Internet?!?! Here?!?! Yup – Here are some pics!!

Unbelievably, this tiny village of 50 people, on a small atoll 800 miles away from what we would call “civilization” has reasonable internet service. I am typing these words from the nav table at anchor! You have to love technology sometimes… I bet a thank you is also in order for the Cook Islands Protectorate, New Zealand. Thanks Kiwi’s! 

And without further ado…pictures!!

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The Beautiful Mermaid on the Bow in Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii
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Just a friendly turtle in Honolua Bay…
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The Intrepid Crew Under Way for Fanning Island
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The first day and a half out was glorious
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WAHOO!!!
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The sexy Mermaid filleted it up!
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Then conditions deteriorated. Luckily we have a tough salty woman aboard who has the patience to get the monitor set!
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She also whips up some mean deviled eggs. I washed those bad boys down with a draft amber ale. For a minute we almost forgot how rough and uncomfortable the conditions had gotten…
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Naked sailing…in a squall
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Go away squalls!
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The 40 knot welcoming party that greeted us upon arrival to Fanning. Look at the angle of the mast on the Island Packet (left). The waves were about 4 feet in the anchorage. It was intense.
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The next day we cleared customs and immigration. They were thrilled to have ice and were pleasantly confused by the jalepeno artichoke dip and tortilla chips.

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The town pier in Fanning. Levi from SHOSTROM doing a headstand.
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The main road in Fanning Island… The large building is the town meeting hall
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Dinner….trying to escape
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Ruby was teaching Yoga to the locals. Alyssa second from the left…
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Jenny (sv Levana) brought balloons for the kids, which were a hit!
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Bruno built a small hut for each of his children; this one for Agnes
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The dining table at Bruno’s house. Huge globe over the table. He WAS a sailor you know…
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The home he built. Each stone was taken from the windward side of the reef. He did an amazing job.
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The interior of Bruno’s home (upstairs). He re-purposed his boat in many creative ways.
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Lyss and Ruby toasting their Kava bowls. Tastes like dirt and makes you tired, but apparently the locals are hooked
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Ellie resting at anchor on a calm day in Fanning
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The locals still get around in traditional sailing craft. Although this guy somehow acquired a few plastic hulls. I bet he would win the island regatta…if they ever had one.
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Going out to drift the pass at Fanning
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Fanning as seen from seaward
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Life enhanced by Maui Jim (a future sponsor maybe??)
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Lyss with her new BFF girlfriend, Ruby, from s/v DRINA
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An ecstatic Ruby on our evening booze cruises. Sunken tug boat in the background.
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This sunken tug has been here a while. I never got the full story…
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This is the shot I’ll send Maui Jim with our sponsorship request…
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Kiribati sailing canoe. Can you spot the LED lawn light I gave them? Now they can legally operate in US waters….OK probably not.
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Ruby gifting one of the lights to a friendly local I-Kiribati man
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The man’s humble home. See where he put the light?
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The Kiribati Culligan Man… Drinking from wells such as this one is why so many of them are sick.
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The inside of a typical humble I-Kiribati dwelling. The woman on the right – the man from the earlier picture’s wife – is pregnant and sick. The kids were very shy and cute. The whole family sleeps in here.
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Another family we gifted lights to.
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Under way for Penrhyn. Sunset alert!
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Another shot for our future sponsors: Maui Jim

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Another amazing meal of Wahoo
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Does she look ecstatic to be inside the lagoon at Penrhyn or what?

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The ladies all dressed up outside the church. Alyssa second from the left. The hats are required attire…
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The Reverend and his wife, Mama Tata, invited all the yachties to an after church feast of tuna, lobster, chicken and rice



Anchored Safely in Penrhyn…After 48 hours of Excitement

We are finally anchored on the windward side of Penrhyn after 48 hours of pure excitement.

