A Travellerspoint blog

Another Sea Day

On the way to Rangiroa

sunny 85 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

While strolling around the costal road on Nuku Hiva, we found a rock where we sat to call home and felt our hearts soar to know that we were not really half a world away from those we love. Last evening aboard ship we saw a pre-dinner show of Nuku Hivans dance their fearsome steps (including the Polynesian pig dance); tonight on the same stage we saw/heard an beautifully performed Schubertiad, a concert of beautiful Schubert works played by the pianists on the ship. Following the concert we ate under the stars and gave thanks for the amazing privilege of being here. 03798e40-1965-11e9-b143-ef3987f01c8e.jpg0da63b20-1965-11e9-b143-ef3987f01c8e.jpg6a522370-1965-11e9-b143-ef3987f01c8e.jpg

Posted by HopeEakins 23:42 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (1)

Nuku Hiva

The largest of the Marquesas, an island group in French Polynesia

sunny 85 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

We woke up early to the sound of weighing anchors and ran out to the deck to see land. We felt like Columbus or Magellan or even Noah seeing the rocky crags appear through the mist ahead of us. After a quick breakfast we boarded the tender for a trip to this 100+ square mile island with 2000 inhabitants, many of whom were in town trying to sell us their wares. Nuku Hiva’s towering peaks, the remains of a collapsed volcano, plunge down to the sea, so there is no coastal path, only perilously steep roads going into the center. They say this geography, i.e., the separation of inhabitants into narrow valleys, is what led to fierce tribal wars with dire consequences for the losers. Melville wrote Omoo and Typee here, and the cannibalism he describes apparently continues – at least until 2011 when a native was convicted of eating a German tourist. We stayed near the coast and visited a cathedral. The flowers are dazzling and the natives look, well, native. The cathedral pulpit carvings represent the four evangelists: Matthew (man), Mark (lion), Luke (ox), and John (eagle). They look quite a bit like the tiki carvings that dot the landscape.

We sat on a rock near a tiki and called home. Folks said it was cold there.


Posted by HopeEakins 14:08 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Worship Service and Sermon

Approaching the Equator

sunny 71 °F

The graphic (which doesn't copy) = Golden Gate bridge

ECUMENICAL WORSHIP Aboard the Silver Whisper January 13, 2019

Hymn All People That On Earth Do Dwell

All people that on earth do dwell,

Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with fear, his praise forth tell,
Come ye before him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know is God indeed,
Without our aid he did us make;
We are his folk, he doth us feed,
And for his sheep he doth us take.

O enter then his gates with praise,
Approach with joy his courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless his name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? The Lord our God is good:
His mercy is forever sure;

His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

The God whom heaven and earth adore,
From earth and from the angel host

Be praise and glory ever more.

Old Hundredth. Arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.
O God, you have made one family of all the peoples of the earth; grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your spirit upon us and hasten the coming of your kingdom on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 96:9-13

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him.

Tell it out among the nations: “The Lord is King! He has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea thunder and all that is in it; Let the field be joyful and all that is therein.

Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord when he comes, When he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his truth.

A Reading from Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus

For Christ is our peace; he has ... broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (2:14, 17-22)

A Reflection The Reverend Hope Eakins

From the reading we just heard: Christ is our peace; he has ... broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

Seventeen years ago, John borrowed money from his brother. Sometimes he gets to thinking it wasn’t a loan but a gift; sometimes he sort of forgets about the whole transaction. John’s brother doesn’t really need John to repay him, but he needs to have the loan acknowledged and so he feels offended and resentful, and John feels a little embarrassed and guilty. So because of this situation, the brothers have grown apart over the years; there is a dividing wall, a hostility that separates them.

Mary is a smart third year law student, interviewing at a big firm. The managing partner offers her a job, but it’s not a job that challenges her. She’s black and he’s white, you see, and she knows he’s looking for someone to make the HR stats look good, she knows that were she hired, it would only be as window dressing. The racism that crackles across the partner’s desk is a dividing wall that will always separate them until they are honest with each other.

