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.
We are going
to spend another night in the same rolly anchorage because it took us a
little bit longer to get all the small tasks done today. The good news
is that it doesn't feel as choppy as yesterday. Today we went to see the
market at Lenakel and bought some fresh vegetables. We also found a
bank to change money, ice cream, freshly baked bread and last but not least
- internet! The town is quite small and cars traveling the dirt roads constantly
raise black dust in the air but after spending so much time in more remote
locations it felt like we were in a big city... Tomorrow we are heading
more north and trying to find a nice place to anchor the boat and maybe
do some snorkeling.
PS: Happy Birthday
to Sharon's dad Richard in Laramie, Wyoming : )
night followers of the Jon
Frum movement (cargo
cult) living in East Tanna gather together at Sulphur
Bay village to sing and play music. Once again we took a pickup truck
ride from Port Resolution and when we arrived at the village after sunset
had already started and one group was singing outside the shelter. Teams
from different villages first sing new songs
that they have been practising beforehand and after they get permission
they can sit inside the shelter and sing and play old time favorites. The
songs are sung to the tunes of old American battle hymns. The other
teams and us tourists can sit on the benches inside the shelter or alternatively
dance outside. We saw some really enthusiastic dancing and cheering and
that added much to the overall atmosphere. The ceremony goes on until the
morning but we only stayed for a couple of hours.
night we decided to try some local kava.
We read in travel guide books that it should be stronger than in Fiji because
here they don't dry it before drinking it. In fact, the two local guys
who where preparing it for us were chewing
on the raw roots, then spitting it onto leaves and finally mixing it
with some water. And yes, it was much stronger and after a few cups we
ended up to be quite relaxed and happy. The kava in Tanna is also supposed
to be the strongest in Vanuatu so this was definitely a good place to give
it a try.
Today we sailed
from Port Resolution to Lenakel
on the western side of Tanna. Lenakel is the capital of Tanna and around
1000 people live there. There wasn't much wind on the way but the day was
beautiful and much warmer than last few days. Tomorrow is a market day
and we are also hoping to find internet and a local SIM card. Anchorage
is quite rolly and you can see waves breaking nearby so it's a little bit
unusual sight but it's going to be all right.