We finally departed Palau on March 11, 2014 for the next stage of our circumnavigation. We hated to leave Palau. It was so beautiful there and we had so many good friends, but it was time to push on.
We had heard about little Ninigo atoll in Western Papua New Guinea and the remarkable friendliness of the villagers on the island of Mal so we set off for there. It took us 8 days to sail from Palau to Ninigo and it was a pretty good passage with only a little bit of motoring to get through the doldrums.
We were greeted almost immediately after setting anchor by John and some of his extended family as they sailed in their "kanu" back to their little village.
Richard explained how he makes the mastic (lime powder) from the shells and coral. They use it with their betel nut chewing and actually it is not a good thing as it can cause cancer, tooth rot, gum disease and of course turns their mouths bright red. Its a prevalent habit throughout Palau, PNG and the Solomon Islands.
Thomas's sister in law, Marianne, is thatching a new side wall for her kitchen. A big storm in February knocked down some of the houses and flooded gardens.
We also met Wesley and Mollina who live a short distance away in the village of Piakuku. Mollina also had us for a wonderful lunch with a greeting from the whole family when we arrived ashore and were presented with leis.
Every time we went back to the boat we were given crayfish (lobster) and fruits and vegetables from their gardens.
We gave (traded) things like t-shirts; plates (Elizabeth and Mollina were sharing their plates so they could have enough for their dinners), diving masks and snorkels and children's books. Here I get to read to the kids after dinner. Little Anastasia was such a cutey, I knicknamed her "flower pot".
Wesley was very interested in our Ham Radio set up. The islanders really want to connect to the outside world and the visiting yachts present them with a unique opportunity. We became a de facto post office while we were there, typing up their messages to old yachting friends and sending them via e mail using winlink. While we were there they received a few replies and were really excited to have made contact. Wesley dreams of having a radio system so that he can get e mails and reach out to the rest of the world. One of the benefits of this is that they can request things they need and hopefully another yacht stopping by will bring them a few things. They don't ask for much and give so much in return. This has become one of our most favorite stops of all time.
Just before leaving we were invited to the school and Jim gave a short presentation to the children about our lives, what it was like to live and travel on a yacht. The kids sang songs for us and gave us even more fruit for the trip.