19th November 2019, Penrhyn Island
“Ding, ding”, the fishing bell goes crazy right after we leave the pass to Penrhyn lagoon. A beautiful four feet long Wahu (Te Para in Kiribati language) has consolidated the wish that has come true. Just five minutes before the catch, I was talking to Rev. Marsters about the fishing situation. “We haven’t caught any fish in the last three weeks, maybe you could help us?”. And PRONTO! Five minutes later… the miracle happened.
Reverend Marsters and family boarded our vessel because he is relocating his mission from Penrhyn to Manihiki, where he will lead his congregation for the next four years. He was relieved to find passage with Kwai because other ships in the region are not allowed to carry passengers for (lack of) safety reasons. For three months the Northern Cook Islands have not had any supply ships coming around because of a court case of Taio shipping. They lost a young boy over the side and were unable to retrieve him. When it turned out that there were issues with the crew’s licenses and with the safety gear on board, the court in Rarotonga decided to put the ships “on the chain”. Only when the news arrived that Kwai is coming to the Cook Islands did the company get permission to start sailing cargo again. No passengers allowed till further notice though.
The latest developments have resulted in the fact that after three months of lack of supplies, there were now TWO ships on their way to Rakahanga, on the same day. Hence, Captain Anika decided to change our route and sail to Manihiki first. We will make landfall on the morning of the 21st of November (CI time). Rakahanga we will reach by the 23rd.
Our time in Penrhyn was highlighted by the fact that our dear friends Alex and Christine offered to share a Polynesian evening on board of the Kwai. Our long-standing relationship with this family makes the occasion a heart-warming event. Alex spoke comforting words for the crew in times of hardship and he shared his wish that our dear friend Tetaake may find peace in the life beyond. Tetaake’s spirit is very much part of our life on the Kwai on this voyage.