G'day Mates and Aloha to all our Friends and Family,
We are writing this update while at anchor at Pana Numara Island in the Louisiades, the easternmost islands of Papua New Guinea. What follows is a brief update of what we have been doing and why we are here in Papua New Guinea at this time. Our last update was sent out around Easter of this year and a considerable amount of activity has transpired with our life as a cruising family since then.
In late April we flew to Florida to visit David's parents. David's mother had a massive heart attack just a week before we arrived in Bonita Springs for our visit. We spent an entire week visiting her in the hospital and in taking care of her house. David's sisters also visited during this period and together they worked out a plan to facilitate, hopefully, a complete recovery. We also visited David's father who is in an Alzheimer's facility in Fort Myers.
After spending a difficult week in Florida, we flew to Colorado to attend our daughter Julie's graduation ceremony at the University of Colorado in Boulder. We had a very nice visit with Julie and her husband Chris and we visited their new home in Evergreen before the closing on May 28. Julie will be working in a biology lab doing research at the University of Colorado for one year before continuing with her advanced studies.
We returned to our boat in Australia with an appointment for David to have a scheduled prostate biopsy which fortunately turned out to be negative. After all of this stressful activity and because of the fact that we were already late leaving to head north as planned to Thailand, we decided to change our plans completely at the very last minute. Our love for Australia also played a part in our decision to return for another cyclone season. The Australians graciously extended our visas until September 30, 2004!
We left Mooloolaba on June 5, 2003, crossed the Wide Bay Bar and spent a beautiful day cruising through the Great Sandy Strait. We anchored for the night and then sailed across Hervey Bay to Bundaberg where we made final preparations and to check out to sail to the Louisiades Islands in Papua New Guinea. Our passage to the Louisiades was uneventful and we had an interesting visit to Frederick Reef off Australia where Ellen was able to collect numerous interesting sea shells for her collection.
We arrived at Panacia Island in the Calvados Island Chain of the Louisiades on June 27, during a squall. We were very impressed by the incredible beauty of the anchorage, comparable to Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas with its majestic cliffs! We spent several days there with several other boats exploring the beaches, visiting the village on a nearby island, watching for saltwater crocodiles, and snorkeling on the reef, which we consider to be #2 in all our travels with Fakarava in the Tuamotus being the most impressive. We sailed to Moturina Island on June 28, to Kamatal Lagoon on June 30 and to Bwagaoia Harbour on Misima Island to check-in with Customs on July 1. They have a small airport, hospital, guest house, bank, bakery, three "supermarkets" and a produce market, where they sell betel nut to each other. They chew the nut with mustard and lime for its narcotic effect, however, they need to spit out lots of bright red saliva and it causes bright red teeth! It is worse than trying to carrying on a conversation with a person with spinach between their teeth, but we are adjusting, since they are mostly a friendly, somewhat shy people, curious about us "dim-dims" or white people. We have been here at Pana Numara Island since July 4th waiting out 25-30 knot winds. We have been trading with the villagers who paddle out in their canoes and we have visited their village twice and videotaped baggi (shell money) and fire making. The fishing is superb here and we have no problems keeping the freezer filled. There will be more about these incredible people on our website and future updates as we travel from island to island over the next two months. We are only given two months on our visa here so we will be heading back to Cairns or Townsville, returning to Mooloolaba Yacht Club probably mid October. We will enjoy sailing the coast of Australia with the Great Barrier Reef and the Islands on our return sail south.
Please make a note of a change in our mailing address. Julie and Chris have recently moved into their first home in the mountains of Colorado, about 45 minutes from Boulder. Julie is our mail forwarder and every time they move we are faced with a monumental task. Our new address is:
27138 Sunridge Drive
Evergreen, CO 80301
We wish you all well and hope to hear from you ....but PLEASE remember NOT to send this update back with your response and NO pictures or attachments. We communicate via a very slow high frequency radio link to shore email stations thousands of miles from our location.
Please take care, stay in touch, be safe and God Bless. We trust that you all celebrated the Birthday of our country in grand style with fireworks and barbecues and that you are all enjoying the "lazy hazy days of summer" where ever you may be.
With Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
July 10, 2003
Pana Numara, Louisiades, Papua New Guinea
11 09 South 152 46 East