LEAVING NZ – A NEW CHAPTER

I am on the way back to Truce in Canada and writing this on the plane.  Eleven hours from Auckland to San Francisco and then on to Victoria in Canada.  It’s going to be a long flight but an even longer journey when I return to New Zealand with Truce in a few weeks.

Leaving home is always an uneasy time, there is the anticipation of new adventures ahead tempered with the leaving of loved ones behind for a while.  I will also be leaving a nice soft bed, home cooking and the easy domesticated life.  I have been through this cycle many times but it never gets any easier.

Before leaving home I checked out the weather forecast for Canoe Cove, seems there will be a few days rain and temperatures struggling to get into double figures during the day.  I don’t like wet cold weather and it’s not the best to be getting the hull anti fouled.  I am hoping the winter has not been too harsh on Truce and that the BC green mould has not taken over.  Whatever, I expect that there will be a lot of cleaning up, airing out and warming through to be carried out.

My priority is to get the hull anti fouled and then launch Truce back into her natural environment.  Then I can really get going on the seemingly endless job list of commissioning for the trip back to New Zealand.

I am flying on United Airlines from Auckland to San Francisco.  What a useless airline, I am very unimpressed.  The inflight food is just awful, service is aggressive and inflight entertainment is like something out of the seventies and the touch screen doesn’t. Then came the bizarre ice cream snatch.  I was given Ice Cream with my meal and just getting into it when a cabin attendant snatched it from me!  Why?  Because someone on the plane had a nut allergy!  Just Bonkers.  To cap it all my seat won’t recline, the cabin attendant informed me it’s broken and nothing can be done – but I could try complaining.  Clearly the Cabin Staff don’t anticipate any result from complaining and as there is no free seat I can move to – looks like I will just have to suck it, sit upright for 11 hours up and make a note never to fly United again.  I suppose the equipment on the flight deck works better than my seat.

Working on the theory that everything happens for a reason and that every action has an opposite and equal reaction – I am expecting a stroke of good luck to come my way soon.

FAT AND CONTENTED IN NZ

 I have been back in New Zealand since the end of January.  Living the good life, eating, drinking and enjoying the warm summer weather.  Generally getting fat, contented and too comfortable.  Apart from a couple of mammoth record breaking rain events the weather has been beautiful, real Kiwi summer.  Ngozi and I had a few days away in the Far North, enjoying he beautify scenery and taking in the quiet pace of life that exists just a few hours drive north of Auckland.  February always seems to be the best month.

Oakura Bay, New Zealand
Oakura Bay, Northland, New Zealand

Recently there has been a chill in the air at night and I am thinking more of my return to Canada next month.  Time for action, I have booked a one-way ticket to Victoria for early April.  Then down to Canoe Cove and meet up with Truce again.  I feel guilty about leaving her all winter, I hope she hasn’t suffered too much.  I expect she will need a thorough cleaning and airing, the weather will have been cold and damp over winter.

I have been thinking about the route I will take back to New Zealand.  First I think it’s down the coast to San Francisco, I have never been to San Francisco and I feel the need to sail under the Golden Gate bridge.  From San Francisco, I will probably head towards Hawaii before turning south towards New Zealand.

Anyway, before heading off from canoe Cove I have anti fouling and heaps of boat preparation to get out of the way.  There are always jobs to do on a boat – to keep in the sweet spot between perfect working order and total breakdown.

STEAMING INTO 2017

The start of 2017 finds me standing on the bridge of a vessel steaming up the Malacca Strait, passing Port Dickson.  It’s a beautiful balmy night with a faint offshore breeze bringing out the smells of vegetation and wood smoke wafting the water.

There’s searchlights ashore piercing the sky, must be part of the New Year’s celebration.  A few of the ships passing up and down the straits are giving New Year’s greetings over the VHF radio, they are a bit disjointed, it looks like they are on different local time zones.

I am now on my way to the UAE, delivering a new ship from China, a fairly routine voyage.  Looking back on the last year there has been a lot of water passing under the keel of various boats I have been on.  2016 has certainly been a year full of adventure and interest.

Sailing on a calm sea in the early morning hours is a great time to have a look back and reflect a while.  Since I took delivery of Truce last March in Canada I have had an amazing journey, visiting so many interesting places, awesome Alaska, wildlife, meeting so many different people and learning a new kind of freedom and peace away from everyday distractions that don’t add to the quality of life.

But it doesn’t take long to start thinking about the coming year and the return of spring to Canada and the preparation that needs to be done for the coming year.  In 2017 I want to bring Truce back to New Zealand, that will entail a long ocean voyage across the Pacific.  I have crossed the North Pacific countless times in ships and I have a deep appreciation of its awesome power.  The South Pacific is somewhere I have never ventured and I have not crossed any ocean in a vessel as small as Truce.

So, steaming into the New Year and thoughts turning to preparation for the next adventure.