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Many worlds in Majuro

Updated: Jul 7

(Above:: with our sponsors to Ocean Cruising Club -- we are now delighted members --fellow cruisers Alex and Carla, SV Ari B, celebrating with Graham and Karri, SV Pulsar)

Its been a while since I’ve written…

That’s not for lack of doing. It’s just that the doing has been circular, not linear. When we got back from the outer atolls it was because at long last, our lithium batteries were due to arrive by ship and we did not want to be late for that! At this point, our life on board was completely dictated by marshaling and manipulating every amp and volt to make sure our refrigerator could keep the food cold. (For all that Mike learned through this episode, he qualifies as a master marine electrician.)

Life aboard was not really pleasant, and it got more prickly when our ship came in. That ship carrying our long awaited and desperately needed lithium batteries only delivered ONE of two. We were there, we saw it unfold in real time.

The container with our batteries was opened as we watched. The new tractor on a pallet was removed so that the pallets of boxes and goods could be shuttled into the warehouse. And the workers let us move around them to look for ourselves (this is part of island life too)

Only one battery located! The thought of going back to the Lily without our FIX was unthinkable until that moment. We were gobsmacked… NOW what? Perhaps it was left in Guam? Perhaps it will be another 7 weeks to get one shipped again to Majuro? We still have to get south again to avoid cyclone season north of the equator.

We bought a wee Honda generator from Hawaii. It came airfreight tout suite! That was a sanity-saving lifeline. Mike affectionately calls it his “little red sun” and except for its persnickety fuel filter it gets the powering job done on cloudy, rainy days. So, One Lithium battery and One dedicated gel battery (to the fridge) later, we watch the battery balance and strike up the little red sun as needed.

The joys of cruising :: this is when we understand the wisdom of chartering.

BUT THEN, when there’s a hitch in the giddiup sometimes you get a different horse and sometimes you get off and walk a while. Well, we paddled.

A great and unexpected joy during this wait time was being invited to join some ex-pat Aussies who work (and play) in Majuro. They have infused the Majuro Ocean Sports Club with new vigor for outrigger paddling. Together with locals they arrange evenings of 6-man canoe outings and weekend races.  (Jas, is on point for this endeavor and with her amazing partner Kiren wrangled Katherine, Kaz, Sam along with Shaun and Sam and us for a special day).

The trials for 2024 Micro Games were happening and our Aussie friends recruited paddles-in-hands so that the locals could sit in different positions to be observed for qualifying teams. Four six-man canoes went out and back in friendly races with different seating positions that the coach from Hawaii evaluated. First seat is the pace-setter, no matter the conditions they are responsible for setting the beat for paddles striking water. Third seat is counter&caller, centrally located so all can hear in order that the timing of switching sides is precise. Call and response after 10-15 strokes on one side, “HUT --- HO!”  On the ‘HO!’ everyone lifts paddles overhead and switch sides without losing a stroke. Seat six steers the canoe and seats two and five are called the engines: big power and stamina.  Finally, seats two and four are charged with keeping the canoe from capsizing. They are seated in front of the connecting arms and would throw their bodies back against the arms and lean toward the hama (the out rigger). It was serious FUN.

And what's a day of competitive try-outs among friends if you don't end it with a BIG potluck cookout? Potlucks in the islands are not "bring a serving for 6" as one might expect at the neighborhood Fourth of July get together. A potluck here is always "bring a serving for 16"! So much so that many restaurants say "Fast Food" somewhere in their signage and that indicates they will readily send out 9x13 aluminum pans of rice, chow mein and chicken or beef.

We also had one of our new friends join us for a day-sail in the lagoon. That marvelous day reminded us of the “why” we are on a sailboat!

The sporting wind was behind us at first and when we sailed past cruiser friends at anchor near the pass, they told us later that they were teasing about what fool Calla Lily was doing out there just sailing? We even had to tack back to town… it had been so long since we were on that point of sail, it took a moment to remember how! Wonderful in many ways, that was Katherine’s first time on a yacht. It really was rejuvenating to experience her non-stop questions and unfettered enthusiasm.

We loved the communities that embraced us in Majuro :: Cruising community, Aussie expat community, Majuro Ocean Sports Club and Mieco Beach Yacht Club with their weekly Tuesday night dinners!

We decided to head back to Fiji after Majuro instead of continuing west specifically because Fiji is relatively straightforward to get guests to-and-from.  Consider this SEASON OPEN to folks who are willing and able to join us for a couple weeks of snorkeling and sailing!  Remembering this stuff is joyfully contagious, share the love!

Circling back to the beginning of this missive, we did not have a straight path from the Marshalls down to Savusavu. But as we landed on their shores again, we were recognized by officials from the time before and encouraged to enjoy our stay. And from the locals we had met before, we experienced the wide armed welcome of family. (A loving shout out to Molly in Tarawa and Wayne). This inviting island familial embrace is what we want to share.


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