Since making landfall we have:

- Battled the current and breakers to enter the pass [Pucker Factor (PF): medium to high]
- Picked our way through a minefield of coral heads [PF: medium]
- Dropped anchor on a lee shore to clear in [PF: medium]
- Just after lowering the anchor our transmission seized up and shut the engine down [PF: high]
- Started dragging towards shore across a coral pan bottom with dubious holding [PF: off the scales high – DEFCON 5 – lucky shorts were not soiled]
- Threw out another anchor which luckily caught and held us off the rocks [PF: high but decreasing]
- Were boarded by customs officials right after the transmission fiasco
- Tried our best to wipe the look of sheer terror off our faces and try our best to avoid looking like we have illegal drugs hidden in our rectums
- Completed formalities while being surrounded by the contents of our storage lockers (that were emptied frantically in a desperate attempt to get the transmission out of reverse so I could start the engine)
- Was extremely embarrassed after proudly presenting the customs officials with our Cook Islands courtesy flag, only to be told that was not the flag of this country…turns out it was for Tuvalu…total jackass move
- Were greeted by friends from the two other boats here: DRINA and SHOSTROM
- Served said friends pints of our homebrew to celebrate our arrival and stellar boat-saving tactics
- Accepted that we will probably be in Penrhyn for a month or two waiting for a new transmission
- Assessed the broken transmission while drinking beer with Michael on DRINA
- Somehow the transmission decided to throw us a bone and miraculously start working
- Gave Michael all credit for fixing the transmission even though we both knew he didn’t do anything but stare at it and move the lever about 30 times. Poured him another pint anyway.
- Decided not to ask too many questions and just be happy we have a functioning engine again
- Went into the village to watch a dance performance and listen to the men and women sing a harmony in Cook Island Maori that blew us away
- Were impressed by the local legend of the two boys that caught the turtle but didn’t bring it to the Chief, who was then pissed and came to kill the boys but was resisted by the whole village and killed, leading to a long history of not having a Chief on the island
- Spent a rough night trying to sleep while being bounced around by the wind waves
- Identified the Kiwi feathering prop as the culprit for the seizure (reverse function seized)
- Spent 10 minutes cursing aforementioned Kiwi prop and blaming the Kiwi’s for our troubles
- Realized cursing broken prop and placing blame was not productive
- Decided to change the transmission oil, plan to not use reverse, and hope for the best
- Realized we don’t have transmission fluid – I mistakenly gave it away in Hawaii thinking it was extra. It’s probably still sitting on the shelf in the laundry room.
- DRINA saved the day and brought us some of his extra transmission fluid and also sold us 15 gallons of fuel
- Changed transmission fluid and put the fuel in the main tank
- Made DRINA breakfast to thank them
- Watched the Mermaid pull both anchors up like a champ in front of a big crowd of onlookers from the 100ft schooner SHOSTROM and now she is a local hero amongst the yachties
- Picked our way 7 miles to windward across the beautiful but dangerous coral-studded lagoon
- Tried our best not to hit the numerous turtles lazily floating in the lagoon
- Dropped anchor in 20 feet of turquoise water over fine white sand behind Te Tautua, a small village of 50 people
- Dove on the prop to see what the hell is going on, while keeping an eye on the half dozen sharks swimming around Ellie
- Found out the prop is seized up and wont twist into reverse, which must have caused the transmission to lock up on us
- Decided to wait a day or two before starting on the prop and the long list of boat projects
- Watched an amazing sunset over the lagoon and took in our incredible post card setting
- Slept like rocks in flat, calm water, while listening to the trades pumping and waves punishing the shore on the other side of the motu
- Alyssa headed off to the village church service this morning with the other cruising women to investigate the local religious fanaticism and reputed beautiful fancy hats

That brings us up-to-date. It has been a very hectic couple of days and an exhausting few weeks to get down here from Hawaii. We plan to spend the next few weeks decompressing, allowing our blood pressure to settle back down to normal and start chipping away at the two-page list of boat projects. Poor Ellie has been taking a bit of a beating lately and she is in need of some TLC. We’ll start once we are rested up. Also, the officials here strictly forbid any work or exercise on Sunday, I wouldn’t dare violate their rules. Guess I’ll have to dig out the hammock.

