3000 mile promises


I'm sitting in the cockpit, Elliot has gone ashore. We are parked outside Vuda in Fiji (said Vunda - Fijians like to add invisible Ns before Ds and Ms before Bs, which has caused me some confusion - I thought there was a place called Labasa and a place called Lambasa and I thought there was a place called Nadi and a place called Nandi. Small brain, bit slow, what can I say?)

It is blowing a good 20 knots across a large bay, so Fortaleza, on anchor, is pretending she is back in the ocean, rearing over strangely large fetch that has accumulated on its way to us from the land. Elliot won't be long, he has gone ashore to buy a bread maker from a man called Lionel who is selling his boat. Bread is the way to Elliot's heart and whilst I can make a pretty good loaf in the traditional way (the Baker surname, I wonder whether there is a gene that has run for thousands of years), it uses a lot of gas and makes the boat so hot it's unbearable and I become completely English - pink, hot and bothered. So here we are, looking for Lionel.

It's been a while since I wrote. 

In fact its been so long we have visited Niue and Tonga undocumented, for which I am not proud. The longer I've been in the being and doing and not in the writing the more overwhelming the writing has become. There have been some hour-long periods so full they need a whole blog post to themselves, and then something else happens and the pile-up piles up.

Today though, we marked our 3000th mile since leaving New Zealand, and that seems like a good place to pick up where I left off, with a new commitment to writing more often, but faster. Sean, Elliot's brother, encouragingly told me not to let perfection get in the way of action the other day. My new motto. And I have been touched by how many people have been reaching out to tell me to blog. I promise to do better.

3000 miles since NZ. You'd think, after that, that I would feel like a sailor. Especially given the conditions we've seen. Whoever promised me I wouldn't know myself once I got to the Pacific, that calm, down wind sailing lay ahead and NZs waters would be but a dim memory was a fibber. Even our Tonga to Fiji trip was horrible with big following seas and Steve, our autopilot, repeatedly walking off the job as we surfed down chunky swell. You'd have to ask Elliot, but I think I am braver, there's less crying at least, and I no longer release the main sheet instead of the head sheet by accident.

Niue was incredibly special. Such a nugget of a country. Tiny. Held together by NZ taxpayers, with a population of just 1800. Littered with coconuts, chickens, hard-up churches, rusted out cars and roadside tombstones, it might sound gloomy but it wasn't at all. In two days, sharing a car with Maria and Allen from their boat Jamala (who we met in Niue as we checked in, and are now, several months, two countries and a similar itinerary later, firm friends) we managed to visit almost all of it. It is a special special special place and I would urge anyone who can to visit. Elliot and I even talked about stopping there and going no further. That good. And I can't really place why. It is just charming, and I mean that in a leprauchauny, dreamy, grubby, isolated, absurdly friendly way. Cliffs, huge spray-spewing, rainbow-making waves, caves, snorkeling, whales and wide, white-toothed, giggling smiles everywhere. There is a prison right next to the dusty, barren golf course at the top of the island. For crimes of stupidity more than malice apparently. The inmates let themselves out to play a round of golf before breakfast, locking themselves back in their cells once they are done. That's Niue.


Elliot is back. He found Lionel. But Lionel had sold the breadmaker to someone else 10 minutes before Elliot got to him even though he knew we were coming. We sailed for a day and a half for that breadmaker. Lionel is a loser.


Popular Posts