Thursday, September 10, 2015

Opua: soaked

        Rain when I left Chicago.  Rain when I arrived in Opua.  I stayed dry in Chicago.  I didn’t in Opua.
        The rain was cold, but not heavy when the Super Shuttle dropped me and I dropped my duffle bag, messenger bag and sack with three bottles of duty free Laphroaig at the Opua Cruising Club and walked the two or three hundred yards/meters to the dinghy rack.  But it became torrential before I reached it.  
        I had left both the awkward fiberglass dinghy and the old Avon chained together at the rack, along with a set of oars and a cheap pump to inflate the Avon.  All were still there, but the combination lock had corroded and refused to open for several tries.  By the time it did, I was soaked to the skin.
        I wrestled the dinghy into a dock cart and returned to the Cruising Club dinghy dock, where I had to knell holding the hose to the dinghy inflation values with one hand and pumping with the other.  This is supposed to be a foot pump, but isn’t really.
        Dinghy in the water.  A short walk to the General Store for bottled water, trash bags, a bottle of red wine, and a sandwich for lunch.  
        With rain forecast, I had thought to bring a plastic bag for my messenger bag, which held my laptop.  I bought the trash bags to try to cover the duffle bag, but it was too big.  Everything carried down to the dinghy, and I rowed out to GANNET.  Fortunately the row was downwind.  With a tail wind of twenty knots, I covered the two hundred or so yards/meters quickly.  The rain never completely stopped and again become torrential as I rowed.  It didn’t matter.  I was already so wet I couldn’t get wetter
        Onto GANNET, who seemed to my brief glance in good condition, and down below where the cabin was dry until I brought considerable water with me.  
        Removing clothes so sodden they stick to skin is not easy in GANNET’s Great Cabin.  Dried myself with a towel and put on dry.
        In time I opened the duffle bag which appeared not to have been inspected.  Everything was as I had left it, except that the sleeping bag in which I had wrapped everything was soaked.  
        As I have noted before, GANNET’s interior is an interlocking puzzle in which I usually can’t move one piece without also moving several others.  A wet sleeping bag and a pile of wet clothes add complications.  When the rain eased in mid-afternoon, I put them in a trash bag in the cockpit.  I’ll wash and dry them ashore tomorrow.  
        After seeing that there is no water in the bilge and that the solar panels have kept the ship’s batteries charged, one of my first tasks is to start charging things that have gone dead in my absence:  electric razor, bluetooth speakers, YellowBrick; and devices I’ve used en route such as my iPhone for music and reading and my laptop.
        Wearing Polartec, I was able to stand in the companionway near sunset.  I was surprised to see no birds on the breakwater dock.  Grant, my landlord, who happens to be here for a few weeks on his own boat, rowed out to say hello, and told me there are a few birds at the other end of the breakwater, but no sign of the hundreds that were formerly my neighbors.
        Today has seen only a few passing showers, but strong, sometimes howling, cold wind from the southwest that has us bobbing and swaying, swinging wildly around the mooring, and at times heeled far over.
        I rowed ashore this morning to shower, make arrangements for the rigger to come next week to install the TackTick masthead wind unit and do a rigging inspection, fill a jerry can with water, and buy a few more things from the General Store.
        Gradually GANNET is becoming a little better organized.
        It is good to be back in New Zealand and back on board, even with the wet welcome.
        The weather is supposed to ease tomorrow.