Monday, March 14, 2016

Opua: floating; an anniversary

       GANNET went back into the water a few minutes after 2 p.m. on another sunny, lovely day in Opua.  She was on her mooring a few minutes later.  Anti-fouled, waxed, polished and with a dirty deck and an even dirtier dinghy.  I left the dinghy on the mooring and, as I feared, in my absence birds found it.  
I scrubbed the deck.  I scrubbed the dinghy.  And then, because I smelled like bird droppings, I rowed ashore and scrubbed myself.
I’m going to confuse the birds by bringing the dingy on board this evening and deflating it.  Tomorrow I am planning to sail to Russell to shop and partake of the salt and pepper calamari at the Duke of Marlborough, and as many of you know, I don’t tow dinghies.
The haul-out was a complete success.  I accomplished everything I wanted to.  GANNET has been restored to the respectable beauty she deserves.
Among the many virtues of small boats is that they have small surface areas.  A coat of anti-fouling takes little more than an hour.  Polishing and waxing the hull two hours.  And being a tall man with a short boat means that I can reach most of the topsides without a ladder. I have still to touch up a few spots of paint near the deck cleats and the white rub rail, too much of which was unreachable in the cradle.
Another virtue of small boats is, relatively, small bills.  Particularly if you do your own work, something increasingly not permitted in the U.S.  The total cost of the haul out, including in and out of the water, pressure wash, five days standing, a four-liter can of anti-fouling paint, rollers, tape, brushes, paint tray, and a few other minor items:  $400 U.S.
Small is beautiful.


I expect to sail back to the mooring on Wednesday, but just in case I am not here in time to post an entry, I first stepped ashore in New Zealand forty years ago from this Wednesday,on March 16, 1976.
Forgive the repetition:  I love being here.  Right here on a mooring in Opua.  And I am fortunate enough to realize that.  I lack only Carol.  And permission to remain indefinitely from New Zealand Immigration.  But I could and would sail these waters from Whangaroa to Whangamumu, leaving only to maintain my series of completing a circumnavigation every decade since the 70s.  Two in the 00s.
Well, that is not going to happen.  And when I sail away this time, considering where I am heading and my age, I might not ever be back.
      Most, perhaps all of you are going to die on land.  I don’t know where I am going to die.  If at sea, it is a self-solving problem.  If on land, Carol knows that I want to be cremated.  For a long time I thought that I’d like those ashes to be tossed into the sea off Cape Horn.  But I have known such beauty, serenity and grace here, that it might well be more appropriate for someone to row out--row, not power--and scatter my ashes half way between the Opua Cruising Club dinghy dock and Pine Tree Island near the site of my former mooring, being considerate, of course, of boats down wind.