Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Offerings of the Solomons, good and bad

Stuart was nice enough to let Matt tag along on one of
his fishing trips. Blue fin trevally.
We have now been in the Solomon Islands for over seven months. For most of our stay, we have barely seen any other cruising boats except for the one (and sometimes two) we travelled with. As the season comes to an end, more boats have been popping up for short stays in the islands here but we are still mostly on our own. That's why yesterday was unusual.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

And we're waiting, we're waiting...

Conrad and Mark surfing and boogie boarding
When we mailed our roller furler to Australia to get the seals and bearings replaced, the friendly and helpful Munda Post Office worker, Riko, couldn't find the receipt book. Apparently our package was the first one of the year sent from this branch (yes, it was almost June; yes, they operate on a calendar year). This gave us pause. We'll be on the edge of our seat waiting to see if/when the package gets there.

Friday, June 2, 2017

So we were all set to leave the Solomons...

Mark chilling at Lola with his pals Pepi and Culi
We went to Noro and Munda to get our final diesel and other provisions so that we could check out by June 1. Before we stocked up on frozen meat from the fabulous Muzi Boko (a store made up exclusively of shipping containers and packed with reasonably priced goodies shipped from Australia), we decided to defrost the nearly-empty freezer. The thing hadn't been defrosted since leaving New Zealand over a year ago and had built up a good coating of ice.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Bug's Life

Close-up of a dragonfly.
Conrad has been a bit obsessed with bugs lately. His backup pet is a tarantula if he can't get a dog when we go back to living on land.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Send in the clowns

We are at a remote anchorage northeast of Gizo. It has a nice white sand beaches (digging never gets old). The diving and snorkeling are great--we have never seen so many clownfish. Even out here, our friend Samson has sailed/canoed out to offer us water coconuts and fresh produce from his garden.


The generator has gotten a lot of use due to the cloudiness and dive compressor. Matt has also been replacing a lot of pumps (refrigeration and bilge) lately. He loses about a quart of sweat every time he does one of these projects.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter in Gizo


When we were in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, there were so many white sand beaches that we really became really blasé about them. I felt I would be just fine if I never saw another white sand beach.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Taste of Civilization

The picture shows tiny Snake Island. At certain times of year, sea snakes go there to breed.

At Lola Island, the proprietors of the resort were kind enough to share their Internet with visiting yachts. This is the first 'unlimited' Internet we have enjoyed since arriving in the Solomons in November. Initially, it was a huge boon to be able to do the things we needed, such as banking and taxes. However, by the end of our weeklong stay, I was feeling vaguely discontent and somewhat anxious. A constant connection to the outside world brought me news (usually bad) and all the trivia of my favorite websites. Yet, being on the Internet sucked me in and I read fewer, played less guitar, and felt I was being pulled away from the real world. I saw the same effect on the kids as well, especially Conrad. He would rush through meals to email and e-chat with his friends. Both he and Mark were disproportionately excited about the arrive of (iPad) game day WITH INTERNET. I'm being overly dramatic but the experience gave me a glimpse of the challenges that going back to the U.S. might bring.

We are currently anchored at Malazeke Island, slowly making our way to Gizo. The village here is Seventh Day Adventist, so the villagers don't have teeth stained red and black by Betel nut. When we arrived, Billy came out to say hello, offer his many services (tour guide, boat bottom cleaner, carver), and see what we had to trade (angle grinder, generator, engine). He asked whether Matt was interested in going fishing and for help writing a thank you letter to the Australian High Commission for the water collection tanks that were sent.

Matt has continued his battle against the misbehaving freezer and refrigerator. Apparently, sealing the leaking pumps stopped the leak but made the water infiltrate the motor. Both pumps have been replaced (and new ones ordered). He has also cleaned the boat's bottom and propellers, which has given us an extra knot of speed.

The weather remains hot but we haven't seen much sun (for the Solomons) in the last week. Our water tanks are full but our solar performance has been dismal. Our generator is getting more use here than anywhere else in four years of cruising.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lola Island

Pepe the dog loves the kids
Lola Island has everything: a friendly resort, a beach with rope swings and dozens of black tip reef sharks (they are more afraid of us than we are of them), clean water for snorkeling, and an island with skulls.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Back in the land of internet

The kids got to be in the water with these guys.
In honor of our first 3G for over a month--pictures! We have just been hanging out with our friends on Field Trip and Rehua, visiting villages, seeing sights, and snorkeling. The coral is healthy and there is and we are seeing a lot of fish that we haven't seen before. We would love a more consistent breeze and fewer flies but overall we can't complain.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jubilation--dolphins again!

After a long dry spell from dolphins, we saw a couple large pods on our way to Nggatokae Island, including new-to-us Risso's dolphins. We got to swim with a big local pod of dolphins yesterday and today. Now we just need to get over this fishing dry spell.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nggatokae Island

This is our first blog post via email so hopefully it works.

We have been enjoying the peace and quiet of the anchorage near Peava village. The village has incredible carvers and make enough money from carving and logging. That might be why we have had very few canoes coming by to trade. The kids have been playing with the Field Trip and village kids on the rope swings. Conrad has gotten to use the carving tools he got for Christmas. A couple of local carvers gave him a piece of wood and some carving tips. Matt's leg has finally healed enough to do some diving and snorkeling. There are lots of turtles, sharks, and coral.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Still bobbing around in the Florida Islands

Four catamarans in Tulagi Bay
The heat has twice caused our windlass motor button to spontaneously start (they are triggered by air pressure instead of an electrical switch). It has been when the cover was lifted and the hot Solomon sun blazed down on it. Both times it was the 'down' button (which is good) and we were on board and stopped it by turning off the breaker. Another sign of the heat. And I think we've learned to keep that cover down!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Temporary crew and normal life

Poor man's drone photo: Matt took this shot from the mast
as he checked our tricolor light.
As we were leaving for Honiara, John (the leader of the village near our anchorage in Roderick Bay) asked whether we and our buddy boats could take some kids with us for a school event. We hemmed and hawed to ourselves and weren't thrilled with a number of considerations, not the least of which was the idea of folks we really didn't know being on the boat, even if only for 5 hours.  We ultimately said we could take 10 (our friends on Field Trip said they could take up to 15). We were on the verge of saying no and even 10 seemed like an awful lot, mostly because of safety.