May 13, 2013
It was my intention to get up early this morning and sit and write all about our last few months in Fiji, the dramas of the refit (how it took three tries to paint the couch house, how it rained part of Feb and most of March and no work was done, how we had to pay for an extension to stay in the country, the frustrations with the engineers and our complications with our new gearbox and prop, how I spent most of a Friday afternoon in tears just overwhelmed at how everything seemed to go wrong despite our good intentions and easy going approach to the whole situation, how we were still getting touch ups on the paint job the day we left) and our final escape from Vuda Point Marina. It was actually my plan to sit and write yesterday but I fell asleep listening to the hum of the generator as we charged the batteries after too many days of soggy Suva weather and a very power hungry freezer which is packed to the gills. But even though I did wake up early and am sitting down and writing I find myself still tired. Tired of thinking about all the boat work and the struggles, tired of considering what still has to be done because, of course, the To Do List didn’t get completely done, tired despite a few extra days in Suva due to weather where we just kinda loafed around in our underpants, drank tea and read. After months of working and worrying, of planning and provisioning, of adjusting and affirming that everything would work out in the end, just wait and see, it will be OK, we are exhausted. We have caught up on our sleep recently and are safe to go to sea but are still having trouble mustering enthusiasm or motivation.
But don’t worry, I keep weekly notes and have been jotting down thoughts and important ideas all along, usually over coffee on a Sunday morning doing laundry with the sunrise so to avoid the crowds and conversations at the marina cafe. And I will be getting to our saga soon enough, after we have escaped to the Kingdom of Tonga to recharge and relax. But, to keep you up to date I did post lots of new photos on the website (www.yachtkate.com in case you forgot). And, as they say, a picture says a thousand words, so I am giving you creative license to make some up ( let me know if you come up with anything good 😉 ).
As for us right now, we are departing today from Suva, heading to Tonga which is due east of our current location (check out the Where Are We page for a google map). The passage will be to windward so we are calculating anywhere between 6-8days before we arrive. The country of Tonga is an island chain that spans 350NM north to south, so our exact port of arrival will depending on the winds. We wanted to leave last Wednesday but a heavy swell and high winds warning kept us in port for a few extra days. The winds have turned favourable in direction for us in the last few days but have eased considerably, so there is a good chance that we’ll be spending a couple hours slightly a drift. But we’ll take that over bashing into 3M swell and 30kts of wind. Our 80NM shake down sail from Vuda Point to Suva was successful, the boat and all her systems are working well (after we figured out that a lose hose clamp and a wad of misplaced electrical tape was the source of our engine over heating) and after 19months on land we still remembered how to sail! The freezer is stocked, the cupboards full and the fresh veggies are vying for space in the fridge. I have precooked meals in case it gets really rough and standing over a hot stove seems unbearable. All that is left is to head ashore to the Port Captain, Customs and then Immigration to get our departure stamps and pay our harbour fees. Then we’ll top up the water and dinghy fuel tank, collect our laundry, return to the boat to pack the dinghy away, stow the last few items and pull up anchor. In short, we won’t be heading out of the pass until at least noon even though we’re heading into town at 0830.
I will be sending position reports to my brother Thomas (ppsst Thom, I will be send you position reports via the sat phone, if you could post them on the site that would be great) and we will email as soon as we get checked in and find internet access in Tonga. Until then we will be enjoying the solitude of the sea, when it is not only OK but expected that you sit alone quietly for hours, sleep in the middle of the day and stare off into distance. These activities, however, are usually accompanied by holding on for dear life while salty and wet, laying prone in an uncomfortable bunk or on the floor, and trying to figure out if those lights are heading away from or directly at you. But that is the yin and yang that is life, isn’t it?
So until then we hope all you Mothers, especially ours, are enjoying Mother’s Day and you few birthday girls (you know who you are) enjoy your special days this week and that you’ll take a few minutes and send us and email and let us know what’s happening in your part of the world.