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