November 11th, 2011
Well I realize it had been a while since I’ve written or updated the website. Things certainly have been busy, on board and off. Where to start…
I guess first off I should tell you that we abandon ship.
Yep, right now we are not on Kate, in fact Kate is no longer afloat. It was a long and debated decision but we decided that we can sail no further this year. And since cyclone season was approaching we had but one alternative; stop and find shelter. What we decided was to leave Kate in Fiji at the Vuda Point Marina. There they have what is referred to as a “graveyard berth”. Essentially they dig a trench about the width of a sidewalk and as long as your boat and, with the aid of a travel lift, they raise you out of the water and chalk the boat up on tires so that the belly of the boat is resting along the edges of the trench with the keel shimmed up in the hole. So, Kate is high and dry and safe for any impending weather.
It was a busy 9 days of preparing to depart, we emptied and washed and cleaned every locker, hold and compartment with unlimited fresh water (what a treat!) including all their contents. After everything was dry and the lockers sprayed for bugs it was all packed away again. Then we had to empty all the food stores and wash all the clothes and sheets, wipe down the interior and again spray for bugs. The sails and all the canvass came down, all the running rigging removed, the mast wrapped in plastic, the anchor and chain dumped etc…We even took off the boom and laid it inside. Basically everything stripped and secured. All this while living/sleeping and sweating in the hot Fijian beginning of wet season. But we did get a chance to run into some friends we haven`t seen since Panama and met some new lovely folks so it wasn’t all so bad. We ended up in a sweet hole, on higher ground and away from the trees, and we also employed a very nice Fijian man who is going to open the boat and do a general check up on things a couple times a week. He came highly recommended and it is piece of mind knowing that someone so kind and lovely is looking after our home while we are gone. The marina itself is very secure and friendly so we feel like we left her in good hands. So what comes next?
Well we thought since we were leaving the boat it would be a perfect opportunity to head to work, make a few bucks during the winter season so we can continue sailing. The South Pacific is not much of a yachting center so we ponied up and flew to Fort Lauderdale, the hub of all boats big white and diesel guzzling, in hopes of find work. And we did. In fact I had an interview come tasting on the day we arrived in FLL, after 30 hours of travel, airport delays and almost no sleep for 40 hours. Thankfully we had accommodation booked and could go right to our apartment to sleep for a few hours before putting on the apron and picking up a knife. It went pretty well. Steve also found some day work so by the end of the week we had our bills paid and some prospective interviews under our belts. After 9 days Steve got a phone call for an engineer’s position on a 37M. Things sounded good so he accepted the position. I was glad he found work but sad that it meant he would be flying back to Australia to meet the boat. Although it was the plan all along to seek separate positions, therefore doubling our chances of finding work (some people don’t like hiring couples) I somehow thought we’d at least be in the same part of the world, let alone the same hemisphere. Suddenly the chances of us crossing paths just disappeared. Then I noticed an ad for a chef position that sounded like it was on the same vessel. And after a conversation with the Captain, Steve found out that indeed it was and two days later, at 7:30am I get a phone call and a job offer. One hitch, I am booked on the flight with Steve, and we find ourselves with two hours to pack up and get to the airport for another three flights back across the world. Yep we flew all the way to Florida to get a job on a boat in Australia!!! This time there were no delays, we actually got some sleep and were not to worse for wear when we arrived in Cairns on Saturday afternoon to meet the boat. But, as they say, there is no rest for the wicked and an hour after arrival we were in uniform and at work. With plans to depart on Monday morning Steve had a 5 hour hand over from the engineer and I had 36 hours to completely take stock and restock the boat. Thankfully we had a 24 hour delay and I was able to fill all four fridges and three freezers (Australian customs is pretty sticky about import meat and since they cleared in fairly recently the freezers were empty!) and find a few hours to cook a few meals for the passage.
So that’s where we are we are right now; underway to Indonesia. After that it sounds like we are heading to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. There is even talk to India! The trip so far has been a dream, flat calm and sunny! Totally not what we experienced last time Steve and I were working on a boat in these waters some ten years ago. So not only have we finally caught up on some sleep, but I have been able to spend some time cleaning and arranging the galley to my liking and getting use to the new space. As for Steve, he’s getting to know his new girl, with all her quirks and ticks.
So, you’ll have to forgive me for not writing sooner, but as you can see we’ve been a little busy. I bought a new laptop in the USA and have finally loaded all the necessary software to work on the website so photos and updates will be posted soon. Love to hear what’s been going on with you!!!