There are dividing walls in every life, walls built in our hearts by betrayal and infidelity and embarrassment and walls built in our society by all the bigotries and prejudices and –isms that infect our world.

St. Paul tells us that Jesus came to break down these walls, that Jesus came to end hostility and to bring peace, to keep us from being strangers and aliens to each other and join us together as brothers and sisters. St. Paul tells us that Jesus calls us to be a dwelling place for God --- and the reason that we have to break down the dividing walls that separate us is because God will NOT dwell where hatred and suspicion and prejudice infect us.

Here we are, crossing the Pacific Ocean, a vast sea that separated the world until Balboa and Magellan and Drake had a vision that the world didn't have to be divided and started dreaming and engineering and planning to sail across this sea.

It can be the same for us all. We are on an adventurous journey on the Whisper with fellow travellers from many nations; we are meeting people with politics and interests and languages and attitudes that differ from ours. Sometimes that can be an exciting prospect and sometimes it can be a daunting one. And if we are like all the other people God has ever made, our lives off the Whisper are also woven together with those we love who differ from us and those we don’t love so much who have hurt and betrayed us.

Love one another, says Jesus. But what if we can’t? What if we are like John’s brother who just wants his loan, his generosity, to be recognized? What if we are like Mary who fears injustice and discrimination at the hands of her managing partner? The Scripture is clear; our peace, our reconciliation, our hope is in opening our hearts to Christ’s love and trusting and waiting for it to fill us, in asking for God’s forgiveness and accepting it, in letting holy light shine into our darkness.

We aren’t going to get reconciled through our own efforts. We need to bring the discord and hatred and anger to God and beg for healing. If a woman whose husband has run off with a bimbo never forgives him, she will be haunted by her anger her whole life long. And she can forgive, if she starts praying for him. Even if it is through gritted teeth, she can be faithful to her vow “’til death do us part” by asking God to bless him. And then bit-by-bit, with God’s grace, she can let go of her hatred and make room for God’s peace.

Love your neighbor as yourself, says Jesus. But sometimes we don’t, and sometimes we can’t. So we need to invite God into our conversations and stop thinking we are always right. We have to remember that God has created and that God loves every Muslim and redneck and transvestite that God has ever made. We need to put aside all the hurts we are nursing, all the righteous anger, and discover that love and acceptance rest better in our hearts than judgment and egotism. We need to be bridge builders instead of wall builders.

The beginning of peace has to be in Christ because it is only Christ who can lead us to beat our swords into plowshares and heal the anger and pain in our hearts. For once we start to offer the anger and pain to the One who loves us, it will be healed. Bridges and canals and ocean liners have created a shorter faster safer route across the world. Offering to God the barriers that separate us from one another can create a shorter faster and safer route to the peace that passes all understanding. May that peace be with us all.

The Prayers

Gracious and loving God, as we begin this journey together, we pray for all who are away from home: for refugees, for pilgrims, for those serving in armed forces, for those who are homeless and forgotten. Give us trust that wherever we find ourselves, we are part of one family whose home is in you. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the nations of the world, for heads of state and members of the United Nations: give them wisdom and courage to build a sure foundation of peace across the earth. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for this community aboard the Whisper: bless all who worship here this morning that in our seeking we may find you and then show forth your love and mercy wherever we go. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

As we traverse the wide ocean, we give thanks for all that connects people across separations: for telephones, the Internet, and postal services, for ships and trains and planes, and for the grace of compassion and tolerance, understanding and mercy. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are sick and those suffer, for Robert and Eileen, our fellow passengers who were evacuated from our ship and for those whom we now name silently and aloud (pause). Heal and comfort them. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have died and all who grieve, trusting in your promises of eternal life. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for also for ourselves: take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us and unite us in bonds of love; give us penitent hearts that we may seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

Hymn: In Christ There Is No East or West

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins

Music: Colin Barbiere Brown, Cruise Director

Altar Guild: Jane Kline

Usher: Doug Kline

Posted by HopeEakins 12:34 Comments (0)

Photos and engines

Not everything is going smoothly

sunny 77 °F

Aha! We have conquered the photo problem: rise up and start the day blogging. Apparently since there just isn't enough bandwidth (?) for all of us aboard, uploading during the day sometimes fails. So, in your service, I uploaded these photos at 5:45 AM. I wish they were magnificent and inspiring but they are merely little glimpses of the water water everywhere, the pool, and the piano tea. Just wait until we dock. We'll amaze you with photos of Polynesian dancers!!

