Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Where'd the wind go?

This passage has evolved to be longer than we'd planned - originally about 450 miles from Ua Pou to Manihi, but the wind and swell direction made it more comfortable to change course for Kauehi instead - 550 miles total. It'll actually be better, as we'll be able to sail somewhat downwind between the atolls working our way to Rangiroa.

After the first couple days making 7-8 knots, the wind has now nearly died and we're still 100 miles from our destination of Kauehi Atoll (sort of in the middle of the Tuamotus). We just did a "fly-by" of Tikei island (S14 58, W144 32) with hopes to stop for a bit of a rest. Tikei is an island, rather than an atoll, and there's no protection other than just being on the downwind side of it. I'd planned to drop anchor and back in and stern tie to the reef, but 'twas too deep within a boatlength! The sea floor comes up from about 2500 meters right to the surface. Makes for tough anchoring! We had to satisfy ourselves with a look along the NW side of the island - beautiful! As we rounded the end on our way away Kellie shouted she could see bottom so I hit reverse and looked at the depthsounder - 110ft and you could see the bottom clearly! The water is an unbelievable color of blue - kind of like looking into a bottle of blue dishwashing detergent.

We haven't had any luck catching fish on this passage, which would have added to the excitement, as well as the food reserves.

After motoring for about 6 hours mid-day, we're sailing again at 5kn on a beam reach with very light wind. If it keeps up, we'll make it to Kauehi for the high-slack tide at noon tomorrow (Wednesday?).

The kids and I have made it past the "first few passage day blahs" and have settled into groove. They're keeping themselves entertained now - Carter is paintingg a bright orange lobster, an Ellie is making a chick out of egg carton pieces.


on the road again

Just a quick message to say we are half way to the Tuamotus. We've had good wind, but big seas. We're experiencing fatigue and a bit of seasickness. Being at sea is not our favorite part of this experience and this trip seems long, even though we are making good time. Pete and I are having trouble sleeping for some reason, so taking care of busy kids all day is daunting. We've had our fair share of rain, which is tough because it gets so hot when all the hatches are closed and the canvas zippered down. Luckily the squalls don't have much extra wind with them. We're a few miles south of Wyndeavor and hope to make landfall at the Atoll of Kauehi (no idea how to say that) on Wednesday morning. We've got 186 miles to go, making an average of 6.5 knots. We left on Saturday mid afternoon and have made 335 miles.

This will be our last big trip for a while, as it's not far from the Tua's to Tahiti and we have our visa open until the 21st of July. We are excited because this is a really important part of Pete's dream. The snorkeling sounds amazing and the coral will hopefully be a beautiful backdrop for the fish. All the snorkeling up til now has been rocks only, which aren't as interesting.

Still no internet, so sorry if you have written and we haven't replied. Papeete on Tahiti will be the next big city with facilities.


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Ready... set... ?

It looks like FINALLY the tradewinds are returning to an orderly fashion between the Marquesas and Tuamotus. For the past couple of weeks there have been some big low pressure systems SE of here that caused the tradewinds to go all wonky, light and from every direction on the compass. The outlook for the next 4 days looks great, with wind in the 10-15kn rance from the east, which is just perfect for a passage SW. We've really enjoyed our time on Ua Pou, but we're ready to move on, and looking forward to clear water and good snorkeling (visibility here is about 12" and there's no coral). The weather (or lack of wind) caused us to stay longer than we'd planned, but all in all it was good. We'll have to hurry thru the Tuamotus a bit, since we've only got 6 weeks left on our VISA's and want to spend a month in the Societies (Tahiti, Bora Bora, etc.). I think we'll aim for Mahini and Ahe as the first two stops, they're in the NE Tuamotus.

We've got about 40kg of lemons along since we've heard from many sources that they're appreciated there, and can't grow them. Also heard that they sell in Tahiti for $1 each!. We've got 15 large pamplemousse (grapefruit) for ourselves, a few hands of bananas, a dozen oranges and some mandarins... and half a cabbage that we bought when we got here (for about $8!). We've still got 10 eggs left from Mexico, so may buy another dozen. A fellow we met on the beach yesterday is coming back this evening with some sugarcane, more pamplemouse and who knows what else. We'll give him some toothbrushes and toothpaste (thanks Sid!) for his family (5 kids), and some toys and clothes our kids have outgrown. Locals don't seem to want anything in return for their fruit gifts, but hopefully these are things they can use.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

