Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mauri from Tabuaeran (Fanning) Island

Sorry for the silence. We are just slowly catching up with ourselves, settling in, and Fanning is a quite primitive island. Although the government has an internet setup, it is not functioning and hasn't been for several months. They await the Kwai, a ship that comes every few months with supplies for the islanders (flour, sugar, solar panels, computer modem apparently, etc...). The main anchorage is a lee shore and strongly influenced by currents, making for uncomfortable sleeping during the strong ebb current throughout the night, with waves crashing over the bow and water rushing under the hull, as if we were underway. We've been trying to dry out, but have had a few on and off wet days (it's those squalls passing us by). Desperate to dry out, we made the mistake of leaving our hatches open just a crack when we went ashore to check in (which required stops, paperwork and some small fees at: the Police Station/Immigration, Quarantine, and the Local Council). But it only took a few squalls for Shawn to be ready with her shower gear at a moments notice. We are working on a catchment system with several ideas including tarps, awnings, upside down sail covers and funnels which are in the process of being implemented, though Fatty has caught the most fresh water for us yet! We have spent hours watching the tidal changes, recalibrating our tide chart (it was basically an hour early), seeing how Tao rides the currents under anchor, and checking the surf. We are making progress each day and along with the normal dive to check the anchors, we took Fatty around the lee side (the navigable waters) of the lagoon with our lead line to find different anchoring options.

Yesterday we spent ashore again as the locals started to set up a craft fair for a cruise ship that was to come visit. Unfortunately, with the strong winds whipping up 2-ft swells onto the lee shore where they were to disembark, the cruise ship guests did not come ashore for safety. It is almost comical thinking of this as we see a "ferry" (two long pontoons with plywood along the sides, reminiscent of a sweep rig on the MF Salmon River) with a tiny motor astern, cross the river several times each day jam packed with children from villages across the river, and surely not a life vest aboard... This morning we took advantage of the slack tide, weighed our anchors and made our way NW across the channel to another anchorage we had sounded from Fatty, that we hope is quieter, at least in terms of currents. We are now anchored behind Cartwright Point, upwind of a grounded cargo ship whereas before we were anchored behind Weston Point next to a mostly sunken ship wreck!

Chris has made his way out surfing already- though the swell is currently small. And we have even figured out a way to reef Fatty's sail, because the Trade Winds blowing over the island are too strong to have all the sail area up. We have been doing our best to learn the Kirbati language, but are grateful that many people know at least one or two words of English (and several learned English in the Kirbati capital of Tarawa, nearly 2,000-miles to the west) most have huge smiles when greeted with "Mauri," the local word for Aloha. One local already walked 6-km both ways to bring us 4 most amazing drinking coconuts. There are a few other cruising boats here, all with unique stories, so it is nice to share this amazing spot in the middle of the Pacific with both cruisers and locals alike. We'll try to keep updates coming to the blog, so keep checking in, but everything does seem to take forever... for now, we are quite enjoying this spot that is almost equal distance between Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Brisbane, Australia!


  1. Wow! What an amazing experience. Lots more to come, I'm sure, after you get dry! I hope Cartwright Point provides some protection for you. Thinking of you every day ;-)

    Hugs and Purrs,
    Mum and Griz

  2. Excellent. Keep the stories coming.

    Aboard MURRE