Nine Days Away
01 May 2017 | Home
We leave on 8 May: about 9 days away. We’re inside single digits, suddenly.
Somehow, and I know that I write this every year, I’m not ready! We’ve had 9 months to complete the tasks, fabricate parts, and buy items, and we simply haven’t completed everything.
When I arrive home from the boat I spend like crazy to buy everything I can before I lose my motivation and focus. Arriving home in July or August, I work like a fiend to follow my lists, and can manage that until the holidays in December. At that point, I transfer my focus to the holidays and family, as I should, but it means that January through our departure, I’ve not managed to re-gain that focus.
Why don’t I get everything purchased? All I’ve got to do is buy the stuff, for heaven’s sake! For some items, we’ve decided against the purchase because of cost or re-evaluation of importance. For others, I’ve not been able to find the items to buy: they’re out of production since the boat is now 33 years old, as is any equipment that was purchased in that time frame. When it breaks or fails, there’s no repair possible. Two weeks ago, I ran across the company that makes the kill-switch solenoid for the engine, and I’ve been looking for 4 years! The company is in Italy, and a simple email exchange takes days to complete. I’m just out of time for this part, although I’ll buy it for next year. There are several items that fall into that same category.
Still, I have three blue boxes of supplies and equipment to haul back, so it’s not as if I’ve done nothing! I’ve also fabricated a plastic mount for our Racor primary fuel filter since it’s now such a pain in the butt to remove it for cleaning. I’ve got to splice a new dinghy tow strap and a new chain hook tether. We’ve got replacement walkie-talkies for coms when one of us is up the mast doing work. We had some metal cans of various chemicals that we use aboard, and last year they all disintegrated, releasing a witch’s brew of noxious chemicals and combining in unforeseen ways to dissolve a lot of equipment stored in the same locker. Whatever the brew was, it actually corroded the zinc coating from a chain hook, as well as shrivel a flapper valve on our dinghy bilge pump. All of that had to be replaced and I’ve still got to splice another tether on that chain hook.
We had such difficulties last year that we’ve decided to stay around Raiatea and not go passage-making the country. We plan on staying at Bora Bora, Huahine, Taha’a, and Raiatea. With good weather, we’ll also visit Tahiti and Moorea. We’d both like to see them again.
We will guests this year! We’ve rarely had guest in the Pacific so we’re excited to welcome them. We want to show them the Pacific that we’ve come to love. My sister and her husband, Debbie and Philippe, will join us just after we complete commissioning, and Nate and Val will join us at the tail end of that trip. Nate joined us to sail Wings from Bora Bora to Rarotonga (in the Cook Islands) a few years ago. That’ll give us the remainder of time for just the two of us, and we like that. This year, we relax in French Polynesia.
Interestingly, we will have Joe and Jami stay here in the house. When I arrived back home last summer, a friend of mine asked if I’d help him take his home-made steel boat from Port Townsend, WA to San Francisco, CA. It took about two weeks because of poor weather, although the trip was so late that we expected such. He’s a shipmate, now, and they always have a special place with us. They sold their home to go cruising and with their boat put to bed in the Sea of Cortez, they will re-fresh their sailing kitty by working for a while. They’ll get a cat-friendly place to live and we’ll have someone watching the house: win-win.
We depart for Oakland on a red-eye, and stay with LaVerne, Conni’s dad, for a few days, then fly on to Los Angeles, then on to Papeete. We arrive, as always, at 0500, dead tired and with a full day in front of us. We’ll drag our gear and tired bodies around the corner of the Fa’a International Airport in Papeete, and into the Air Tahiti Nui section to book a flight to Raiatea. Raihau, our friend and manager of the Pension Tiare Nui, will fetch us to our bungalow. We’ll probably rest a few hours then go see Wings, and I can’t wait to see her.
We have many tasks to complete this week, but we’ll get them done…I hope!