average day in paradise

Kellie's Comments--So I know you all think we're just lolling around drinking coconut drinks on the beach, taking tours and getting tan. Well that's only in the afternoons, the mornings are chore time. Ha Ha :) Wednesday was supposed to be our "get ready to go to sea" day, but it's just so hot and we are a bit tired so we did not do much of anything. There is no real rush to leave since the kids are loving this anchorage. They have the freedom to swim to the beach and back without us here. We're anchored in so close and it's so protected that we have decided to give them that liberty. All 4 kids are having a blast and it gives the grown ups some break time too. We're working on laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, one last internet check and filling the water tanks. Getting water here involves filling up every bucket and bin that we have, transporting them in the dinghy and pumping it into our tanks. The quay (wharf) has faucets that we hook up our hose and filter to and fill the containers. Pete can haul about 40 gallons at a time. All the boats in the anchorage are now full.

I'm also on a not so successful mission to get the school year over with. It's been tortuous for all of us and we've a month left. I'm trying to go a bit faster and just get it done. This morning had both Ellie and I in tears, so I'm not sure what to do. I've considered taking a break, quitting, forcing it, etc. I've tried all of the above, including bribes, consequences and different discipline. She has good skill in math and reading, her spelling and writing are struggling. They are getting great natural science, geography and languages on the trip, so hopefully all is not lost.

We have made the acquaintance of a French man who lives here. He is generous with the fruit from his garden and has given us pointers as to how to improve our experience here. He swims everyday in the bay and stops by to say hello. Tomorrow morning early, Pete is going back to help him clear his property again. It's a nice feeling to be meeting people in a local community, as we usually only socialize with cruisers.

----------------WE INTERRUPT THIS MESSAGE FOR A JELLO EMERGENCY--------------------------------------

(Background info--I'm baking muffins and making finger jello so we have some treats for our passage) Here is what just happened. I stepped into the bathroom for a moment and when I came out, the timer was going off for the muffins. Now, jello is a very difficult thing to make on a boat. Not only is my refrigerator top loading so I have no shelves to put warm jello on, but jello won't solidify on the counter because it's too hot. It also doesn't like to set because the boat is always moving. So I had the brilliant idea to un-gimble the stove, which means it swings freely with the motion of the boat, and set the jello on top. I figure it will not slosh so much if the stove stays level and it can partially set before I attempt to balance it precariously in my fridge. However, as I took the last batch of muffins out of the oven, I forgot that the stove was not locked and as I pulled the oven door open I also pulled the oven forward slashing about 2 cups of strawberry jello all over the galley. My hands are now stained red and I have a feeling that I will be finding small sticky red spots in various places for the next few days.

That my friends is boat life today, rather than coconut drinks in the shade. Next I'll be hauling bucket of laundry to the quay to rinse then in the fresh water. I'll wear my bathing suit and have a shower, cool off all at the same time. Then hopefully I'll take my chair and my book to the beach late this afternoon for a much deserved break.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Monday-all is well

All is well in Ua Pou. We're staying in one place for a bit, having a rest, discussing the future and getting to know the town a bit better. One of our constant decisions is how to answer the question, "Is it better to stay in one place longer and get to know it better, or to see several places for only a brief stay?" It's a hard question, that usually gets answered by circumstances out of our control. We move because of weather, or because we want to go with or to friends. We move because we need supplies or because of bugs, pollution, boredom, or dirty water. This time we like the bay, like the people and are enjoying exploring this island rather than sailing a lot to see them all. Just as we were on the verge of moving on, Wyndeavor arrived and the kids are enjoying some intense beach play time. Kelly and I are also enjoying having a friend around.

We have hired a car and driver for tomorrow to take us to another bay. We get lunch and a day excursion for a good price. We tried to sail to the bay last week, but it was too rough to stay and Pete wants to see the volcanic rock there. I think it will be a nice day. We're going with 2 other boats, Wyndeavor and Aurora B, so the kids will have playmates.

Yesterday we took our sandcastle building book to the beach and built a star fish about 12 feet across. We attracted much attention from the local children and Ellie and Carter got included in their play. Our boogie boards were a huge hit as well, and helped firm up the connection. It's the first time we've been included in local activities and it was really nice. My limited French broke the ice, and introductions were made. Little girls are the same everywhere I think, giggles transcend all languages.

