are the Grafs, Sharon and Michael, of Springfield, Illinois, proud owners
of the Larabeck, a 42-foot yacht. Sharon is an ethnomusicologist
at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Michael is an engineer who
can build or fix just about anything and who caught the sailing bug at
a very young age.
more about us --More about
got its name
the South Pacific is a big adventure and we spent years planning for it.
Read an in-depth
interview of Michael and Sharon about how our dream became a
left Florida in early May, 2010, sailing to the Panama Canal, the Galapagos
Islands, and our longest trek--3000 miles--to the Marquesas Islands! We
have meandered through French Polynesia, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga,
and the eastern shore of the north island New Zealand. We toured NZ's south
island by car with friends, then stayed in Auckland where Sharon researched
south pacific music and culture at the University of Auckland. In
late April, we returned to Tonga, spending the summer exploring it and
the islands of Fiji.
We flew back
to Springfield August 4, Sharon to resume teaching and Michael to consult
for his former employer. Michael returned to Fiji in September, sailing
with crew member Mari to Vanuatu.
From there, he and two new crew members, Megan and Tom, sailed to Ile
Huon, a small isle in northern New
Caledonia. We just left the Chesterfield
Reef en route to Bundaberg,
Australia where Michael
will sell the boat. Stay tuned for more adventures.
We send daily
updates (via SailMail) and photos
when we find internet. We hope you enjoy following our journey.
From the open
water. We left early this morning, around 5 AM AEST.
Now, 12 hours later, we have already sailed 85 miles, which makes our speed
7 miles an hour. We had good wind and some current. All this is good and
there should be good wind tomorrow, and then the wind will slow down on
Today was another
great day. We started the day by preparing for leaving tomorrow, and in
the afternoon we went snorkeling on coral patch near the Larabeck.
We also baked 2 breads in the pressure cooker, and we finished the day
by watching another gorgeous sunset from the beach.
The plan is
to leave early tomorrow and we expect to be in Bundaberg
sometime on Monday.
was Michael's last day on an island in the South Pacific (not counting