At Anchor Moturina Island

The Adventures of the Good Ship Equinox
Cate and Chris Galloway
Sun 30 Aug 2009 07:00
Position at 1600 AEST:  11:04:39S 152:33:39E
Left Misima this morning for a pleasant sail to Moturina Island, where we are obviously a curiosity as four canoes with 4 adults and 10 kids came out to meet us. We are only the 7th yacht to visit this island in 2009. It's a very pretty anchorage with clear water, some lovely beaches, lots of palm trees and a volcanic peak rising behind the village - looks like a film set for South Pacific. The kids are busy with masks and snorkels cleaning the hull, being watched by half a dozen local kids in their canoes. They are a bit disconcerted by it all I think.
The big ticket items we have spent much of our cruising funds on over the past 8 months are proving their worth - we have been making water all the way across today, as the tank was getting low and we don't use it in harbour. Showers all round tonight, and we all feel a million dollars - amazing how this life makes you appreciate the little things. I wasn't sure whether to be amused or appalled when one of the Australian fellows on the pilot boat told me he had just used 12  x 1 litre bottles of spring water to wash his clothes!(I do miss having ready access to a laundry though...)
The cockpit shade we had made in Mooloolaba is also a Godsend - it would be very uncomfortable without it - even if it does look like a chook shed on the back of the boat . The liferaft of course  was a necessary expense which  we hope we'll NEVER have to appreciate. The generator also gets a bit of use - we flashed it up last night to watch a DVD for the first time since we left Australia. The kids have now been introduced to Star Trek (yawn....not my thing, but Grace shows signs of joining Chris and Allan as hard core trekkies). Since TV is no longer a feature of our lives, I missed the whole Master Chef phenomenon, which I gather has home cooks all over the country experimenting with new and exotic ingredients. I'm getting a bit of exposure to unfamiliar foods here too - there are plenty that we do have at home, like bananas, pawpaw, sweet potato and tomato,  a few mudcrabs and of course the fish Allan has been catching. New to us are yams, which are spotted purple and weirdly slimey when you peel them but taste OK once fried - a bit like crunchy potato. Also a green vegetable called aibika which looks like a cross between Chinese broccoli/ gai larn and marijuana. It also gives off a clear slippery sap when you cut it up. The locals told me to dry fry it until the stickiness has gone and the leaves and stems are wilted. It is apparently very nutritious, and tasted OK cooked up in a frittata.The nicest unfamiliar food we've tried is Galip nuts, which we bought at the market wrapped in a banana leaf. They have red papery skins which you rub off, and inside are a bit  like an almond, but softer and blander. Most sellers at the markets were proffering betel nut and the twigs (?) they dip into lime to chew with it - we passed on those, though. I'd have to say I prefer buying food to trading for it though - I find the whole transaction a bit awkward. Another canoe has just come alongside with grapefruits,(huge - we will buy those) and potatoes which we don't need.
Anyway, time for sundowners. TTFN, Cate.