Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hoarding is good!

Conrad the fish at 'Grand Canyon' in Namena.
It goes down a long way (further than we could see).
Matt would like me to write about how we now have proof that his pack-rat tendencies are a good thing. I am not convinced, but will dutifully pass this public service announcement on to you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Local knowledge

When you visit a place like Fiji, where people are so friendly and open, one of the benefits is that you learn things that aren't in the guidebooks. For example, we learned that the Indians (from India) that live here usually burn their dead and let the remaining bones wash into the ocean.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Life's short and Fiji is great

The beach at Wailagilala Island.
We're a month or so away from leaving for New Zealand. Our friend Owen swears that Amelie IV and we will singlehandedly boost the GDP of New Zealand when we arrive and start buying boat parts and supplies. We have a long to do list that keeps getting longer, which has set off my usual hand-wringing about spending so much money when we're not making much.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Let them eat (dry) cake

Sand spit in Tonga (only at low tide). The kids played
'Marco Polo' on land.
As we celebrated Matt's birthday last week, he got a little older and I was reminded that I am not getting any smarter. I made a cake from a mix--the kind that literally has four ingredients (cake mix, eggs, oil, and water)--and managed to forget one of the ingredients. To file away in your collection of nearly-useless information: if you're going to forget an ingredient in prepackaged cake mix, water is the only one you can get away with. I wouldn't recommend it unless you like really dry cake, though. Fortunately homemade chocolate frosting covers a lot of sins, if a bit lumpily.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Would have, could have, should have

We attended a Tongan feast with several friends. We
almost missed it because we crossed the international date line

Matt noticed the other day that our old house resold for almost $150,000 more than we sold it for three and a half years ago. The couple that bought it from us made almost no changes, down to the placement of almost all the furniture and artwork they purchased from us. It was eerie to see the place almost the same as we had left it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Niue: It's not the size that matters...

One of the amazing shots taken
by Marie-Claude Osterrath of Amelie IV
Niue is a tiny country that I had never heard of until we reached the Pacific. In fact, they claim it's the smallest sovereign nation in the world.  The week we spent there was one we'll never forget. The area is a breeding and migration area for humpback whales and we saw more whales than we have ever seen before and will probably see again. They would swim through the anchorage daily and at night we heard their songs through the hulls of the boat.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Palmerston Atoll (Cook Islands)

Mark and Conrad with "Bacon". There are no dogs on Palmerston
but Bacon is the next best things. He loves being petted.

Coming into an unfamiliar anchorage at night is one of the top three "don'ts" if you like keeping your boat in one piece (not certain what the other two are, but probably something like "don't sail into a hurricane while repairing leaking propane lines using a match as a light source" or something similar). So as we approached Palmerston at 11:30 p.m. we considered drifting in the lee of the island until daylight. After talking to our friends on Seabbatical, who had arrived several hours earlier, we decided to try anchoring, especially since the moon was scheduled to be up as we arrived. After five days at sea, a relatively good night's rest was too tempting.