18 February 2018 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
Hello and Happy New Year! I believe I have not written since 2018 began and now we are nearly 2 months into it! Time , that most precious commodity next to health, is flying by at a rate that I would not have thought possible. As Chuck and I muse on life, our views on the importance of happiness, its recognition and fulfillment are subjects that we agree on. We are thankful for our many blessings and the choices we are able to make and proceed with.
We had the most wonderful and memorable Christmas with Kate joining us on the 20th of Dec. and she was able to stay until Jan.8th! We enjoyed Majuro atoll and went out to a couple of islands within the atoll. Kate and Chuck did some diving. We thought the 3 of us were going to be able to dive together but the gear we rented for Kate was faulty. Quick thinking on Kate's part made it a happy ending. The shut off valve on the BCD was stuck open and though it had been replaced by the shop earlier, and tested good when we did the checks, soon after her descent it stuck open. She was being squeezed and could not dump her air quickly enough. She surfaced while continuously dumping air. It would just free flow. All turned out well as luckily it happened very soon after descent so there was no nitrogen build-up. Kate continued with my gear for the rest of the time out and I got to relax and do my favorite things on the boat. The beauty of the time was that it was so relaxed that conversations had time to be resumed and finished. We got to hear details of life according to Kate and enjoy the many many blessings of family all in 46 x13.6 ft! The weather was mostly rainy but warm with periods and days of sun. All in all, it was the best weather we had since we have been here in the Marshall Islands.
Our mainsail arrived 2 days ago ( not sure if I said it shredded in a gale about 2 days out of Majuro). We are waiting for the wind and rain to settle down so we can put it up. So, with our "main engine" back in service, the adventure to other atolls can happen. There is no way, we would consider leaving the atoll without a Main. In the mean time, since Kate left, Chuck has been able to repair the watermaker which is beyond wonderful. Now we are able to use tank water for everything including showering and cleaning. That is such a huge addition to ease of life. There was a bit of panic as after he took it out of its wee hole, took it completely apart and cleaned every connection and piece resealed and put it together and back into its place, IT LEAKED. So, out it came again, took it all apart to access the two leaks and back together and in- successfully. 5 days of work and chaos as everything is apart and on the table and settee. In any case, all is well that ends well. I can not tell you the admiration I have for Chuck and his ability to never give up with these repairs that happen. As he says, "there is no choice". Self sufficiency is the name of the game. There are no repair people for this type of thing and the people that do not do it themselves, do without. First getting the parts, then the installation/ repair- it all takes so much time!
So as our 3 month window to be in the MArshall Islands was drawing to a close ( we arrived Dec.4), we decided to do some serious thinking about our plans and priorities. The very shortened version is that we applied for and received, much to the amazement of some cruisers a C-1 visa for a year that will take us to March 2019! This allows me to spend the extended period of time at home in Canada that I have been wanting since I left. As they say, the grass is always greener and I miss home and family and friends a lot out here. So I am heading home Friday the 23rd of Feb. for an undetermined amount of time but likely 3-4 months. I have it in my mind that Canada Day will be in Banff! Yeah and YAHOO! Chuck is relishing the thought of being on his own, to move at the pace of life he has been wishing was ours since we left and he retired. He has many projects that will now get a chance to get to the top of the list and that are not critical but will mean peace in many ways. He is also planning to spend some time with friends if they are able to join him out here for some R and R. We are both super excited about this next gift of life that we have chosen and with which we have been allowed to proceed. (Just redid that sentence to avoid the hanging participle- haha. So formal but looks so much nicer in print- would not even notice it in the spoken word. Well I would notice it but not feel I had to correct it). Rambling here but some things never change.
I am hoping to visit so many of you, surf your couches, drink your beer, wine and spirits, eat your food and hahaha, I am kidding. Well, not really. I am planning the visit and the rest will be up to you. I will bring food and water and a sleeping bag as we did when we were young. I can't wait and am so excited to tell my sea stories and hear all of yours, your adventures, your family stories, your hopes and dreams but most of all just to be, minute by minute, day by day living life and loving the many many gifts of life I am so blessed to receive.