Manuia from Tongareva,
Lewis & Alyssa

May 24, 2015
Te Tautua, Tongareva (Penrhyn), Cook Islands

Anchored:
08 57.425 S
157 55.775 W

Bashing Towards Penrhyn – Will Make Landfall Today

Kia Orana Tongareva! [Hello Penrhyn!]

We are continuing to bash our way closer to Penrhyn (Tongareva). Only 26 more miles to go. We should be inside the pass by 2:00pm local.

The last 200 miles have been very hard earned. We have been close on the wind, sailing when we can and motor-sailing when the wind dictates. We have been battling squall after squall. The wind direction is all over the map. The current is moderately strong and fluctuates between 0.5 and 1.0 knots. The interesting part is the current is coming from the SE, not the E as I expected. Right now we are heading SE and have the current right on the nose. Only making 3 knots VMG towards Penrhyn with the engine on.

We dumped the last two jerry jugs of diesel in the tank yesterday and are now down to about 6-7 gallons. We really hope they can sell us some fuel. They just installed a huge solar farm on the island and no longer run the diesel generator station so we’re hoping we can buy some fuel from them. It’s all downwind to Samoa but we like to have the safety margin and be able to move in light air, when the seas are calm.

We are both ready to be done with the longest leg of the season. We have sailed over 2,000 miles since leaving Oahu less than a month ago. To put that into perspective, the distance we have already covered is the same distance required to: cross the Atlantic Ocean, sail from Alaska to Cabo, or to sail from San Francisco to Guatemala! The rest of the season is all downwind to Australia. That will be a very welcome change. Better grease up the whisker pole! Time to slow down, explore, relax and catch up on the growing list of boat projects.

During my watch last night I was sitting against the stern rail and had my face in the breeze and I swear I smelled the fragrant aroma of fresh tiare flowers. I didn’t know it was possible for a scent to travel this far but I swear I smelled it for about 10 minutes. It’s not from Penrhyn or any atoll because the flowers only grow on high fertile islands like the Marquesas, 1,000 miles to the east. Alyssa thinks I’m full of it but I swear I smelled the flowers. Someone look it up and see if it’s possible for a scent to travel that far, or just let me know I need to check my sanity and stop putting in a thousand sea miles per week.

Manuia,
Lewis & Alyssa

May 22, 2015
15:10 Z
08 44 S
158 25 W
148 T
4.0 KTS

Running Away from a Storm – Now Trying to Make Penrhyn

We have sailed 650 miles since leaving Fanning 5 days ago and are 425 miles NE of Suwarrow. A storm system called the SPCZ (South Pacific Convergence Zone) has decided to park itself right over Suwarrow and prevent us from sailing directly there unless we have some sick desire to play chicken with thunder and lightning…which we don’t. The SPCZ is similar to the ITCZ on the equator – lot’s of heavy up-drafting and convection with thunder and lightning, confused seas and big wind. In short, everything we try to avoid.

We find ourselves in a predicament. We can’t continue on to Suwarrow or we’ll enter the SPCZ. We could stall in place here or sail back north to kill a day or two and then continue on once the SPCZ dissipates, but it’s painful to sail the wrong direction or bob around in these seas with little to no wind. Manihiki is 230 miles south but we can’t go there in unsettled weather because you are forced to anchor on a coral shelf and if a squall hits and brings N or NW wind you are on the reef. That leaves Penrhyn atoll, 215 miles SE of our position; problem is that we would need to motor up-wind and up-current to get there. We haven’t taken on diesel since Hawaii so we are down to about 20 gallons in the main tank and only 10 in jugs, 30 total. That is enough fuel to reach Penrhyn but if we can’t buy fuel in Penrhyn (an atoll of less than 200 people) then we’ll be dry all the way to Samoa, 800 miles downwind.

