All are well and happy on board Kwai, the wind is just aft of the beam and we are sailing at 7.5 knots with the ukulele strumming and three part harmonies singing. We have had a busy time since arriving in Kiribati and have welcomed on board the ship some of our local Kiribati crew as the crew who have been away from home for a few months have gone ashore to spend time with their families and have a well-earned break.
We departed Christmas Island after loading 200 drums of fuel and tons of rice, flour, sugar and general cargo. We are on our second voyage towards Fanning island and then on to Washington Island.
Fanning island is a typical coral atoll paradise with a huge lagoon surrounded by islands, only 2 of which are inhabited by about 2000 people. Kwai is the major provider of provisions and fuel to the island and when we arrive people come from everywhere to get their supplies. The Kiribati people have a great nature and have beautiful faces and the children are very cute.
During our last visit we had the day off for Independence Day which started with marching around the soccer field by the school groups, police and the football teams with many of the children dressed in traditional outfits. As Kwai is a major sponsor for the festivities, Brad, Myra and Ross were invited to sit with the dignitaries to watch the marching which was followed by long speeches during which two of the children, who had to stand in the hot sun, fainted. After the speeches we all enjoyed a big lunch and then the football games and other sports started and continued for the rest of the afternoon. Kwai has donated the trophies to be presented to the winners. In the evening Myra was invited to be a judge for the beauty competition so Ross tagged along and to his surprise, was also asked to be a judge. Instead of starting at 1900 it was closer to 2200 (they call it Kiribati time) and did not finish until 0100 by which time many of the crowd were asleep on the floor and one of the 3 competitors had gone home.
To Brad’s delight the swell increased on the second day and he would row his small skiff out through the reef pass every dawn and dusk to enjoy the surf on his body board. Jane would walk to visit Norman, her dog that she rescued as a puppy and had on board Kwai for a month before finding him a safe home with Bruno, a Frenchman who settled on Fanning 30 years ago and now has a small tourist accommodation place.
We will stop briefly at Fanning Island and hope the wind will hold to sail towards Washington Island.
17 July First Mate Ross