Sunday, April 10, 2016

Still in the Danger Season
By Michael

The international terminal at Nadi, Fiji is filled
with orchids, hundreds of individual pots.
That's Frances in the background.
We’re back in Tonga, back home aboard Del Viento. Our 38-year-old girl held up in our absence. Alone on a mooring, she weathered two cyclones (Ula and Winston). The only damage she sustained was to the man-overboard pole which we keep mounted in a bracket on the backstay. How we completely stripped our boat bare and forgot to remove that pole is beyond me, though I remember we were scrambling in the days leading up to departure. Anyway, that pole snapped in half. We have both pieces though, so I will try to repair it. 

For the past 10 days we’ve been working to put Del Viento back together. I’m reminded that breaking camp is easier than setting camp. Also, when you’ve not broken camp in years, doing so exposes faults that are easy to ignore in the course of packing up, but have to be dealt with upon next setting up. So, that’s what we’re dealing with now: the dodger zippers and snaps that failed upon tear-down, the frozen shackles that had to be cut off our back-up anchor rode so we could use that rode as secondary attachment points to our mooring, the aluminum solar panel bracket that broke during dissassembly. Also, we’re tackling jobs that we put off long ago, but won’t allow ourselves to ignore now, not when the boat is bare and getting to everything is easier than ever. So, that 1-inch Starboard I bought in Alaska to replace the rotten teak pads beneath our davits? That’s moved to the top of the list. Having someone come aboard the boat to weld struts to attach to the stainless steel arch that supports 3 solar panels? Scheduled.

We’re cleaning out lockers that are normally hard to empty and access. We’re having all kinds of canvas work done. I need to retrieve our primary anchor and 300 feet of chain from the bottom, where we secured them to our mooring before departure. Next week we’ll go collect our dinghy and kayaks from the island where we left them. Eleanor has to change the oil. There is still a lot of mold to deal with. All the while we’re monitoring nearby cyclones (two so far) that remind us we’re still in the danger season here.

It doesn’t sound much like cruising, does it? Well, it is and we’ve no complaints. We’re in Tonga for goodness sake. We are working together like a team, like a family. We’re all healthy. My girls are happy. We’re having lively conversations about where we’ll head next. It doesn’t get much better. I was reminded today that it was a year ago that we left Mexico. It seems to all of us (and not in a bad way)  like at least two years have passed.


Still the Nadi terminal. We were there, like this, for 11 hours.
There are worse terminals to spend 11 hours.

Home! 45 hours after leaving SFO--though that includes 1 night in
a Nukualofa hotel.
Reunited for beers with good friends in Neiafu, this was taken
before we even got back to the boat, about 1/4 mile away.
Tina is in the black shirt, her husband Shane in the grey
shirt, they are from Vagrant. In the white hat is Tawn, of Palarran.
This is my father-in-law, Paul, back in San Francisco. He is
a master furniture refinisher and restorer. He mostly works on very old pieces,
but here he is pictured with a table from an old, storied 1929 yacht: Pat Pending.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back in Tonga, and great teamwork, Del Viento Crew! The Bliss crew is doing the reverse here, putting our girl to sleep for hurricane season.
    Congrats on your new book, Michael. We will keep following your adventures, and hope we get to see you all again somewhere in the world!


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