Greetings from Majuro!
Update #38 Part 2
It is Sunday evening, March 18th, and we dropped the hook in the country of the Marshall Islands yesterday morning. It's hard to believe that in the past 29 months we have visited 10 countries by yacht and three countries by plane. Truth be told, it's hard for us to fathom that we've been cruising on Moana for two and a half years and have put more than 10,000 miles under her keel! Many of you will probably remember that our grand plan was to cruise Mexico for six months. We are very thankful we had the opportunity and made the decision to extend our cruise and broaden the scope of our destinations. In fact, yesterday marked our two year anniversary since we pulled up anchor in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and headed for the Marquesas in the South Pacific.
Our 300 mile passage from Butaritari up to Majuro was a bit rough with wind forward of the beam. We missed not having to do a third night at sea by only a couple hours; we would’ve made it to the pass just as the sun was setting. With 12 miles to go once through the pass, combined with our rule of never entering a new place in the dark, we ended up heaving-to for the night so we didn't gain or lose any distance. By 7 a.m. we were sailing through the pass and like clockwork, were being greeted by our dolphin friends. With ideal sailing conditions we opted to complete this passage under sails alone. As we tacked up the lagoon we had friends calling us on the radio exclaiming, “Looking good Moana.” We were looking forward to reuniting with cruising friends. We were especially anxious to meet up with sailing vessel Suka. This is a boat we first met in Mexico and did the Puddle Jump with two years ago. We parted ways in Tonga in September 2006; they were headed for the Marshalls and we were going the opposite direction to New Zealand. How wonderful it was to hear their voices and see their boat at anchor! We also reunited with boats we had first met back in French Polynesia, Fiji and Tuvalu. Contrary to many other cruising destinations, this is the path less traveled and so there are a total of around 20 boats here for cyclone season.
As we dropped our anchor we were in awe of our surroundings. The water is crystal clear with various hues of blue and green. The anchorage is well protected from the prevailing winds, which cannot be said about the main harbor in Tarawa. On the hook, our motion is equal to that of boats in a marina. And going ashore? Walking into the supermarket our bodies were shocked by air conditioning and our minds over-stimulated by choices. Looking at all of the fresh fruits and veggies, American cereals, sodas, Bisquick, brown sugar and powdered sugar I actually started to shake with excitement. Provisioning is going to be a treat here. I could actually spend hours in that supermarket, small by American standards, and just stare at all of the products available. And have I mentioned the washing machines? No hand washing CA King sheets in a bucket. Things actually get thoroughly clean and my hands are none the sorer. Do all of your laundry by hand for close to a year and you will never again look at a Laundromat the same way!
We plan to spend a lot of time here prepping the boat for our long passage back to the Pacific Northwest. We also hope to sneak in a couple visits to outlying atolls. We already have plans to go diving with Suka. I am seriously going through snorkeling, shelling and diving withdrawals and hope to get those remedied while here. Besides, we have to take advantage of the warm, turquoise waters before we return to the colder temperatures. The earliest we would be heading out for the Pacific Northwest would be towards the end of April, but as always, that will be dependent on weather. We know of two other boats planning to do this same passage; one boat is from Canada and the other is from Washington State. We are really looking forward to visiting friends and family as we make our way down the west coast. We will do our best to keep you updated on our schedule. Don’t forget, our plans are set in Jell-o so there’s no telling exactly when we will be where.
We hope this email finds you well and again, thank you to everyone who continues to write us. We love to hear from you; what you're up to and how you're doing.
Sally & Sam
written on 18 March while anchored in Majuro, Marshall Islands
07° 06.15 north
171° 22.47 east