Well, I was going to upload photos and all that, but its the usual: an hour on the Internet and I have been unsuccessful at getting any on, so I’ll try again next stop.
We got into Chuuk in Micronesia a couple of days ago and Katie and I have been quite excited about some of the products for us to buy here… at the same time, however, I miss some of the Australian/NZ products we’ve been seeing since French Polynesia. Its hard to believe that we are back in the Northern Hemisphere! Its still stinking hot however. I suppose the tropics are still the tropics no matter which side of the line you are on. We’re at about 7 degrees North right now, so things will get cooler as we head towards Guam and then Okinawa.
There isn’t really anything much exciting to report about Chuuk. Its a bit of a hole of a place, although it has the best Wreck Diving in the world as an entire Japanese fleet was sunk on the lagoon floor in 1944. Its supposed to be quite amazing – whole shells, vehicles, and airplanes are inside the holds of these cargo ships (aswell as many many sake bottles). Too bad I don’t dive.
I did my laundry this morning – $1.00/load, which is pretty much the cheapest I’ve seen it since we left home. I did have to do it myself, however, which is a new thing this Offshore. So far the only way to do laundry has been to pay someone to do it for you. Shucks. But Micronesia has the beautiful blue water like we’ve been used to all along the South Pacific.
Our line crossing went down much the same way it did Leg 2… we crossed late at night, it was cold, windy, rough… pretty much what the equator is not supposed to be like. We had the ceremony the next day, which was my cooking day this time, nice for Katie because she cooked the last one. It also meant that I did not have to have any part of throwing disgusting slop at trainees to initiate them from polywog to shellback. There were two trainees on still from Leg 2, so they joined in the festivities. I did get some fantastic (and incriminating…) photos however, which will appear in due time.
We leave Chuuk tomorrow and keep heading north to Guam. I’m looking forward to good internet, hopefully showers, and maybe even a spa… a massage would not be out of the question right now!
This group of trainees has been lots of fun so far. About half of them are stay-overs from previous legs meaning everyone has a good idea of what goes on with shipboard life. There are always some challenges and we had some seasickness the first day out of Madang (including yours truely once again. Drat, I was hoping I’d kicked it. I guess 3 months of flat calm will do that to you though. It was my cooking day once again too.), but it went by quite quickly. I think already we’ve done more sailing than we did all of last leg, which is great for the trainees from last leg who are still on.
As we get closer to China, I’ll be starting some Chinese lessons and hopefully getting everyone prepared for the culture so the culture shock isn’t as huge. It will already be two-fold for those of us who have been out since home. The biggest city I’ve seen since Honolulu was probably no more than 10,000. Yikes! Cities?!? Skyscrapers?!? Neon lights?!? We don’t need the re-entrance into “Westernization” to coincide with the culture shock of China. Maybe Guam will be a warm up for that as well.
Until then, I will continue to suffocate/soak in sweat in my bunk and enjoy the cool nights (aka 29 degrees Celcius. Yes, that is now cold for me. Maybe that will be the third type of culture shock I’ll have: Freaking Cold) up on deck looking at the stars. Speaking of stars, I saw the Big Dipper the other night for the first time in months. That was a nice reminder of being back in the northern hemisphere again.
I don’t think we had a shipping agent for Japan yet when I last posted addresses. There is still the address for China that I put up – you need to give mail about 2-3 weeks to get there. We anticipate arriving in Shanghai in about a month and will be there for 2 or 3 weeks. We should arrive in Osaka near the beginning of March – the second or third week I think, so mail should be out by the end of February, early march to make it in time.
Gillian Hoyer, Pacific Grace
c/o Waldron Norton Lilly Intl Osaka Branch Heisei Shipping Agencies Ltd
Wakasugi Grand Building 3F
5-25 Tenjinbanshi 2-Chome
Hawaii will be the same as it was on the way out here, so that is all the addresses to take me home! Only 3 legs and less than 6 months and I will be waving frantically from the boat as we pull into the Inner Harbour, Victoria. See you all there!