Thursday, March 3, 2016


        6:30 PM, Thursday, March 3.
        I’ve  been listening to music. Random selections from Bach and Bartok to Jia Peng Fang, the Eagles, Beethoven, Ismael Lo, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Linda Ronstadt.  Linked Megabooms are wonderful in this small space and on deck.  Better than the five surround sound speakers we have in the condo.  On GANNET I am truly immersed in the music.
        I discovered that some of the albums I recently bought aren’t actually on my iPhone.  I hope they are on my laptop.  Apparently people at Apple can’t conceive of a life that is not constantly connected; but many, perhaps all of the essential moments of my life, except for whatever your response might be to my words, have occurred in isolation and privacy.  Fortunately none of the missing music is Bach.
        I’m sitting at Central in the Great Cabin, looking east at a small white cloud and a blue sky.  The sun has dropped below the Opua hill behind me.
        I stop to blow my nose.
        Carol has had two colds in succession.  I avoided the first, but caught the second the day before I was to fly.  This turned out to have an advantage:  I took a night time Contact on the flight from San Francisco to Auckland, which in combination with two glasses of red wine provided by Air New Zealand, knocked me out, resulting in more sleep than I usually get on such flights.  
        Assuming that I stay alive, I may give up sailing because of flying.  For years I have said and thought that it couldn’t get any worse.  And yet it always does.
        This time United Airlines required passengers to do even more of their work and managed to lose my bag.
        The temperature is in the 70sF/22C now.  When I left Chicago yesterday it was freezing with snow and ice.  Our pilot announced that two planes had slid off runways.  We were delayed an hour waiting for de-icing.
        We landed in Auckland just before dawn on a lovely day.  
        All would have been well if my duffle bag had appeared on the carousel, but it didn’t.  I finally learned that it was still in Chicago.   I know that ‘why?’ is not a good question.  I am told that the bag will appear at the Opua Marina Office tomorrow.  It only contains stuff, but somewhat expensive stuff—I had no reason to consider it earlier, but I calculate that is a $3000 duffle bag.  As Billy Pilgrim said in SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, ‘so it goes.’
        Almost calm now.  Ripples trickling against the hull.  But much of the day has been windy and choppy. 
        Although it isn’t, I think of Opua as home.  Riding the shuttle from the airport in KeriKeri for possibly the last time, I knew every turn in the road.
        There are two moments on the return that are more important than others:  coming over the Opua hill and seeing boats below: and the moment I push away from the dock in the dinghy and am free of the land.
        Today I did seek to see if I could get a ride out to GANNET at the two dingy docks, but no one was there, so I pumped up my old locked up inflatable and rowed out myself, as I should. 
        The wind was blowing twenty knots from the east, creating a rebound chop off the marina breakwater very much like overfalls with small wavelets leaping up and down from all directions.  I managed to reach GANNET without getting too wet.
        The two parts of my life have only one connection:  me,  A nice condo in Evanston, Illinois, and a small boat in Opua, New Zealand, are two entirely different worlds,  Perhaps understandably it takes me a while to make the transition.  
        I reached GANNET and rowed around her, even in the chop, to check for damage.  She is expectedly dirty around the waterline.  
        I precariously climbed aboard, more acrobatic in the chop than you might imagine.  The bilge is dry.  The ship’s batteries fully charged.
        I turned on the wind display.  The wind is gusting 20+.  I turned on the depthfinder.  We are in 19’ of water.  I charged the two Megabooms and found one far more discharged than the other
        I tried to charge the YellowBrick and found it dead and thus far unresponsive to any combination of charging cables or connections.  I am willing to keep trying; but the Yellowbrick is not essential.  I have never planned to use it to call for help.  It is a courtesy.  And the solution for aggravating nonessentials is to eliminate them and move on.  We will see,
        I discovered other technology glitches.
        The Bear Extender I used to amplify the Wi-Fi signal from shore does not work with the most recent Mac OS.  Without it, Internet on the mooring is extremely slow.  I may have to take my laptop ashore to post this.
        That doesn’t matter.  I will share this with you when I can.  What really matters is that I am again on the water.

Friday morning

        Taking another night time Contact, I slept well last night, waking for a while at 2:30 a.m. and gazing up at stars through the hatch above me, but then falling back to sleep until around dawn at 6:30.
        I changed the Yellowbrick to another charging combination last night and was pleased to find it 100% this morning.  I turned it on and successfully transmitted a position.
        Lovely here this morning.  Cool and quiet with the hatches open.  
        The wind decreased enough so that I rowed ashore late yesterday afternoon to shower and buy some things at the General Store, including a bottle of wine and a piece of quiche for dinner. 
         I have things to do:  bend on the jib, move the bow sprit back on deck, straighten out the cabin, clean the waterline if the wind remains light, but at the moment I’m happy just sitting here, feeling the light breeze and peace.