Andy was offered two jobs, both of which we turned down. The first job was a diver job on Kwajalein. It was a great job, but didn't include Jake and I. It was unaccompanied and they couldn't come up with housing or any way for us to come. I applied for accompanied jobs (after being told they desperately needed project managers) of which I was totally qualified for, but never got so much as an email.
The second job he was offered was for a dive master/chamber operator position on the Windward, the dive boat that goes back and forth to Bikini. At first this seemed wonderful, but in the end, Jake and I would have been living alone on the boat on a radioactive island with 6 dudes (or worse yet, back in dengue invested Majuro living in our rain coats), while Andy traveled back and forth to Majuro between trips. It just didn't feel right.
Well, not so good right now. Mine is in the dumps, Andy's is much lower than usual and Jake...well, Jake's always happy. He just got some new legos from Gigi so he's very agreeable right now. A few things account for our bad attitudes...You know what I think of Majuro so I won't revisit that. Ebeye, here in Kwajalein is chasing us down every few days trying to get us to pay fees that have been on the books for years but NEVER, not ever, been charged to cruising boats. We don't mind paying fees, if they're legitimate. But we're the fourth boat to come through here and they've all of a sudden changed their mind. And we were told in Majuro when we picked up our permit that there were no fees. All has turned out fine and we won't be paying the fees, but rest assured, any boat after us, will be asked for it as well. Finally, we put too many eggs in our Kwaj basket. We've made some good friends here but overall, the base isn't very welcoming to cruisers. There are a few people (or a lot?) that believe we're more of a burden than anything else, so the doors have been closed. Since we did put our eggs in this basket, it makes getting $$ hard (the only ATM north of Majuro), groceries hard (everything in Ebeye is expired - by at least 6 months - not to mention 3 times the cost), and everything else hard. The base is mainly run by contractors so I understand their ability to make up their own rules, but the threat of taking away well earned benefits of a retired military person is too much for me (people are even questioning our right to shop in the AFES store). No hard feelings for our friends...but had we known how it was all going to turn out, this is not the path we would have taken. Finally, finally (I forgot I had one more...), the Marshall Islands should be explored in the summer, not the winter. It blows like stink here, 24/7. It's uncomfortable no matter which direction you go. We have had our tails handed to us on every passage and I for one, am completely exhausted. In light of that...
The reason most boats come this way is because it's a jumping off point for Micronesia. We've decided if we don't go to Micronesia now, we never will. And it will be a MUCH EASIER sail from here. So, Kosrea, Pohnepei, Yap (maybe even Guam?)...here we come! We hope to be in Palau by July and spend six months or so there diving and exploring the Rock Islands. That's as far as our plans have gotten. From there it will either be the Solomons or Phillipines. This is the only thing that's gotten me energized in a long time!
So, that's it for now. We're sitting in Bigee waiting on our mail to come to the base. After that, we'll explore a few more atolls, head to Majuro to pick up our computers and provision, and then we're out.
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