Big day yesterday when the big cargo ship from Guam arrived and filled the US Post Office here to overflowing and then some. As you may recall when I was back in the USA and Canada for November and part of December I took advantage of being there to go through the long list of items I’d built up over the past year of things I needed and can’t get over here. This list was one that I had been building up since my last time back in the US almost a year ago so it had grown rather long. Most of the items are boat parts like motor mounts, special engine gaskets, parts for my bow thruster, and then some hard to find favorites like dried cranberries and good coffee. Some of the boat parts I just had sent to friends addresses and they were awaiting me when I arrived at their places to visit for a few days and others were trips to the likes of Costco, Wal-Mart, West Marine and some specialty marine suppliers. So I would build up quite a collection of all these bits and pieces and then carefully pack and box them all up and ship them to myself here in Majuro.
Most of the time you just do without and there is very little that I miss or truly do without as a great deal of the fun and adventure of being in all these new and different places is the all new local food and materials you get to try out. And it is also good for ones problem solving skills to turn parts and tool hunting into an adventure game as you roam some new city or country in search for some materials, parts or tools you need to look after a repair job. But there are still some things such as special boat parts and tools which you simply can’t find or are prohibitively expensive, at least on my budget. And so a list slowly builds up with all the things that I haven’t been able to find and still need and each year. As you might imagine, over the course of a year the list gets rather long and so when I get back to the US or some other developed country, out comes the list and a shopping we will go!
One of the reasons I chose Majuro as the place to go when I had to leave Fiji before the cyclone season started, was because it is a former US protectorate, now independent, but still has a US Post Office and a US Zip code. (96960) This means you can mail things in and out of here with amazing ease and low cost as it is treated no different than mailing to any other state. And so there is a US Post Office just a few hundred meters from the dinghy dock when I row ashore. The other reasons for choosing Majuro by the way are that it is in a good location weather wise, cyclone season up here doesn’t set in till around June, there was a mooring available to secure Learnativity to for the two months I would be away and there is a big air strip on the SW end of the atoll that is still serviced by Continental Micronesia airlines which makes it only one flight from here to Honolulu.
Most of the time when shipping things via USPS you send them via Express or Priority mail and they have some very good rates and it only takes about a week or less from them to be flown in here. But as you can see from the photo of the dinghy with some of the boxes in it, I had a lot large heavy items which would be prohibitively expensive. So I used Parcel Post to ship all my stuff back and this is the marine version of the Pony Express and takes two months for things to arrive as they come by ship and have to be loaded and unloaded several times onto different ships along the way with stops in Honolulu and then Guam before arriving here.
No big deal, all part of living by the different rhythms and beats of life aboard but it made for quite a celebratory day yesterday as the big boat from Guam came in and all the packages started to fill up the US Post Office. People from all over the island are there along with all the yachties from around the world of course who also take advantage of having this convenient and affordable way to have things sent in from abroad. As you might guess there was quite a large pile of boxes from the likes of Amazon here yesterday as well. Once Customs has cleared everything, which is also very quick and easy here with the close ties that remain with the USA, I could start loading up the five boxes (still three more to come next month hopefully) onto my trusty 2 wheeled luggage cart and push, pull and drag them back over to the dinghy dock and manhandle them into the dinghy, hopefully without any going over the side into the crystal blue waters here! Worked well and I soon had the dinghy docked alongside the mother ship of Learnativity for the even trickier transfer from the dingy to the deck as most of these boxes weigh in at 70-85 pounds.
Fortunately Neptune went without any rewards and soon enough I had all the boxes up on deck and could open up these boxes of joy and have yet another form of Christmas as I carefully unwrapped each item inside and stored them in their appropriate spots down below.
In addition to the necessary boat parts and tools I also took advantage of the opportunity to pick up things like wine glasses, hard to find books and some treats like my favorite dried cherries and coffee from good old Costco!
I don’t think I will ever know what I did to deserve this rich and charmed life I lead as I already had two months worth of gifts back in Nov/Dec in the form of all my visits with special friends and family and now here I was getting yet another one over here in Majuro in January!!
As you can see, throughout the process, I was ably assisted and very closely monitored and managed by the Admiral, Ruby the Wonderdog. Unfortunately for her, the boxes with her special treats and supplies in them (don’t tell her) are in the other boxes which I shipped just before leaving the US and so they won’t arrive for another month or more, but then I guess that just means we’ll have yet another day of surprises and unpacking when they arrive!
Otherwise all is well here on the Good Ship Learnativity in Majuro. As most of you know I don’t have “plans” I just have “intentions” when it comes to when I’ll leave my current great destination and where I’ll go for the next so right now I have two sets of intentions; West or South. Going west from here would likely mean spending several months or more to wind my way through the various islands of Micronesia between here and the Philippines which would include islands such as Kosrae, Pohnpei, Yap, Palau and possibly Guam. That would put me hear the east side of the Philippines and I’d need to decide if I was going to go north or the south, though knowing me I’d probably follow Yogi Berra’s advise on what to do when you hit a fork in the road of life: Take it! So I might do a very big loop down south essentially down through Indonesia around Papua New Guinea and back to where I started in Palau or so and then head north up through the Philippines to China. The other “intention” would be to go south from here and possibly head back to get another Fiji fix as I SO fell in love with that whole country last year, and then continue approximately NW through Vanuatu, Solomon’s, PNG and end up back here in the Marshalls or Micronesia and head go with my westward “intention” as outlined above.
Whether West or South I’m not likely to head out on either of these till at least March or so given boat jobs and weather but I may take a month or so before then to sail around some of the gorgeous atolls surrounding Majuro that are part of the Marshall Islands chain. As you can see I’m one of those poor unfortunate souls who is faced with the vexing problem of choosing between nothing but great choices! <g> But then, when you think of it, aren’t we all? At least that is the way I hope you are able to view your life.
Thanks to all the many Emails, Skype calls, Facebook updates, chats and other ways you reach out to connect with me. These are easily the greatest gifts of all for me and please do keep them coming. I’ll putt the full list of all the various ways you can track and connect with me below to aid an encourage you to do so!