We attended church on Sunday morning. The Marquesans sing accapella in a volume that reaches out into the town. The church has open air eaves and beautiful carvings up front. French and Marquesan were spoken half and half in the service. The ladies wear flowers in their hair and the men wear tropical print shirts. Although the message was foreign to our ears, the beauty was not lost on us.

We're watching for a weather window for the Tuamotu trip. It's been unsettled for a week or so and forecasting light for the next 5 days. One of these days we'll just have to leave anyways and hope for enough wind to sail. It's been raining every night, as the clouds stack up against the mountains. Hopefully the motus will be drier.


Tuesday's education

Our guide for today, whose name sounds like "ha otto" showed us more of the island and educated us more about the culture here than we could have learned in another month on our own. He is fluent in Marquesan, French and English. He picked us up at 8:00 a.m. at the quay and returned us at 4:30. The day was jam packed with sights, photo opps, food and culture. First thing, we drove to Hohoi (Ho Ho ee) for beach combing. A unique "stone flower" is found here. Phonolite crystals have formed amber colored flower shapes in the volcanic rock that the island is made up of. It erodes from the mountains and washes down the river to the beach. Careful looking rewarded us with a nice collection. The village there is small and is inhabited by tenant farmers. The ancient families still own the land of the island and others must rent. Our guide is descended from the last king of the island who died in the 18th century. His last name means "prince of the long hair." His family owns a good part of the valley leading down to Hohoi and we stopped on the way back to pick bananas from his trees.

After a picnic lunch on the beach, we traveled up into the hills to view "pae paes". Stone structure remains are still intact from ancient king and shaman living quarters. These platforms are about 4 feet high, and 50 x 20 feet on top. They were used by the royals to over see their village and as homes. Carvings can still be seen in the foundation stones. Like many ancient achievements of architecture, no one really knows how they moved the stones or arranged them so perfectly. Carter suggested that they must have used tractors.

Along each road we stopped many times to view outlooks, observe plant life and get lessons about the land. Breadfruit is a staple food here, like potatoes or rice at home. One of the ways to prepare it was to ferment it in rock lined holes in the ground. This served as a preservation method in the ancient times and is now still used with modern methods to make a tasty meal. He showed us a hole still intact in the middle of the switchbacks leading over the mountains.

Last of the day was a tour of a local stone carvers workshop. He uses all the very interesting local stones to make turtles, geckos and other native species. Tomorrow we will go to the shop where his work is for sale. The work is very expensive for him as he uses diamond bits which cost us about $20 at home, but here are $120. He also has a collection of stone tools from his ancestors that he has found on the island.

We have arranged a dinner of traditional Marquesan food in our drivers mother's restaurant for tomorrow night. I will stay home with the 4 kids, a half gallon of ice cream and DVD's at the ready. The other 5 adults will hopefully enjoy another great cultural experience. Next time it will be my turn to go out.

All in all it was a very successful day and one we won't soon forget.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

around we go

We're back where we started after a 4 day circuit around the island. We visited most of the small bays along the way, if even just for a moment. It's a small island, maybe 30 miles around. We went around to the east side looking for a bay with unique volcanic rocks. Pete swam ashore, as there was too much surf to land the dinghy, but no rocks were to be found. The anchorage was too rough to spend the night, so we went around to the south west, and it was rough too. I don't understand how the ocean swell can come from the southeast and the southwest on the same island. So we had to go north along the west side until we found a protected place for the night. We dropped the hook just as the sun went down. We were pretty stressed, as a lot of the island is uncharted.

It was beautiful there though. We went to the beach in the morning. It's all volcanic here with red, orange, purple, grey and white rocks. THere is some coral as well. A shelf along the south side of the bay gave us a great place to walk along. The tide pools were astounding. We saw moray eels, butterfly fish, tons of small crabs and lots of unidentified critters. The shells are new and interesting as well. There are lobsters here, so Pete is trying to figure out how to catch one. We went snorkeling this afternoon, but there wasn't much to see. We're looking forward to the Tuamotus where it's coral and sand. Here it's just rocks.

Almost every bay on this island starts with the letters "haka." We have a hard time remembering the name of where we are. Sailing in islands is so much different than down the coast. The weather is less predictable and there is no real pattern for where to go next. You can go any direction, but then you have to come back, so we're doing a lot of motoring.

