Day 360, Year 1: The Value of a Dry Cockpit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2006
Weather: More Wind and Rain
Location: Fangakima Cove, Kapa Island, Vava’u Group, Tonga–Anchorage #7
Friday the 13th combined with very windy and rainy weather kept us on a safe mooring in Fangakima Cove here at Kapa Island today. We really wanted to go around to Tapana Island at anchorage #11 so we could have dinner at the Le Paella Restaurant, but it is a very popular place and we were afraid that in the windy conditions, it could be crowded and unsafe. Thirty to thirty-five knots have been predicted. We know the mooring we are on here is secure, so we spent a quiet day here and hope to go to Tapana tomorrow morning.
The new King of Tonga and Prince ‘Ulukalala Lavaka Ata came to Neiafu this afternoon and will be staying through the weekend at the King’s Palace. We have heard that the King will be at church on Sunday morning and will then be attending a huge feast. We know it is possible to get from Anchorage #11 to town by road, so we will hope to make it to town on Sunday morning. The mourning period for King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV ends on Tuesday, and the new King has come up here to the Vava’u Group to make it official. He will return to the capitol of Nuku’alofa in the Tongatapu Group for the final ceremonies ending the mourning period. We are planning on attending a Tongan feast tomorrow night and will be interested in seeing if there is a return of singing and dancing. Both have been banned since the King died in early September.
We just returned from having a delightful dinner aboard Jade. Idunne, Runae, Hedda, and Marita from Blue Marlin were also there. Idunne made a great chili, Vivian and Cam made a sausage spaghetti, and I brought fresh salad and a chocolate cake. The cake didn’t rise properly, but it was still a big hit with the kids. It was a great evening. We learned a lot about Hong Kong from Arni and discussed a possible sail plan for years two and three of this voyage that would include the Philippines, Hong Kong and Viet Nam. Runae is interested in doing that and we enjoyed listening to the possibilities.
It has been raining off and on for the last 36 hours, sometimes a torrential rain and at other times just a drizzle. I mentioned in yesterday’s log that I spent part of the afternoon cleaning the mildew spots off the inside of the cockpit overhead canvas. It seemed like a really good idea until the canvas started leaking like a sieve. We have only a little bit of 303 High Tech Fabric Guard that is the water repellent that we use and we have looked everywhere in the South Pacific for something to replace this to no avail. We tried to order it from West Marine and have it sent to American Samoa, but it is illegal to send it via airplane. So last night for the first time on this voyage, we had to clear the cushions out the cockpit to keep them from getting soaked. Then we started thinking about the voyage to New Zealand and realized that it could be absolutely miserable in a leaky cockpit. It was then that we began to appreciate the wonderful luxury we have. Many have admired it and now we realize why. We have plastic curtains in the cockpit that can be rolled down to provide a complete enclosure. In the cold, wet weather we sometimes experienced in New England, it was a life saver. We didn’t expect to need it in the South Pacific, but we have had a very wet season and have used the enclosure since we arrived in the Society Islands. We have had passages when others have been miserable, but we have been fine because we have been dry. I was so sad to think that my eagerness to clean could cause us to have a soggy passage to New Zealand, but this morning, once the inside of the canvas dried, the leaking stopped. We are going to check with the Moorings to see what they use on their charter boats and hope that they have 303 High Tech Fabric Guard or something similar. If not, we are going to hope that things continue as they did today, not like the drippy conditions we had last night. Those conditions gave us a whole new appreciation for Windbird. She has kept us dry and happy so far on the voyage and we hope she can continue to do so for one more month until we are tucked away in New Zealand.