And crew on edge…
More than a month has passed since Obelix’ last sailing adventure and this meant countless week-ends watching, with envy, surrounding boats vacate their berth for a few days, and their crew coming back on Sunday with a tan and a beaming smile, while we were stuck at the marina with either no anchor, or an engine into pieces, or, anyway, tons of work to prepare for our three-week holidays and first extended cruise.
The to-do list was long but we’ve chipped at it diligently (mostly Thomas) and knocked off the most crucial items, so we now have:
- a newly galvanised anchor and anchor chain (that hopefully won’t get jammed in the hawse pipe as often),
- a freshly vacuumed, and bleached V-berth
- an on-board VHF in working order (which just needed to be switched to international wavelengths instead of its default USA setting)
- relevant paper charts for the trip
- a new life-jacket cartridge (the last one had popped when the life-jacket was thrown a bit too violently in the dinghy),
- a cockpit with flash varnished (epoxied) wooden slates to give it a classic look
- LED strips in aluminum channels, with switches (but still temporary dodgy wiring)
- and last but not least: a refurbished engine!!! On hearing the humming of the engine when switching it on on Sunday afternoon, we were obviously delighted, but Azur not so much “Are we going? – No we’re just testing the engine. – Good! I don’t like sailing”. With Zephyr we agreed he might have landed in the wrong family ;P
We’ve even managed to throw in some fun and educational activities in the mix. Some to keep us sane, others to entertain the kids and leave Thomas undisturbed while sweating hard, cooped up inside the engine room in his blue overalls. These included:
- a 9th birthday celebration learning how to make chocolate from roasted cocoa beans with Zephyr’s best friends at Chocola,
- a visit from Juli, my 15-year friend from Montreal, and her digital nomad partner Matt (check out his movie about Kiribati: Anote’s Ark)
- learning the ropes with our pier neighbour Rod, who volunteered to help us optimise Obelix spider web for easy mooring next time we land at the marina (unlike the Sunday he witnessed us panicking as Obelix was drifting away from its berth and menacingly towards the rocks and Vicky had to tow us to let the boat pivot back in the right direction for us to regain control of it).
- 2-year old Tara’s birthday party
- a special camping trip with our Big House family, which led to another golden comment by Azur who helped me set up the tent: “I thought it would be boring to mount the tent with you mum, but it was actually fun. I like tents, you can take them places like boats, but they don’t move from side to side”,
- an afternoon cycling to Narrowneck beach and back, where the kids spent the afternoon in a pattern of rolling in the sand and washing it all off with a swim. It made me wonder why we go at lengths in an attempt to take them to exotic places where New Zealand fit the bill and they seemed perfectly happy here.
- flying the Tello drone Zephyr received for his birthday, taking our first aerial view of the marina and successfully managing a hand landing,
- a concert of Skylark at Tiny Triumphs
- a well-deserved nap after checking the engine, alternator, etc. were all working
- a musical barbecue at Rocio & Gaspar’s
- an arts & crafts session (yesterday before dinner) to create a Christmas tree, much to Azur’s relief, who was becoming very anxious Santa wouldn’t visit us for lack of tree signposting where to deliver the presents…
Tapapakanga camping trip
So no sailing lately but a lot going on, so much that we are on edge and exhausted before even starting our summer sailing adventures. No need to say that, during that time, the rule of having the boat tidy and ready to go within the hour was thrown out the window. Instead, we evolved in an uninterrupted state of chaos, with visual and physical clutter everywhere in the boat, with tools, parts, origami by dozens brought back from Kelly Club (after school care program), and makeshift Christmas trees and huts tirelessly built by Azur using any items found in his cabin. We’re slowly reining in the mess and sending love & kindness messages to our overloaded brains, that everything gonna be alright. And since we’ve finally made sense of the on-board VHF (yesterday eve), I believe we’re safe indeed.
This culminated though with an episode on Monday morning where I woke up profusely sweating, dizzy, the world spinning around me, and extremely nauseous (although when trying to empty my stomach I could only puke the glass of water Thomas had offered me a few minutes before when I told him I was unwell). Could be food poisoning, heat stroke, or vertigo due to sustained stress, I’m not sure. It went away with a few hours extra sleep, and fortunately, as we feel reasonably ready now, going forward it should be smooth sailing…