I've suggested making a list of goals for the next 2 months. Just simple things like finding a conch shell and more exciting ones like swimming with dolphins. I think if we have more specific goals we will be more pro active in having fun. We're a bit shy about asking questions in French, and I think we're missing some things because of our reservations.

We left the bay on the 3rd morning after a hike into the jungle to see ancient polynesian ruins. We "poked our nose" into the next bay over and decided that since it was only steep sides and no beach, we would move on. As we rounded the corner heading north, we go hit with a head wind and choppy seas. Since the wind would be heading directly into the anchorage we were headed for, we back tracked and anchored for the night in the steep sided bay. The next morning was a bit more settled, so we made our way to Hakahetau for more exploring. A little village is nestled in the valley and we were able to take a short walk after the rain. Let me tell you that even being from the Northwest didn't prepare me for the kind of rain they have here. The trouble is that it stays so hot even when it rains, that you can barely breath with the boat windows and hatches closed. I must have opened and closed them 3 times in the night to attempt to stay dry and cool. Then the wind died down and we found ourselves hanging sideways to the swell. All manner of dishes, shell collections and misc kid stuff flew around the cabin at about 3 a.m. causing Pete to leap out of bed. Needless to say, no one got much sleep. We headed back to the protected anchorage and village of Hakatau. We'll do a bit of grocery shopping and wait for decent weather to head for the Tuamotus. It's about a 4 day trip and I'm not particularly anxious to go to sea.

This morning we planned a hike to the next valley over. We left the boat at 8:30 and it was already so hot as to be miserable. We were dripping sweat like tears. The hike was only 30 minutes over to the next valley where a picturesque beach is located. White sand, purple flowers and breaking surf could be seen from the path. We got down there and were instantly attached by the biting flies. We left quickly and came back to the anchorage and swam. It's 96 in the boat today, and that's in the shade. We're hiding out until this afternoon when hopefully it will be cool enough to do something else. We have laundry to keep up on, so will probably take it with us to shore and do it at the tap. Never take your washing machine for granted.

There is the news, Kellie

Thursday, May 12, 2005

bananas in the rigging

Kellie's Comments--Grocery shopping as you know it does not exist in the Marquesas. There are very small stores that have a handful of things, but stocking up, even keeping up, is difficult. As Pete said, we have been the recipient of local kindness when it comes to getting fruit. Here, the grapefruit, papaya and limes grow like apples at home. Some people don't even want the fruit on their trees and give it away willingly. They also grow breadfruit, oranges, mangos and several unidentified fruits and nuts. Bananas grow on stalks, with the individual "hands" circling around. When Americans buy a bunch of bananas at the store, it's really just one of the hands. When you buy them here, you get the whole stalk. There are probably 8-10 hands with 8 bananas each on our stalk... and the individual bananas are twice the size. They are purchased green and all turn ripe at roughly the same time. Today the boat next to us toured the anchorage with their dinghy heaped with banana stalks trying to give them away. Now every boat in the anchorage has a stalk of bananas hanging in the rigging. There is no room to put such a large item down below, and if there are bugs in the stalk, they belong outside, so we all go around with a bright yellow and green decoration on the stern. Banana recipes circulate among the women. What do you do with 60 ripe bananas? Bananas-fritters, pancakes, bread, slushies, and plain. Unfortunately, we have no ice cream, so banana splits haven't been an option. We might have to go check out the markets here. You could buy a half gallon in Nuku Hiva for about $8.

We have heard rumors of kid boats moving our way, so we may circumnavigate this island and see if they show up. We have been offered a ride to another beach that is not accessible by cruising boat. There are rocks there with multicolored crystal in them that are shaped like flowers. They are interesting and unique, so it sounds like a good outing. We already have pounds and pounds of shells on board, so why not rocks too.

Today we had school in the morning and Pete did laundry in buckets on deck. Then we spent the afternoon playing on the beach. There is another family here with 2 kids, so we are instant friends. We got rained off the beach and had to rush back to take in our drying laundry and close the hatches. The kids are currently all playing "Sorry" and enjoying the companionship. I'm enjoying the break before I make pizza for dinner. I'm thankful for all the food I bought in Mexico, as it makes things like pizza possible.

Last night we had a nice radio chat with Loon, Icarian and Wyndeavor. It's amazing that we can hear their voices so far away with no phone. All is well with our friends in Mexico. Wyndeavor is still in the South Marquesas and we're not sure when we'll hook back up. They too are considering what their future will hold.

