• Our impact on the Pacific and Micronesia – it’s not as far away as you think

    Being back on land and reflecting on close to a year cruising the pacific islands and Micronesia I realise how much I’ve gained from the experience – Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands. Before just names on a map, dots in a vast blue ocean. So what is different now?

    The reality of life in these places has been experienced. Ties have been made with people, faces aligned to a country, and an understanding of the land that they live on. My latest assignment for my development studies course is on development induced migration. You might think about the three gorges dam, or other high profile mass re-locations.  But there are countless stories like this on smaller scales around the pacific.

    Right now I’m thinking of what we’ve seen along the way, not necessarily experienced directly, but through the stories of people we’ve met…

    * Displacement from Bikini island for nuclear testing for “the good of mankind”

    * The impact of world war two on the Marshall islands and Kiribati.

    * Displacement from French nuclear testing in polynesia

    * Banaba island resettlement to Rabi island Fiji. And while we can say the above didn’t have a direct link to New Zealand – this last one did.

    Phosphate spraying in Northern NZ from 'Our sea of phosphate' by Katerina Teaiwa

    Phosphate spraying in Northern NZ from ‘Our sea of phosphate’ by Katerina Teaiwa

    For a low price the British Phosphate commission (BPC – including NZ and Aus) stripped Banaba of it’s phosphate by the ship load. Much of this was used in New Zealand for fertilizer turning hill country soil into arable and lucrative land. So we are connected to the people of Banaba as the phosphate from their island helped us increase agricultural fertility in the 50s and 60s. And we are connected to the people of Banaba in the sense that in gaining our fertile land, they lost theirs.

    This connection isn’t just true for people of the pacific. We are connected to people in China who make some of the products we consume, the factories that serve us derive their power from the three gorges. We also may even be connected to the people in Congo who work in Coltan mines so we can have phone batteries, and other electronics. We live in a world where we have no idea who makes our products. We don’t see who, or what environments are affected by our purchases.

  • A segment of the rainbow which I have clutched

    Missing this

    Missing this world in a way that only Henry Thoreau could describe. Trying to keep things simple, but its tricky. Food, water, friendship, health, I think that’s all we need?

    “If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal – that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched”

    - an excerpt from Walden, Henry Thoreau


  • Farewell to the Marshalls, for now

    Arggg it is excruciatingly hard to part with this life, to leave Confederate, to go back to the “real” world – but exciting times ahead and two weddings to attend – one of which is our own. Whoop! Whilst sailing is definitely the nicer way to get around, we did get a pretty cool view from the plane as we left one of the atolls we have come to love.

    Our last fish meal caught two days before departure.

    Our last fish meal caught two days before departure and shared with 5 other boats and some locals.

    Leaving Majuro

    Leaving Majuro to head back to the “real” world

  • Marshall Islands Kitesurf Report II

    Maloelap and Aur atolls have brought some of the best kiting of our trip. If you have a boat and you kite then you gotta go to the Marshalls. Seriously! From Dec-April winds blow consistently from the NE-NNE combined with sand banks scattered around the atoll and coral reefs full of life.

    In Maloelap we kited between Taroa and the island to the north. While skimming across the water we looked down on fish, stingrays, and the odd black tip reef shark. The transparent aqua shallows make you forget about attempting tricks and focus you in on the beauty of the spot. Leaning back and sliding over the glassy turquoise puts you in that space where every ounce of you feels lucky to be alive.

    Anchorage 1 – 08 deg 42.4 N, 171 deg 13.4 E (for Taroa island kite spot)

    Anchorage 2 – 08 deg 44.4 N, 171 deg 11.6 E (for kiting to the north of Taroa off Biget island where the Japanese power station is).

    Note that the Maloelap kite spots were better the further round to the N the wind came, whereas Aur seemed  to do better in Easterly winds. Maloelap wins for marine life and room to move!

    We can’t speak for the other atolls in the Marshalls but we know there would be plenty of gems to be discovered and hope to have the opportunity to return some day!

    Kiting Marshalls