Sunday, September 7, 2014

Neiafu: sea change

        I’m listening to my Requiem playlist with a plastic of South Seas Rum at hand and have just cut two songs:  ‘Kothbiro’ and ‘You Can Never Hold Back Spring’.  I still like them, but they no longer seem right for the occasion. And I have rewritten some of the Requiem notes.

        I didn’t go ashore today.  
        The past two days have been almost windless and consequently hotter with highs around 80°F/26°C.  I dug out my battery powered fan and used it today.
        I scrubbed the waterline and the dinghy bottom.  Less growth on both this week than in the past.
        I repaired the paper towel holder with glue and screws and sewed a cord that had broken securing one of the cockpit sheet bags.
        I rearranged stowage, moving my battery electric drill from beneath the starboard pipe berth to a waterproof duffle in the forepeak and replacing it with a waterproof box holding miscellaneous screws and bolts that was difficult to reach farther aft.

        I finished Sylvia Plath’s THE BELL JAR, which I had read before, and started Laurie Lee’s AS I WALKED OUT ONE MIDSUMMER MORNING in which a young Englishman walked across Spain in 1935 because he knew the Spanish for “I would like a glass of water.” It is deservedly a classic of travel writing.

        I will have been here a month tomorrow.  Visitors get a one month visa without charge upon entry in Tonga.  I renewed mine last week at a cost of about $40 US for a month.  But mentally I’m already gone.  I’ve enjoyed being here more than any other place I can recall in a long time, other than the Bay of Islands.  Neiafu is unique in that it has become better with time.  But my mind has gone back to sea.  I was planning to leave not earlier than a week tomorrow, but may not wait that long.
        A little while ago I ducked down below to refill my plastic with boxed white wine.  When I stood again in the companionway I noticed two men of middle age sitting on the swimming step of a boat flying an Australian flag on the mooring just ahead of GANNET.  
        I said, “You have a nice seat for the sunset.’ 
        One of them called, “You didn’t sail that from America to here?”
        I replied, “How else did she get here?”
        They laughed.
        I continued, “I’ve sailed something smaller much farther.”
        They laughed again, but this time somewhat nervously.  I could read their thoughts.