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 and Chesterfield
Reef in northern New
Caledonia. We just arrived in Bundaberg,
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.
called and said that the Larabeck arrived in Bundaberg
safely at 6 AM Monday their time in eastern Australia, and 2 PM CST on
Sunday here in Springfield. The eight boats that sailed in from Chesterfield
Islands will all be visited by customs today, so Michael imagines
it will be a day of waiting for one's turn. He said he expects that
they will bring dogs on board to look for various things including insects
(if some are found, the boat will have to be fumigated). Since the
crew is prepared for the inspections, they are now just relaxing and waiting.
to let you know that the Larabeck has landed.
I forgot to
tell you that Michael looked at the chart plotter and reported that the
had sailed over 16,000 nautical miles since it left the
Point Yacht Club in West Alton, Missouri in October 2009!
here. Michael called in the middle of the night to say that the Larabeck
is all checked into Australia. There were no problems, and apparently
no insects either ( ^ ;