Sending all of you big huge hugs and wishing you all the very best of whatever direction your dreams are heading in,
10 December 2017 | Majuro , MArshall Islands
Hi Friends and Family,
This 10th of December finds us in Majuro, Marshall Islands at Latitude 7 *06.175'N and 171*22.385 E - a long way from home. Yes indeed, we crossed the International Date Line and so for once in my life I am ahead of myself in position as I am physically here but chasing myself as I remain solidly, as usual a day late in most everything I try to accomplish. Thank God I am retired and have no one to report to- except my Captain. Okay, humor aside, let's see ....
"Foist" of all, I want to wish each and everyone of you the very Merriest Christmas this Holiday Season. That extends to everyone who is also non-Christian but celebrate at this time, or close to it, their particular spiritual belief.
I always wonder just why some think what they believe to be the original and only path, when really the books written, are written by various people with points of view, scarred and influenced by their surroundings. Whether or not they were visited by the Higher Power when they wrote it, the books are a historical review with guidance written by people with biases and trying to be " influencers". So, in this month especially, all religions aside, please know that I wish each and everyone of you Peace and happiness within yourselves, good health and sufficient to meet your needs. Whatever your sufficient is, that individual concrete that we base our day to day existence on can only be decided by you and ultimately arrived at by you. Ahhh, stop. This is where one can start to sound like a podium is needed and that is not what I am trying to go for here. I think we are all the same, truly wishing our fellows the many blessings of a wonderful and fulfilling life. Service above Self. I am so sadly lacking in this department at the moment. This adventure, voyage of a lifetime, has been all about self fulfillment and gratification. My thoughts are so often drawn back to my family who have been so supportive , each in their own way and to my community in the Bow Valley ( Banff and Canmore). I think of all the special people who lead by example and I am looking forward to going home and to follow the lead and be involved.
The chronology of the last update escapes me. It is now Dec.16th, six days since I last wrote. As many of you know from Facebook , we had an eventful passage from American Samoa to the Tuvalu Islands and then from Funafuti, the capital, of Tuvalu we had an adventure that will last in the memory bank. At this point, it is a bit of a blur as time dims the details. This time, I will be able to add some pictures which many of you will already have seen on FB - so much quicker and easier!
I guess the reality of our sailing continues to open my eyes. Glass half empty or half full? I know my personal paradise is at home and my glass brimming. My heart goes out to the majority of the people living in these paradises we are so fortunate to visit. They live simple lives, many working very hard to eek out a living for their families. The ravages of inadequate nutrition or poor nutrition and poor education are evident. In certain cultures like American Samoa, the average person is overweight by the time they hit puberty. Out in the remote islands, dental hygiene is non existent in certain places and the evidence of that, toothless grins or mouths of brown and yellow teeth are prevalent. As we are told, the health of the mouth reflects the health of the body. The children naturally crave the sugar and are often seen with treats in hand. Fruit and vegetables are the most expensive items in the grocery stores. No, the fruit does not grow in abundance. In most of the islands there is very little arable soil and water is caught in the rainy season to last all year. Many in all the islands are not attending school. The education systems we take for granted are so superior to what these children have. I know I have a very quick impression of what goes on but I have seen so many children who seem to be "out" of school. When we "vacation" we are not in the paradise that so many think we are visiting on this trip.On a sailboat, it is different. In a limited fashion, one sees what the normal people live like and, what they eat each and every day. It has not a thing to do with what one sees on a 2-3 week vacation in the X Star resort.
So, as usual, my best time is when we are sailing, away from the realities of the paradises of landfall. The sport of sailing, riding the wave in big swells. The last passage was a particularly trying one with the mainsail giving up under the load of a gale. The genoa in the water in a moment when the halyard shackle broke (!). Each of these events led to more sailing experience than I wanted to have. However, we fared well enough and always took the time to be safe first and foremost.
Now the aftermath of losing the main is ordering a new one. This is itself a huge job. One removes the sail, loads it, takes it ashore with the help of a local cruiser who found us the place we could lay it out and measure. Our main had been altered as it was always catching in the topping lift. So, classic KP design would not work. Then Chuck has been drafting all the measurements into a scaled drawing with many notes and it is being sent out to a few suppliers for quotes. We can only pray that they can read and listen - a rarity we find in the world. Too often, with emails regarding very important issues, people do not really read and understand what you are asking. The result is another email re-asking the same question. Often more than one email is needed. Wasted time and in a situation where internet is often so very poor, this is more than frustrating. In any case, I have my fingers crossed and am hoping that when the sail arrives, it fits. There are no sail makers here in Majuro. They are a rare breed and most often, the huge sail lofts are the benefactors of most sailors needs. Fact - Lee Sails buys half the Dacron used in the world!
