The closer we got to the pass, we decided to shower up and make some last minute navigational plans (where are those bommies, where to anchor, etc.). No amount of planning could have prepared us for our welcome. We crossed the lagoon pretty much unnoticed, I think. But as we pulled up closer to the "town," large crowds of people began to gather. We anchored in front of what we would later find out to be the municipal building and local elementary/junior high school. A perfect place for all of the kids to spot a new sailboat. By the time we got the hook down and let the dinghy out of the davits, there were cheers and whistles and waves all up and down the shoreline. It really was a sight to see and there was no way you couldn't smile about it.
The mayor was going to be awhile (turns out we never saw him, he was sick as well), so we went on a tour with Simon (and about 10 kids). Simon is a 76 year old man who served as a contractor to the US Navy in Chuuk, where he learned excellent english, and eventually became a judge there. He recently retired back to his island of Lukanor (now called Lukinioch) where he has 11 kids and 26 grandchildren! He showed us through the Catholic church as well as some other buildings that used to be churches. He gave us the low down on local crops (bananas, coconuts, taro, tapioca, limes, mangoes, papaya) and the three villages on the island. They're named for their location (North, Middle, South - all in the local language though, of which I couldn't decipher). We stopped to rest at the only remaining traditional men's house. They serve two purposes, 1) For men's gathering (drinking mostly) and 2) for the single men to sleep in. There are lots around the island, this was just the only one made from traditional materials.
|Notice the small naked kid with the butcher knife...|
While we were waiting we met the only American on the island, Mariel from the Peace Corp. She is a teacher here and seemed pleasantly surprised to find us pull up!
Eventually, it was time to go - word came that the Mayor wouldn't be available today - so we headed back to the dinghy. On our way, I saw that this island has come up with a more discrete way to poop on the reef than their neighbors. They've built outhouses over the water. Pretty neat, huh? (pictures to follow, you can bet!) With no running water - each house has their own rain collection device - and electricity only from solar panels, they have to be creative.
|Andy and Simon|
We didn't go to shore today as there is a ton of rain just pouring down (much needed here from what we heard). There's a Confirmation happening here on Saturday with a visiting Bishop so we plan on staying for that...should be interesting. Weather permitting, we'll move on Monday.
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