Given the considerations above, we have decided to try and make Penrhyn and wait out the SPCZ. If we can’t get fuel…well it’s all downwind to Samoa anyway and we should be able to wait for good wind and sail. So tonight we are motoring SE towards Penrhyn, directly into the light wind. There are also huge squalls tonight with intimidating lightning all around. Sure makes me wish my mast wasn’t the tallest thing around for over 1,000 miles. I just knocked on wood and would appreciate if you all could do the same.

I pulled a muscle or something in my back a couple days ago. I was pulling in the jib right before a squall hit and tore it pretty bad. It was excruciating and debilitating. I could barely move and it took a while for me to loosen it up enough to get out of bed. It started getting better over the past couple days but today when Alyssa was sleeping I had to reef the main. When I was pulling the reefing point down I tore the same muscle again and this time the pain was much worse. I could barely get back into the cockpit. Alyssa heard my yelps and came up to finish reefing the sail. I was so pissed it tore again. I was being careful and barely put any strain on it. It was more the way I was pulling with my left arm then how much force. I’m now in a lot of pain and have been finding very creative ways of running blocks so I don’t have to use my left arm. I’m sure the medical advice is to rest and not exert any pressure on the back muscles – well, that’s just not an option on a short-handed sail boat 200+ miles from land. Every movement the boat makes hurts my back, even the simple task of keeping my head steady is painful.

Here comes another heavy squall. Have to pull in sail. The last one hit 36 knots and I can already feel the seas kicking up from the one approaching, still 8 miles to windward.

L&A

06 30 S
160 31 W
100 T
4.5 KTS

Fanning to Suwarrow – Halfway Point

We have sailed 500 miles since leaving Fanning Island four days ago and we have 550 to go until we reach Suwarrow. Still thinking of putting in to Manihiki, 370 miles south, if the wind dies or the weather deteriorates.

Conditions have been idyllic, the seas calm, and the sailing great. We covered 144 miles in the past 24 hours, all close on the wind at about 55 degrees off the port bow. We have been flying almost full canvas and Ellie is in her groove. It’s been beautiful to watch her slice her way to windward. The sunset was magnificent this evening and a reminder of why I sail.

Batteries are still giving me trouble. The bank is functioning now but voltage is at 11.8 and they were fully charged at sunset. They should be between 12.4 – 12.8 when the amp hour (ah) deficit is only 30ah and the load only 3 amps. I think there is a bad cell because when I combine the two banks (440ah with my 220ah bank) the voltage still drops rapidly into the 11 range. I disconnected the batteries this evening to try and test each group to identify any potential bad cells but was unsuccessful. I need a way to put a larger load on each bank, my fan just wasn’t doing it. I may disconnect half the bank and see how it does overnight versus the other – that should identify the bad half of the bank. I plan to do that tomorrow in the daylight. We’ll see how it goes.

Back to star gazing and watching the green phosphorescence in our wake. I’ve already seen three shooting stars tonight. My southern cross is shining brightly – we made it back.

Manuia from the middle of the vast South Pacific Ocean –
Lewis

May 19, 2015
12:24 Z
04 17 S
160 17 W
190 T
5.5 KTS

Fanning to Penrhyn or Manihiki or Suwarrow…. We’re Back in the South Pacific!!

We are in the southern hemisphere again! Early this morning we crossed the equator for the fourth time in less than two years. We’re back in the south pacific!

Ellie is in her groove and tearing away the miles. We are two days out of Fanning and have covered 250 miles since departing on Friday. Conditions are very pleasant with some periods of uncomfortable heavy squall activity. We are on the equator, the hottest place on earth, so as you can imagine we’re pretty much drenched in sweat 20 hours a day. It’s impossible to sleep unless you have one of our tornado fans cranking.

