January 6, 2013

Christmas in Majuro!

After spending a few action packed weeks in Aur Atoll we set sail back to Majuro with what looked like to be a good weather forecast. The winds had been blowing out of the NE for days and the weather report showed one more day of this wind direction as we raised the anchor sailed towards the south pass of Aur. Approaching the pass I could see this was not to be the case the wind had already clocked way south and had somehow already generated a nasty swell to go along with it! To make matters worse we could see a series of squalls stacked up on the horizon! We cleared the pass trailing a few lines and landed nice yellow fin before the first squall hit and that was the end of the fishing for the trip.
The pass into Majuro lay 65 agonizing miles to the south and I found myself furling and unfurling the jib sail for the next 5 hours as squalls would pass by blowing at over 30 knots and dumping tons of rain as they went by. For Daria the rougher the seas get the sleepier she gets and in these seas it was not long before she was sound asleep leaving me to drive the boat alone. After 5 or six squalls passed I have had enough of it all myself and left the jib most the way rolled up and started the engine. I set the auto pilot and radar alarm and then took a nap. By dawn the skies had cleared and we found our way through the pass into Majuro and motored our way towards the anchorage while beating into a 20 knot SE wind the last 12 miles.
Anchored safely we wondered how we could have had such crappy weather in both directions visiting this amazing atoll? 

Bob on Braveheart was anchored a few boats away and had recently returned from the states with bags full of boat parts and other stuff…and one bag full of stuff was ours! We thought this would be much faster getting parts delivered to us than trusting the mail system but as it turned out it saved little or no time since our plan was to meet Bob over a month before in Tuvalu…. But the nice part about the delay was it made it a little like Christmas after all. As we opened packages we ordered months before, some of which were surprises since we forgot what we ordered them so long ago. Other packages were delivered via US mail (Majuro even has a US zip code) began trickling in and by Christmas we received all our packages except two lost packs of fishing lour’s. Santa was nice enough to send me a few new kites for Christmas and Daria got a box full of girlie stuff and some new clothes.  One special gift Daria received was a pit of Burberry sunglasses she found on e-bay that turned out to be fitted with her prescription.  They were not listed that way but hey small miracles happen!

 The Tide Water Restaurant was close by and located right on the wharf and served decent food most the time and a place we could get on the internet. Daria spent many hours talking to family and friends while posting tons of pictures and stories on our blog while eating bowl after bowl of ice cream! While Daria sat in air-conditioned bliss eating ice-cream While I spent the day filling the diesel and propane tanks. 

While doing our last minute shopping we checked out every store in town and to our amazement found one store with a icebox full of Hagen Das Ice Cream! Needless to say every square inch of freezer space was stuffed with Hagen Das when we set sail!

Christmas was fast approaching but with 90 degree days it did not feel much like Christmas to either of us. We would hear the holiday music playing on the taxi cab radios and in the stores in Marshallese and did not understand the words but recognized the tunes. In the supermarket we found a whole turkey and all the fixing for a Christmas feast as we stocked up Downtime. One of the other boats Bluebird with Bonnie and Richard aboard were organizing a party and on Christmas day and about 20 of the World Teach teachers and several other cruisers got together for Christmas dinner. These teachers were fresh out of college and volunteered to teach for a year on one of the remote atolls. They came here from all over the US, Canada, and Europe, one was even from Riverside Ca. 10 minutes from where I grew up. This was their first school break since arriving in August and everyone was happy to be back in civilization with warm showers, flushing toilets and air conditioned rooms.
Daria did an amazing job cooking her first ever whole turkey! And even more of an amazing job afterwards making it disappear! She had to try a wing, a leg, some breast meat, and some more breast meat…….soon it was all gone!

After Christmas we did our last bit of shopping loading up the boat with carts full of basketballs, soccer balls, volley balls, crayons, coloring books and lots of other toys for the island kids. 

My friend Mark at Pacific Trading brought another order of Heineken and Miller light out while Daria went vegetable shopping and by the end of the day we found ourselves ready to sail.

With Downtime loaded with enough supplies to get us to Palau and 4 months down the road we set sail for Wotje Atoll with yet another great weather forecast! Ya right! But that’s for another story…….

Merry Christmas all our followers,
Pete and Daria