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. They arrived in Bundaberg,
November 14. Michael is now preparing the boat to sell. Stay tuned
for more adventures.
We send daily
updates (via SailMail) and photos
when we find internet. We hope you enjoy following our journey.
Landmobile (see photo) made it safely back from the Fulton, Missouri expedition.
The jam session at Howard and Margot's farm was well attended with fiddles,
banjos, guitars, a dulcimer, and Musial Wolfe on the piano (see YouTubelink
of Howard Marshall
& friends). We had so much fun playing and eating and visiting,
that we did not get a photograph of the musical group as we had planned.
After the jam session Jeannie and Sharon stayed over night on the farm
in the Larabeck Landmobile, which was the Grafs' prime sailing vehicle
before we had the sailing vessel Larabeck. It works well for
jam session attendance too : )
The next day
the landmobile took us to the nearby National
Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill gave his internationally
famous "Sinews of
Peace" speech (commonly called "Iron Curtain" speech) at Westminster
College on March 5, 1946 (38d 50' 59.89" N, 91d 57' 16.33" W).
The museum includes lots of information on Churchill's life, and in addition
to the history lesson, we thought it interesting to see many photos of
how handsome he had been, since one usually only sees the ones taken of
him when he was older at the end of his career. The museum is in
of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, which was originally constructed
in London in the 12th century and had been destroyed by two fires in its
long lifetime, the second in WWII. In the 1960s the church was disassembled
and shipped to Westminster College in Fulton Missouri to be reassembled
and restored. Outside there is an exhibit made from a section of
Wall as a memorial to the Cold
War (see pictures).
called and said he is enjoying mild weather in the low 80s F, and not missing
the chilly weather that comes with our Midwestern holiday season.
Sharon, Jeannie and Michael
We had a great
Thanksgiving -- perfectly roasted turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, squash,
kohl, pumpkin pie and many other delicious treats. Jeannie
and Sharon played a little twin fiddling before dessert, and during dessert
we all took turns reading a short story by Truman
Thanksgiving Visitor." It was delicious and relaxing, just
like Thanksgiving ought to be.
Today we are
heading to Fulton Missouri to play our
fiddles in the "Black Friday Buy Nothing Jam session and BBQ" at Howard
and Margot's farm. [See links for Howard's