We are not sure where we are headed yet. The wind forecast keeps changing and the latest has the wind dying in a few days so we may have to head to a closer destination since we don’t have a lot of fuel aboard. Penrhyn is only 530 miles SSE of our location, 4 days away, but slightly up wind and up current.  Manihiki is 600 miles SSW of us, 5 days away, and slightly downwind. Suwarrow is 800 miles SW of our location, 6-7 days away, and the most favorable wind angle. Our current plan to to try to sail for Penrhyn but if we fall short head for Manihiki. We’ll see what the wind does.

We are currently sailing relatively close on the wind, 57 degrees off the port bow, and falling short of Penrhyn. We’ll see where we end up in a few days.

We are passing Jarvis Island right now, a tiny bird sh!t-covered rock owned by the USA. It’s 10 miles to starboard according to my charts but it must be very low-lying because I can’t get it on radar. Anyone want to send me the height? Has anyone anchored in it’s lee? Now I’m curious.

Need to make water today. Showers will be had by all! I built a nice little canvas ‘fort’ for the generator so it doesn’t get splashed by rogue waves. I tried to fire it up to charge the batteries – that are at the end of their useful life and need replaced – but conveniently our Prosine charger/inverter decided to trip some internal software breaker and won’t let me charge the batteries. Murphy’s Law. I’m dreading emptying out the lazarette to get to the charger and reset it. Hopefully the solar panels keep up until we get to an anchorage.

Wish us steady wind and calm seas as we sail south. If the conditions deteriorate I think the Mermaid may call for a helicopter – she is very ready to be done with these long, hot passages.

Cheers from the sweltering equator,
Lewis & The Exhausted Princess and the Pea

May 17, 2015
00 24.6 SOUTH!
159 50.7 W
166T
6.0 KTS
10 KTS E WIND
1.3 METER SEAS

Fanning to Suwarrow – 1,000 miles – 8 Days

We sailed out of Fanning at 11:00 UTC today, 5/15, bound for Suwarrow Island, 1,000 miles SSW of here. Expecting 8 days under way at 125 miles per day. Not overdue until 5/28.

We are motor sailing into light SE wind. Expecting it to strengthen to 10-12 knots by tomorrow and it will continue to clock more easterly and eventually be on the beam. Wind may lighten or die before we reach Suwarrow and we only have enough fuel to motor for 48 hours so there is a chance we may be becalmed for a day or two.

All is well and the conditions are extremely pleasant. Hatches open pleasant.

Talk to you all later. Have a great weekend!

L&A

5/15/2015
23:30 Z
03 39.9 N
159 25.6 W
195 T
5.0 KTS SOG
4.0 KTS WIND ESE
1.5 METER SEAS

Fanning Island Adventures and Departure Plan

Mauri!

We have enjoyed some spectacular flat water here at Fanning over the past few days. We have been filling our days with paddle boarding, drifting the incoming tide in the pass, swimming, dinghy exploration, watching the picturesque sailing canoes traverse the lagoon, happy hour get-together’s with the other two boats, and watching the most amazing sunsets we have ever seen. What a dramatic difference from the nasty weather we had here upon arrival.

Today I went to shore and cleared customs and immigration. The offices were in a concrete building with dirt floors and the immigration office was the police station complete with gold rush era jail cells. There was not a computer to be found and after much stamping and paper-pushing we were cleared to leave the country of Kiribati.