Well, people, I know this email is not my usual. I guess the end of the year always brings a reflection of what has happened over that year and this epistle is typical of that. I end it by wishing each of you the blessing of hope with possibility of fruition and good health in the coming year, 2018. Until then, stay happy and be safe.
Love to all,
12 October 2017
Sent October 12th
Greetings from 14 degrees, 01' S and 167 degrees 37 W - well that is where we are at this moment in time - now it is gone, changed forever more.
We are about 22 hours (give or take a few, depending on the wind) out of Pago Pago, American Samoa. This will be a utility stop, pick up parts and necessities shipped in from the USA for the boat, re-provision our very depleted stores (food etc) and do the repairs we can, before making a bee line to get out of the hurricane zone by Nov.15, the cut off date for insurance purposes.
We listen to the nets, and cruisers are all busy making their changes for the upcoming season. Some wrap up their boats on the hard, in a place designated as a hurricane hole, head somewhere else and then come back. Others find an "in the water" hurricane hole to start from, and then spend the season dodging the weather.
In our world, this little speck at approximately the above point, we are reevaluating our options. So, to make a long story short, we are not exactly sure what lies ahead for various and sundry reasons. More on that at a later date once, we have analyzed options when we get to Pago Pago.
Since Raiatea, we hit Bora Bora, spent a lot of time getting various things sorted on the boat, finding and ordering parts for delivery into American Samoa. Bora was just as beautiful as all the other Pacific Islands. They are all different and to say which one I like most so far would be impossible. I must say that after months of mediocre restaurant food, Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora was a highlight, right up there in quality with my favourites I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
Oh, by the way, Amelie Patterson did win Alternative Album of the Year at the Calgary Music Awards. Remember how I was saying go buy her album? Well, this proves I am not totally biased. ROLL HONEY ROLL will soon be followed by another, apparently. YEAH!
The sun is coming up and the blast into my half open eyes is now a bit of a shock. I am counting the minutes until I can cook some breakfast, eggs, sausage, cheese, onion omelet is the plan. What a difference a day makes, or two days. Maybe I will pull out the frozen pancakes I made for this passage. Break, while I go do that! A real breakfast is on my horizon and some of you know how much I love my breakfasts.
The last 2 days did not qualify. Mother Nature put us on a diet of snacks. Did mange last night to heat up lazy cabbage rolls so that was yummy.
Have you heard of Suwarrow? It is a tiny Atoll in the northern Cook Islands. The Cooks have a relationship with New Zealand. Suwarrow is a protected park. No one lives there except for two rangers that manage the park and protect it from June to November 1st. The main island in the atoll is Anchorage Island. It is thick mahogany trees, and lush palm trees inhabited with an abundance of hermit crabs that at times are so thick you have to pick your way through them. These little pink creatures wear shells on their backs and are wonderfully athletic. They walk in all directions, climb rocks and even climb into the huge mahogany trees. I am not sure why they do that, they would not say. They have duels with each other with their antennae and claws. It is quite amusing to watch them. The loser then often goes to pick a fight with a much smaller, less protected individual.
Sound familiar? There are also HUGE coconut crabs. Some of their claws were bigger than my forearm. I have to admit that I really wish I could have seen one in a pot of boiling water with a large dish of melted butter waiting on the side. The colours of these crab were amazing. I saw everything from vibrant yellow, to purple, red, blues and greens and mostly a combination of the above with a pair of beady eyes. The highlight of this time was playing with two young boys on the beach! Fantasy island could be another name for my experience . We tromped through the jungle, had a beach bbq, played soccer and "shark in the water". I learned my running speed is pretty much down to that of a 7-year-old and the 3-year-old's change of direction kept me on my toes.! Missing those two little cruisers and their parents.
