Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from =?ISO-8859-1?Q?=93SV Astarte=94?=

During language lessons aboard Astarte the other day, we asked, "how do you say "Merry Christmas" in Marshallese?" Our instructor, Kathlyn said, "Merry Christmas." We responded, yes, how do you say "Merry Christmas." She said again, "Merry Christmas." Because in Marshallese, "Merry Christmas" is "Merry Christmas!" So in English or Marshallese, we would like to wish each of you a very happy holiday season.

We want to wish all our family and friends a very Merry Christmas wherever you are on land or at sea. We are reminiscing about Christmas long past, recently past and hoping for many more to come that will add to that memory bank! We wish all your hopes and dreams come true in this special season and please know how grateful we are everyday for being able to do what we do and for having so many special people in our lives. Thank you all for being who you are – you are special!

This has been a very different holiday for us. We spent a week in the outer island atoll of Aur. The wind was blowing a steady 15-18 knots from the northeast and the seas at high tide creep over the reef giving us a decent roll for several hours during each high tide cycle. We have been a ferry bringing Kathlyn, "James Bond's" daughter home for the holidays along with many packages for the mayor, Rudy and James. Once in Aur, it was an eventful first few days which included a trip to Tabal, another island in the Aur Atoll with James and Kathlyn and then a return trip on Saturday with James' family of ten! Michael did lots of land projects for both James and Rudy and Astarte decided to get jealous of that attention and demand some of her own. We had planned to go to Aur on Sunday morning for the start of their Christmas festivities which would include singing and dancing...but we both got the flu and were boatbound. . The flu is epidemic in the Marshalls according to "James Bond", the doctor in the Aur Atoll and he has been giving out flu shots. Too late for us! After a quick visit to Aur to say our goodbyes, we decided to take advantage of the only day that would have winds lighter than 20 knots to head back to Majuro to get all our boat projects underway before our guests arrive. We do need a working anchor windlass! So our Christmas Eve was spent on an overnight passage from Aur to Majuro – but we did keep a lookout for Santa overhead. It was a windy trip and seas were easily two meters plus (7 feet or so) – and right on the beam. But we made it in good time and had to wait for daylight to enter the reef pass. Now we are back on our mooring for Christmas Day and some much needed sleep to kick these germs.

Astarte normally smells like a bakery at this time of year with Barbara baking Christmas cookies...but that hasn't happened between all the ferrying of folks, broken equipment and now the flu Hopefully before Christmas is over at least one batch will be baked.

One last thing – a special shout out to Margie Hawkins, our sister-in-law. She has won the President's Award – that would be the President of the USA – for Educators. We are so proud of her and thrilled that she won this incredibly prestigious award. She and Derek will get to go to Washington DC to collect it and meet the President. How cool is all that! What a great Christmas present for her and a big "woo-hoo" from us.

Marry Christmas to all!

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