I returned to the boat to grab the LED solar lights I brought from Hawaii and then headed off across the three mile lagoon in search of the most remote dwellings on the island to gift them some light. Well it turn out that not one person lives on the other side of the atoll. So I had to traverse a few more very shallow coral patches to reach the south side of the atoll, where people actually lived. The locals were very surprised to see an I-Matang come ashore in such a remote place and were a bit weary of my approach. I admit it must have been very strange to see a sunburnt white man wading to shore holding black metal lanterns with a camera on his head. I gifted the lanterns to a few families who had no more than a dirty well to drink from and some shade to hide under. They were so grateful that they knocked down some drinking coconuts and felt compelled to return the generosity in the only way they could. It was very humbling to see the condition those families are living in. They have so little and there are many animals in the states that live in much better living conditions. We should all be extremely grateful for the comfort we take for granted every day back home. These families are suffering from illness, they lack sanitation and lack the most basic comforts we take for granted. Next time anyone feels like complaining about…well pretty much anything you could complain about in the US…please consider living on a hot stretch of sand, covered in flies, while being bitten by mosquitoes, drinking from a dirty, yellow, parasite-infested well, wondering if you should kill your only mal-nourished pig today or try and catch some fish instead. Our lifestyle back home is not even comparable to how people live here. The contrast is incredible. I’m glad we were able to help in some way, even if it was only to provide a way to see at night. If I knew what I know now I would have brought medicine (for diarrhea or antibiotics for parasites), mosquito nets, food, and a way to sanitize water. For those following in our wake, please take note and bring those types of items.

We plan to leave tomorrow once the wind fills in from the east. Alyssa has been cooking up a storm in preparation for the passage. If we sail direct to Suwarrow it will be over 1,000 miles and 8 days under way. I better check the weather again and make sure the wind will hold. We only have a half tank of diesel…

We’ll write again once under way.

Saboh,
L&A

May 15, 2015

Fanning Island, Kiribati

Kickin’ Back in Fanning Island

We finally had a great day in Fanning Island! It’s amazing how closely correlated your well-being becomes with the weather when you’re cruising. The wind was non-existent, the Mermaid was paddle-boarding, we were swimming, the sun was out, the drinks were cold and the sunset gorgeous. A great day in paradise…finally! Now this is what we remember cruising was like!

My boat project yesterday was drilling a hole in the monitor windvane paddle and installing a bolt to lock the paddle in alignment. Three drill bits later the job was done and the paddle shouldn’t give us any more trouble on passage.

It’s pretty funny how complicated simple tasks become while anchored in a third world country. I needed to get rid of the two bags of trash that were stinking up the cockpit and had become a beacon for every fly on the island. So I took the gasoline, a lighter and the two bags of trash to shore. I landed on the dock and the dozen or so locals were just starting at me quizzically wondering what the hell I was up to. I asked in English where I could burn my trash. They looked confused. Great – this is going so well… One guy spoke English and said I could burn it over there near shore. I said thanks but hesitated to burn my plastic right next to the dock in plan view of my audience, who were all laughing and joking at this point, no doubt at my expense. Another guy apparently disagreed with the advice I was given and after some back-and-forth amongst the group, I was asked to follow him to another place. I asked where and he replied, “the office.” I had no desire to go visit the officials with my bags of trash and can of gasoline so I asked why. He said, “to burn trash there.” Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. He motioned for me to get on the back of his Honda moped. I looked at my two huge bags of trash on one hand, a can of gasoline in the other, and wondered just how he thought I would be able to get on his luggage rack and possibly hold on without injury. He was pretty adamant I get on so I put the gas can in the same hand as the garbage, held on tight and off we went zooming through the jungle, making sure that my legs and feet were lashed by every single piece of brush along the way and that no thorn was left behind. When we made it to the Government building he couldn’t find a suitable bin so off we went again on another installment of Jack Ass – Fanning Island Edition. We made it to his house and he instructed me to put the trash bags on top of his pile of trash behind his house. Every dwelling on the island has a pile of trash behind it – it’s pretty gross. It’s mostly leaves and palm fronds topped with some cans and plastic. He doused the trash with my gasoline and almost lost his hair lighting the pile. I thanked him, topped off his scooter with the rest of my gasoline, and we rode back to the dock. I was happy to be back on the dinghy in one piece and without that stinking trash. Oh, and the locals on the dock were still laughing at the silly I-Matang, who walks around with bags of trash and gasoline.

