Thursday, 6 December 2012

Majuro, near the edge of the world!

Brian at Eniko Island. 4 miles from Majuro
Outrigger canoe in the Presidents Cup race
Here is our first update from very nearly the edge of the world......
Jane is happy and BUSY at work at WAM so I have taken on the scribes role this time.

Jane with Kevin & Kathy on the way to work.

The town/city/capital is a vibrant spot of around 25000 people with an interesting mix of Micronesian people and expats (mainly NZ Aussie and US) living on a small narrow strip (about 5kms by 400 metres wide). The American influence is obvious with lots of cars,  taxis being half the traffic. A taxi is 50 or 75 cents per person as far as "the bridge" at the end of the main island, about 5kms, so most locals don't walk. A bit run down but very liveable with supermarkets, stores, hotels, cafes and attractive views ocean side and lagoon side. You can ignore the run down buildings as well as the wet rough footpaths. We have reasonable internet access (but not on Break Free) and with mobiles and VHF radio between all the boats and WAM good local communication. The food is a mix of stale imported veggies, good local bananas, yam, coconut, pumpkin and great fish (Tuna steak for shushimi or whole fresh reef fish from $2 to $5 a pound, $4 to $10/kilo) and a whole range of tins, oats, etc at any of the 20 plus stores.
Ocean side....showing the rubbish problem

Cemetery on Ocean side at low tide

Downtown Majuro...note KLG chicken fastfood

A "Mom & Pop store" in the 'burbs

From the tallest building you can see ocean and lagoon sides

Jane is at WAM 5 days a week (google "WAM Majuro" to find out about the canoe project) and finding it difficult to juggle teaching Maths and English, writing/adjusting a basic curriculim, meetings, more meetings, and then other requests needing her attention.
I have been doing a bit of building some afternoons at WAM and catching up on boat maintenance and household stuff. Last week I started some gardening supervising/teaching at the Wellness Centre (an NGO run by Canvasback Missions) attached to the hospital. In the Marshall Islands over two thirds of 60yo people have diabetes and 90% of hospital admittances are a direct result of Type 2 Diabetes. I will do 3 mornings a week at the garden with 4 Marshallese to work alongside.
Jane & her boss Alson at an Art opening

WAM trainees at a Retreat

Three gardeners Ants is working with

Our life is almost too busy. The Mieco Beach Yacht Club has made us very welcome. There are about 25 yachts here, about 8 semi permanent and the rest here for the Xmas cyclone season. We have been to the yacht club pub/restaurant meals each Tuesday night, a yacht club meeting, a yacht club Melbourne Cup Lunch, Thanksgiving dinner, a pre race skippers meeting , and last Sunday the first yacht race of the season." Break Free" did well being a close 2nd to a fractional rigged, kevlar sails, 39ft custom racer/cruiser and the rest of the fleet well astern. Our crew of 6 was all Australian including the commander of the small Aussie Navy base(2 people helping manage an Australian donated Patrol Boat)
The Skipper & Robert (crew) out sail training

The one Ants didn't catch!

Then you throw in,
 Yoga and excercise class for Jane.
 Billfish Club for Ants (went out on a 30ft powerboat on Saturday all day,6am to 5.30 pm, and the boat caught MahiMahi, Tuna, Wahoo, and Barracouda but missed out on Marlin in the Take 5 comp).
An Art opening/exhibition last thursday night.
And from tomorrow 2 hours of Marshallese language class maybe twice a week.
Throw in some boat to boat social stuff,  some box playing, and a weekend at a small island swimming and snorkelling and that sums it up!
Innovative timber body work!

A car parked on a basketball court (for good...!)

We are happy living on our boat. Our mooring is only 100 metres from shore but we have a nice breeze most of the time.When ashore our dinghy lives on an endless line just in front of our landlord's (Ben) apartments and Wire or his son Astor? keep it safe at night. We have calm water and offshore wind 99% of time and the morning it blew Westerly at 10 knote I was surprised that some yachties got jittery. A big west wind is the once a year or less so fingers crossed. Most of the maintenance jobs from the trip are done and the varnish has even had a touch up
Break Free & Little Fart at their moorings

Not a lot.
We are nearly used to the weather, 28 to 32 and humid with some very wet days, mould grows well! I live in shorts Teeshirt and thongs.
The town water is not safe but we catch rainwater.
The lagoon close to town is polluted but I swim each day  use a mask and snorkel andto keep it out of my nose/sinuses.
Jane was bitten by a dog on the leg last week as we walked back home one night. But the local hospital was great, clean, attentive, and quick at after hours emergency. 4 stitches, antibiotics, dressing change each day for a week and only $35. Don't worry. She is now fine but will be a bit wary from now on. 
Good cheese, coffee, and dark chocolate hard to find. Life's OK.
Note hole in leg!

We should by next week have 2 second hand bikes to ride the 3kms to WAM and Wellness and the 35kms to the end of Majuro Atoll (70kms return).
Over the Xmas break we will probably sail 70 miles north or south to another atoll.
We WILL update the blog and photos.
Quiet reading spot

Some of the local kids

School kids on the way home

More kids, sunset, ocean side

We would like to hear from you. Email is always good and anyone who has SKYPE and sends us there details we will happily skype voice call at prearranged time. Our skype name is antsandjane.

So till next time Cheers from both of us
Ants and Jane   (XXXs and hugs  for those who want/need/deserve it)