Lamotrek must rate as the highlight of our sailing career. A beautiful lagoon with clear calm water, and a small island at the eastern end with about 380 people living there.  No airport, shipping only every 3 months or so when all is well, but it could be only once a year, and only a handful of yachts visiting.
We had permission from (expatriate) chief Patrick to visit, and reported in to his cousin Chief Manuel on the island, with a gift of 40 lbs of rice, and a few other goodies.  During our stay on the island we offloaded quite a bit of gear - paper & pens, fishing gear, dive mask, hooks, lures, battery for the dispensary radio, old sails for their ocean going sailing canoe, reading glasses, etc. We also attended to a lot of repairs to torches, radios, solar charging systems, particularly for the dispensary, and fitting new valves to water tanks. just as well we carried a lot of spare parts for the boat!
People were lovely & made us very welcome, and the work we did (along with Rus, Gunter & Claudia from other yachts) was really appreciated.  The tone of the place was set when a man in a loincloth paddled out in his dugout canoe to see if we could recharge his laptop!! There is an elementary school there, and highschool children move to another island for their education. Typically men wear loincloths & women the short lavalava (ie they are bare breasted, but this becomes unnoticed after a while)
We were given flower garlands & leis almost every day, & the day we left we were given a total of 19 between Gay & myself from various friends & people we had helped. There were also gifts of lavalavas, breadfruit, fish, coconuts, taro, kumeras etc.
We attended church on a couple of occasions and it was wonderful to hear the singing - so harmonious, a little high pitched, but hauntingly beautiful all the same. The deacon was dressed in a white smock, but reverted to loincloth immediately after the service.  No dressing up for church as they did in Kosrae, just lavalava & loincloth - no "mission dresses" in sight.
We also did some fibreglass repairs on a couple of fishing boats, & Gunter helped with their outboard motors, so they were very happy about that. There was a 4 day puberty celebration for a couple of girls which entailed men going out fishing (in which case they tended to wear shorts & shirt) and the women cooked food for them. On return of the fishing boats, the men would wave flags to indicate that they had a good catch, & the women would sing & dance on the beach. The essence of the singing was that the men caught a lot of fish & the women didn't need them as they had pplenty of taro & breadfruit!
A lot of time was spent by men building a dugout canoe from a log that washed up on the reef - Lamotrek was devastated by a typhoon in 1990's & has no spare big wood for canoes (generaly from breadfruit tree). Women spend their time cooking & making lavalavas and weaving baskets.  For a missdemeanour, a woman may have to make a lavalava from bannana fibre which could take a month or so - it is given to the chief, then sent to Yap for sale & the proceeds go into community funds.  There are only a few paid people on the island - dispensary nurse Ester, some teachers, etc with an annual wage of about $3,000.  Income for many others is $0. However there are coconuts to drink, rainwater from tanks or wells,coconut meat,breadfruit, taro, kumeras, limes, toddy syrup, fish, crabs, octopus, shellfish, turtle meat & eggs, so they live a basic but healthy enough life.  The few dollars available go on solar chargers for dvd players, torches, solar lights - there is no power station!  Cooking is done over open fires with some wood but mainly coconut husks as fuel.
Chief Manuel asked us to take 20 lads to another island to catch coconut crabs which we did with our other 2 yachty friends - total haul about 70 crabs which were distributed to the community (but 5 given back to the yachties as an easter present) Very nice eating.
Departing was quite emotional, saying goodby to our friends, & I admit we both had a tear in our eye as dozens of people came down to the beach to wish us goodbye, waving palm fronds.  We carried some goods from Lamotrek to Yap - about 40 rolls of coconut fibre rope, 600 ft per roll, all hand made, 6 lavalavas, 2 fishing floats(hollow ones with a small hole cut in & plugged) full of preserved turtle meat, box of turtle eggs, big coils of longline cord, bottles of toddy syrup. Here in Yap we met up with chief patrick who was greatfull for our "freight service".
We had an easy sail from Lamotrek to Yap 500 miles. Arrived Monday & tomorrow we plan to go scuba diving - 2 dives, one with manta rays which should be fantastic.  All for now xxxxxxxxx