Thursday, October 30, 2014

Opua: GANNET's new look and the anti-GANNET

        During these past few days I’ve made a few minor modifications to GANNET that I had been considering while crossing the Pacific Ocean.  That’s her above.  All that freeboard should make a dodger unnecessary.  What do you think?
        My friend Louise is a traveler.  Two or three times a year she endures long flights to distant parts of the world where she takes photographs that she shares with a large following on her flickr page.  She is just back from Oman, where among other places she visited a boat yard where they still build dhows two at a time, side by side.
        The finished product above.  The starting point, wood outside the boat yard and some intermediate stages below.

        I thank Louise for permission to share the photos with you.


        Speaking of photos, an article of mine about the passage from San Diego to Hilo is in the November issue of CRUISING WORLD, illustrated mostly by photographs taken off San Diego in February by another friend, Steve Earley, including this one.

        I have not seen the article myself.  Steve emailed this to me.  CW changed the title.  They are my words, and I like the editor’s choice better than the one I used.  I never know what people will react to or how and I almost deleted that section from the article thinking it might be too extreme.  And then I thought:  I’m sailing GANNET.  Nothing is too extreme.


        Boats have been coming in from the islands increasingly.  Three days ago at least ten were on the ‘Q’ Dock during the course of the day, though never more than four at a time
        I was standing in the companionway, Central Vertical, just before sunset when one of them about 38’ long pulled away from the outside of the dock and made a U turn to go to the far end of the marina, taking her past GANNET.  I could hardly see the boat for all the stuff cluttering her deck, from an upturned rigid dinghy on an angle at the bow, her stern on the cabin top, to a Tower of Babel scaffolding near the stern, supporting solar panels and various antennas.  In between were lines, jerry cans, and a lot of other unidentifiable stuff.  It would not have been possible to take two steps without stumbling over something.  I took a couple of photos, but I’m not going to run them.  That boat is the anti-GANNET.


        We left San Diego on May 20 and arrived in Opua on September 20, which was September 19 in San Diego.  That is 122 days by San Diego time.  Of those, GANNET was on passages 59 days and daysailed 4 more in Tonga, being underway a total of  63 days.

        One evening the wind and currents opened up a clear shot from our mooring to Pine Tree Island.
It has, of course, a Maori name, and was also once known as Plum Pudding Island.  Those of you who have been following this journal for some years already know that it became Pine Tree Island early last century when a local settler planted seven pine trees there, one for each of his children.  I’ve always liked that story, and still do.  He and his children are long in their graves, and all that holds what is left of the island together are the roots of the pine trees.