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.
19d 31' 34"
S, 169d 29' 45" E
We woke up
early this morning to set the sails towards the next island, Tanna.
It was amazingly light outside already after 5 am. The time is one hour
behind Fiji but actually we are not so far from there so sunrises and sunsets
are earlier than we are used to. It was a nice feeling to be moving again
and we had good winds that provided us a fast journey. The day was sunny
and some flying fish
came to greet us.
We parked in
a bay called Port
Resolution. It's a popular anchorage for sailors wanting to visit the
Mount Yasur volcano
on the east side of Tanna.
You can see the smoke coming out of the volcano from far away and if you
get closer you can also see steam coming out of the holes in the ground.
And this is seen just from the boat! We are planning to get all the way
to the crater to see the whole show.
After all that
we had a sunset behind the smoke of the volcano and than the sky was filled
bats, a beautiful and unforgettable sight.
Today a big
cruise ship arrived and brought approximately 2000 guests to Mystery
Island. Smaller boats were speeding between the big ship and the island
and bringing endless stream of mostly Australian and New Zealander tourists
to try some kava, listen
to a string band
and shop at the market that was put up just for the visitors. We needed
to go back to the island as well because we wanted to meet an immigration
officer who came with the cruise ship. When we finally found him after
some searching and running back and forth he gave us the stamps for our
passports, all clear!
We found the
island a little bit touristy so in the afternoon we entertained ourselves
by going for a walk in the bigger island. There were small paths going
towards the mountains in the middle of the island and we followed one and
took a turn every now and then. A nice villager showed us the way to go
to the river and we also found some beautiful flowers, pineapple and banana
farming and lots of trees that looked like pine trees and which we don't
think are originally from here.
was colorful and inspiring. The big cruiser left with happy and satisfied
guests and tomorrow morning we start sailing to another Vanuatu Island