Our friends helped us drain the keg of the last of the Amber beer so yesterday we brewed a Canadian Blonde Ale. We added some extra centennial hops and it smells delicious. It’s proving very difficult to keep the temp in the fermented down though. May be because we are directly under the sun and this may be the hottest place on earth. Hopefully it comes out alright. We are able to get the temp down to 80-83 in the cooler with cold packs. The ideal range is 68-78 so it won’t be the best we have ever brewed but it should be decent. We’ll let you know how it comes out.

Our big project today is making water (it takes a LOT of water to brew beer). The watermaker is going right now. We wait until the current is coming in the pass. It’s pretty clear that an incoming tide is the only safe time to run the watermaker. Did I mention there are no toilets or waste treatment plants on the island of 3,000 humans?

There is one other boat here, DRINA, the others headed south with the storms. We were invited aboard for drinks and apps this evening so that’s our big plan after making water.

Looks like the easterlies will return at the end of the week. If the forecast still looks favorable we will sail south direct for Suwarrow, a 7-8 day sail. In the meantime we’ll be enjoying this flat water and the breathtaking sunsets.

Also – most importantly – a belated Happy Mother’s Day to Danielle and Rina!

Cheers from Fanning Island!

Lewis & Alyssa

May 12, 2015

Fanning Island, Kiribat

Fanning Island – It’s Calm! (and very very hot)

The I-Kiribati people have completely redeemed themselves on the musical front. Karaoke = not so good – church singing in the chapel = excellent. Yesterday we attended the Catholic church services. The melodies were harmonious and beautiful, if a bit loud inside of a concrete building.. The women sat on one side and the men on the other. There are no benches and everyone sits on the ground, then stands to sing, then kneels to pray, then back to sitting on the concrete floor. All the while you are being completely swarmed by carnivorous flies. Apparently the I-Kiribati have learned to come to peace with being covered in flies, unfortunately for me I have yet to reach that zen state of peace with the flies. I was dying. Dripping wet with sweat and covered in flies. Oh ya, such is the good time to be had on this island straddling the equator. Sweat and flies aside, it was nice to see the church services and how passionate these humble people are about their adopted western religion. It’s funny how children are the same everywhere; there was an older woman sitting with the children to keep them quiet and in order. Seems that scene plays out in every church around the world no matter the faith or denomination. Just here you have to sprinkle liberally with man-eating flies.

After church we stopped by Bruno’s house (the Frenchman we mentioned) and bought a couple really cool shark’s tooth daggers. These are made after the traditional island weapons and will make an awesome addition to my native defense collection.

After visiting with Bruno we retreated to the boat to hide from the bugs. I have been dying to have Alyssa cut my hair because when it gets long it’s like wearing a wool helmet that can’t be removed – not so beneficial in the equatorial heat and humidity. She pulled out our fancy hair cutting gear (thanks Pep!!) and she went to work removing my helmet piece by piece. My internal temp must have dropped by 10 degrees because it feels like someone turned on the AC inside my head. Much relieved!

Did I mention that the wind died (like we were wanting after all those storms and waves)? We are now anchored in completely flat water with no wind. That means it feels much, much hotter, and the mold is doing it’s best to take over the wood interior of Ellie, but the tradeoff is worth it. We can jump in the water to cool off. We can attack the mold with bleach. We can’t make the huge waves stop in a storm. So we’ll spend our time moving as little as possible, cooling off in the lagoon, and waiting for the easterlies to return.

Once the easterlies fill in later this week we plan to sail south. Not sure where we’re going yet. We may go Christmas Island, 200 miles SE, to get fuel before heading south. But if the forecast looks good for sailing all the way to Suwarrow then we’ll leave direct.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend. Email us will ya? It’s not like we’re getting any other news or entertainment out here…

Cheers from the hottest island nation on earth,
Lewis & Alyssa

Fanning Island, Kiribati

May 11, 2015