Ahoy from the Marshall Islands!
Or should I say, from the waters of the Marshall Islands. We left Kiribati earlier in the week for what should have been an easy, quick ~40 hour passage. That turned into huge rolling seas, with up to 45 knots of wind (A LOT of wind). Not only did that significantly slow our progress and make me really sick, but it also meant that when we arrived to Majuro, the seas were too rough to feel comfortable going into harbor. The captain made the decision to spend another night at sea; my heart sank. I was counting down the minutes until we would be on land, and now it would be another day.
We spent the extra night at sea, heading North, and then right back South. What a difference a day made. The seas and winds calmed and it was an easy entrance into the harbor. Turns out the right decision was made – other cruisers said it was a terrible night in the lagoon – several boats slipped their moorings, one ended up on a reef and several circled the lagoon all night until the waters calmed. 10 points us.
HOWEVER. That meant we came into harbor on Saturday and you cannot clear in on the weekends. We won’t be able to go on land until Monday. So we spent our 4th of July lazily on the boat, lounging around in and out of the sun, enjoying the nice breeze, music, and the few beers we had left.
Sentimentally, this is the 1st 4th of July since before moving to Denver that I haven’t been at a Rockies game. That’s been the perfect holiday for me – spend the first part of the day running around Wash Park, alternating between volleyball, cornhole, and beer pong. Then, clean up and head to the ballpark, watch America’s game, and enjoy the best fireworks in town. (Gina – I hope you went!)
But this Independence Day, I’m in, and recently coming from, several countries formerly in the Trust Territories. These countries are younger in their independence than I am in age, and it’s really interesting to observe. Before the world wars, they changed hands between Spain, Germany, sometimes France and Italy, and of course, the UK. Then Japan got them all after WWI, and we all know what that led to in WWII. Up until 1986, many of these were run by the US. And the marks are everywhere. From a strange mix of cultures that never quite settled to the array of churches here to save the natives (I swear there are more LDS churches in Kiribati than schools). The governments are trying to form amidst challenges of history, culture, language, religion, and a huge barrier, geography. Independence Day isn’t the completion of achieving freedom, it’s the start of figuring it all out. And maybe in that sense, the state of the US isn’t that different from the Pacific islands.