Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day Five: Bruce's Log

Today the swells of the ocean were bigger than they had been our entire trip.  I think a few of our group, including myself, got a little sick to our stomachs.  The day started out lazy since most of our time would be spent sailing back towards Guadalcanal.  So Dr. Mullinax dedicated part of our time after each meal to be used to talk to the veterans as a group.  We all gathered our voice recorders and notebooks to collect every story they would tell us.
We gathered around on mid deck where we normally eat our meals.  It felt like a press release where the veterans were the ones on the stand and we were the journalists.  They told us where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked, when they enlisted, and how they got to Guadalcanal.  The floor was then opened up for us to ask questions we had been waiting to ask the whole trip.  We learned some of the veterans' most memorable moments in the war.  We came to realize that the memories that stuck in their minds the most were those of battles where buddies were killed and they barely escaped death. The veterans then passed on knowledge or advice to us as if we were their grandchildren (many of us already feel we are).  

We arrived at the island of Karumolun where we went ashore to see a native tribe do their traditional dances and show us their way of life.  We were met on the beach by Chief Raymon.  He has been chief for over 20 years and has 119 people in his tribe, including himself.  He led us to the middle of the huts where there was an open area of packed sand and some benches.  A line of little native girls were there with flower laies to put around our necks.  We were then given a coconut with a straw in it to drink while we sat on the benches.  The men performed the traditional dances with a shield and hatchets, wearing nothing but loin cloths.  The women did a dance in orange dresses with flowery sticks.  Some of the men had PVC pipe made into instruments that they beat on the ends of with flip flops.  They made a great sound that the villagers made us get up and dance with them in a circle too.  Chief Raymond then gave us a tour of the village; we had quite a few kids follow us that we befriended rather quickly.  Sam and Kellie, our boat managers, gave gifts to the villagers and bought lots of fresh fruit and nuts from them.  We then got underway for the island of Tulagi where Mac Mackay's  LST was towed ashore after being hit with a torpedo.

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