It is now 0211 on Oct.12,2017. We have less than 50 miles to go to Pago Pago and the last day has been a dream sailing day. Wind on the stern quarter, heading about 150 degrees off the wind with the wind vane steering and barely a readjustment needed. The swells were up to 3 metres and what a ride the Katie G is giving us. As the wave comes up from the rear it lifts her 20 tons, carries her forward, she dances a bit as the next swell comes through before dropping her bow down for the ride and the next one comes again to lift her back up. She loves it. She is a Cadillac, a sailor's boat. No being tossed around, she rides the waves like she was born into them. This is the best part of sailing. She does this effortlessly it seems, proudly, heading towards her chosen destination. She is like us, a bit worn on the outside, the cosmetics have altered with the sun and wind. She could use a month or two in the spa to freshen up.
The moon has risen, and has an orangey glow. She lights the wispy clouds around her and sends a shimmering path of silver down onto the water. Around us, the water appears like an undulating cauldron, black as oil. The 42% of exposure to the sun gives enough light that the dreaded blackness of night is lifted. She shares the heavens with the blanket of stars, no longer overpowering them. I sit in the cockpit, a rectangle of blue cushions gives me four vantage points. The seat of preference for most nights is beside the chart plotter and radar. Every 15 minutes, I lift the covers from their faces, looking for the information that will confirm our safety, direction and distance to go.
No AIS targets in sight, PHEW! It seems the big ships usually need a wake-up call. Once hailed, they check and confirm the speck they see on their radar matches our Lat and Long.
The fishing boats most often respond but if they are fishing illegally, they do not call back. I hate that! Then, it is turn on your spreader lights, put on the anchor light with the tri-light - it strobes (apparently illegal but who cares at this point). Keep calling and watch them change course. Splendid! You have the desired effect.
One thing you may be wondering is whether or not we are the only boat plagued with issues. Cruising brings new meaning to the old saying that " misery often has company". Our problems seem minor compared with the few that were shared this past week. One boat outside Tahiti harbour was lost to fire. We helped a boat that had lost steering bleed their system (hydraulic) and when that did not work, sought help with various sources through email contact to find the problem (THANKS Deny!). The same boat broke their furling line and had to jury rig a system to get the jib back in. Another boat also broke a furling line. We also had furling issues on our Tahiti and Bora passages. Different issues but we installed a new furling line that we had onboard when in port. It makes for intense and physically demanding work when these issues happen. Another boat had a fire, this one was a solar controller that caused the ignition(electrical). This morning, a single-hander was on the net; his furling line had broken and he could not get the jib in. His engine had also been giving him issues and he was not sure it would start. He was turning around and heading beck to Papeete. He also had vertigo. Can't imagine dealing with all that and being on your own out here! He called back on the evening net and had gotten everything under control. One of the cruisers in Tahiti was going to meet him in their Dinghy and help him into the anchorage.
For the most part, people do not talk about all the things that break while underway. Make no mistake. You can be as prepared as you can be and something will break. It is always a surprise, well, usually a surprise. For us, when we get to Pago Pago, we have a list of things to fix and a list of things to change that we are preventative. "Boat maintenance in exotic places" is a phrase that is shared, laughed about and known as fact. I am looking forward to handling the new jib lines we have been carrying for the past two years. It is time to change them. We have logged 7878 (just looked) nautical miles since Oct 1st of 2016. Time to change them. We had to chop about a foot off the spare jib halyard as it was almost chafed through (new splice and she is good as new). As our friend Pam said, you will get chafe where you never thought possible.
A daily inspection of the boat usually adds a point or two to the Wunderlist (Chuck's friend and my curse). He is trying to train me to make lists and I have finally succumbed. List making is a skill. Like anything, to be useful there's are tricks. First off, you have to make them. Second, you have to use them. Those are fundamental. The rest is , as they say, "beyond the scope of this paper". Love that line!
Those who always ask about Katie can celebrate with her ( and us) on her successful application of a 3 year performance artist visa for the USA. She is over the moon happy and excited. She is going to be very busy fulfilling commitments to those who supported her in her application for this work visa. In the time waiting she applied and was accepted to the advanced study of UCB ( stand-up comedy). She also is enrolled in a course at Stella Adler and started another at UCB. That's our girl!
Well, it is now very close to my turn to head off watch for the welcome two-hour rest. It is different steering with the vane in changeable winds, more intense. With the autopilot, we usually go 3-5 hours but with the wind vane, 2 hours is a max. It feels like heaven compared to the 1 hour watches of hand steering! We did that the first night out, maybe I am repeating myself.