I also fear I was one of those using up the bandwidth, for when we were about to have breakfast yesterday, a YouTube notice flitted across this screen notifying us of the livestream of a funeral at St. John's, West Hartford. So we watched the candles get lit and the choir file in and sit (Ann Hutchinson sits very quietly) and heard a fine prelude played --- from the middle of the Pacific Ocean!!!!

Yesterday continued to be quite interesting: Pico Iyer spoke, and the ship stopped sailing. Pico is a compelling speaker, one who manages to articulate profound thought with humor and humility. He reminds us that it is possible to travel (or see a funeral) from a phone, to reach the heights of Everest electronically; he insists that this digital ease makes it even more necessary to BE someplace and claim our own experience there, to talk with those who live there.

About 4:30 in the midst of Trivia, the ship just stopped moving. The Captain announced that a problem of unknown origin had arisen so the engineers had stopped the engine, and there was no cause for concern at this time. The words "at this time" evoked a hearty response. But we are on a cruise so we continued to answer the pub questions. Then people began to comment that the air temperature was getting warm, and it occurred to us that since the engine was not functional, neither was the air conditioning. And we continued to answer the pub questions. After half an hour we began to travel very slowly and the Captain assured us that he would keep us informed. Our speed seems normal this morning, and we are about to leave for worship. We will pray for engineers and mechanics, I assure you.


Posted by HopeEakins 08:05 Comments (1)

Water water water

The Pacific is a wiiiiiiiiiide ocean

sunny 70 °F

So we have now been at sea for six days and after saying farewell to the Golden Gate Bridge (two times, remember?), we have seen nothing but water water everywhere: no sticks, no leaves, no other boats, no birds. Each day has grown progressively warmer until today when some ventured into the pool for a volleyball game and then to swim. Bill went to French class, Hope to a poolside cooking demo on the chef’s approach to cooking pork, Huli Huli chicken and beef Pacific style (lots of spices and rubs) and a fresh tuna salad. Then lectures on the history & geology of Tahiti, a seriously competitive trivia game and tea with the ship’s grand resident pianist. Late in the day we took to the jogging track for 9 laps (one mile). Sunday’s sermon is finished, the bulletin has been sent off to be printed and we are resting up for dinner. Two more sea days to go before we reach our first port, Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas, part of French Polynesia.

The theme of this cruise, A Tale of Tales, was evident this morning when we were given a lovely notebook, pen and motivational thoughts about keeping a travel journal (doesn’t this blog count?). We also had dinner with Pico Iyer and his wife Hiroko, and relished the conversation with this delightful travel writer and spiritual writer. We’ll let you know more after hearing his lecture on Sunday.

We find ourselves both excited about the travel ahead of us and missing you all, interested in what we will see and hear in these months – and sad that we will not see and hear your news. So if you want to say hello, you can leave a comment/greeting at billandhope.travellerspoint.com.

We are still baffled by the photo upload process. The ship's IT officer counsels patience. We don't have much of that left --- but pix soon, we hope.


Posted by HopeEakins 12:04 Comments (2)

The Ocean is Deep and the Ocean is Wide

And we are crossing o'er

semi-overcast 54 °F

Westward ho! We sail along without reversing course today! The seas are calm and we have seen the sun and heard the good news that our friend Gail West is joining us on the journey from Singapore to Capetown. We have spent the day learning much in the iPhone workshop and in the lecture on atolls. Soon we are off to play Trivia, and this evening we will go to a Captain's reception and then a violin concert after dinner.
The photo opportunities are slim unless you are passionate about water, so we thought some of you might like to see where we are hanging our hats (literally) for the next 4 1/2 months. Photos below show the loo, dressing room, bedroom, sitting area and a view our our window of the aforementioned water. (Holy Land pilgrims can catch a glimpse of the pew cushion canvas embroidered with your initials, and all of you can see Bill hard at work reading the Wapshot Chronicle.)

