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 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.
here. Michael says "hello" and that I should give a report
on the landcrew, as he thought it might be more interesting than hearing
about how he sanded and caulked the Larabeck deck all day : )
I received a visit from Lola, whom we met many years ago in Michigan, who
stopped here in Springfield on her way to her winter home in southern Missouri.
She is travelling with her three horses and cat. She has been accompanying
us on many travels accross the country (U.S.), including moving our horses
from Michigan to Colorado, and then from Colorado to Illinois. Most
recently she made two "people deliveries" for us when we were moving the
down the rivers from St. Louis to Mobile, Alabama. First she picked
us up at Kentucky Lake and took us back to our car at
starting point in Kimmswick, Missouri, just south of St. Louis.
Next she drove all the way to Mobile,
Alabama, went for a sail in the bay with us, and then drove us back
to where we had left the car at Kentucky Lake before making our
two-week trip down the river system.
Lola is also
a retired music educator so she was interested to accompany me to the UIS
Homecoming Basketball game where the Pep Band was performing Saturday.
She helped us get the stage for the band set up, and enjoyed the music.
The game was great too--it was very close in the end, but the faculty/
pulled through and won by a few points. Our new adjunct music faculty
member, Abby Walsh's husband Ben
(Business College faculty member) played on the faculty/alumni team and
so it was fun to sit with her and cheer him and the rest of the team on.
Pryor, also adjunct music faculty, led the Pep
Band adding great pizzazz to the event.
After the game
was over, we headed out to Heather and Pat's (Pat, the Larabeck
webmaster) for some delicious food (Heather's a master griller) and and
a cheery bonfire. The weather was just perfect.
So that's the
news from the Larabeck Landcrew,
Sharon and Lola
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