When the butter melts...
28 August 2013 | Fijian waters
"Head north, and when it gets hard, head south" is a saying that Susan's step dad used to recite quite often. Of course, he was talking about sailing in the Caribbean, and we're down under, so the rule here is reversed. Yesterday, Colin & I both noticed that the butter had reached a lovely spreadable consistency, a welcome change from the rock hard - won't even melt on your toast - butter that we have been living with in New Zealand for the past few winter months. Only time will tell if we are forced to actually put the butter in the fridge when we arrive in Fiji. Other harbingers of warm weather: the water temperature has increased from 63° F in New Zealand to 77° as we near Fiji, we've put away the down comforter, and are not wearing wool slippers at all times. We are encouraged by these little signs of fair weather, and can't wait to go swimming - and see some sunshine! Meanwhile, tonight is our last night at sea before our arrival in SavuSavu, Fiji. It's very dark, with no moon, and the heavy cloud cover is obscuring the stars. Very similar to Tierra Oscura in Panama. It's an eerie feeling sailing in the dark, not being able to see the horizon. One can hear the water rush by, but cannot see the waves, except when the occasional dash of phosphorescence lights one up. Rocketing blindly along, unable to see what's ahead, we are relying solely on our chart plotter ....flying instrument flight rules! As your world closes in, you become hypersensitive to any little noise, squeak, smell, or fraction of light. Thinking they might be another vessel or something on shore, reflections on the windows startle you, while creaks that would not even be noticed in daylight now sound ominously loud. We are sailing inside a large bay, and land is just 12 miles to our west. I can't see it, but I can sense it .....both with the electronic instruments on board, and with my own! I can smell it, and its presence makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. If you want to experience this at home, try this: one evening, turn off all the lights, and then walk from your living room to your kitchen with your eyes closed and your arms down at your sides. That creepy sensation that you get when you come close to an object without hitting it... that's what I'm talking about. When you get to the kitchen, stop and tune in to your other senses. Count how many noises you can hear- the fridge, a distant car, the floor creaking, the sound of your own breathing. Feel the coolness of the floor beneath your feet, smell the odors from last night's dinner. When you can't see, all your other senses work overtime to compensate. Then keep at it for 3 hours, since that's how long a night watch lasts :) This morning dawned grey and drizzly. Not what we ordered, but our destination is on the horizon. And guess who just showed up to welcome us to their bay, and escort us in? A huge pod of dolphins. How would they know we are here? Who knows. Who cares. If those guys, and their carefree joyful antics, don't put a smile on ones face then I guess you really have forgotten what it means to be alive.