Its 20:15h and I just handed over the watch to my friends Tebitoa and Kabiriera. With another 1000NM to go we are heading NE in the direction of Big Island Hawaii. The wind is from the SE so this makes it possible for us to shut down the engine and sail while making easterly.
During our last run between Christmas Island and Fanning captain Brad allowed me to stay on Christmas Island so I took this opportunity to visit a remote village on the island called Banana.
Although Banana is situated only one hours drive distance from the place where the Kwai used to anchor the ride on the local bus took me four hours due to a flat tire. Of course this public transport facility was not fitted with a spare tire so I and some other passengers decided to start walking. Night had already set in. Two busses passed without offering us a ride because they were already overloaded. Luckily the last bus picked us up so we arrived shortly before midnight in Banana.
After some hours of intermittent sleep (mosquitoes and land crabs keeping me awake) I woke up to find myself in the middle of what seemed to be the settlement of a native Indian tribe in the middle of a tropical forest. Mostly palm tree huts on stilts were randomly situated around the main square of the community house where I spent the night. The people living here were all members of the Bahai, a religion that originates from the Middle East(!) I was invited to have a local coconut drink in a hut of which the door was no more than three feet high. Sitting down on a pandanus leaf mat I observed the setting while I was observed by the setting itself, being the villages’ children. One of them pulled the hair on my white man’s arm to see if it was real.
Because of the remote location of the village the monetary system is based on coconuts rather than money. One cigarette cost five coconuts, a pound of sugar ten. So if you are hungry all you have to do is climb a tree.
Later that day I was invited for the funeral ceremony of the father of one of our crew members. Half of the Bahai community was loaded on a pick-up truck as well as a six months old pig. On our way to the funeral we picked up more people and four more heavily protesting pigs. The pigs were to be served for dinner.
Back in Ronton I awaited the return of the Kwai, this was the day before yesterday. Captain Brad decided not to do a last run on Tabueran to load seaweed because sadly enough there are no customers for it in Hawaii. The only cargo we bring is four drums of scrap copper and brass and five cubic meters of compressed tin cans for recycling.