Friday, April 22, 2016

Opua: piped and honored

        I was just looking at yesterday’s lead photograph.  It was taken, as were all the photos in that entry, with my iPhone 6.  It was a mistake.  I moved or GANNET did or both; but when I saw it I instantly liked it.  An impressionist painting, “Full Moon Over Roberton Island.”
        The line of light to the right of center was a light on a small power boat that came in after dark and tied up to a dock in front of one of the five or six private houses on the island.  Most of the island is public land.  
        I met the people who own that house when they came by GANNET on her Opua mooring out of curiosity that the American flag was flying from a boat clearly too small to have crossed the Pacific.  
        They have a small CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE size sailboat on a mooring near their dock, the only mooring in the Lagoon.   What a wonderful way and place to live.  How great to be there in a storm.  To climb up to the lookout, if you could do so without being blown away.  I envy them.  I’d like to live on a small island.  Oh, that’s right:  I do.


        When you arrive in New Zealand on a foreign vessel, Customs provides you with a packet of information, including departure forms.  There are three and I filled them out today and took them to the Customs office at the marina.  I gave my intended departure as 11:00 a.m. next Tuesday, April 26.  Monday in the U.S.  I have to reconfirm on Monday, but I will be ready and the forecast, if it can be believed at this remove, is perfect:  10 to 18 knots of wind from the south.  Monday is ANZAC Day, a national holiday, but I was told someone will be on duty at Customs.
        Returning to GANNET I reconfigured the cabin from harbor to passage mode.  The process is not complete.  That will have to wait until I fill the four five-gallon jerry cans with water tomorrow.  But it is sufficiently advanced so that I will be sleeping on pipe berths from tonight until at least Bundaberg and possibly South Africa.  I’m not sure it will be worth the effort to change back to harbor mode for only a few days at a time.
       GANNET has not been in passage mode since I arrived more than a year and a half ago.  I’ve eliminated one duffle bag since then, and changed the contents of another into a different bag.
       I trust I still know how to do this.


        Because Monday is a holiday, I started to say good-bye to people here today.
        I know more people in Opua than I do in Chicago.  Opua is my ‘Cheers’.  Everybody knows my name.  Well, not everybody, but many.  
        These are good people.  Probably not all, but all those I come into contact with.  At different times when I’ve returned after being away for a few years, New Zealanders, knowing how much I like the Bay of Islands, have said, “Welcome, home.”  
       A few days ago a man who works at Caters said, “You get a discount as an honorary Kiwi.”
       If I am, I am honored.