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.
yesterday we went to the [Mount Yasur] volcano.
It all started going in to the village to find Stanley. He is the guy who
arranges transportation to the volcano. He told us to be in the village
by 3 pm. But he also told us that he couldn't talk to the driver and did
not know if we would leave at 3 or 4 pm. The conversation went on for 15
minutes and we still did not know more. After talking to him we walked
thru village and then went back to the boat. The village homes are made
from natural products with some modern material mixed in. There is no power
in the homes. Some of the villagers have cell phones.
At around 3
pm we went back to the village. Slowly more and more yachties showed up
to get a ride. At about 4:20 pm the transportation showed up. It was a
mid-size extended truck. We all got in/on the truck.
When we left
we had a total of 13 people in/on the truck, 5 inside and 8 outside.
The ride was about 50 minutes. When we arrived near the top, the sun was
already below the rim of the creator, but it was still light out.
We then climbed up to top crator. From there we could see two places where
the lava was blowing out of the ground. Every so often there was a more
intense eruption. Some of the lava was thrown as high as the crater. As
it got darker and darker you could see the bright red lava at the mouth
and flying in the air. It was almost like fireworks on the 4th of
July or New Year Eve. First you see the blast and then you feel the pressure
wave. This went on and on until it was time to return to the village. On
the way home we had a total of 15 people in/on the truck.
After all that
we ended the day with nice dinner in the village. The "restaurant" was
a small hut with candles lit on a table (the only table) We
had ordered fish at the time we arranged for the "taxi."
What a day!
morning we went snorkeling at entrance off the natural harbor. And tonight
if we get transportation to the next village we will see some music and
dance. We let you know tomorrow if we got the transportation.