biggest block party EVER!  We are really looking forward to this...

We spent most of this month getting packages in from the USA.  Our barometer had recently failed, so we replaced it along with some power tools and many other little things that just seem to be impossible to find in these far away places...



We have been given permission to visit most of the outer atolls here in the Marshall Islands so next week, we will let go of our mooring and get back to the kind of cruising we love so much...  Our boat is loaded with school supplies and staples like sugar and flour for people in some of these out of the way places...

It is likely that we won't have any decent internet until we reach Kwajalian in a few months, but we will try to update via our HF radio along the way.... 

Lastly, there are just things we see in our lives that you just don't see in the "first" world...  here is the headline from the local paper last week..



We pray that everyone had an awesome Christmas and that 2018 brings everyone all the joy they deserve....

Cheers,
Kyle & Shelley


Friday, December 22, 2017

Majuro, The Marshall Islands

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After an awesome sail from Tarawa, we arrived in a huge squall as we came around the northwest corner of the atoll.  With 40 knot winds, Blowin' Bubbles handled the 15' seas as we know she can...  At least a dozen times in an hour we took green water across the bow and even over the dodger!

After entering the pass, our world calmed down an we were able to motor another 12 nautical miles to the mooring field at the southeast end of the atoll.



The Marshall Islands are an affiliated country of the United States, which means US citizens can come and go without any restrictions.  They can work here as well. (The same is true of Marshalese people).  This means we were welcomed by some folks who have lived and worked here for many years.  The best part about being here for us Canadians, is that the Marshall Island Post office is affiliated with the US Post Office, which means getting parcels sent via the US Post is very easy and relatively cheap.



As Canadians, we were given a 90 day visa, so we got busy ordering a ton of stuff we need from Amazon in the USA.  After being away this long a number of things we use, have either died or disintegrated in these harsh salt air/water environments...

We also encountered grocery stores with North American foods!  Imagine not seeing Heinz Ketchup or Kraft Dinner for three years!  We went shopping for Christmas dinner the other day and actually found a TURKEY!  We will be celebrating with our good friends, Lanny and Ginger (SV Swiftsure) and can't wait for dinner!



This years hand made Christmas decoration to add to the collection....


Like many places we visit, Christmas is a special time here in Majuro.  A few days after we arrived we saw the Santa Claus parade.  While I'm sure it will never be picked up by a major network, it was entertaining.






During WW2 The Marshall Islands were occupied by the Japanese until the US won hard fought battles to gain these islands.  Throughout the Marshall Islands are reminders of the war.  We have done some diving and not yet seen any actual WW2 relics yet, but the bottom is littered  with literally thousands of wrecks.  We will see many more before we leave.



This is a DC3

This helicopter is a Huey, which came out after WW2





More soon!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Funafuti (Pt.2) and Tarawa...

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After all the excitement of presidential visit in Funafuti, life got back to island "normal"...  

Vegetables here are scarce and often hard to come by.  The soil here is mostly coral sand and doesn't grow much.  There is one enterprising family however, who grow locally and offer up their wares every Saturday morning outside the government building...





This "market" is unlike any we have ever experienced!  You must arrive between 5:30am and 6:00am and get your name added to a list....  Then around 8:00, the produce arrives and is sorted into piles....  When your name is called, you get to choose one pile...  You can leave something, but you may not take something from another pile...  We were #8 the first week, and #42 the second.  Both time we were lucky enough to get a little boc-choy, some kind of long bean, a pumpkin, and some cucumbers!

Life here in Funafuti is very laid back...  While here we rented a scooter twice.  Once on our own, and a second time after Lanny & Ginger (SV Swiftsure) arrived.  Since there are very few cars on this island, everyone gets around on these scooters, so they seem pretty safe....  Although, there isn't anywhere you can get a helmet!  The cost to rent for the day is $10 (AUS)!  What a great way to explore this 14 by 1/2 mile (at its widest) island....




Everyone comes out to watch the plane land 3 days a week!




This is the narrowest portion of the island!


While stopping for gas ($1.90 AUS), we met a lovely young woman whose name is Anna.  She is home from University in Fiji.  She is studying to become a lawyer.


Oh, the exhaust pipe is hot!

Our day with Lanny & Ginger


When not anchored by the town, Shelley and I took Blowin' Bubbles to the south end of the atoll.  What an incredibly beautiful place....  There is a very small village with just a few families who welcomed us into their world.  The snorkeling and spearfishing here was incredible!  We also explored a number of small uninhabited islands!


Everyday Giant Manta Rays would come to feed right beside the boat!


Some of the beaches were SPECTACULAR!


The village people collected special shells to make into jewelry, which they sold to tourists at the airport...


This small village has a large beautiful church...

Collecting coconuts...



There are some treacherous shallows...  This guy clearly had a bad day....




Before we left the south end anchorage we collected at least half a dozen fishing buoys that had washed up on the various beaches.  We found a perfect spot on one of the uninhabited islands to create a memorial of our visit... since we left, we learned that a few other boats have also left their mark...

We found WILSON!!!!

Tons of coconuts!





We came to the end of our 30 day visa so sailed northwest to Tarawa in Kiribati.  While Tarawa is mostly unknown to the world, it did have three days of infamy during WW2.  In one of the earliest battles in the Pacific theater, Tarawa was the site where more than 6,400 Japanese and American soldiers lost their lives in three bloody days of battle.  Some 850 Kiribati's also lost their lives in this conflict.  There is a good description of this battle HERE in Wikipedia.

While we were not overly impressed with the island itself (we found a TON of garbage EVERYWHERE, and we kept seeing people defecate anywhere anytime right out in the open), the history is still here for people to see....  We also found the people to be friendly and helpful...



Tons of heavy artillery is just where it was when the battle ended....



This was the cleanest beach we found...





Our awesome rental car!  Safety must be real important here because in the glove box we found condoms... lol


We where anchored in the bay where the main battle took place, just off Red Beach One & Two

There is something very disturbing about this picture......




These relics have become the children's playground





People are still finding artifacts on the beaches and in the bushes!


From Tarawa we made a fast 2 1/2 day sail to Majuro, in the Marshall Islands...  Our plan right now is to stay here for three months. We will blog more later...