Michael decided that the "lost in shipping" missing connector for the SSB radio was a lost cause. After a long conversation with an ICOM technician, he bypassed the connector. With lots of swearing (the stupid connection wire they provide is not tinned – so he had to cut it way back to find good wire), he finished the installation of the repaired (hopefully) SSB and a new ground plane/counterpoise system for the radio. The test came that afternoon when he did a radio check with the Pacific Seafarers Net. Unfortunately, propagation wasn't great – so we weren't sure if all was well. We also checked with our friends on "Radiance" who were in Majuro and we were in Anemwanot for a test. Mark was nice enough to let Michael connect and disconnect the new counterpoise system to see if there was a difference. But because we were so close it wasn't a great test – but at least we knew the radio was indeed working again. The next morning, the SSB "Iakwe" net (the local Marshall Islands cruisers/islanders net) gave better results. We could hear and be heard all the way to Bikini Island. Another project done! The part did arrive several days later after we returned to Majuro.
Being back on the SSB radio nets has also reconnected us with our island friends on Aur and Tabal where we did make it during Christmas. It was nice to hear both Rudy and James again on the radio and we were able to help James out. Kathleen, his daughter who was our guest aboard for the trip to Aur and Tabal has a son that James and his wife Anako take care of. He's one and a half and was very, very sick. So we were able to finally get to Kathleen(her phone was broken) and get her out to the boat so she could talk to her mom and dad and they could inform her about her son. Luckily he does seem to be doing better. What is always amazing to see is how comfortable these folks are talking on the SSB radio. No lessons needed – Kathleen just sat down and chatted away with her dad, mom, sisters etc. We know cruisers who aren't that comfortable using the radio. Everyone felt better after the long chat – and we were happy to be able to help in that small way (and happy to have the radio working – it was a good test.).
Now we are waiting for weather to improve so we can hopefully leave the Majuro Atoll and head north to some of the other outer atolls and islands. It has been very, very windy here and the seas are quite dramatic (8-10 feet) so we will wait until things settle. Because we want to head north, we are hoping for the winds which are currently northeasterly to head more east as well. We don't want to crash into it. Our friends on "Radiance" left this week for Aur and had a rough trip hitting 25 knot winds, 10 foot seas and all on the nose. Ick!
We are sitting at one of the other Majuro Atoll Islands – Anemwanot. It is much prettier here than Majuro and you can get in the water to swim, snorkel or clean the boat's bottom. We face a pretty sandy beach with palm trees and piggies running on the beach. There are good moorings here and as long as we have enough food we'll probably just leave from here and head north. That is unless someone on the radio from one of these outer islands needs something brought out!
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