|Boat, meet ocean|
Perhaps that afternoon about seven days into the trip.
Our sleep schedules were, as usual, complete wrecks on this passage. We covered the nights by trading off two three-hour watches and two two-hour watches, and attempted, with more or less success, to make up the lost sleep with daytime naps. The hour after my afternoon nap was often the low point of my day, as my vital force, grumpy over being put to hard use, would refuse to resume a diurnal energy level and would instead mope on about the uncomfortable motion of the boat. On this particular day, it was worse than usual. I suspected a developing migraine. Foolish me, I had let myself run low on the rescue med while we in the tropics - to the point where I had only one of those magic migraine-cancelling wafers left when we set out from Fiji.
And that one got used on day four.
On this later afternoon, when I was ruing my empty medicine chest and wondering if I was about to suffer, the weather wasn't bad. No gales were in the offing. But we were sailing into 20 or 25 knot winds, and three meter swells. The boat was fine, but it was a loud, occasionally violent ride.
And I had my revelation - I didn't want to be in that setting with my kids, wondering if I was going to be able to look after things. Long-time readers will recognize the situation.
In my sulu at the start of the trip, waiting for the customs officer to arrive and clear us out of Fiji.
As it was, everything came fine. I took another nap. The threat of a migraine passed. We finished what ended up being a fairly tough passage for a boat with young kids - nine and a half days, the last eight of them traveling into headwinds. And we came out smiling on the other end.
|Watching the waves|
But, nonetheless, we are planning, and feeling the next version of the dream taking on the shape of real-life undertaking. For months at least, and maybe years, we've been wondering if we'd get up the energy to sail to Patagonia. And after this passage, it's starting to look like we might, assuming that my income from science allows us to keep going. That would have us sailing east from New Zealand at the end of the Austral summer, towards French Polynesia and Chile and the Falklands and whatever else might await beyond.
|The inevitable fish pictures. Boy's second tuna (above) |
and a wahoo (left)
And the mahi mahi. See how quickly he loses his beautiful colors of life (left) once he's dead (right). You can watch it happening and know that the struggle is done. I think Alisa told me it took two hours to get this fish on board. Those are cookie-cutter shark bites in the right-hand picture. It strikes me that we belong to that subset of marine biologists who do not mind fishing in the right circumstances. We don't fish coral reefs though - I can only think of one place where we've ever eaten a coral reef fish that we caught ourselves.
|Wahoo and chips for dinner|
We haven't really officially decided to head for Patagonia. But we're talking about everything that we'll want to do to the boat this summer to get ready, so without making the decision official we find ourselves starting to come to terms with that old process of bringing a dream to life, of leaving behind the perfect world of the dream and coming to grips with what the limits of time and money will allow you in terms of preparation.
So that's what we're looking forward to at this point. And, meanwhile, we have an entire New Zealand summer to enjoy. We keep hearing such good things about Nelson, on the South Island...
|Victory breakfast, at the Quarantine dock|
|Quarantine dock, Opua|