We'll try to do web e-mail and a website update before we leave here, but no guarantees. I don't expect internet again until Tahiti.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

rain rain rain

Funny how it works... I'd just spend the better part of a whole day hauling fresh water in the dinghy out to the boat since we want to leave for the Tuamotus with full tanks. There's no fresh water available there, and we hadn't had any significant rain since we were trying to approach Clipperton Atoll about a month ago so we could take on around 300 gallons... wouldn't you know it that it absolutely poured rain last night and most of today. I have a water catching system that I'd set up but never tried: A foam plug for the scupper on the side deck and a bilge pump with a hose to a 5 micron water filter that can pour directly into the deck fills for the water tanks.

It rained so hard that the streets flooded. Flood waters washed down to the waterfront and washed out a good portion of beach behind our stern. We've got 2 anchors out (bow and stern) because it's a tight little anchorage, and to keep our bow pointed into the swell. Our stern anchor may now be buried under 2ft of silt and debris. That'll be fun to retrieve. It was almost comical last night with 30kn gusts blowing thru from every direction and rain driving so hard that it was blowing horizontally under the cockpit awning and getting everything (including me) absolutely soaked. Some other boats were having trouble staying far enough away from each other and pulled anchors and moved several times during the night. At least we're all clean now and the salt is washed off every part of the boat!

We were catching enough water on 1/4 of the deck that the 800 gallon per hour pump wasn't keeping up! It took about 10 minutes to get the same amount of water in the tanks as I'd spend about 5 hours doing in the dinghy trips the day before... Oh well, at least I know the system works well. Every bucket and jerry jug is full too, so it'll be easy to do laundry as soon as it looks like the sun will come out soon.

Today a local lady brought us 6 pamplemouse (grapefruits about the size of Ellie's head), a stalk of bananas that must weigh at least 40 lbs, and 4 papayas - two that are "normal size" and two that resemble a slightly skinny watermellon... absolutely HUGE. We'd met a Frenchman on the wharf a few days ago who mentioned he had a pamplemouse tree in his yard. They were just falling on the ground and we'd be welcome to come by and pick as many as we wanted. We found his house and took him up on it, and now have another 10, plus a bunch of lemons he gave us as well. Neither of these incredibly generous folks wanted anything in return. We gave the lady some gifts anyway, and the Frenchman mentioned he was having great difficulty finding help to clear some land he's planning to build a house on... I offered to give him a hand, so he'll pick me up at 7am.

We don't have a definite plan about when to move on. We'll at least wait until the weather is settled, maybe sail around this island (Ua Pou) and check out some of the other bays. The other Marquesan islands are all upwind from here, so we may miss them and go to the Tuamotus from here. -Pete

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Saturnday on Ua Pu

We're on another island now, called Ua Pu (pronounced 'wah-poo'). It's very beautiful and there don't seem to be any bugs on the beach. We're able to swim right off the boat and are beginning to socialize with a new set of cruisers. There are expensive groceries available, cheap baguettes and fresh water.

Most cruisers come to the south pacific in search of white beaches, coconut drinks, and pristine coral reefs to snorkel. We are in search of the ever elusive, rare creature, the "kid boat." Traveling with kids keeps us from just sitting back and relaxing as our retired peers do all day. When they are kicking back in their cockpits with a good book and a glass of something cold, we are being asked to play games, make snacks and find new sources of entertainment. It's been 6 weeks since we've had anyone to play with. So, we are ever on the lookout for other kids. When we enter a new bay, our first priority is to scope out the boats. If a new boat enters where we are, we check them out. We avidly listen to the radio and eavesdrop on conversations in case a hint of kid boat whereabouts can be gleaned. Boats with older kids give us tips on finding boats with younger kids that they have met along the way. We send e-mails to complete strangers who are rumored to have kids. We change our plans, make new plans, or wait around where we are, all in the hope that the kids will find playmates.

Here in Ua Pu, we have finally found 2 kid boats. They each have 11 year old girls and 9 year old boys. It's not exactly ideal because the kids have known each other for a year and are older enough than Ellie and Carter that playing is not as easy to arrange as we might hope. They have put us onto the fact that there are 3 more boats, currently about 100 miles south of us, who have a range of kids from 4 to 8 years old. So again, we are arranging our schedule and making plans to hopefully meet up with them. I got their e-mail addresses this morning, so my next letter will be to them. Hopefully we will hook up in the Tuamotus. We haven't seen Wyndeavor for 2 months, and are hoping to meet up with them in the next couple of weeks as well.