Hope and Bill




Posted by HopeEakins 16:07 Comments (0)

(Sort of) On the Way

Sailing Along

rain 51 °F

Two days into our journey, we are still trying to get underway! After a day’s delay to refuel, we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and started across the vast Pacific Ocean ... until noon when the Captain announced that we were returning to San Francisco for a medical evacuation of one of our passengers. We did so and, of course, passed under the Golden Gate twice more, once going back east and once west. We are now proceeding apace back into the Pacific, and there is much conversation about whether we might have to eliminate our first stop (Nuku Hiva) because if we increase our speed to accommodate the day's delay we might consume too much fuel.

In the amazing wonders of the modern world, we received an email from Ross Pennie, a friend in Canada whom we met on a former world cruise. “What’s up?” wrote Ross, “I’ve been watching the Whisper on my computer and saw that you were delayed for refueling, set sail, yet now are returning to port.” Well, we wrote back, we had a medical emergency and don’t know what the consequences are. Ross assured us that he could see that we are travelling at 21 knots/hour, 30% above standard speed and that it will only take three days at this speed to make up the time we lost.

So we turned back to the excitement of shipboard life and heard a splendid lecture on the Marquesas (Nuku Hiva’s archipelago) and another on the migration of Asian people throughout the islands of Polynesia, sailing on 65 foot catamarans lashed together with fiber. They apparently navigated by currents, clouds, birds, and clouds, so we are sure that we’ll manage to get where we are going since we have a ship full of electronics!

Despite an excellent workshop on phone cameras, we still can’t access the photos we have been taking. So more apologies and a promise to figure out a solution soon.

Hope and Bill

Posted by HopeEakins 07:58 Comments (1)

The Beginning

Trying to get underway

storm 51 °F

We have been enjoying San Francisco for three days, even in the pouring rain. We wandered through China Town and into St. Mary's, the only building left standing after the 1906 earthquake and fire, and we heard the clang of the cable cars. We were moved by Alcatraz and intrigued by the Museum of Modern Art. Last night we began our world cruise adventure with a gala dinner at the Jewish Museum, not paying much attention to the (fine) food because we were all reconnecting with each other. Most of our fellow passengers (220 of the 300 people on the Silver Whisper) have travelled together before on one of these long cruises. This morning, we went to worship at St. Gregory Nyssa, a rather unusual Episcopal church in the city. We gathered in the entry hall, a large circular space decorated with ninety larger than life size saints glittering in gold above our heads. Malcolm X dances next to Queen Elizabeth I who dances next to a Pakistani boy named Iqbal Masih who fought against slavery, who dances next to St. Teresa of Avila. And as these saints kicked up their heels above our heads we danced into the chairs arranged for the liturgy of the word. And after we heard the word proclaimed with vigor and heard it resonate in the following silences, we moved again, this time in a line dance back to the Eucharistic table. The choir was dispersed throughout the congregation so all our voices were supported - until time for the anthems when the choir collected in a group next to the altar table. The congregation was both very intimate and close and familiar and connected with each other (they knew how to do those dances while our feet stumbled) and also amazingly friendly and helpful to us strangers, welcoming us into their journey. We thought and prayed about the Epiphany, about light in the darkness, about finding the Babe not in Jerusalem but in a village, about beginning a journey. And we pray that this journey we are beginning on a little ship in a vast ocean will be a time of seeing light in unexpected places.

Just a moment ago we learned that our 6 pm departure under the Golden Gate Bridge into the Pacific Ocean has been delayed until tomorrow morning because of weather. We are delighted because we will not be trying to look up at the bridge in the dark and in the rain but in tomorrow's sunlight. We are also hopeful that we can get some of the many striking photos we took to share with you out of the phone and into the computer. For now, you will have to imagine saints dancing and us very excited about this new adventure.
Bill and Hope

Posted by HopeEakins 18:42 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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