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. Next stop is the Chesterfield
Reef, then 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.
Reef 19 deg 36.8310S
and 159 deg 44.8155E;
COG 246, SOG 5.8 knots
How are ya?
Deck-hand Tom here coming at you live from Larabeck. It's my turn
to write the daily email which is giving the others a bit of a laugh, because
I am the only one who doesn't read all day so they think I am illiterate
(used spell check for that word which I am not proud of). However I can
read and write it is just not my passion and life-long dream like these
So today Michael
and I woke up to find a cloudy day and quite rough sea. Megan was still
sleeping and snoring away. The lounge/cabin area had this funky smell so
I asked Michael if I could open a few windows--the ones above where Megan
was sleeping. Michael thought we could get some rain and splashing waves
through the window, so Michael questioned the idea. He must have given
the room a sniff because he changed his mind. So I opened the window just
a peak and sure enough 5mins later Megan was awake and not too happy about
it--ha! It started to rain and we had to do the old batten down the
hatches, or whatever the thing is that sailor people say. The rain passed
to become a cloudy day again but still quite a rough sea.
So, not too
much happening today, just spinning yarns at sea. I asked what everybody's
highlight of the day was. Michael said annoying Megan. Megan said finishing
her book. Mine was failing at my first attempt at baking bread, beauty.
We should be
arriving at Chesterfield
Islands tomorrow morning early. We have actually had to slow down the
boat, otherwise we would arrive in the dark. Will be pretty keen to get
out of the rocking boat. I don't feel sea sick at all but every task is
a pain. Sitting down to go number 1 is one of those....