I will keep this short as Sunday was long ...
While Benjamin and I stayed at Fluenta to play Minecraft (Benjamin) and write Self Design weekly Learning Reflections (me), Max and the kids took the dinghy full of jerry cans to the Customs wharf to replenish our diesel. The fuel facility was a good distance from the wharf and was not a typical gas station - it was the industrial fueling center for all the commercial vessels. This meant that they gave the jerry cans to someone to take to the secure area to fill, paid someone else for the calculated amount, got a receipt from yet another person, and waited about 45 min for the filling to occur. Five 6-gallon jerry cans are heavy, even in Savusavu where the gas station is across from the dinghy dock; returning to the dinghy was a much more daunting prospect here in Funafuti. Thankfully, a truck and a couple of men were dispatched to deliver Max, kids, and fuel back to the dinghy. The heavy load of fuel in the dinghy also confirmed what Max had been suspecting: it looks like water is leaking into the dinghy between the hard bottom and the air tube. So far, it isn't really a problem: we just have lots of water in the dinghy every time we go to leave, but we will try to repair it at the next opportunity.
We spent the afternoon in town using the local wifi service. We started at Filamona hotel bar, where we had gone on Saturday to people-watch beside the airfield, but I had trouble connecting, so I went two blocks away to the Telecom building (leaving Max, Benjamin, Victoria and Johnathan behind). After sitting in the foyer for a few minutes without much better luck, I asked the girl behind the counter where the best signal was. She directed me next door to the space between the government building and the hotel beside it. I stood by the parking area for a few minutes, and then slowly made my way towards the antenna I could see on the hotel wall. Finally, I ended up in the comfy leather seats in the hotel lobby, entering my weekly Learning Reflections and chatting with a man from Venezuela who pilots the little spotting helicopter for one of the fishing boats who was there for the same reason :) I was especially glad to be inside when the heavens opened and the wind came up. None of us were staying at the hotel, but the staff were very friendly none the less. Wifi is much cheaper than 3G at $20/600MB, but it is still more expensive than elsewhere we have been (which makes sense given the sheer remoteness of our physical location, and the tiny size of the local population!)
While I was trying to get the internet to cooperate, Max and the kids were making friends at Filamona's. Johnathan even ended up going out onto the grassy area between the taxiway and the runway (the main thoroughfare for the town) and playing pick-up rugby with some boys. A huge squall hit, and the boys kept playing. I asked him how it was, and he said that even though he couldn't speak the language, didn't really know the rules, and had trouble telling which boy was on which team, he had a lot of fun :) The rain didn't seem to bother anyone - the littler boys were even skimboarding in the wet grass after it flooded. When I returned to the restaurant, I saw that Benjamin had made a friend: he was sitting on Max's lap, and another little boy (also called Ben) was looking over his shoulder as he played Minecraft. Max told me later that he had heard the little guy asking his mom to download it for him too. He already had 'Angry Birds' and 'Little Crane' like we do. I thought that Benjamin's little friend couldn't have been more than four (actually he was six), but already they both speak the common language of iPad apps! As for Victoria, she kept busy continuing to crochet her afghan squares, and she now has the better part of two dozen crocheted and sewn together.
The rain let up in time for us to take the dinghy back to Fluenta. We had one last meal of fresh Sailfish from the fridge (the rest is in the freezer and will compete with frozen chicken and beef for its spot on our table). I tried the same Sesame crust as yesterday, but it turns out that Tuna just can't be beaten!
We are off to the other side of the atoll to anchor in a different spot tomorrow. We did our initial planning this afternoon, using the satellite images and our friends' waypoint as a reference. When Max put our chosen waypoint beside theirs on the chart, we commented that it would be just like anchoring with them, as with our deeper draft, we will be a little further from the shore than they were, and there would be room for us both. The two little marks on the screen looked just like our two boats in real life. Unfortunately, they will with with us in spirit only, as they have carried on with 'land life' in California (we miss you Exodus!).
In the morning we are crossing the lagoon to anchor off a little motu for a few days where there is purported to be good snorkelling and pretty scenery. We will be here in the Funafuti area until the middle of next week (or longer, depending on when our weather window materializes) and then head towards Tarawa, Kiribati.
Love to everyone,
At 2016-11-17 10:22 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 08°31.52'S 179°11.31'E
At 2016-11-17 1:29 AM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 08°36.21'S 179°05.87'E
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