Today was her day. People stopped and stared. A way was made. Shyly, yet proudly, she inched down the roads of San Fernando, and men flocked around her to lend a helping hand. Trees were cut down, power lines lifted, cars pulled aside. Nothing could stop her. She felt a little vulnerable, quite naked, really, without the adornments of lines and a powerful mast that would proclaim her a sailing vessel. Yet, she inched forward, ready to dip her keels in that water and finally float.
What could we do, but just follow along and watch - in awe of the reality, the dream, the being that has become a personified part of our family story. As she made her way to the water, the kids found their own entertainment... petting neighborhood dogs, dropping rocks in sewers, sword fighting with the fallen branches - it seems she had not seduced them, yet. Mark and I just kept exchanging glances, not believing she was here. now. with us. splashing. We tried to capture the experience in photos and video, but at some point we just had to drop our cameras by our sides and ogle with everyone else. This was a sight to be seen. She was a sight to be seen. This huge vessel, seeming to be called to the waters.
When we first spotted the water, time seemed to stand still. Men were conferring over plans and safety precautions, I'm sure, but I just wanted to get her into that cool water! The kids were safely behind a barricade watching, so I snuck behind the gates and tried to capture every second of her first encounter with the waters of San Fernando. Slowly, her stern entered, then finally floated, un-aided. As she was pulled out into the marina waters, she seemed to parade by the other boats, announcing her arrival. We were able to sit on board while she went, a thrill for our family, as our first official ride on our new boat! The kids were slowly wooed by her, as they sat in the captain's chair and then moved on deck to feel the wind in their hair! They were smitten!! It was a wonderful moment, as all four of us enjoyed the sun and wind that can only be found aboard.
Today was my first day of the dive class. Mom came with me. We got our gear and dinghied to the dock. When we got to the shop, we were too early, so we read one of Belinda's fish books and did reviews on what we learned in the e-book. Soon she came and we started talking about what we would do. Belinda also had us act what she had explained. We had to be precise which was kind of hard because she is one of those loud, energetic people (like dad: going, going, going!). Mom and I took a quiz and got a 100%!
Once done with the basics, we moved on to the tanks! ! Belinda had us put the BC on and off 3 times! And after my third time, I kind of got used to it. Her helper carted the tanks of to the boat. After a short briefing on the dive computer, we FINALLY got on the boat!
When we got to the 'classroom', Belinda hopped into the shallow water to help. I then slipped in and she helped me put on my gear. Mom came next. We did regulator recovery, mask cle…
And Then There Were Three…Antares, that is, in Tanna.
Usually, we do whatever we can to avoid sharing an anchorage with a crowd of boats, but this time we didn’t want to miss it. The World Arc Rally would be swarming into Port Resolution, and we wanted to make it there to see two of Field Trip’s siblings - SV Krystal and SV Two Fish.
The two boats had crossed the Pacific this season, hopping from one island to the next on a sprint of scheduled stops. Vanuatu would be one of their final stops on the track to Australia. It made me tired just hearing about how many miles they’d traveled in such a short time. In total, there are 5 Antares 44i boats (Field Trip, Rehua, Whistler, Krystal, Two Fish) in the South Pacific this season. That is a record!
Last time we’d seen Jason and Gail (Two Fish) was three years ago when we sailed through New York. They’d hosted a dinner for us in their Manhattan apartment and were excited at the time to be preparing for their trip to Argentina to start the…
Satellite images have changed sailing dramatically. Roncador Reef (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roncador_Reef) is a perfect example. While looking at the satellite images months ago and planning our stops on the way to PNG, Mark noticed a small reef just
between Ontong Java and the Arnavon Islands. Zooming in, he could see a clear entrance to the circular reef, and that was the tipping point. This little spot in the middle of nowhere suddenly found its place on our agenda. It reminded him of Minerva Reef, the remote reef between Fiji and New Zealand where many cruisers stop for a rest if the weather permits. Fish and lobster are abundant and enormous, the water is crystal clear, and the diving is pristine. These are places that you won’t find on a travel brochure or in any cruise itinerary.
Our trip here was not a long one, but it was tough. I think I’d lost my sealegs after months hopping between the Solomon Islands, and unfortunately, I was sick the entire way. The southeast trad…