Leela Year Six - Across the Pacific

Well.... to our own surprise here we are

17 May 2022 | Vuda Marina, Lautoka, Fiji
26 January 2022 | Australia
08 November 2021 | Viti Levu, Fiji
02 September 2021 | Paradise Resort, Taveuni
29 August 2021 | Paradise Resort, Taveuni, Fiji
10 August 2021 | Western S Pacific
19 June 2021 | New Jersey
14 March 2021 | At sea
05 March 2021 | Raroia, Tuamotus
05 February 2021 | Raivavae, The Australs Group, French Polynesia
04 February 2021 | Raivavae, The Australs Group, French Polynesia
17 January 2021 | Tahiti
13 December 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti
14 November 2020 | Pape’ete, Tahiti
14 November 2020 | Tahiti
01 October 2020 | Fakarava
24 September 2020 | Fakarava South Pass
19 August 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti
02 August 2020 | Pape’ete, French Polynesia
09 July 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti

You Want to Do What?

19 June 2021 | New Jersey
It's a long time since I last posted because recovering from hernia surgery is not terribly exciting. We actually had a pretty pleasant couple of months in our 'waterfront apartment' in Papeete and were contemplating, with some ambivalence, sailing to Fiji in the midst of a Covid outbreak there, with severe restrictions on cruising. Then French Polynesia finally relaxed travel requirements to the extent that a trip to the US and the UK seemed at least feasible. Of course, feasible does not mean straightforward. Several spreadsheets and large sums of money ($1,272 just for Covid tests alone) later we found ourselves in New Jersey where we proceeded to demonstrate that a couple of years on coral atolls turns you into a total rube.
We had a simple project - go one stop down the train line to the airport station, walk across the parking lot from the station to the hotel where we were hoping to leave some luggage during a flying visit en route to the UK, a six minute walk on Google Maps, check it out and make sure the plan would work and come back to Elizabeth North. The whole trip looked like about an hour. Piece of cake....

It started out fine, the train from Elizabeth North was on time, the weather was delightful and we got to Newark Liberty feeling very buoyant. That didn't last..... We could see the hotel a short walk away so we wandered around the station for a while looking for the appropriate exit. Should be an easy one. EVERY station has an exit doesn't it? In the end we admitted defeat and asked a staff member. That's when we got the "you want to do what?" that we remembered so well from our early days in the US when we naively thought you could be a pedestrian in Houston.

Turns out there are actually zero exits from the Newark Liberty station. It is just the rail link between the regional rail service and the Airtrain that connects the terminals. So how do we get to that hotel we can see just over there? "Sir, you need to take the Airtrain into the terminal, get off at the airport parking and wait for the hotel shuttle". Oh well, more adventure, we got the Airtrain to the shuttle stop just in time to see our shuttle pulling out and spent a not unpleasant twenty minutes sitting in the sun, waiting for the next shuttle and surveying the parked de-icing trucks. We were still very close to the hotel so it would be a five minute ride there. Not so fast. The shuttle took about thirty minutes to get to the hotel, most of which seemed to be a vertiginous ride round almost all lanes of one of the largest intersections we had ever seen. We got occasional glimpses of the hotel from a confounding variety of directions before eventually escaping from the tarmac covered maelstrom to arrive at the, by now familiar, hotel. A five minute discussion with the very pleasant staff then it was 'rinse and repeat'. By the time we got back to the station our "twelve minute walk" had taken something over three hours. The Google caution about walking directions was their most accurate piece of information.

The fun was not over yet. As we entered the rail station we could see a train pulling into platform 5 the southbound line to Elizabeth. I quickly asked one of the staff if that was the train to Elizabeth and she answered in the affirmative. In her defense I might have asked "is that the platform for Elizabeth" which seemed like an innocent mistake at the time.... Anyway, we rushed down to the platform. The train doors were already closed but a wave to the distant guard got them open again and we bundled into the now moving train feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. Once again, that did not last. Janaki noticed that the next stop was - Rahway?.... Now, we had no idea where Rahway was but we did know that Elizabeth North was the next stop so all was not well. That was soon confirmed when we rolled slowly through Elizabeth North, Elizabeth and a couple of other unmemorable stations and eventually pulled up at Rahway. Trust me, Rahway is NOT a tourist destination....

The station was unmanned and unsigned but, with the help of a guy cleaning the floors and a local commuter we eventually managed to determine the platform and time of the next train back to Elizabeth North that avoided the utter ignominy of ending up back at the airport. After another pleasant half hour sitting in the waning sunshine we managed to board the next train to our station. When the ticket collector came by and was interested in why we had the wrong tickets it was remarkably easy to play the dumb, lost foreigner.

Back at last. Our "one hour" exploration had managed to take about five hours but we arrived back at our delightful Airbnb thoroughly informed on what not to do, so a pretty successful mission all told. Tomorrow we need to get the NJ train into Penn Station NY and then on to Buffalo so we really are going to have to lift our game or we could end up anywhere or nowhere.....

I will double back to our recent time in Tahiti in another post as it was not without some interest. Now we need to continue the remarkably complex endeavor of traveling during a pandemic - not for the feint of heart....
Vessel Name: Leela
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 38.8
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, NH
Crew: Graham and Janaki
We are a Brit and an Australian now based in the wonderful community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We have a delightful home there but a couple of years ago we began to feel a bit over-domesticated so we thought we would buy another boat and head south. [...]
Leela, a Bristol 38.8 has turned out to be a wonderful cruising boat for us. Some might find it a little cramped by modern standards but it feels like just the right balance of living space and storage to us. She sails like a dream. She is remarkably well balanced and is comfortable in pretty [...]
Leela's Photos - Main
No items in this gallery.