Sometimes you have a bad day and shake it off. Other times bad days string together into a bad week, leaving you to wonder just how you managed to pissed off absolutely all of the God’s, at the exact same time. At the beginning of March we had one of “those” weeks.
We had recently returned to town after a yet another fun filled tour of the Rock Islands. We were still waiting for a bit of mail, had a few jobs on the To Do List and both needed to spend a couple hours online to get caught up on things. The mooring field was busy but we squeezed in way down the back and settled into our ‘city’ routine.
The morning after our arrival we went ashore for a few hours of screen time. The usually kinda fast WIFI was playing up so after about 30minutes struggling with a crappy connection and getting nothing but frustrated we packed up and went home. As we rounded the corner I watched expectantly for the boat to come into view, heart in my throat a bit, as it always is. No matter how confident I am about our anchor or our mooring it is always in the back of my mind when I leave the boat; something could happen when we are away and we wouldn’t be there to save the boat, our home. And this time something did happen. Kate wasn’t where we left her. The mooring had failed. Strangely we were both rather calm about things:
Some people like to call it a “Shake down cruise” but I think that sounds too nicey nicey. There has been nothing “cruisey” about the last two weeks on board Kate. The term “Sea Trial” seems much more appropriate.
As is the norm before a passage and after a long period on the hard we took the boat out for sea trials. It is a chance to test new equipment, check existing systems, find faults and set up gear. It is a chance to re-familiarize ourselves and the boat with the business of sailing and living on board in the harsh environment of the ocean. Breakages are expected, even preferred at this point. After all it is easier to fix things when you’re only miles from the nearest chandlery or town than it is when those resources are literally days away. They might say that bad things come in 3’s, but after a couple of days it was starting to feel like we are getting them in 3’s3.
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.
They say there is no rest for the wicked. So we must be getting penalized for having a bit of a cruisey first week home because nothing has gone to plan since we started back to work.
I had noticed a couple months back that the cupboard under the galley sink was looking rather lopsided inside. Steve brought it up again when he was considering the re-plumbing job he’ll be doing on the water maker system nearby. We agreed it was pretty rotten and that it could replaced and made larger, giving us some much needed storage space in the galley. So this week we ripped it out, and in the process broke the bottom fitting on the fresh water hand pump for the galley sink.
Thankfully we had kept the old hand pump and I was able to cannibalize it and fix our mistake. But the thing with the hand pump is that it constantly drips and leaks, leaving the newly refinished ebony counter top wet. Besides the fact that you need one hand to operate it, which makes doing dishes a bit of a pain. Now that we had the cupboard ripped out we saw potential room to install a much lusted after foot pump. The chandlery at the marina happen to have one in stock, and was willing give us a nice discount. After double checking space and clearances we decided to buy it.
When we got it home we realized all the hose needed to install it was a completely different size than what was already in place. But of course. So, after a day sourcing hose and bits in Lautoka and another morning cutting holes and blindly pulling hose through the bilge Steve had the new foot pump installed. I happily dirtied dishes just so I could wash them in a constant stream of water with two hands. What can I say, sometimes it is the little things that make the big difference.
So, here we are, working on week three of being back from vacation in Australia (yes, yes I see your eyes rolling and hear the gasps of “your life is a vacation!”, but it is not, really).
We escaped Vuda Marina relatively quickly. In just over a week we had put all the running rigging back up and canvass back on, replaced two more through hulls, put the boat back in the water, did a rig check, filled the fridge, freezer and holds full of food and threw off the dock lines. I was giving my self pats on the back and puffing out my chest when people complemented us on being so organized; all that hard work while Steve was away working hard paid off. We could simply splash and get out to enjoy sailing around Fiji after three long years in the country.