The Most Retarded of All Departures

I swear, we were ready to leave! Every possible container was filled with water, Alunita parked on deck, the mizzen sail was up and it was early morning. We were eager to face the narrow exit of Hakatea Bay with a good probability of having to tack out through it. The main sail was next. It’s pulled up on a double purchase from maybe two-thirds up the spar to the top of the mast. The block there jammed, not once, as it had done previously, where after a couple of tries it decided to collaborate. Even untwisting the halyard didn’t do the job. My nasty habit of swearing wildly at nonfunctioning things got the better of me, but the fury calmed quickly. That masthead had been on the list of things to do for some time now. Remember the mizzenmast got its treatment some time back and has been working beautifully ever since. How could I have thought to get away with such a crucial flaw for any longer?

The loud and unfaithful swearing had attracted Dieter, our German neighbor for the last couple days, and owner of the steel hard sailing vessel Orion. Here he was on his skirmish dinghy rowing straight towards us. “Could you use a third hand maybe?”, he asked in his thickly accented English. Of course we could. Not only can’t you continue swearing uselessly once you have a guest in your house, but you do tend to be more productive. Within fifteen minutes the main mast was down on deck ready for a face-lift. Having done the mizzen mast previously the design phase was short and to the point and three days, a block plus a sheave, many pieces of plywood and the usual good does of epoxy later the mast went back aloft with a brand new crown.

Smooth sailing should now be ahead. But wait! There’s only one egg left? The tins of sardines running low? Onions gone! Cabbage just about to end. With all that lingering way way past our welcome on this lovely island we have munched our way through a good junk of our provisions. The next store, however, is a nine mile walk away, because to sail yet again with Aluna into Taiohae Bay would be like stepping willingly and stupidly into the lion’s den, pull its tongue and braid its whiskers all while dancing the tango on one leg. But looking forward to where we plan to go there’s not a single store in sight for literally a thousand miles and after that reports from Penrhyn mention cat food as the only things for sale in the local stores due to a floundered supply ship.

Again our earnest German friend comes to the aid. Once his water tanks are filled he needs to return to Taiohae to do some internet and offers to take us along. That still leaves the extended hike for schlepping the provisions, but at least only one way. And did I just hear somebody mention of the fabulous internet? Now there you have a real reason for a nine mile walk! I haven’t even thought of that…

Looking at Ua Pou to the South, one of the many splendid views you earn when walking the nine-mile walk!


Once we’re back with some more animal protein stored on board we’ll leave, we’ll go goat hunting on Eiao, I promise! How come you don’t believe me anymore?

2 Responses to “The Most Retarded of All Departures”

  1. Mario Says:

    Hi Beat — I couldn’t figure out what was retarded (must be me!) in your story but your interesting title worked, I read through the whole thing. One more stupid question, which home depot do you go to for epoxy? I swear you don’t seem to run out.
    Thanks, Mario
    p.s. People ask me where you are and I’d really like to pinpoint that for them…is there a way you can post from google maps where you are?

  2. Kim Whitmyre Says:

    You had me laughing there, Beat! Hehehe…. Hope you are laughing too!

    Take good care y’all,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: