Published: July 15th 2011July 15th 2011
I would like to tell you that we are sitting in Vava’u soaking in the sun and enjoying island life, but ….. I am sitting, writing this in the Laundromat in the Opua marina while the last load of laundry is washed and dried ready for our departure first thing tomorrow morning, Saturday 16 July 2011. The weather has finally decided to clear enough for us to go and this time, I am sure we will be departing – it feels different somehow, and we can’t wait to get away.
Since my last entry a few things of import have happened. Firstly, as it became evident that we would not be able to get away as planned, our crewman Scott had to make the hard decision to leave the boat. He only had a limited time available to him to make the journey as he had firm dates that he needed to be back in the States for to continue his education. We were very sad to see him go, not only because it presented us with the problem of having no crew, but also because we had enjoyed his company and getting to know him. However, he must have wondered what had struck him, because the boat Alex was on had had to come back to the wharf (because of the weather) and Tim, the skipper, had decided to leave it here until the weather improved. So he and his crew were heading back to Auckland and Alex was going back to Whangarei. Alex hired a car and got me to drive him down and bring the car back, while the rest of the guys got a lift on the fish truck, and there was room to take Scott, so within an hour of deciding to leave he was packed and on the fish truck – last seen squeezed in amongst the guys as Doug waved him off. I never got to say goodbye as I was already on the road taking Alex home.
When I got back, the Captain and I sat down and discussed the situation. The weather was not going to let us out until the weekend at least (that was a week ago) and even if it did we would not be able to take advantage of it because we needed crew. (I am beginning to understand the challenges of a boating life). Fortunately we had the car for 24 hours, so the next morning saw us tearing around Paihia placing notices in all the youth hostels and backpackers. Doug also contacted all the people who had notices up in the marina.
Then followed our darkest day so far as we had to consider the possibility of not going – and having finished work and rented out my house that was not a pleasant prospect. The leg injury I had so spectacularly sustained was still bruised and painful, the weather was cold and wet, there is only so much you can do here and the Captain had made a negative comment, which told me that he was feeling it all too.
As with all things in life, you have to have the downs to appreciate the ups, and the next day we were feeling far more optimistic again as we were getting responses to our call for crew. To cut the long story short, we ended up having a skype session with young Alex (this distinguishes him from my Alex) from Germany who was in Queenstown at the time. He has been in NZ for three months and was trying to get work in the south to no avail (due to lack of snow) so was very keen to come on an adventure. So keen, in fact, that he met the challenge of trying to get here for a planned Tuesday departure. He actually arrived at the marina on Tuesday morning, to find we were unable to leave as planned (surprised?) but we decided to go out in the Bay for a couple of days to give him some time on the boat and to get to know him (and to stop him running away).
I can report that he is an absolute delight. At 21 he looks about 16 (but don’t tell him I said so – his youthful looks are the bain of his life), he is eager, quick to learn and has fitted right in. And he cooks! We have had pancakes and French toast and he is planning what he will prepare for us when it is his turn to man the pans. He likes similar music to Doug (God help me), has a great sense of humour and is very excited about the trip. So we are good to go.
Our time out in the Bay was lovely – we found a secluded little cove, very sheltered from the weather to anchor for the night and spent quite a bit of time fishing – Alex loves to fish (must be in the name I think – my Alex loves it too). Since coming back in we have been preparing to go, and as I write they are washing down the decks and fueling up ready for an early getaway as soon as we have been cleared by customs. Wahoooooooo!!!!
In the interim we continued to enjoy being here, once we had overcome the ‘down day’. The only thing that has marred the otherwise idyllic setting, apart from cold winds and occasional bursts of icy rain, has been the infestation of biting insects. I am beginning to wonder if the fleas of many camels that I hoped would never darken the life of my angel of mercy, have in fact decided to consume us instead! They are humungous and seem to have a foot fetish- socks are the order of the day to avoid the little blighters. Maybe, like us they have developed monstrous appetites to ward off the cold!
We have continued to enjoy visits from friends and family, thanks to all those who have taken the time to come up. It really has taken the edge off the waiting time.
And so, with wind in our sails and the next stage of our adventure unfolding we will head offshore in the morning and my next blog entry (please, please, PLEASE) should be from The Aquarium Café in Vava’u, and the Laundromat here in Opua will be distant memory.