Don't know what it is about these outer islands of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It seems we should earn some good karma points for delivering people or cargo and fixing things on shore while out here. But on both occasions, one or both of us have gotten something while out here. On Aur we got the flu. Here in Ailuk, Michael has vertigo. Perhaps US citizens are being punished by the island ghosts for the nuclear bombing tests 60 years ago!
Being dizzy on a rolling yacht is not much fun. Special thanks to Dr. Graham and Sandy C. for their help in figuring out what was going on here. We are really in the middle of nowhere – no phones, no internet and only our SSB radio with modem for communication. So when Michael awoke on Monday morning terribly dizzy – and it lasted all day long, we were starting to think about how to safely get him out of here in case it was serious. A few e-mail pleas for info were quickly answered and we were relieved it was something that should go away in a few days (hopefully). Today he seems a little better – but still a bit wobbly. We are in a safe anchorage near Uliga – a beautiful white sandy island with hundreds of coconut palms. The holding is good which is comforting because it is blowing about 15 to 20 knots and with Michael's head spinning we don't want an anchor drill.
We left the village anchorage on Sunday afternoon when the visibility improved so we could see any bommies along the way. We were going less than two miles to a recommended anchoring spot near Uliga – a very pretty spot with crystal clear turquoise water and pretty islands in front.
On Monday, we met Patrick, who was fishing in his canoe nearby. He came aboard for a cup of coffee (pre-vertigo). He owns the island we are anchored near as well as several others nearby. He told us we were welcome to go ashore and take anything we wanted and he corrected our charts with the right names (it's Uliga not Uriga as our charts all say). He gave us lots of information and we helped him with his English a bit. He was baffled by the "ph" letter combo and why it sounds like an "f." Try to answer that one! We did some trading with him. He wanted a new hat and we scored some limes out of the deal. He also wanted his flashlight fixed and could get us some bananas. This morning, he brought by the limes, the bananas and the flashlight – which we did fix (it was simply corroded inside). He also has invited us to his home on Ailuk to meet his family and look at his wife's handicrafts.
On Monday afternoon, we took a great swim and snorkel all around the boat. The water is some of the clearest we've seen to date and there were lots of patches of coral all around. Lots of groupers who have obviously been scared by a lot of fishermen as they swim away very fast when they see you. Saw a very tame turtle who let Barbara swim with him for a long time. It was great to get in the water that was perfect temperature and good clarity.
The next few days were vertigo quiet time.
Because Friday is a holiday here on Ailuk, Liberation Day, it is fun to watch all the canoes coming down from the other village which is about eight miles north of here. They are the larger style local canoes and loaded with people and cargo. Tonight, there was just about a canoe traffic jam – at least five loaded canoes went by in the late afternoon. They all wave and yell as they come very close to the boat. Friday festivities in town should be fun including basketball, baseball, volleyball, tug of war, canoe races and hopefully some singing and dancing. We are counting on Michael to stop spinning by then! We have a few days to go.
We haven't been sick much all year except for our outer island experiences! What's up with that?
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