Thursday, 27 April 2017

Ailuk Traditional Sailing Canoes

Ailuk is famous for its handicrafts and its sailing canoes.  Almost all of the transport is still by these sailing canoes whether to go fishing, to gather copra or to visit between the two villages.  The sailing canoes are made on the island and relieve them from the cost and burden of stocking gasoline and engine parts.  The atoll's long axis is close to perpendicular to the prevailing trade winds so the canoes can generally close reach across the length of the atoll.  They are fast and carry a substantial load but to tack the rudder and mast needs to be shipped to the opposite side - i.e. the bow becomes the stern.

We enjoyed riding in the canoes whether as a whole family along with a bunch of other people and supplies for a pretty heavily loaded canoe or, even better, when I went off spearfishing with three local guys in a canoe. In the later case we were able to fly a hull which is pretty interesting when you are the ballast sitting out on the ama.

Liz has written about traveling to a picnic on the canoes here.

Heading back from a day of copra harvesting

Heading to a picnic

Heading out

Full load.

The gentlemen in the background is steering with the tiller.  The rudder/tiller swaps ends when you tack.

This is looking athwartships towards the ama.  With lighter loads or with more wind you can sit out there with the ama out of the water.

Canoe at anchor.  The anchors are usually a big stone with line around it similar to a traditional killick

A regular sight as the fleet commutes home after a day of copra work.

A regular sight as the fleet commutes home after a day of copra work.

A regular sight as the fleet commutes home after a day of copra work (SV Runaway photo)

The kids have nice model sailing canoes they play with in the lagoon

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Enejelar Education Week

Liz has written extensively about our six weeks on Ailuk Atoll.  Our ambition was to spend a long period on one atoll to reduce the churn involved with always moving and spend more quality time in one place.  Exodus recommended Ailuk as did several kiter acquaintances.  We were not disappointed !

This blog post shows some photos from our interaction with the school in the small village of Enejelar in the north of the atoll. There are only seven or eight families in the village but there is a well organised school with the students split into three groups from grades one to eight.  We arrived just in time for "Education Week" across the Marshall Islands and the first person to greet us in Enejelar was a small boat owned by the headmaster of the school and crewed by the head of the PTA inviting us to participate in  Education Week.

Education Week was composed of spelling bees (in English and Marshallese), essays, math and athletics.   I was appointed a judge for the English spelling bee and helped officiate in the athletics. Johnathan and I also participated in the athletics which was amusing.

Later on in our stay we also went to the school to give them some practice in English.

Spelling Bee

Spelling Bee

The judges

Spelling Bee

Running race.

The grounds between the school and some of the houses.

Closing ceremony means more feasting !

and, of course, Victoria made a cake.

Note item 8: We are referred to a "Yachties"

A Yachtie making a speech.  They love speeches here so I came to be prepared to give one at any occasion.  This one was translated as I went.

Dancing while we feast
More feasting ...

and time to play

and time to play

Before school assembly

Classroom time

Johnathan showing our travels

Johnathan showing our travels

The older students

Many of the sounds in Marshallese do not exist in English and visa versa.  Note 'f', 'g', 'h' are missing
and several variations of 'n'
Fluenta anchored off Enejelar village.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Aur Atoll Photos

We did not mean to go to Aur but enjoyed it anyway - Liz wrote about it here.  We had meant to go to the next atoll north but the wind and sea state were making us miserable and I wanted to tune the rig a bit differently so stopping at Aur was very tempting.  And then, to top it off we got to spend some time with the nice folks on SV Cavalo and Viandante while we were there.

Mandatory family photo on the beach

First attempt at kiting in the Marshalls.  Nice to have an experienced kiter there to help (Matt from SV Cavalo).  22+ kts of wind and a few jellyfish stings.

Victoria teaching Annie from Cavalo about kefir.

Time for yoga

Out of practice going to windward ... I left the dorade vents facing forward and a bit of water into the v-berth.  Drying everything on deck.

Beach time

Low tide

Monday, 24 April 2017

Passage Photos

For whatever reason, we do not take a lot of photos while on passage but here are a few from either the passage from Kiribati to the Marshall Islands or in between the atolls in the Marshall Islands.

We have had almost only upwind sailing the last few months and have really appreciated our newly recut hank-on staysail.

Setting the running backstays.  Necessary when using the staysail but we normally set them anyway for a bit of extra stability for the mast.
Yes Mum, I am clipped in of course

The wind generator has liked all this upwind sailing to keep out batteries charged - that and lots of solar sailing so close to the equator.

9.2 kts down the rhumb line !  We did a steady 8 to 9 reaching away from Aur in the smooth lee of the atoll.

And always watching for squalls.  As we went north from Majuro the number of squalls reduced significantly as we gained some distance from the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)

Victoria processing a mahi-mahi in the lee of Majuro.  Yes Granny, note she is clipped in as well.

and small dog-tooth tuna caught in the lagoon of Maloelap.  We also picked up a yellow fin, another mahi mahi and a rainbow runner but somehow did not get any pictures.

Hand lines coming in as we come up to the anchorage.

Hard to see in the photo but the pass into Ailuk was interesting. It is a big easy pass but there was an unusual big but long period swell from the north west causing some crazy surging in the pass.


Much reading is done on passage.