It has been a while since you haven’t heard from us. We are writing through our satellite connection since we are out on the ocean.
The past 3 weeks have been some of the most interesting, valuable and amazing time we have had since we started sailing.
Leaving Vanuatu to the North, there lay a chain of small islands. The Torres Group. The northernmost is Hiu, a small island with 3 villages and about 175 people in total. We had seen in a satellite picture that on its eastern side it had something that looked like a feasible anchorage and decided to approach it.
Well, a short anchorage turned into 8 days of intense village life, exploring the island and getting involved into the challenges such small communities face as they turn from a kastom driven and organized community into a more modern one, were woman have a say as well, were the awareness of potential sustainability issues with harvesting natural resources confronts the excitement of foreign traders trying to persuade the community to dive for beche de mer (sea cucumber) and make money.
It was an amazing time and when we left we felt we had truly been spoiled by having the chance to make friends and spend such an interesting time talking and just sharing daily life.
We then sailed further north into the Solomon Islands.
The group is called Santa Cruz Islands because a Spaniard, Alvaro de Mendana put them on a chart and tried establishing a colony in the late 1500’s.
And we have, yet again, encountered a community that has opened their doors and hearts to us.
We have again spend some of the most amazing time on our journey and on board we all feel overwhelmed by the experiences and emotions of the last days.
So we have decided to jump some of the islands we had planned to stop at, and sail through to Marovo Lagoon, which will give us 4 days at sea to help settle down emotions and organize thoughts. Such is the extent of the emotional upheaval we feel we have been though.
We have had the chance to break existing tambu’s (Taboo) on a very personal way. Of our friends towards the white people, how we are called in these longitudes and of us towards communities that live so far from what we call a western society and yet have so much development, common sense, generosity and humanity to teach us.
We have also been able to see some kastom or traditional dances and rituals and spend some time with a group of american anthropologist that are studying local life and languages which have added to the excitement and joy of the experience (we will post pictures as soon as we have internet connection, probably a few weeks away).
Today, as we sailed out of Graciosa Bay, we decided to farewell everybody by sailing along the coast in front of the villages and everybody came out of their huts and houses, children storming into the water….
Our hearts felt squeezed inside of our chest and some salty water decided to leave our eyes to join the sea.
The seas are calm and the trades are, unusually for this time of the year, still blowing which make for a nice passage so far.
All good on board!