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
We 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
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.
15 deg 22.2683
S & 167 deg 11.4350 E
Today we officially
checked out of Vanuatu. Tom and I went to customs and immigration to check
are moving to the next anchorage, somewhere along the east side of Santo.
The plan is to sail around the east side and then leave Vanuatu by going
around the north side of Santo.
Michael and also to Megan and Tom on the phone last night (12:00 AM my
time). This was the last time to talk before they go out of internet/Skype
range. Sounds like they are getting along well, and are all stocked
up for the trip to Australia. Today I gave a talk about the Larabeck
trip for the UIS Alumni Association sponsored "Back to Class" event.
It was fun to go through the maps, pictures, and musical instruments and
examples. The "students" were very interested and asked lots of good
questions. They reminded me of how lucky I am to have had the "once
in a lifetime" experience that I did--and it's not over yet, as I'm looking
forward to following the next leg of the Larabeck's journey to Australia,
coming up shortly.
a brief email from Michael that indicated a picture had been attached,
but alas there was no picture. This is probably a circumstance of
the less than perfect internet connection the Larabeck is enjoying
at the remote Oyster Island anchorage. The picture was supposed to
be of Tom walking in the water in the Milllenium
Cave, to which the Larabeckers trecked yesterday. Michael
had been in the cave previously, and wanted to show it to Megan and Tom.
The gang is spending time getting to know one another and the Larabeck
itself before setting out to sea. Hopefully the picture will arrive
with the next update.
in Springfield, IL (still many beautiful fall colors here)