Pete is spending the afternoon hauling jugs of water from shore out to the boat in the dinghy. We've borrowed some extra jugs and he can haul about 60 gallons at a shot. We're hoping to fill up 300 more gallons before we leave. It's 94 degrees now in the shade. It makes the work extra tiring. There are 7 other boats here, this evening we're inviting them over for a dinner potluck. We enjoyed that form of socializing in Mexico and hope to make friends here too. I've spent the morning cleaning, and now better think of something to cook.

All for now, Kellie

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

now what?

Peter v. flew home this morning, so we are footloose and fancy free. The problem is we don't have a plan. We will probably wait for wind and start heading south through the rest of the Marquesas. Wyndeavor is south of us and we hope to hook up for their kid's birthday parties this month. If the bugs continue to be bad, we'll head for the Tuomotos.

Pete is helping a nearby boat with a project today and I'm doing school with Ellie. It's only 11:00 and 92 in the cabin, so we're moving pretty slow and eating popcicles.

We keep making plans, but have so far been disappointed. We couldn't get close enough to the whales to snorkel. We also have been hoping to host a potluck to get to know people, but it's been too hard to get the boat cleaned up and ourselves organized. We're still after the postcard beach (with no bugs), great snorkeling and socializing with friends. Hopefully things will fall into place soon.

We went to the grocery store yesterday. I'm sure glad I stocked up so well in Mexico. A half gallon of orange juice ranged between $4 and $9. Mayonnaise is $7, Top Ramen is $1 ea, and toothpaste is $4. I did find some affordable frozen chicken and pork and beans. The bread is cheap and the produce is scanty but sometimes affordable. We did trade some misc things for quite a lot of fruit the other day. We have things like soap, toothbrushes, paste, and kid stuff to trade. It's quite valuable to trade for what they grow on their property, like mangoes, grapefruit and lemons.

We're giving serious consideration to what to do long term. We could use your prayers in that direction as well as your encouragement and thoughts.

Love to you all, Kellie

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A day in the Marquesas

Kellie's Comments-

I try to write a variety of posts, some sailing info, some tourist info and some daily life info. The last 24 hours have been a bit of each. We have spent the last few days bay hopping along the southern coast of Nuku Hiva Island. We were looking for an interesting hike, a vanilla plantation and some whales to snorkel with. We found none of them. THat's the frustration with exploring. So yesterday afternoon we set out for the north side of the island which is supposed to have a beautiful white sand beach and a coral reef. We motored for about 1.5 hours and when no wind materialized, we turned around and headed back. We went about 10 miles to Daniel's Bay, which is where we were before to do the waterfall hike. The beaches here are truly picturesque, however they are not hospitable because they are infested with small biting flies. Beach playing is a staple in our entertainment life. When we can't be at the beach, we're at a loss for things to do. The four of us are covered with bites, like we have chicken pox. They keep us awake at night itching and seem to last for 3 days. You can snorkel, but there are rumors about sharks, so the swimming is less than relaxing. However, if you are brave enough to face the "nonos", the shelling is amazing. We filled up a 3 gallon pail in 4 short trips to the beach. Mostly we are finding cowries, some as large as an egg. There are also large turban snails that look like candy canes.

We anchored Saturday afternoon around 3, had a quick trip to the beach where we exchanged shells for blood. I made pizza for dinner and we all crashed early. This morning there is a breeze through the anchorage so I am taking the opportunity to bake bread and cinnamon rolls. There is nothing to buy here, so we're self sufficient as far as food goes. The small town has a bit of fresh produce, however we paid $8 for 5 small cucumbers and 8 small tomatoes. It cools off a bit at night, but not tons. We get up early and by 8:00 it's sticky and hot already. Today we've stayed on the boat all day, waiting for the bread to bake and getting up our courage to venture out. There is a river around the corner that is great for swimming, but again the bugs are a real problem. The couple who live here have an extensive garden and orchard, so we're hoping to trade some of our extras for fresh produce.

At the moment the guys are engrossed in spotting goats in the mountains and Ellie is learning to cross stitch. Well, the bread is done so at least we should go for a dinghy ride.

Cheers, K