Good morning from roughly 435nm East of Tuvalu.
Today is day 15 on the ocean, 3 days longer than first anticipated. Such is the case with voyaging. I have to say, I kinda prefer how our ancestors did it … sail ‘til you see land or run out of stuff to eat. None of this ETA and sailplan stuff. It takes the anticipation out of the equation.
Last night was a quiet night on Gaualofa, after a squally Friday night. Looking at our sail path over the last 48 hours, I noticed a couple of loop-de-loops on the screen – the first being from Friday night when the squalls won 3-1 over our shift’s attempts at tacking (our lone point comes from collecting a little over 50 litres of rainwater, a hard-won bonus). The second loop happened yesterday afternoon when we took the opportunity to re-patch a sail while the winds were light. Andrew and I took turns at sewing the relatively long tear, and I have to admit that Andrew’s stitches were much neater than mine. The only person who would be more horrified than my Form 2 Home Economics teacher at the state of my sewing skills, would be my mum (when we were growing up she could sew a dress perfectly, blindfolded). In any case we slapped on a length of sail tape over the sewed up bits. You know, just to be safe.
Like I said, last night was pretty quiet on board, with most people disappearing below deck after dinner. I guess the wind got taken out of our sails, both literally and figuratively. Nick, our fearless leader, posted up daily Easting targets on the whiteboard, putting our arrival to Tuvalu at this coming Friday (hopefully, with fingers crossed, and a multitude of prayers muttered into the wind). So, it’s understandable that people would need a little time to recharge and adjust to the new ETA. Sure, Gaualofa has done longer stints at sea, but it might have something to do with being homeward bound and the painfully slow progress we’ve made up to this point.
To other news, story time continues to be a daily hit. Since Jordan‘s post, we’ve had French language lessons, a couple of singalongs, a fitness demonstration (Kalolo’s attempt at getting the crew involved in more physical activity), and a fair bit of sharing. The other day, we turned our minds and memories to the people that have touched our lives at the various stops we’ve made - strangers who have opened up their homes to this ragtag bunch of voyagers. We’ll always be grateful to the people that made this voyage possible – Dieter and Hanna Paulmann, their hardworking logistics team, the Voyaging Societies, and many, many more. But, there are also those people who, at every stop we’ve made, have made each port feel that much more like home by their kindness and generosity. We each shared memories of total strangers who had, by their actions, forever earned a place in our individual voyaging stories. And, there were so many. There are so many. People that we can’t always put a name to, but can picture in our minds, with sincere gratitude.
A hearty handshake,
a welcome embrace,
a hot shower,
a place to sleep,
the chance to kick back amongst homey surroundings.
A meal here,
a drink or two there,
a token gift to remember a person and place by.
Strangers who have become friends,
friends who have grown into family.
Eager listeners who soak up our so-called adventures,
curious and in awe of our day-to-day lives on the va’a.
People who dream of what we do.
People who accept us as something we often lose sight of – voyagers from afar.
People who, through their kindness and generosity, have given us a place to call home so far away from our own.
People to whom we are most thankful.
Fa’afetai, fa’afetai tele lava.
Collectively, we can only hope to one day return the kindness that has been shown to us, if not pay it forward.
And with that, breakfast beckons. Lole has baked some delicious smelling bread to go with coffee, perfect for the drizzle and overcast weather that seems to be the order of the day.
Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday, and an awesome week ahead at work and school.
Much love from somewhere along 7 degrees South and 171 degrees East.
Anama Solofa & the Gaualofa crew.