Well, time to shut this down and wish you all a most pleasant day and life. As always, you are in our thoughts. I have had some very cheery moments remembering some of the times I have spent with each of you on this email list. Of course we each have a few friends the other has not met but most of our paths have crossed.
Once again, many thanks to my brother Gregory, a Saint, as Riyad called him, for sending this out to all of you. You know we love the replies and you can email us directly. You all have the address but I am no longer putting it in the update as these all will eventually go on our blog and that is too public to put the cherished advert-free email onto that site. So till the next time, "keep your stick on the ice."
Much love, Karen
PS: We arrived safely in Pago Pago, hook down and so happy to be here. Exhausted and ready for the next episode.
19 September 2017
Hello dear and old friends,
It seems that if you are putting up with these "escapades on paper" that I send out, you have to be in the category of dear; and "old" always pertains to quality in people as far as I am concerned so if you are kind enough to read them and then to even respond, well you are both old and dear to me.
Of course, these updates are me so Chuck may not feel the same way. How do I know? I have not asked him.
That is one thing we are finally learning; that we are not responsible for the other person's behaviour and so shouldn't take it personally, although the flip side is,
"well, that embarrasses me so yeah - I'm pissed."
How is it, we can still be working on basic stuff like that? Shouldn't it all be easy as pie by now. We are both wondering if we are slow learners. You have to give us a thumbs up for the effort. I mean 30 years married and 37 living together - well, seriously though, it was likely more like 10 years out of the 30 that we were actually under a roof together. Funny life but many do it - not that unusual these days. So maybe that is why we are still learning so much about the other person. Acceptance of someone who has changed, grown, morphed into a better version than what you thought you had. As the song says, "he drives me crazy but I love him anyway". Don't know it? Maybe it is a new song in the making. Life is a wonderful educator. Just when you thought that perhaps you had it nailed, it jumped up and bit you in the ass.
So, what has been going on? Well, let's see. I had to erase all my history so I sort of don't remember exactly where I left off but as it is impossible to tell everything, I will try to think of something you might be interested in.
For the sailors.... the watermaker works, has great pressure, good flow, making what it is supposed to, clear and does not taste like salt. (However, the TDS is still high sometimes over a 1000 but comes down to 890 ish- latest). Never mind, we can use it for everything except drinking so that is working well. Furler - working. Autopilot - working. Mainsail repaired beautifully, stack pack repaired by us, as well as all the worn-out stitching on the sun cover redone.
Now we are on a batten search - human error. BOOM!! Done that report! For the travellers, likely the most historical in terms of Fr. Poly would be the visit yesterday to the Marae of Taputapuatea. Large religious area made by the islanders by making fires below the coral at low tide and as the coral broke into pieces they would haul it up to land. This place is right beside the ocean. There are some big pieces standing up and a large field of big rocks flat enough to walk on. There are several of these in a large grassy flat area . Raiatea is quite mountainous so flat land is not abundant. Ceremonies included human sacrifice and immolation of children (no dictionary or internet so all I can say is - does not sound good to me). There were several wars and then the Europeans arrived. I enjoyed the place, interesting and a cool vibe. Alright, enough said.
Day to day life: So, day to day life is not a whole lot different except you are on a boat and floating. The place you float changes. That is one of the benefits - scene changes - water, foliage, sand, colour, amount. Raiatea has no beaches. We saw one that was obviously man made. They do beautiful stone work on this island and the breakwater is a work of art. It is so different than any other island we have been to. Not that we have been to that many. Enough to get a sampling of how very different each island and its culture is from the next. Just like at home where sections of the country have different habits, ways of talking, community happenings.
Raiatea is also one of the cleaner islands. the marinas are crystal clear and you can see to the bottom of these marinas. At least the one that our sailmaker worked in fit that description. I was over at the carenage ( the boat yard and dry storage) on my batten search and that was a bit of a different story. Could have been the grey day and rain but the water was definitely more the Mexican quality of marina water.
Listening to lots of music but all old stuff that we have had for years. We were serenaded till 3:00 am on Friday night by some techno stuff, French and English, loud beat, loved it. Not exactly like the staying power of the Mexican nationals who go till 6:00 am without fail. and for those of you non Canadians try Tragically Hip. Long live Gord Downie- hope he is still with us - what an icon!
