I borrowed the title of this entry from my friend Dave, who sent me an e-mail over 6 months ago with that subject line. A very good question considering we have now just past the 12 months here in the Gambiers. There are different ways of cruising, we always like to explore on land and get a bit ‘under the skin’ on the culture in the places we visit. Also, as transients, the local folks are not all that interested in spending time on getting to know you, since the all to well know that you’ll be off one morning, as silently as you once arrived.
Yesterday I stopped by a new arrival here flying the Finland boat flag to chat a few minutes. They arrived the day before yesterday and will leave today for Tahiti. The skipper told me that August next year they’ll be in Greece after a detour via the Caribbean. That’s a very different pace for sure. Nothing wrong with that at all but we enjoy not only the sailing and being at sea, but also getting into the local culture and it has been very rewarding staying here for a year, though that was not in our plans originally.
Everything in life happens for a reason, and our delay initially, which had me rebuild the transmission to start with, then Isabelle having to go back to France for 3 months as her Dad passed away, actually opened the door for what has become a unique experience during this past year.
Particular highlights, though there is to much to describe, in a blog, has been making friends with some local families, helping them in their daily work, lots of fishing, diving, collecting seafood, taking part in gardening and agriculture, repairing their lawnmowers, outboards and all kinds of little adventures. Not to mention goat hunting and lots of dinners and parties! We also made friends with some of the other yachties of course and all in all we’re full of memories for life.
That said, we’re now ready to leave for the approx. 1000 miles passage to the Societies for a much needed haul-out. It’s almost 3,5 years since the last one and we do not have any antifouling paint left and thus cleaning the hull is a weekly exercise. Some of you might remember that I had to dive in at mid-ocean a little over a year ago to clean off excessive marine growth that threatened to keep us at sea until our provisions ebbed out. Alll in all we had a very slow passage, but we’ve heard of slower ones too.
We need to change cutless bearing on our prop shaft, and some other little projects while on the hard. The price to stay in the yard is very high per day, so we will not paint our topsides this time. Isabelle will strip all exterior varnish though while I’ll have fun sanding th bottom and undertake a couple of fibreglass repairs on the keel.
Our plan is then to quit the Fr Pol for 6 months in order to then re-enter with a fresh 18 months ‘boat in transit’ status. This means a ‘little’ walkabout of 1800 miles one way to the Line Islands (Kiribati) just N of the equator (approx, position N 4-5 degrees and W 159) This is since we’d like to stay a year or two, or perhaps longer, in Polynesia before eventually heading West.
More to come on this later…