Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 8, Passage to Noumea: The Challenges of Uphill Birthdays

I set my feet on the steep hill and try to hold on to six things at once. This is all a matter of timing. In goes the butter the sugar the chocolate four eggs mind the shells grab the post and keep the bowl from sliding away. Pause and rock. The salt the vanilla the flour stop the bowl from sliding the other way heaven help me when I need to open the oven.

When last I left you, we were becalmed in the middle of nowhere. After a day or so of bobbing around, the winds came back. And increased. And increased. The day it was blowing 16 knots was great – no seas, Papillon zipping along at 7-8 knots. Then the winds increased some more, and we spent more than 24 hours with sustained winds in the mid-to-high-twenties. All of which would have been fine, except for two things. One: it was all upwind. Two: it was Indy's birthday.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 5, Passage to Noumea: Slow Boat to Nowhere

 August 23, 2013 01:00 UTC
Somewhere along the way

Erik read my last post and made a face. "Why did you say where we are?"
I looked up from my book. "Why?"
"Because we are making lousy time."
Erik gave me his patented incredulous, isn't-it-obvious look. I returned fire with my what-are-you-talking-about-you-crazy-person stare. (I won, because I have better eyebrows. Never underestimate the power of a shaggy brow in an adversarial situation.)

But I knew out what he was talking about. We are becalmed. And there is nothing worse for troop morale.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 2, Passage to Noumea: Meet the Nail Fairy

August 20, 2013 00:00
30 50.11 S, 173 28.07 E

Greetings from the open ocean! Papillon is two days and about 275 NM out of Opua, so this post is coming to you via the old-school magic of single sideband radio. Your correspondent gave into curiosity a few weeks ago and checked out marine satellite internet systems. After I picked myself up of the floor, my brain aching at the cost, I gave my trusty Pactor modem a friendly pat, and decided such luxuries as posting photos and checking failblog will have to wait until we return to port. As is often the case, low tech is happy tech on a boat.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Superfluous Adults

I spent a lot of my childhood with my siblings down the ravine behind our house.  In summer, we found salamanders under rocks and built dams across the foot-deep stream.  In the winter, we slogged our way down the snowy slope to crack through the ice and always came home with wet snowpants.  And while my mom knew where we were, she was hardly lurking behind every tree.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Testing the Rig and the Bonds of Family

Look at that.  We have been re-yawled!  If I hadn't checked my bank account this morning, I'd never know the mizzen had been missing.  Now that the riggers have moved on to greener pastures (or more needy mains), we are ready to go.  The weather, however, has other plans; New Zealand is keeping us clasped tightly to her bosom via a never-ending series of lows passing over the north island.

Wind, rain, and more wind
Now, nothing says optimism like inviting guests who were sick all night the last time they came to stay. Who better to help test the new rig during a gale?  Aside from the fact that we always have a good time together, the added benefit of asking my cousin to sail with us is that, should anything go wrong, I would never, never, ever hear the end of it from my family.  The Papillon crew is keen on high beta manoeuvres.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dropping the Stick - Mizzen!

Friends, I'm not going to lie to you.  I have a headache that feels like the devil himself is crouched inside my skull and is trying to force my eyeballs out to make room.  (And I didn't even do anything stupid to deserve this headache, which I particularly resent.)  The point, at least as far as you are concerned, is that this post is going to be photo-heavy and text-light.  Unless I suddenly become hilarious in the next five minutes, in which case I will delete this paragraph and you will be none the wiser.  Ha ha!  I am a wizard of editing tricks.  (Man, that headache isn't doing my writing any favours.  Sorry, guys.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where I've Been Lately

Friends, I've been withholding from you.  I have kept silent about the gorgeous, romantic and interesting places I've visited lately.  And I feel terrible about that.  So let me share with you.

Yesterday, Erik put a loving arm around me, put his lips to my ear and whispered, "it's time."  A thrill went up my spine.  Finally, we were ready to bed the backing plate for the new chainplate for the inner forestay.  Erik stomped off to the foredeck in the driving rain; I grabbed my 11/16th wrench and climbed into the anchor locker.  It was everything I dreamed.  Aluminum filings rained down on me.  Erik broke a drill bit.  I smeared 4200 sealant on my favourite fleece with the skill of an infant eating chocolate pudding.  I climbed ever deeper into the locker, trying to get some purchase on the [unrepeatable] locknuts.  And throughout, Erik and I yelled sweet nothings at each other via the hawsepipe.

"Do you have it yet?"
"For crying out loud.  What the hell are you doing down there?"
""I'm trying to get a nut onto a bolt that some idiot drilled too close to the bulkhead!  So give me a minute!"