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.
Efate Island, Vanuatu
17 deg 44.1972
S, 168 deg 18.5159 E
Michael on the phone yesterday. They have good enough internet at
Port Vila to use Skype and to email. I'm sending along the volcano
pictures Michael emailed that he took at Tanna
Island recently. Really fantastic!
a slow day for outside projects on the Larabeck because it rained.
However, Michael has been busy organizing Australian arrival details.
He and Mari both needed visas, which can be applied for and received online.
A boat has to report to Customs before arriving, and there are fees that
have to be paid as well. So he took advantage of his time inside
and the internet connection to work some of this out.
in Springfield, Illinois
work today. Mari was operating the repaired sander and Michael was
cleaning the grooves.