Daily Ramblings - Saturday, November 29th through Sunday, December 7th

We topped off our fall South Pacific Peace Adventure tour with eight magnificent friends who did not know one another:  Molly’s sister Jill and her husband Jesse Steindler, Tom’s cousin Dick and his wife Kaki Bedell, our trainer Ted and his brother Brian Keith; and our music friend Gene and his wife Susan Miller.  Luck allowed for magical friendships and a week of music, laughter and sharing.

The week started with a stop half way to the Isle of Pines – a decrepit group of prison cells consumed by the jungle.  What a horrible life it must have been for the French prisoners assigned to these islands for 15 years of hard labor, bugs, heat and boredom. They didn’t have the pleasure of fishing and dive gear and certainly not Martha’s cooking or air conditioned sleeping quarters!

Jill and Jesse loved the diving; Gene and Susan completed their diving course and earned their certification; Ted and Brian did their first dive under our Discover Scuba program; and Dick and Kaki delighted in the incredible coral and reef fish, snorkeling.  We swam with sharks, rays and turtles along with the vibrant colored reef fish of every color and shape.  Anchored on the north side of the Isle of Pines, we were in one of the world’s greatest diving, snorkeling and fishing locations.

The world record Giant Trevali was caught here so we were up early in pursuit, throwing large poppers at the coral mounds and shelves.  We missed several strikes and lost a few to the coral…what a rush.  Jesse pranced with his grouper.

And the best fishing day of the whole trip was celebrated on Friday.  The morning started with four break offs in a row – we were in BIG Fish country.  Switching to wire leaders, Ted fought a HUGE tuna for over an hour before the tuna won the tug-of-war. Likewise Brian fought a brilliant mahi mahi who entertained us with lots of air dynamics before being released less than 20 yards from the boat.  We landed all three yellow fin tuna that struck simultaneously – the chaos on the boat was fantastic.  And Cam brought in a sailfish.  Sashimi and seared tuna provided a delicious feast that evening.

Every evening we gathered before dinner for sing-a-longs with Gene.  Gene plays with Kenny Loggins, Amy Grant and Peter Cetera and specializes in Beatle and James Taylor songs.  Susan has a beautiful voice.  And Dick is terrific on the keyboard.

The greatest part of the week was the friendships that were deepened.  Yes, we all bonded.  It was like being gifted four couples (sorry Ted and Brian) of new best friends.

This was the final week for sharing this incredible journey with friends/guests.  Reflecting on the last three months, this adventure has given us the gift of precious time focused on a few friends at a time where we could really share.  Yes, the water sports and exotic locations have been terrific, but we will remember and relish most,  the people we have been blessed to share it all with.

And this coming week begins the time we have anticipated most – the holidays with our kids.  After attending Ren’s graduation from Otago University in Dunedin, NZ, we will be rejoining Major Wager in Papua New Guinea.  Stay tuned…