March 27, 2013

Re: What up Bob?

We have been doing quite a lot of island hopping! We spent some time in Woleai and it was one of the best so far! We left with no fewer than 50 leis and flower head bands! They were very generous with the tuba also! whewww got a lots drunk with them a few times... if you can imagine that happening....???
We are now in Ulithi (Asor) atoll and hooked up with a few guys who took us to their island 7 miles away to catch for Daria coconut crabs. SD made the bash 7 miles across the atoll to the small islands on the west side and the hunt was on and they found for us 7 crabs! Afterwards we went back to Downtime and they downed a bottle of Bounty Rum and were just a little drunk when they left the boat!
If you are heading this way... epoxy and cloth will get you traded for anything you want! 4 of the last 5 islands asked for some to repair boat bottoms that had cracks...They also like books, news papers to roll tobacco in, coffee, spices, soy sauce, rice, and C & D size batteries.
Sadly the women are back to wearing tops and the boobie show is over.....When we get to Palau I am going set up a shell selling store to lighten up Downtime with all the shells we have been given! WE FINALLY HAD TO SAY NO MORE SHELLS!
We will spent the rest of the week here and then head to Yap. I think when you clear out you need to tell them what islands you plan to stop at and avoid any trouble clearing in at Yap like we are anticipating.... We have spent way more time than planned but still have time left on the cruising permit...that is if it is 90 days...ours had a typo and only gave us 60?
We caught our tuna close to outer reefs in deep and yellow seem to get em biting! Some guys say all red is good also...We had our first quadruple mahi hookup with a shark chaser!! He didn't get much and we got them all aboard! We also caught our first Wahoo since New cal on the pink/purple squid the marlin also like.
When you get to Lamotrek get ready to be asked to fix a few hand held CB radios....I have no clue how or where to start on such a task but i told them Bob is an electrical engineer and is heading your way! Good luck!
Other than that Downtime has been staying together and I am at the point where I am almost afraid...It has been the longest streak with out something major breaking in the last 5 years!

Daria says hello and I look forward to seeing you at that Micro Brewery in Palau!

Captain Pedro

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March 20, 2013

#Olimarao atolls, life update on #Downtime!

On 12th of March we sailed to Olimarao, which is just 20 miles North-West of Elato. On our way we caught 3 Yellow fin Tuna, 40 pound each and one Rainbow Runner!

Olimarao is a deserted bounty island, the most beautiful in FSM in my opinion, where turtles lay the eggs, but right now 16 guys and 2 women from Lamotrek are building a fishing shelter. The island is a remote fishing/hunting ground for Lamotrek and also has giant coconut crabs.
We brought them a heavy box full of nails and some other materials for their construction project. They were also out of water and we delivered four big canisters of fresh water. Also we gave them one of the Yellow fin Tuna and they traded us for a few huge coconut crabs.

Late this afternoon Pete was kiting for an hour until the wind died. The island has a gorgeous lagoon perfect for kiting.

Next morning we checked out other end of the island, did few pics and when we back I suddenly felt fever coming on... I had a cold shower and saw that the sore on my leg, which I was scratching had become infected and it looked very bad... So rest of the day I was very-very weak and just had to rest and put antibiotic on my leg and Pete was sitting around watching recorded TV shows and was happy to have a day-off. Around 4 pm the guys came to the boat and brought us basket with 2 more crabs and few chunks of turtle meat and invited us for Tuba circle. I was still very sick, so Pete went along for few hours to share stories and see how they built construction!

Next day I felt much better and we took SD to Falifi island with thousands and thousands of birds. After a walk around the island we did an awesome snorkel on our way back. The first spot was very shallow just 3-4 feet deep with beautiful coral heads and coves, which were full of very big squirrel fish and groupers, also we saw big school of parrot fish but color was black and grey.... And on the second spot, it was a very big rock inside the atoll, covered with corals and hundreds and hundreds huge fish, the wall started from few feet and go down to 30 feet. I even saw white tip sharks!! (Pete was waiting in SD.) It was simply amazing! I wish we did a dive there.

Before we left we went to the island to say goodbye to everyone and gave them our rain catcher, some batteries and cava from Fiji, in return we received 8 coconuts, which I started to be addicted to (there is not many other fruit here) and another huge coconut crab!

We have very little fresh fruits and vegetables on Downtime, just few apples, oranges and limes left, one pumpkin, a few stalks of celery, green peppers, 2 cabbages and few potatoes & few onions left. Debbie Myers Green bags can make a miracle in keeping produce fresh but it has been 5 weeks since I visited fresh market in Pohnpei and our provision getting low. But our protein resources are huge: fresh turtle meat, lobsters, crab-meat, roasted turkey breast, yellow fin tuna and last pieces of octopus in the fridge and even some ice-cream in the freezer!! Life is gooood!

