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 September 1. He and the
newest crew member, Mari, are now in Vanuatu,
and will sail to New
Caledonia and 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.
just west of Luganville;
to get here we had to motor again. There is no wind at all. We're
glad we are not in hurry to get somewhere.
We went to
town to check it out. It is a central town for the island with lots of
It was a quiet
day. Michael did some sanding on the new caulking on the starboard
side until lunch, when the rain started. The rain quit around 4 PM, but
then it was too late to do more. Mari enjoyed a late afternoon swim--there
was absolutely no wind or waves at all; the water was like a mirror. Tomorrow
we will be sailing (wind?) closer to Luganville
to visit the city and to find out about an island tour.
Illinois, where 4 members of the landlocked Larabeck crew have congregated
to enjoy the crisp fall weather and make some music together. Sharon
and Lynn Fisher drove 100 miles from Springfield and Sharon's sister Jeannie
came 100 miles from the opposite direction, from Lafayette, Indiana to
meet up at Cindy's house, Lynn's sister.
journey here has been rich, exploring a number of genres. We played
old-time fiddle on Friday night, with another guest, Champaign Urbana guitarist
Kaye. Saturday Jeannie arrived and we played 4 part canons
(rounds like "Row Row Your Boat") from three different centuries (16th,
17th and 18th), string quartets from the 19th and 20th centuries, and then
back to a few twin-fiddle tunes by Jeannie and Sharon. We are looking
forward to reading more quartets this morning before we return to our busy
Sharon, Jeannie, Cindy, and Lynn
We made it,
we arrived about 3PM. The day was grey and there was not much wind,
so we motored the last 40 miles.
We are anchored
in a bay northeast of Luganville,
the second largest city in Vanuatu. This area is famous for lots
of wreck and reef diving. It is also the place that James
Michener served as a young naval officer, and where he was introduced
to South Pacific landscapes and culture that he later shared with the world
in his famous novels.