Wednesday 26th October 2016
|Michael back-to-back with a friendly red-footed booby on Willis Island on our way home|
Oh the stress of not having internet connection…Last time I was able to get a bit of life out of the Misima tower was, I think, 36 days ago. This is cruel and unusual punishment for me; I like (need! love!) my links with cyberspace. And I felt as if I had abandoned my blog. It is all so far away now; I think I am going to have to start now and go backwards. More or less…
Pete has written a brief descriptive email about the trials and tribulations of 2XS in the last few days. I will paste it in; he understands and can describe the finer details better than I do.
So if we are going backwards…I will start with today!
|Pete concentrating on getting us all home safely|
A gloriously sunny blue sky Townsville day. It all looks very pretty but they are in the grip of a fearsome drought, and it is now Brownsville not Townsville. But the marina (Breakwater, just near Jupiter Casino) is clean and shiny. I am almost hysterical with joy to be able to use proper washing machines, which clean our poor tattered clothes and bedding. There is a beautiful shower block with maidenhair ferns and incense, soap for washing your hands, clean water bursting forth from the tap. Water which we can drink!
Pete is working all through the days. SO much to do… Today we took the sails down and folded them up in an elegant feathered pattern which makes them all neat but which made me sob (quietly and I hope unobtrusively) a bit – it is all so bloody hard, heavy, just a bit stressful. But at least we are doing these jobs in a calm, still marina, not out at sea, rocking and crashing on the waves. Tomorrow a sail maker is going to come and take the sails, and the big black sail bag which we took down from the boom away. Everything needs to be repaired. The last task for the day was my very least favourite boat job – hoicking Pete up to the top of the mast in the bosun’s chair. A nice young bloke from two boats along came and held a spare safety belaying rope but I was still one big puddle of adrenaline by the time we got Pete back down.
But my main job, which has been taking many hours and is still not complete, is…cleaning every surface of poor bedraggled 2XS. The last passage, from PNG to Townsville, took it out of all of us. So I am wiping down every single wall and cupboard with antimould. It is all quite therapeutic, because I am throwing things away with gay abandon. Out goes the rusty old dish rack, to be replaced with a shiny new one which gladdens my heart. Same with the cutlery drawer insert, full of strange brown marks (not really strange, just more rust, but very ghastly to behold.) I only have two rooms to go – bathroom and main bedroom; this will not be a speedy job but never mind; I will feel very satisfied when I have finished.
During out last few days in the Louisiades we spent time at beautiful isolated Rossell Island. The islanders were desperate to trade and brought us many vegetables, which we couldn’t really accept because we knew we would have to chuck them all into the sea before entering Australia waters. (And oh what fun Michael and I had, heaving large yams and strange earthy veggies off the back of the boat, imagining how thrilled the fishies down below would be as they found new taste sensations.) So they brought us baskets…they paddled out to 2XS wearing these baskets on their heads and we ended up with about ten. Michael looked at the collection, building up in his bedroom, with narrowed eyes. “Please do not give me one of those for Christmas.” (Michael = my son, Michael Sasser, who joined us in Misima and spent three weeks with us in the Louisiades, and on the passage home. And how very happy and grateful we were to have him on board!)
But he need not fear, he is not getting a basket. I have been filling them with sundry items. One for torches, one for Pete’s phone collection, one for widgets and screws and strange objects which I know would cause Captain Pete great distress if they were thrown out by an over-zealous Marguerite in a cleaning frenzy. And very nice they (the baskets, not the crapola/widgets) look too… (It is JUST possible that Captain Pete will notice the proliferation of pretty baskets now housing his many bits and pieces and hmmmm….just possibly he might prefer them to be strewn back on the [clean! pristine!] benches or thrust into ugly plastic boxes…we will see!)
Today was not entirely toil and sobbing and baskets. We took a break and had lunch across the road from the marina, sitting outside and eating very delicious and very cheap fish and chips in the shade of beautiful big magical trees.
And in the morning I had visitors which made me very happy indeed…I used to have a lovely friend called Jacqui, who was, serendipitously, my neighbour in a little cluster of town houses where I lived very happily from 2002. We used to have a regular glass or two of wine together and chat, laugh, commiserate, knit. And then I lost her, maybe three years ago! I went away sailing2XS, and she sold up and moved – where?? (Not so far, Melbourne as it turned out.)
So yesterday Michael and I went along the Strand to get take away curry, and as we were approaching the restaurant I heard a strangled cry – Marguerite! It was Jacqui, with her friend Reg, in Townsville for a few days. She said they had been at Magnetic Island a few days before and had been idly watching boats go past. She said to Reg,”My friends Marguerite and Pete went away on a big catamaran. I wonder if they will sail back into Townsville?” She must have seen 2XS on the last few miles of The Journey!!
I was of course hysterical with joy to see her – even more hysterical than when I did four loads of washing in fully functional machines at the marina. I do love Jacqui but it is also an indication that I have been missing my friends and The Chat!!
She and Reg came for coffee at 10. Poor Pete was so busy doing a million things on his computer that he could barely speak but…Jacqui and I made up for it!!
So…I have now broken my own personal BlogDrought and now I can go backwards and forwards till I have finished my 2XS Saga.
Pete's email to friends
Pete's email to friends
2XS, PJH, Marguerite and her son Michael Sasser have arrived 24 hours ago in Australia. What an adventure.
However on arrival there was nothing particularly wrong with the persons aboard (apart from lack of sleep, weight and memory), but 2XS has suffered from the extended exposure to being mishandled in the steamy wet tropical environment and being expected to plough into many thousands of nautical miles of sometimes violent winds and waves.
As such, although looking resplendent in her new coat of paint, her sails and motors have decided that enough is enough. Time for some TLC.
It seems quite unfair that I have been left at this late stage to do so much for the old girl....I am speaking of 2XS (not Marguerite.)
So Michael S (a very recent retiree from the army in Townsville and crew member) has offered to baby sit 2XS to enable my short return to Tassie. I might try.