Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Likiep Atoll

February 26, 2014
Likiep Atoll village anchorage

Likiep AAtoll is a pretty low key place, when we arrived on Friday it seemed the whole village was out despite a tropical downpour. On Saturday the weekly plane arrived for the first time in three weeks which was definitely a huge deal. On board the plane were several teachers from the department of education and even Kelly Slater who was heading to Ailinglaplap to go surfing. Also newly arrived on island were Nica a traditional land owner who is promoting sustainability through the production of more handicrafts and Ingrid a researcher working on a PhD in anthropology and Anna from the Red Cross who is installing much needed rainwater catchment tanks.
 One of the big intersections on Likiep.
 Toddy in process.  Coconut palm sap fills these bottles overnight and is ready to drink.  Sap can also be concentrated by boiling to create a sugary surup for baking or pancakes.
 A million dollar chicken coop.
 Close up of the coop reveals it's constructed of aerospace quality carbon fiber indicating that this was probably some sort of missile.
 Likiep kids burying one of their friends alive.
 Automated dinghy anchor retrieval system.
 Nica and Ingrid on our way up lagoon.  Can you believe the color of the water?
 More Likiep kids.
 Lots of smiling faces
 Golden hour lighting does wonders for a point and shoot camera

 Kathy throwing down some Likiep peace signs.
 More smiling friendly kids.

 Palau clams at Junior DeBrums clam farm.
 Many of the clam tanks won't hold water overnight.  All that's needed is some elastomeric (stretchy) paint to paint the walls.  They sell the stuff at EZ-Price on Majuro.
 You can grow clams if you don't have water in the tank.  Everyone is hoping MIMRA in Majuro will send the needed supplies to Likiep so they can get online.
 A few of the operation tanks are full of clams.
 Kathy inspects the clam tanks as we pass by the MIMRA clam breeding facility on Loto island, Likiep atoll. Marshall Islands.
 More empty tanks

 Spawning tank

 Pump looks to be on it's last leg.
 Old pump

 LightSpeed anchored at a fabulous anchorage infront of the MIMRA clam farm on Loto island, Likiep atoll.
Waterfront action at Likiep atoll.

We met the school principal Paul and his son Chris who is a teacher. Chris had a computer virus on his PC that was preventing startup and I offered to fix the computer which ended up taking me over 6 hours as I had to remove the hard drive and reinstall windows. We also met the acting mayor, catholic priest and lots of others including Junior DeBrum who runs the giant clam farm.

Ingrid and Nica needed a lift to the island of Melang adjacent to Jebal, so we headed about 3 miles up the lagoon to drop them off and check out Anna and the water catchment project. Anna was running a Spectra watermaker, but one pump was down due to a fault fan. I offered to come back the next morning and make the repair. Funny enough, the water makers are maintained by our friend Glen in Majuro. Yes, this country is small!

After cutting the wires and removing the non-operational cooling fan I checked the polarity of the wiring and found the fan had been wired backwards from the factory.

 Dave repairing a MoanaMarine water maker that was never tested at the factory.

A fan was wired backwards. This was good as otherwise I would have to give up my last spare fan aboard LightSpeed. I wired the fan correctly and fired up the water maker and quickly noted a missing hose clamp on the intake line that was allowing air to leak into the system, so fixed that as well. That afternoon we headed back to the village on Likiep island and checked in at the school to see if we could help out with internet problems.

The entire atoll of Likiep has two (2) land lines and one ethernet cable for connection to a customer supplied computer. No one was using the connection so I asked to hook up my PC. As expected nothing happened and so I asked Chris to help me translate a few questions to the local NTA guy who monitors the phone usage. Calls to Majuro are $0.25 which seems a fine deal.

It turns out you need to configure the IpV4 setting of your ethernet connection to include an IP address and DNS server... not a task for the uninitiated. Once I had my computer set up I was able to connect to the internet, but at the slowest of slow speeds. Connection latency was 1087ms and a single page took minutes to load. NTA (National Telecom Authority) needs some competition as on their own they have shown an inability to deliver services. Case in point, the single connection and incredibly limited bandwidth and pathetic page load performance that is supposed to serve an entire community of 600?

The school was setting up about 25 new OLPC (one laptop per child) computers and really needs internet. Currently, even the teachers can't even communicate via email back to the department of education in Majuro. Currently, they are using a HAM radio...

We met Junior DeBrum trying to use the internet and while he used my computer to check his email I was able to fix a problem with his internet firewall that was preventing a connection. Junior runs the clam farm and has invited us to take a tour this afternoon. Junior is also looking into where we might find a giant giant giant clam living in the wild. We hear that there is one over 6' long somewhere outside the reef here at Likiep and that the clam is soo big and meaty that you can lay inside the shell for a picture without getting trapped.

Our next goal is to explore up the lagoon checking out the many small islands.

That's it for now.