The newest album we have which we love is Amelie Patterson's Roll Honey Roll and if you have not heard it, I highly recommend it: great lyrics, sultry, folksy westerns/ bluesy. Yes, her own style. Just a little plug for Amelie as she is a young and budding talent and good work deserves a helpin hand. Advert over - hahaha. Tricked ya, now you will all want to go out and buy her album on iTunes or Amazon. She is also Banff's first official poet laureate!
The quiet that I thought would be abundant is not. The water is always making sound, as is the air. So tuning into the sound gives a lot of information about the weather. Weather becomes focal in one's life at sea. I think I said that previously though. But you see how very important it is to us when it comes up again. It looks like the next weather window to American Samoa may be next Sat. In the meantime, we head (hope hope) to Bora Bora after our batten search tomorrow. Wish us luck on the batten which jumped out of its pocket yesterday.
It is lightly raining or raining lightly and after an almost entire day off, being Sunday. And nothing happens on Sunday - I have made another one-pot wonder- don't under-estimate the magic of one pot - first, boil the cabbage, second, add the onion, third add the already cooked potatoes and then add the chicken franks, diced, cayenne pepper (my go to - as you know Julie and Tim) and garlic. And it's all ready to consume. I need to bake a chocolate cake or Margaret's Disappearing Oatmeal Cookies (yeah Cahoots) or perhaps both - or none if I run out of energy.
Hugs to all,
The ever hopeful, Karen
08 August 2017
When we were crossing from Oa Pau to the Tuamotos, I had my head over the side of the boat; no, not for a relief of intestinal trouble but to watch the water as we were going one way and it another.
First it was the speed, then as my focus changed I realized I was looking at a color I had never before seen. It is the most incredible shade of purple one could possibly imagine.
I have now seen it twice.
The second time was the other day when we were sailing to Toau from Fakarava. I am sure Charlotte Bronte could do it justice. Being in the middle of her book titled Shirley . I am boulversayed (franglais for bowled over) by her descriptive powers. However, not having the skills of a famous English author, you will get my inadequate attempt.
Meanwhile, back here in Fakarava, it is pouring and I have my morning coffee, with a taste of cream, sitting before me. Cursed rain- no just kidding. We need it to clean the boat from all the salt that has accumulated on the Katie G's decks. More on that later.
For the moment, back to the color purple.
Was there a movie of great import by that name? I jest of course. Who could forget that most incredible movie which gave a young Oprah Winfrey her start and of course the novel which is always better.
So as thoughts stray, so goes the story, so much like my thoughts in life. No rules are strictly adhered to as long as they harm no one. I must follow my path down this windy road in a way that guides me to a result I can be happy with. For who else, in the end are we accountable to, if we manage to evade the long arm of the law? Being a rule follower in that regard, I come back to myself and a higher power which I shall not name for risk of offending anyone. I digress, which luckily, no one truly cares about.
I start again regarding the colour.
Remember when I said "green water" was running down the gunnels? Well, A friend wrote back and asked if it was truly green. It was "over there." Here it is purple but when running in the gunnels it is white. That could be because there was not as much of it but never mind. The eyes see, the fingers relate the story of impression.
As to hue, take yourself to a rainbow ( ROY G BIV). You remember that longstanding man whose name was given to the colours of the rainbow many years ago? Well, having seen many beautiful rainbows in my time, which I always marvel at, I am reporting that this colour does NOT fit in the rainbow. Most remarkable, it is something deeper than violet with the base of indigo. At least that is my memory. I do not remember ever seeing it reflected from the palette of an artist. I wonder if I shall ever see it again. It takes your breath as you stare at it wondering how the colour can be.
So, like the many fishes in the ocean we have recently seen on our diving exploits, it is up to the dressmakers and artists to create what they are still missing from nature. The incredibly beautiful fish we saw in the South Pass and at another dive site in Toau called Yellow Dog, were not to be found in our books and I think I may have related that already. A designer could take new impressions from the diversity beneath the sea and a whole new world of fabric , colour mixture and adornment would take the world by storm.
As I have noticed in the time spent in Mexico and now here, color in Canada is subdued.
Our houses tend to fall into browns and greys, earth tones are encouraged in many things. Basic black is in every woman's closet to pull out for a "never fail". Heaven help those who dare show vibrancy in dress or demeanour. Could our thoughts be following? Passion, like colour fades as we seek in other ways to reacquaint ourselves with Mother Earth.
