Setting sail, with fingers crossed
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.