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
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 is now
and will sail to New
Caledonia and Australia
where he 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.
Today I moved
to Oyster Island.
The first 5 miles I motored against the wind then sailed the last 10 miles.
This is a very calm and protected anchorage, and I have very slow but free
internet connection. The free connection will save some money, as I need
the internet to look for my next crew, and it was quite expensive back
at Luganville. If you know somebody with some sailing experience and time
to sail from Vanuatu
to Australia please let me know (10 days open ocean sailing plus some
time in Vanuatu and a stop in northern New
Had 2 loads
of laundry, went shopping, and am still looking for crew.
Here are some
details on the [Millenium]cave.
First we (a cruising couple from Australia, a resort guest named Deti from
Austria, and Me) went by van to the Namble Village. From there we
hiked with a guide to the Vunaspef Village. You only can reach this
Village by foot (no street). In Vunaspef we had break and a briefing
on the rest of the adventure. A new guide
led us then
to the cave (1 hour). On the way we stopped to get our face painted.
Also after the face painting we received the light (LED) and a life-jacket.
From there onwards, a 2nd guide carried all our bags so they would not
get wet during the trip thru the cave. The next part was the cave. There
was a stream going thru the cave so we had to walk in the water. Inside
the cave were a lot of swallows including their nests. We spent 30
minutes walking thru the cave. The cave was long and tall the stream is
slowly carving is way in to the rock. It was my first time walking thru
water inside a cave, and it was lots of fun. At the exit of the cave
we got our bags back and had our lunch break.
the 2nd guide carried our bags back to the Vunaspef Village and we followed
the river by hiking/climbing and swimming for about 75 minutes. This
was even more fun and beautiful than the cave. There are lots of
waterfalls feeding in to the river--just unbelievable. At the end
of the trip we climbed up a waterfall and a trail led us back to the Vunasef
Village. At the Village we received coffee (instant) and had time to talk
about the experience. After all that, we still had to hike back to the
first Village where the tour van was waiting for us to get back to beachfront
resort (that's were Larabeck is anchored). It was a muddy and
wet day but nevertheless we had lots of fun. You have to be somewhat fit
to do this. If you ever get to Vanuatu you need to do this trip.
be pictures coming soon on the webpage. Most of the pictures were taken
by Deti from Austria with his waterproof camera. Many thanks to Deti
( I am not sure his name is spelled right, I am sorry) for sharing the
photos of our adventure.