We have to take time from our business, to meditate, be mindful, aware. It becomes another "job" to sit, and not focus so that we can get more in touch. How full circle!
So what then becomes of a life that ran, played, relished the joy of being in tune with nature?
What becomes of a soul that has to search so hard to find what once came so naturally?
Adventure, travel, work, friends; we partake in all, looking for colour. Seeking colour becomes a life ambition.
The world never gives up on us. It creates again and again, new hues, new variations of colour for us to experience.
Opening our eyes, we see the colour expands to a word, the tone of a voice, the gesture and touch that spells kindness, caring, acceptance and love.
As we touch the world, it does the same. The return is in the smile; the smile of Mother Nature as she takes us to her breast, a friend who opens their heart to support and understand, family who know your many weaknesses and can laugh at you and with you as one continues the journey.
We are all on our own journey. I wish each and every one of you a life of colour, vibrancy and support by those who also seek colour in their world.
Till the next time, hugs and love to all.
PS. We are waiting impatiently for watermaker parts in Fakarava. The autopilot is fixed and Zen is not in the vocabulary. HAHAHA.
09 July 2017
Hello out thereeeee....
We were to depart today for the Tuamotos from Daniel's Bay on Nuka HIva in the Marquesas. The mainsail was once again repaired, and numerous small jobs accomplished while waiting for the weather window, but Murphy made a call and shortly after we pulled anchor and were under power heading out of the bay at 0630, the autopilot stopped steering.
We altered course to go to Oa Pau, which is a short 25 miles away. When we had the sails up and ready we went to shut down the engine and it would not shut off. Chuck shut off the fuel supply and we sailed here. The engine started just fine, we anchored and he set to work, AGAIN! He found the issue with the engine quickly by a reading the wiring diagram and found a loose connection in a wire that goes to the stop button. That is fixed. Now he is working on the autopilot.
So, a lot has happened it seems since the last time I wrote.
We had a wonderful tour of the island of Nuka HIva. We tried to get a tour guide but no one was available so we rented a truck and six of us, Jim (American) from Poppy and Alco, Rose and 2 year old Kian set off for the day on a tour of the island. I posted some of those pics on FB.
We left the main harbour after staying for the Wednesday morning market and motored the 5 miles to the infamous Daniel's Bay. It is fabulous. The bay is surrounded by green peaks and spires. Wild goats and pigs abound and the bleating of the goats is a sound one hears in the morning and evening.
The second day after we got there, Rose, Alco and Kian from sv Estrella came over and picked me up and off we went to explore onshore. The tide was going out and we had directions of where to drive the dinghy into the bay and get close to the mouth of the river. We no sooner were ashore than we headed towards what we thought was a restaurant. We had heard of a restaurant and were hoping for lunch. The lady we met said, "no, not here" and proceeded to take us down a trail up the valley. We followed her lead and soon came to a house that had a picnic table. Our "guide" went out back and soon another lady appeared covered head to toe in outside work clothes. "No lunch today," she said. "Come back at 5:00." It was about 1:00 p.m. by this point. We said no, we could not, but Rose and Alco decided to reserve for lunch the next day.
As we made our way back toward the dinghy, another man came out and asked us to come to his house. We visited with he and his wife for awhile. Soon they offered us sorbet (they have a freezer and make home made sorbet). I had guava. It was delicious! As we continued to get educated on their way of life, we were soon offered a bowl of food. It was whole banana in the skin boiled with wild pig that TIki had killed with a knife.
The pig is boiled in water and the water is changed five times as the meat is so salty. The banana was delicious and the pig was very edible. I would not say outstanding by any means but I had no trouble finishing my bowl (no utensils). We learned about the copra and how they dry the coconut, then send it in a boat which they rent which goes to the plant in Papeete, Tahiti where they make coconut oil. They harvest 1.6 tons a month of copra. They bag it and send it. The profit is about 700 dollars for a month.
They are self sufficient but have taxes to pay and boarding school for their son who stays in the main town to go to school. He is 13. He was on holiday with his grandparents in Papeete when we were there but the pictures showed a beautiful child. His father and mother were extremely proud that he was able to spear fish, and hunt with his Dad so that if school did not come easy, he would be able to continue the life they enjoy.
