The Voyages of S/Y Empress Milli Lani

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Farewell to you, Farewell to you,
O fragrance in blue depths,
One fond embrace and I leave
Until we meet again

Only footprints of time, milk fish, sharks, and Roger, in eternal vigilance. Mystery and violence, the unwanted guests, amidst wreckage strewn reefs, constant reminders of our vulnerability.

American Samoa.
Pago Pago - Sucking up on Budweiser, washing down the fast food, in an orgiastic, caloric orgy. The worst that America has wrought on its colonies, including the, fish entrail-laden, polluted bay.

Western Samoa
Apia - You lie on a mat in a cool Samoan hut, and look out on the white sand under the high palms, and gentle sea, and the black line of the reef a mile out, and moonlight over everything....

Niuatoputapu - Much of the island of eight square kilometers is copra and limes. All 1300 inhabitants live without electricity or telephones, dependent on the supply ship that arrives every six weeks. The horse and cart are still widely used, and the local pigs share the living rooms of the local huts.

Wallis & Fortuna
Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia - Well off the beaten track, the three Kings control these volcanic islands with their 14,000 people. French teachers and bureaucrats teach the natives French, supply satellite TV from Paris and distribute welfare since the royal family long ago dynamited the reef fish to hell. The King of Wallis amuses himself by collecting funds for joint venture projects that die immediately after the deposit of French matching funds. The heir apparent, pilfers the homes of the French advisors while the are at work "educating the heathens." All in all, we spent a pleasant Bastille Week in Mata Utu.

Suva, Fiji - We announced our arrival in the Cannibal Islands by landing on the reef at midnight in the middle of a squall. We were the main news story for a week. We loved the people, the beauty, Suva Yacht Club, the yachties and the multiethnic mixtures. We learned to drink kava, tell tall stories, and admire beautiful women, surfacing like the morning mist, out of the rain forest.

Port Royal - Our hosts at the end of the Musket Cove - Vanuatu Yacht Rally. Born out of a French English joint colonial rule it is the home of the "cargo cults" that pray to the skies for "gifts" since allied planes dropped parachutes during the Pacific War. They also breed pigs for their tusks and the tusk is the symbol on the national flag. Received diplomatic appointment for one day until government was changed.

Cairns - Came in to meet the Aussies. Repaired the vessel in the Cairns Cruising Yacht Club Squadron and discovered that Aussie women do not take a back seat to their men when it comes to imbibing alcohol. The kangaroos were the best attraction of Queensland, followed by the magnificent Barrier Reef.

Timor - A troubled province in a troubled land. Jimmy "the weasel" arranged our papers, cruising permits and repairs with a hefty surcharge. Our first contact in the world's fourth largest country. The fish and the birds had all been eaten, and the people were close to consuming each other.

Bali - Nine months in the magic of Balinese Hinduism. Cremations and Niyepi festivals, volcanoes and geothermal power. There was energy everywhere. Wonderful friendships were spawned, ugly truths revealed. The scars and lacerations of a nation laid bare. Intrigue, chicanery, love, hate malice, torture, pain and karma, all part of an interweaving of dream and reality. A cornucopia of color, a feast of illusion. Benoa Marina my home, the Demons of the deep and the Monkey Army generals keeping everyone in line.

The spiritual home of "Malkat Singapore" and the luxury marina bearing the name of Sir Raffles. The miracle that was created by the multiethnic society led by the legendary Lee Kwan Yu. Leading lights of this trading republic, include Brig. Gen. George Yoh, journalist Peter Lim, and nursing educator Chris Loh. The Singaporeans are a most serious crowd, who can justly point, to successful eradication, of illiteracy, poverty, chaos and hunger,the establishment of the Switzerland of the East, and dedication to Learning, Working, Shopping and Eating. Major flaws: no relaxation, little creativity, no adventure, and too much Kia Su.

Kuala Lumpur - Minarets, Mahathir, Mersing and Roti Chanai, a phantasmagoric delight. Vision 2020, the world's tallest building, cyberjaya, one man's dream, perhaps another's nightmare. Rubber trees, palm oil, tea plantations, Robert Kuok, Rashid Hussain, and Tunku Fatima Farida Ozzman, an unequalled montage of textures, permeating the humidity soaked landscape.

Phuket - A land once so innocent, its beauty ravaged by wars it didn't seek, greed it couldn't control and an epidemic it didn't come to grips with. A proud people who will yet rise to the top, while keeping their smile intact. Where love and lust are not just four letter words.

Cochin - We came to the Kerala Backwaters, surrealistic vision from a place that time seemingly forgot. Quickly reminded of the strength that is India in the streets of Cochin. The ferries, jewtown, Bolghatty Palace, the wonderful friends we made and memories we imprinted are the treasures we carried from our visit.

Salalah -Welcome to the Gateway of the Arabian Gulf. Where the harsh desert beauty meets the sea. Sultan Qaboos's imprint on this desert kingdom was an eye opener . From the hospitals to the mosques, from the camel racetrack to the sultanate's fortresses, the Bedouin traditions are fiercely protected.

Aden - They say that the winner takes the spoils. This is certainly the case in Aden where the vanquished South lives in virtual servitude to the Sheikhs of Saana. The buildings and port may be crumbling, the freighters may be Russian and Iraqi, but the hospitality and manners are definitely Yemenite.

Massawa - Betwixt Orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims, slaughtered lambs ,and cheap cappucinos, is nestled a Tigranian republic, bordered by cloud shrouded mountains and foam lapped beaches. Italian speaking blacks and Amharic speaking whites. A land of striking contrasts. Three Western embassies- USA, Italy, and Israel. No credit cards, video games or malls.

Sawakin - Legendary slave market city of the Red Sea. camels roam the ruins and people survive off the camels. Darwinian theory is alive and flourishing. Is slavery still practiced??? Menacingly interrogated by Sudanese Navy when stuck on reef off military prison island.

Suez Canal - Shaped by the trade routes that crossed the land, the Canal has been the scene of many conflicts in the past 100 years. Malkat Singapore crossed the canal in peace. Previous observation of canal through binoculars on patrol 1970-1971. The ship's captain toured by motorcycle throughout Egypt in 1988.

Herzelia - The conclusion of the semi circumnavigation. Stay tuned