West to East Micronesia China Mongolia Russia Baltic Region Visegrad Region Balkan Penninsula East to West Ancient Civilizations Straddling the Straight Southern Africa Eastern Africa Ethiopia United Arab Emirates South Asia Crossing Photo Album Trip Logistics Itinerary Transport Logs Route Maps About Us
Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

Flag of the Republic of the Marshall Islands THE MARSHALL ISLANDS


Mar 20. AILINGLAPLAP (Bouj) We didn’t waste much time getting ourselves together the next morning.  We provided a good show for the children as we washed our hair and brushed our teeth.  I was daring enough to come out of the tent just my knee length shorts.  The sarong was getting tiresome but I whipped it on before we loaded our packs and hustled to where the dingys were taking off.   Most of the people had already started to board the boats so we flagged Terry for a ride on his dingy to the Oleanda.  We thought we’d had another close call but the boats continued to linger for a while.  The YFU was loading some canoes to take back to Bouj.  I guess the sailors had decided that if Ailinglaplap was going to take the canoes they weren’t going to sail them back to Bouj.  You can’t blame them.

Mona and Senator Abika did return our sea bands the previous day and Rob offered them again for the return voyage but the Oleanda took a calm enough route that no one felt sick.  We enjoyed another nice lunch when we anchored at Bouj.  The anchor for the Oleanda was actually a large tugboat owned by Jerry Kramer’s company, PII.  Jerry was a long time resident and successful business man in the Marshall Islands . 

Bouj was the tip of Aerok Island and its location afforded it a constant strong breeze from the lagoon side of the island.  It had the only real dock we’d seen on Ailinglaplap but I guess that is the privilege of an Irioj.  The very tip of Bouj was the land of Mike Kabua ’s family.  On the opposite side of the channel was the land of the Loeak family, the fellow family of Irioj’s.  Through some arrangement that no one could ever quite explain, these historically rival families both had a stake in the leadership of Ailinglaplap, the atoll of kindgs.  The boat sponsored by Chris Loeak had apparently been the winner of the Jebro race.

We asked Mike’s permission to pitch our tent in his growing tent city.  He gave us carte blanch to camp anywhere so we distanced ourselves from the crowd a bit and found a fairly secluded spot on the lagoon side of the island.  The breeze was strong and one of the young kids watching us pitch our tent seemed skeptical that our little Clip Flashlight would hold out the night. 

The area at the end of Bouj that was Kabua land was normally not even accessible to the local public.  For these festivities Mike had opened up his family land for everyone to visit.  We inadvertently committed a faux pas by joining Richard in a visit to the Kabua grave site.  We followed the protocol Richard had learned on Likiep Atoll, removing our hats before approaching the graves.  But, Likiep had long been without an Irioj and protocol on Bouj was different.  Mike Kabua was discrete in letting us know we had gone where we shouldn’t have by asking Mary Lou to let us know that the road on the outside of the island, nearest the graves, and the gravesite were not open to anyone but the Kabua family.  The local people even got off of their bikes when passing the gravesite so they were sure that their heads were not higher than the tombs.

In order to make Bouj comfortable for visitors, two sets of new outhouses had been erected along the lagoon side of the island.  Flush toilets were very rare on the outer islands.  We saw one porcelain toilet on Woja but it was a bucket flush toilet.  Aerok village had a concrete toilet that was also bucket flush.  However, for the locals it was not uncommon to go to the bathroom on the beach, particularly at low tide.  The ocean side was the preferred side but people also used the lagoon side.  The ocean, and to a lesser extent, the lagoon were the unfortunate dumping grounds for trash as well.  The tides and currents took everything out to the ocean.  The breaks between the islands that surrounded the lagoon allowed for the water to circulate and keep the lagoon looking clean.

The YFU arrived quite a bit later than the Oleanda.  Apparently they had been picking up people and pigs all the way around the lagoon.  Alan and Coral even saw them slaughter and cook one pig en route.  It appeared that people where bringing their pigs as offerings for the event.  It wasn’t pleasant watching the poor animals wobble about with their legs tied together.  There had been two sad hogs on our ship from Majuro.  They lay on the deck of the ship with their feet bound so tight they were bleeding.  The Marshallese, for all of their generosity towards people, did not share our affection for animals. 

At dinner in Aerok village I had briefly met a young woman named Kaitlin, a World Teach teacher living in another village on Aerok Island .  She came to Bouj to visit with the SDA teachers and other people she knew from Majuro.  A recent graduate of Smith she had been in The Marshall Islands for the past 10 months.  When evening came I sat with Kaitlin and a group of women while I was waiting for Rob.  The group was given a supply of food which was distributed amongst everyone.  I wondered if I should wait for Rob to eat but felt it would be rude to refuse the meal.  Kaitlin informed me that men and women and children usually eat separately in Marshallese families and I noticed that all of the men where lined up towards the kitchen while all of the women were outside with their own food.  When Rob returned he quickly recognized what was going on and queued up for his own dinner.  Later a few of us “white people” commingled. 

Kaitlin had been followed to Bouj by two of her family dogs.  Sadly, not even dogs were appreciated as pets in the Marshalls .  Along with the pigs and chickens, the dogs were another potential food source, even if as a last resort.  Two people told us of a World Teach teacher on another island that grew very fond of the family dog but when some time had passed since the family had eaten any meat they did slaughter the dog and the teacher unknowingly ate his pet.  Failing to understand that kind of attachment to an animal the Marshallese family was simply trying to serve the teacher what meat they had available.   I chose not to eat red meat and poultry if at all possible but in the meat eating world I can’t really judge the eating of one animal as better as or worse than another.  That said, I do have a strong affection for dogs and have to say that I find it harder to accept.

MARSHALL ISLANDS Majuro March 11 March 12 March 13 March 14-15 March 16 Alinglaplap March 17 March 18 March 19 March 20 March 21 March 22 March 23 Majuro March 24

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA Kosrae March 25-26 March 27-28 Pohnpei March 29-31 April 1-2 April 3-4 April 5-7 Chuuk April 8-9 April 10-11

GUAM April 12-23