We stayed longer than we should have and by the time we got back to the dinghy, the tide was way out. We got in the boat and got soaked to the core as we hit the breakers head on. Rose and I were at the front of the dinghy to keep the front down so we didn't get thrown over. I must say I was a touch anxious but it was shallow and all turned out well. When we got back to the Katie G, Chuck gave us a pail to bail the dinghy. I had not noticed how much water we had taken. It seemed about half full and we only took 5 or 6 waves. Lesson learned, watch the tides more closely.
Well, the days slip by and a few days later, I was out on deck doing some little thing when I heard a call, "doctor, doctor" and a man waving his arms wildly. He did not stop while I went to get Chuck and told him. We were running the generator and the water maker so it took a few minutes to shut those down, put the dinghy in the water and head towards the Marquesans man who stopped yelling once we were on our way toward him.
He was out on a point of rock and I couldn't figure out how he had gotten there as the bush is dense. He was in his bare feet and we found out later he was the guide. He quickly explained to us the Kian, our little two year old friend from Holland had stopped breathing, and had blue lips when in his Dad's backpack. His Mom noticed and the heart stopping story began.
A bunch of them had gone on a hike to the waterfall. Once we got to the bay, the guide told us where to go to get up the river (it was high tide). We followed Paul, a grandson of Daniel who the bay's namesake towards the trail. Soon we heard voices and Alco was carrying little Kian. He had been saved by Alco and another lady on the tour who had done CPR and chest compressions.
In the end, it was not easy to determine the cause but we were all thankful and so relieved for a happy ending. Some quick thinking and CPR saved that beautiful little boy's life. There are many details in the story which I will not go into but it is a lesson to make sure to know how to do this very basic life saving technique.
So, now I am having trouble with the keyboard on Chuck's computer when I am trying to correct the last emails so am trying my iPad. I downloaded the update in Hiva Oa so am going to try it as it is the middle of the night and likely there are no new emails that will come on to this iPad. I won't go into why that matters to us. Suffice it to say, the email retrieving is better done on one computer.
So, on with the update. So, at this point, we are now underway for the second time to the Tuamotos. We spent 2 days in Oa Pau in a different and wonderful anchorage on the NW side. It was picturesque and not too rolly. The drive for the autopilot was found to be the culprit and although this one was brand new in 2014, it is now in storage and the refurbished old one that we had for "the rainy day" is now installed and working- YAY!
But, as our friend Rose from TIllicum says, "if you have a working boat with spares for everything, you have "one" and if you use your spare, you have "none." Being at sea or in these remote places, you better have thought ahead and have it onboard or you are going nowhere fast - even for a boat.
So we are doing my favourite thing - passage making. We left yesterday morning and the seas were a bit lumpy - probably 10-15 feet. Today, they have settled a lot. The wind is out of the east and we have had up to 29 knots and currently about 20. The main is double-reefed (shortened down twice - we have 3 reefs). This has worked well, as the main, as you know from all the repairs we have done in the last few weeks, has seen better days. We will be looking at ordering a new one.
In the meantime, our hand-sewing skills and patching techniques are evolving. We thought we would be ordering a new sail when we got to N.Z., but I guess the 5500 miles of sailing we have done since Oct.1 of 2016 was hard on her. Anyway, we are just leaving the reefs in now to try to protect the sail a bit. Plus, she does not seem to need it. We have been averaging 7 knots. We went 168 NM yesterday and today will be about the same. We may need to hove to when we get to Fakarava as we are zooming and we need to time our passage into the pass that gets you into the atoll for low tide slack water. The currents are a big part of the navigation through the atolls of the Tuamotos.
The Tuamotos are much older than the Marquesas. The Tuamotos are worn down old volcanoes and just the tops of the old mountains form the atolls.
Well, I think we are in for more adventure so I will leave this update with wishes for your good health and happiness - really all that matters. And yes, I miss home, but not as much as I did a month ago. I thought homesickness was a thing of my past, being a bit over middle age and all, but it was real.
Still, please don't stop writing. It is so great to hear your news and keep in touch. I am trying to write back to anyone who sends a reply. Sometimes the internet connection is not great. This update has taken 3 sections to write so it will go and many tries at a connection. It really is nothing like real internet.
Cheers and hugs,