Set­ting sail, with fin­gers crossed

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

On the wall in our salon (lounge), un­der a de­cal of birds sit­ting on a tree branch, is a white piece of pa­per. Writ­ten on this small yet per­fectly formed piece of pa­per is: 1 April, 2015.

That is the day we are go­ing to set sail, the the day I’m go­ing to be­gin to face my fear of storms, high seas, leaky boats, pi­rates, heights, ty­ing knots, get­ting cold, be­ing un­able to sleep, smelly men in en­closed spa­ces and sheer ter­ror.

Dean and I have fi­nally de­cided to stop won­der­ing and doubt­ing and have set a date to sail away.

We’re go­ing to take our home to Tonga, Fiji and New Cale­do­nia, then head back to New Zealand. It will take seven months.

We will spend a month sail­ing along the east coast of the North Is­land to Opua in the Bay of Is­lands.

Then when the weather is right, we will sail, along with up to 30 other boats, as part of the Is­land Cruis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion flotilla, to Tonga.

If the weather is on our side it will take six or seven days; if it’s not, it could take up to 14. And if we hit a hur­ri­cane, oh God!

There are two kinds of videos on YouTube about sail­ing in the Pa­cific. The first has lux­ury yachts, calm seas, biki­nis and smil­ing faces.

The other has storms, boats tipped in un­nat­u­ral ways and peo­ple hun­ker­ing down.

I’ve stopped look­ing – if I keep freak­ing my­self out I’ll never leave the ma­rina.

There’s so much to do be­fore we go.

To leave New Zealand wa­ters you have to get a cat­e­gory 1 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from a Yacht­ing New Zealand in­spec­tor.

That in­cludes mak­ing sure those on board have suf­fi­cient ex­pe­ri­ence (note to self – must learn to sail) and the boat has the right safety gear, such as a life raft, safety lines, har­ness at­tach­ments on our life­jack­ets, an emer­gency bea­con and enough pas­sive en­ergy to be self­suf­fi­cient.

How many rolls of toi­let pa­per will we need for seven months?

What if Dean needs one of those emer­gency pro­ce­dures where I have to shove a pen in his neck to make him breathe?

How the hell do you sleep at night when the boat is rock­ing and rolling?

What if I hate it and want to get off?

I heard this on the ra­dio a few weeks ago: The only way to grow is to get out of your com­fort zone. I’m go­ing to be re­ally, re­ally tall when I get back.

Big day: Set­ting sail, with fin­gers crossed.

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