Thanks to our SITAG friends, we were down at the wharf by 6:30, watching the rising sun make each ship especially beautiful in the glow.
The Kosco was moored farther away from the dock than we've ever seen before, so each pass from the wharf to the ship required a leap and a helping hand.
SITAG lined up and formed a line of muscles
that got our cargo quickly loaded onto the ship.
We had plenty of time to visit and play games in our favorite spot on the ship. If we had arrived even half an hour later, we would have had to look for a different place.
Some of our SITAG family arrived around 8:00 to send us off with their prayers and hugs. My favorite part of the whole trip is when our colleagues gather around us and encourage us with prayer, right there on the deck of the ship.
We hadn't seen the ship this full in a very long time. The crane even loaded a couple of motor canoes on top of the ship! Because of the extra loading time, we didn't pull out until 9:40. The rest of the day passed as we read or ate or dozed. At one point, a couple of drunk guys made life a little exciting, but it also providing some bonding time with a family who were also on their way to the Russell Islands to see a sick family member.
As we got closer and closer to Marulaon we began to see rain on the main island of Pavuvu and a huge rainbow spread behind us. The beautiful arc was wide and flat and I couldn't get it all in one camera shot.
The last hour from Yandina to Marulaon always goes the most slowly because we know we are getting closer to home.
Olivia dozed (she lost her lunch over the side of the ship) while the rest of us gawked at the beauty unfolding around us.
When we finally reached Marulaon, we could see the line of rain coming and the skies were growing dark as the sun descended. The kids said the motor boats coming toward us looked a motorcycle gang coming from the end of Marulaon.
The girls and I climbed across the slippery deck and down the rope ladder to jump our way across three motor canoes. Leonard was ready for us and whisked us away to land while the guys began to load our cargo in the next canoe. Our neighbors are truly amazing. When we landed, it was pitch dark. A new moon provided no light, and I was thankful for my phone with its flashlight. The rain hadn't reached Marulaon, so our trek to the house was dry. Only a few of our friends realized we had arrived, but those faithful friends helped unload the first load of cargo off the canoe, from hand to hand, to the beach, up the rocky hill to our house. Over and over again. I'm grateful for the things we own that we get to bring back and forth. School books and pecans and American chili powder make Marulaon feel a little bit more like home.
By the time I got in the house, my quads were cramping (obviously, I'm just out of shape!). The guys finally arrived on shore with the gas cylinder to find that we girls had finished moving the rest of the cargo up to the house. I was so proud of my wet, tired family. Thirteen hours after we arrived at the Honiara wharf, we walked into our house. Thanks for all of the prayers that sustained us through the long day!