The silver lining, if there must be one, was that within hours of picking up our mooring, the first boat of the spring migration from New Zealand appeared through the rain. In the days that followed more and more boats trickled in or pledged to be bound our way on the morning SSB Net. This influx made Curly, the patriarch of Savasavu and the major force in making the town a popular destination or cruisers, a happy man. Overnight his morning VHF net perked up and fleshed out with all the information a new arrival wants to know, including organized meat, pharmacy and beverage orders the Bosun's Locker coordinates, special cruiser dinners at local restaurants, and a resumption of Curl's bi-weekly seminars on Fiji cruising.
Don's rationalization for coming back to town was that were I to feel as crappy as he had, he would be able "take care of me" by getting take-out! Pretty much how it worked out. The "bug", from my point of view anyway, was more like a flu – a nasty frame-wracking cough with bouts of fever, body aches and overwhelming lethargy. All the energy and enthusiasm I'd had while anchored out totally fizzled away. Some days I felt good enough to spend a few hours in town, but invariably I'd end up collapsed in the aft cabin leaving Don to cope with the Yacht Club Happy Hour on his own…poor dear!. Then I'd have a couple of days where I thought I might be on the mend, only to relapse a couple of days later. This lasted for two whole weeks. What a pain!
There were a few good days. We had a lovely dinner at our favorite restaurant Surf and Turf to celebrate with Rod and Dar of Saw-we-lah and Steve and Iretta of Rigó Dar's birthday. The birthday had come and gone during their passage down from the Marshall Islands, and Dar was determined to exercise her rain-check rights before they continued on their way to New Zealand (Yes they are going the wrong way!). I was careful to sit at the outer end of the table with my box of Kleenex.
Several days later, the six of us packed into Steve's pickup for a Saturday Bar-B up at the house. It was impressive to peek in at the progress that had happened in the two weeks since our last visit – mostly doors and windows and the just-stained floor that we were barred from walking on! No worries! The deck with the western vista was all we needed. It was a fine afternoon that wore away into evening as we sipped cold beer and nibbled away Dar's fine focaccia. Dinner was grilled on Steve and Iretta's favorite new possession, a proper Aussie barbecue, which is half an open-flame grill like we'd have in the US and half a flat-plate griddle. Iretta cooked up steaks and sausages on one side and potatoes and onions on the other, and I'd managed to score lettuce at the market to contribute a real mixed salad. We consumed all this by lantern- and starlight since the solar power system that will provide their electricity was yet to be installed. We stayed up quite late!
Back aboard Tackless, all did not come to a standstill. Even as I felt worse and worse, Don felt better and better. Every day he ticked something off the endless list of small repairs that the boat needs, the most impressive of which for the boat's self-respect was the removal of rust streaks fom her topsides and the sanding and touching up our painted caprail and trim. By golly, it brought her back to the "20-foot rule" (a standard based on the distance a cruising boat looks good!)
This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using GMN's XGate software.
Please be kind and keep your replies short.