Update #22 - back on the Katie G and the voyage to Aur
14 August 2018
It has been a while since the last update from the Katie G. This will likely come in segments, as the email program is still, as far as I know, unreliable. I could lose my whole letter, as saving seems marginal, at best. Just when you think it is all going to go as planned, something eats your words - now there is something I have done before.
Well, now, where to start?
I guess I will go back to the 24th of February when I hopped on to the plane in Majuro and headed to Calgary via Honolulu, LA and then direct to Calgary. How long? 13+ hours of airtime and a few more hanging around at weird hours first in Honolulu in the wee hours of the morning and then in LA in one of the airport lounges (thank you M/C).
Hawaii was where I left my friend Sarah , also a cruiser, who was heading home to N.Z. We managed to almost miss our plane out of Majuro, as we had gone into the restaurant ordered a beer and food, paid and then sat back to wait for the flight. I slipped out to see what the status of the flight was, and they were announcing last call. I ran back to get Sarah (the food had not yet arrived, but the beer had) - one quick sip and away we went. Apparently, they were ready, everyone and everything checked in and accounted for, so they just decided to leave early.
I was glad I did not have to take the shuttle back, call Chuck and explain we had missed our flight - we had arrived well ahead of the 3 hour window needed. In Majuro, even though there is only one flight, you still have to get there super early, as the check-out crew is the same as the baggage handler crew and the check-in crew. So if you are late, one of the standby passengers gets your seat and you wait another week (and in my case, pay another $1700 US, as I never buy insurance).
So once in Hawaii, I was just coming out of the ladies room when I saw a familiar face walk by.
"Hey! I know you..." (it was so unexpected) - those were the words that came out, as Lance, Chuck's friend who was going to Majuro to visit/dive with Chuck, was walking by. Lance and I sat over a coffee at Starbucks and caught up, while waiting for our flights.
The early morning flight got me to LA on time and I arrived in Calgary and laid down in a real bed, in a 3-star hotel close to the airport. Then it was a shuttle back to the airport to catch the first airporter out to Banff.
The joy of returning home is an experience that took me back to my childhood when your stomach is all weird and your eyes are on overload. I can honestly say that the high continued the 4.5 months I was home. I don't think I could possibly write all the details of all the fun I had when home, but I may give that a try later. At the moment, I am going to swing back into the present.
Arriving back on the Katie G on July 12th after YYC- YVR- Honolulu (overnight in a hostel- 4 hours of layover) $45 cab ride back to the airport (more than the room) laden with 50 lbs. of boat parts in one suitcase and about 20 lbs. in the other, I checked in for the final leg. Then it was a shuttle back to the Tide Table were I was to meet Chuck. The rain stopped , if I remember right , for the dinghy ride out to the Katie G.
The last three and a half weeks have been mostly readying ourselves for our current adventure.
We filled out our applications to go to each of eight outer islands and took them in the next day. It took 16 days for the eight permits to come back approved.
Chuck met with a few of the outer island mayors (they all live in Majuro). I went along and met with one as well. They want to educate you and in some cases ask you to take things with you to their people. In some cases, flour, rice, cooking oil etc. Some of these islands only get two supply ships a year.
While waiting for the permits, I did the provisioning, leaving all the frozen food and fresh food until two days before. I tried to provision for about four months. However, in saying that, the amount of room you have for food storage is not huge. So every space is looked at we decided what will best keep there. Access for things you use often, temperature, what can't be stored next to each other ( potatoes and onions for example) and what kind of meals can you prepare. I have never bought as much flour and grains for bread making as this.
When we crossed to French Polynesia, we were at sea 22 days. If we stay out as long as we plan, this will be more like 60 - 100 days. Very different.
So, at the moment, we are eating all the things that don't last as long. It will be very interesting to see what takes us back to Majuro - food, fuel, death of important systems that cant be repaired out here. We are full with regards to diesel, gas for the dive compressor and dinghy. The water maker was working well till this morning. That is next on the list.
We decided we would use the inflatable kayaks to get to shore rather than use the dinghy and conserve our fuel. We got to Aur on Tuesday about noon. We left one of the anchorages close to the ass about 4:30 in the afternoon with a hope of the wind filling into around 10 knots for the passage to Aur. We had a most glorious sail with, up to 14 knots of wind on the aft of the beam and we made great time. There were only two little squalls which showed up on radar, but nothing hit us. All in all, it was a beautiful starlight sail with the Milky Way and the redness of Mars to provide the show for the night.
Aur is our first stop. It is about 60 nautical miles from Majuro. We got the anchor down, had to reset as felt we were in too much coral, even though we had our fishing balls attached to the chain to lift it at various depths. We had to power off one of the balmies that had caught our chain. We tried another spot and felt we were more successful. Chuck did the snorkel dive and pronounced it okay this time. After installing the sunshade, we languished in the heat and celebrated our first successful voyage in eight months!
Yes, it has been 8 months since we arrived in Majuro. Rather unbelievable how the time flies.
Next morning, I pumped up the kayaks, while Chuck was getting the weather, and we took our permit and the $25 to search for the acting mayor. We found the pastor, the acting mayor and several other people I will tell you about in the next episode. Now, I am going to try to send this out.
As always, we love to hear any and all news. It is the high point of our day. It doesn't have to be lengthy like this. I understand all of you are way busier than we are. Although there is always much to do, we do it according to time of day.
It is so friggin hot here, my kayak just lost its air - the glue came undone on one of the seams. Luckily I was back on the boat and it was in the water. Chuck looked down and said "you have a leak." In another few minutes all the air was out of the rear of the kayak. It has two segments. I had not inflated them to the level of green on the pressure gauge as I knew they would expand but, this was a surprise. My leaky kayak is the current project Chuck is working on before he tackles the water maker.
Once again, I digress. Just hard to shut it off, once I get going.
All right folks, BIG HUGS to all of you; be safe, be happy, keep your stick on the ice,
Best Mate Karen and Captain Chuck, SV Katie G