I badly wanted to stay a few more days on this paradise island, but we saw the new grib-file and it seems it was our last option to sail for next 8 days... Looks like in Woleai we will have perfect conditions for diving, no wind at all! Stories about Lamotrek and Woleai are coming... Stay in touch!
(12-15th of March 2013)

PS: Thanks Pete and Iridium that we still can talk to our families, but from 1st of April we will have unlimited Internet, Skype and I will posted some very cool pics!

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March 15, 2013

#Elato atoll, life update on #Downtime !

Chief Veronika, she was 100yo when I took this pics back in 2013
It is a beautiful morning on Woleai! We put anchor down today at 7:30am on 15th of March. Pete is having his nap and I decided to let you know what's going on Downtime...

Our last story was about Puluwat then our next stop was at a very traditional island Lamotrek with everyone topless, an alcohol drink "tuba", women skirts "lavalava" and many lamotrekese local strict rules! It was our first island in the Yap state, the most traditional state in all FSM and probably in all Pacific. We spent wonderful week there and I will publish Lamotrek story in one or two days, we are still having some disagreement about a few topics! Do you think it is easy to change Pete's opinion? Not really! I am just using my power like an editor.. he-he

After Lamotrek we stopped for 4 days (from 8th to 12th of March) in Elato Atoll just 10 miles west of Lamotrek. Elato, along with the island of Olimarao (20 miles away), is a part of double lagoon formed by shared seamount. Recently the atoll has become the center of quite a bit of foreign press as an example of things to come. The small, low lying atoll islands, as Elato are losing portions of its beaches to erosion and its to unusually high "king tides". So we are glad we took an opportunity to see it, when an atoll still existed! It was a great experience! It is a very casual island with 80-100 people, they consider themselves like one big family.

First day we visited a main high chief of the three islands (Lamotrek, Elato, Satawal) - Chief Veronika, she is 100 years old and living on Elato, she owned the best land in each of those three islands! We exchanged our gifts and now I've have one more lavalava in my collection, total of four!! (I know from other sailors, its sad news, but she passed away in 2014)

On our second day, one guy caught an octopus and gave it to us, we gave him shades and t-shirt. The dress code on Elato is not as strict as on Lamotrek and everyone is allowed to wear tops, but some people are still just in traditional clothes.
Later that afternoon they caught 2 huge turtles and butchered them right on the beech. They partially cooked them before and then divided the meat between the families. They gave us like 6 pounds of shoulder, heart, liver and some fat. They leave nothing to waste and eat everything inside! They even rinse out the intestines and catch the blood! I cooked up everything and heart tastes like cow tongue, liver is exactly like cow liver, but looks very black and meat is like beef, which I fried and it was a bit chewy...But next day I cooked turtle hamburgers from rest of the meat and it was delicious! And still tasty lake a beef!

On Sunday, after church, we went out with three guys to Ulor Island and they caught us 16 lobsters! While the men were busy hunting, I explored island and snorkeled on the reef.

When we got back on Downtime we gave them a bottle of Bounty rum, t-shirt and hat, shades, some fishing lour's and a spear gun.

On Monday we visited school and shared our travels with the kids about our adventures and also we took my laptop and showed them some pictures. We gave them some toys and candy, coloring books and crayons for the school. I also printed a collage of the best pics from the island and Pete laminated it.

Pete fixed the chiefs sail and a few other things for the islanders and I sorted and copied 300 movies and some educational programs for Stan, one of the chiefs.

Like on Lamotrek the tuba (alcohol drink from coconut tree) flows freely so it is kind of problem! These guys like to party and I think more then half had strong addictions!
It was fun to see how reacted Pete on drunk people, they were irritating him and got on his nerves, but every second day Pete has the same conditions of intoxication...

In the end I can tell you that Elato can offer sailors everything: beautiful and safe anchorage, really nice and friendly people, good snorkeling, "tuba" circles, spear fishing and other island joys. They only get a few boats per year and compared to Lamotrek's few per month! So if you have time this place is not to be missed!

Live your dream, Daria

March 12, 2013

#Lamotrek #Micronesia #CulturalDays

On our last morning in Lamotrek atoll, Federal State of Micronesia, the school had cultural days and all the kids dressed up traditional with the small girls wearing grass skirts and the boys wearing the men's blue and white striped lavalava, which is narrower that the women's version and worn higher around the waist over their loin cloth. The girls gave a weaving demonstrations on how they made the headbands and baskets while the boys showed navigation skills on a white board. Later they would meet with the master carver, master sailor and master fisherman to have those skills explained to them. They had items for sale on tables like locally woven palm fiber rope, which is really neat, small carvings, sea shells, ropes, lavalavas and a few baskets of food with chicken or dog with rice for $15. We bought a chicken lunch, not brave enough for dog yet...

We had a wonderful week on Lamotrek and want to thank everyone for showing us such amazing hospitality. We will remember this small piece of paradise forever! 

live your dream,  Daria

Rest of the pictures you can check here Lamotrek Part2. Cultural Days