Saturday, October 25, 2014

Opua: silence

        Complete silence.  
        I hold my breath to check.  There is no sound.  How rare is that?  To be in silence with boats and people not far away.  Even at sea, where there are no unnatural noises, seldom is there silence.  GANNET makes noise as she moves through the water.  The wind sounds against the rigging.  I pause again.  Not a sound other than my touching the keyboard as I type.
        The sky was cloudless as the sun set behind Opua hills.  Now through the companionway is darkening blue slate.
        A cold wind blew from the south most of the day.
        The old Avon has remained inflated, so I pulled the new one onto the foredeck, scrubbed and dried it, deflated and folded it, and stowed it below on the port quarter berth.
        I think that old Avon must be the one I bought shortly after I bought THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, which would make it twenty-one years old.  The rub strip had come loose from the bow, so I glued it back in place with contact cement.  I’ll use it now until I leave; and if I can find space for it in the stern, I may take it with me when I sail on.
        I stop and take a small sip of Laphroaig.
        I have drunk less than usual this week.  For three days I had nothing beyond tonic and lime.  Aboard GANNET only is this open bottle of Laphroaig given to me by a friend, another unopened I bought myself, and two boxes of wine, one sauvignon blanc, the other cabernet sauvignon.  Perhaps I’m just tired of box wine.
        I had to check to see that I left Neiafu on September 9, forty-six days ago.  At dinner time tonight I opened the fourth and last jerry can of Tongan water.  Each holds 5 U.S. gallons/19 liters.  But to avoid spillage at sea, I don’t fill them to the top.  So 4.5 gallons/17 liters times 3:  13.5 gallons of fresh water/51 liters has lasted me forty-six days.  I often eat ashore in port and so don’t always use two cups for freeze dry food in the evening, but I wash my morning measuring cup and spoon and toothbrush in fresh water, where at sea I dip them in the ocean, so I think the usage balances out.  I do get additional liquid in the form of fruit juice, tonic, wine, spirits and sometimes beer.
        I’m still on the second of the five monthly bags of freeze dry meals.  I’m getting toward the end, but it will last until I fly away.  As some of you will recall, I had not inventoried the freeze dry meals I already had aboard GANNET and found almost fifty.
        I also had four gas canisters for the JetBoil on board before I brought a case of twenty-four with me on the train.  I have in six months only used five canisters, though the one on the stove now is about at an end.   The remaining twenty-three should easily see me through the circumnavigation.
        The sky is dark through the companionway and I can see a star.  And there is noise:  an outboard motor, no doubt on a dinghy.  I wait for it to fade away.  Its wake laps against GANNET.
        And then another outboard.
        I want this to end in silence.
        I wait.
        I wait.