The last few weeks have been long and exhausting. This time of year in the South Pacific always is. As the heat of summer recedes and winter brings calmer weather and favorable winds there is a rush to get projects completed, to meet deadlines, to catch weather windows. But this year our transition from being a boat packed up and battened down for cyclone season to being a boat ready to sail into the wild blue yonder has been especially trying.
Trying for three weeks to organize the two boats behind us to move so we could launch Kate.
Trying to do semi impossible things like paint on a new coat of anti-foul while still in the hole.
Trying not to loose too much sleep or my cool while we wasted away on land when we could have been bobbing peacefully at anchor.
I am not sure we realize how very lucky we were this past weekend.
As we boarded a plane on Tuesday to return home to Kate in Fiji it wasn’t our luggage that was weighing us down. It was a deepening low pressure system, a late season cyclone in the South Pacific, that was heavy on our shoulders. After 36 hours of transit and very little sleep we arrived after dark and had a wet and windy cab ride home. It was sheer exhaustion that let us sleep; TC Pam, a potential super storm, was still threatening to head towards Fiji. Continue reading
So while I have been playing around in the galley Steve has been doing all the real work.
The shiny new diesel tank came back and after a minor modification (the addition of a couple tabs welded to to the top so it could actually be secured beneath the floor, who’d have thunk!) and it was successfully re-installed. Over the last couple years it seems like we’ve repaired or replaced almost every major system on board. Hopefully this is one of the last big hurdles so in commemoration we decided to sign and date the tank, literally putting our personal stamp on things. And with the newly varnished floor boards put back down, and the game of ‘don’t fall in the hole’ over, things inside are almost back to normal.
Delivered, Sealed and Signed
As we come the end of October we are officially entering the South Pacific Cyclone Season. It is a time of year that is fraught with angst as people keep a close watch on the weather and do one of two things: 1. Sail to some place that is less storm ridden, like Australia and New Zealand. Or 2. Batten down the hatches, cross their fingers and stick it out some place like Fiji.
Everyone we know that has chosen the sail away route says that New Zealand it is an amazing (once you get there). But the prospect of sailing to a place that is notorious for its rough weather and cool temperatures has never appealed to us. As the old saying says, “Nothing goes to weather like a Boeing 747.” We’ll get there. Someday. Just not with Kate.
We, like 39 other boats, have elected to spend the season in Fiji (again), safely tucked into a cyclone pit. Or as they are also called, a Graveyard berth. There are still a few empty pits in the yard but boats are hauling out daily and very soon there won’t be a empty seat in the house. Since this has been a bit of a fill-the-coffers year for us we hulled in June, when most boats were out sailing, which meant we had pick of the pits. We chose one that away from the crowd, had a nice view and a bit of breeze. It was comfortable, quiet and private. That was until earlier this week when we got next door neighbours.
Not everything goes to plan, at least not in our world.
We were out, sailing around the Mamanuca (pronounced MamanuTHa) and Yasawa islands here on the western side of Fiji, enjoying ourselves and the pretty little deserted island we were anchored at, when we got an email. Yep, thanks to our recent upgrade in technology (Steve brought home a Smartphone in February) and that we were able to get cell phone coverage, although just barely, we have email access on board now. Anyway, it was an offer for a relief position for Steve again, this time they needed someone yesterday. We weighed our options, considered the new problem with the diesel tank and the rolly anchorages we’ve been in over the last week decided that we couldn’t turn the offer down. So, we started on the new plan, making our way back to Vuda Point Marina, where we booked a “cyclone pit” for three months of the “non-cyclone time to go sailing” season, and started to think about dismantling Kate for storage again. Continue reading