Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Majuro Scene

We have now been moored in Majuro, RMI for one week and are getting to know the island. You get around by foot or by catching "shared taxis." These are either minivans that you flag down (50 cents) or cars (75 cents) and they will take you where you need to go – along with everyone else in the vehicle. It is actually a very efficient system as there is one main road that they ride up and down – and take the detours into neighborhoods. It is a great way to see a lot of the island whenever you get into one.

They talk in acronyms in Majuro. Every business or government office or building seems to have an initialed name. For example – the building where immigration is located is called Mako; the phone company/internet place is: NTA; MIR is the Marshall Island Resort; BOG is Bank of Guam; plus there's PII (pea-eye-eye), D-U-D (not pronounced "dud") the three islands Darita Uliga and Delap that make up Majuro town; WAM (the war canoe building place) and many, many more. So it is a bit hard to learn where you need to go to get things done. Because to get propane filled you have to go to RRE to catch a cab to MEC (office) to pay and then head to MECTF near the DD!!! We've already joined the MBYC (Meico Beach Yacht Club). Add learning all these acronyms to get around to trying to learn to say hello, thank you and goodbye in Marshallese and its like learning two new languages.

There are lots of groceries – large and small. Its amazing they can all stay in business. We've been able to find things (like pickle relish) that we haven't found in years (even in NZ). There is a local weekly newspaper – with articles in both English and Marshallese. We've found that the local papers are quite informative about an area's politics and society. A good laundromat is a taxi ride away – and as long as there has been some rain, the washing machines will work. They shut down for "no water" days. The Chinese tend to own many of the shops – including the laundromat.

The harbor is packed with huge fishing vessels – purse seiners mostly – that catch tuna. The "mother ships" stay in the harbor and the smaller (100 plus feet) vessels go out to fish...and then return and offload to the mother ships. Many of these vessels have helicopters on board that hunt out the big schools of tuna. The fish don't stand a chance with the sheer number and size of these boats. At night, the harbor looks like a large city – it is so lit up as most of these mother ships work round the clock.

The weather has been hot and squally. We've gotten some rain most days – some days it fills water jugs, other days its just the annoying rain that makes you have to close all the hatches. Some days we have a very pleasant cooling breeze that make the boat quite comfortable. The average temperature is in the low 80s (F).
Michael has been getting lots of small boat projects done like winch cleaning and rebuilding a sun awning, plus lots of ordering of bits and pieces from the states. Because of US Postal service here and decent internet, we can get some parts in that we need. So lots of time has been spent measuring things, researching items and then ordering them.

There is also a varied social scene here. The MBYC hosts a Tuesday night event each week. This week, Steven and Selena from the sailboat Westward II did a great presentation on the outer islands of the Marshalls. They looked beautiful and now we are anxious to get to see some of them. There is woman's card playing afternoons on Wednesday and lots of friends with whom to have sundowners or dinner. There are several restaurants here – and most have dinner specials.

We are settling in and will decide after we get our parts in, where we'll head for the holidays. Can't decide if we'll stay here or go to one of the outer islands.

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