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 left northern
early in the morning and had some banana pancakes for breakfast. We still
have a whole lot of bananas to eat and of course they all turned yellow
at the same time. So baked some banana bread as well in a pressure cooker
and it turned out to be quite good.
In the morning
we hadn't decided where we were going to sail to and just headed towards
the next island north from Tanna. The weather forecast didn't show much
wind. At first we were just motoring and the water surface was flat, no
waves at all. Then we put up the cruising spinnaker sail and little by
little the wind was picking up so we were able to start sailing with the
main and foresail. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and
at sunset time we saw lots of sea birds flying low almost at the water
level. We expect to arrive to Port
Vila in Efate
early tomorrow morning (29th of Sep).
in the South Pacific
Got an email
last night that said the Larabeck had set sail for Port Vila, the
capital of Vanuatu on Efate Island, but there is no wind. Michael
doesn't want to burn the diesel required to go that far, so he will stop
Island to wait for some wind. Sailing would certainly be the
quietest, smoothest, and most energy efficient way to get there, so I'm
sending positive thoughts for a little more wind to the Larabeck
in southern Vanuatu.
Today we motored
to (no wind) to a new anchorage just about 10 miles north of Lenakel. The
name of the bay is Lowanatom.
It was difficult to find a place to anchor, most of the bottom is rock
and coral. After we anchored in 65 ft of water on soft ground, we had lunch
and did some snorkeling afterwards. The coral was great.
We will see
how the wind is tomorrow.
note: This birthday greeting in yesterday's email from the Larabeck
was inadvertently omitted. Mea culpa.]
PS: Happy Birthday
to Sharon's dad Richard in Laramie, Wyoming : )