Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Little Lamb

We needed fuel. We needed water. We needed groceries. Pelagic needed a washdown to remove the mixture of sea salt and airborne dust from the Red Center that had descended on Townsville during our stay.

More to the point, we needed guaranteed mobile phone coverage for a consult with the obstetrician.

Mackay was the next town on our way south. No anchorage there, so a night at the marina was called for.

I was hosing off the decks in our marina slip when a passerby chatted me up.

-You heading south or north? he asked.

-South, I said. We're going to Tasmania.

-You'll be here a while. It's gonna blow from the south for a week.

-Well, we'll just sneak out and hole up somewhere until it comes around north.

His little smirk said that he'd been walking up and down this marina dock long enough to hear a lot of itinerant sailors talking bravely about "holing up somewhere" at the outset of their weeks spent at the marina, waiting for a northerly wind.

-Good luck, he said.

Well, forget that, I thought as he walked away. He doesn't know team Pelagic. We're not gonna hang around some marina waiting for perfect conditions. First thing tomorrow, we're outta here.

Our plan was to leave in the morning and run the 24 miles to Goldsmith Island, where we could get a secure anchorage to wait out the southerly blow. We celebrated our night in town with a very Australian dinner of lamb and potatoes.

Alisa woke the next morning to find a big hunk of lamb stranded under her gums, between two molars. We'd been through this situation before - if the lamb morsel didn't come out, swelling and pain would follow.

So I played dentist, fishing around with dental floss and random sharp objects from the tool kit. Elias found the situation hilarious:

I could see the lamb, but I couldn't get it out.

-Do you mind if I try the Dremel tool? I asked.

-I'm going to a dentist, said Alisa.

It was hard to find a dentist open on a Saturday, but Alisa did. He spent an hour digging around until he fished the entire hunk out of her gums. Later that night, a new aquaintance at the marina explained why it took so long.

-On a Saturday? said Graham. That wasn't the dentist. That was the janitor.

By the time Alisa returned it was early afternoon. The southeasterly wind was shrieking in the rigging of all the marina-bound yachts. A "why are we going to set off in this wind?" attitude prevailed. Alisa went to the office and paid for another two nights.

The outlook is for 20-30 knot southeasterlies as far out as the forecast extends. So here we sit, on Pelagic, in the marina, waiting on the wind.

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