Cutting Out

I am out of the house at 6:15. I have a mission. Can I launch my boat at Double Skull Harbor before the guards wake up after their Saturday night of carousing?  I need all kinds of permission to launch my boat at a commercial fishing harbor but I know this will take weeks. I intend to sneak in and wheesht the boat into the water before anyone sees me. I have been practicing ingratiating Japanese all week in case I come across a guard.        “Choto dakai, onaigaishimasu, onaigaishimasu, ikey dakai, onaigaishimasu, onaigaishimasu!” I also have big bills in my wallet.

I trail the boat to the harbor but alas the gate is locked with huge ceremonial padlock.

We wait outside the gates, being very quiet.  It has just got light.

We wait outside the gates, being very quiet. It has just got light.

At 7:00 a truck turns up and the guard, who is returning to the fortress after a night of heavy drinking and probably wenching, opens the gate and leaves it open. I slip in behind and in no time, I have backed the trailer down the slipway and the boat is in the sea for the first time for many years. She likes the sea.

Not a soul to be seen.

Not a soul to be seen.

How beautiful is this?

How beautiful is this?

I row out of Double Skull Harbor with muffled oars and get clean away! Yay! I have launched the boat.

However, I have forgotten to rig the rudder without which sailing is impossible. I plunge over the side and with immense difficulty finally manage to locate the rudder pintles into the pintle brackets. The sea is warm and turtles nibble my toes throughout the exercise. I heave myself back into the boat with immense difficulty and rig the tiller. In doing so I manage to pull the rudder pintles out of their brackets and I am back to square one. I abandon all thoughts of sailing home and start to row.

Rudder pintle.

Rudder pintle.

So, here is an immediate improvement over poor dead Dileas. The new boat has hand made oars and in fact rows extremely well. I glide the mile or so over the lagoon and tie up at the mooring in front of my house. It is wonderful to be back on the water.

Safely moored

Safely moored

I am back in the house for a cup of tea before 7:30!

Boat from deck. Hooray.

Boat from deck. Hooray.

I rig the rudder and put retaining rings on the pintle holes so it cannot dislodge. Off we go onto the raging ocean. As usual the wind is coming straight off the land and we cruise out very elegantly. She sails beautifully and points to the wind much better than I had expected. The sail is very easy to raise and control single handedly. This is going to be so much fun. After an hour of exercises, I head back home as it is the time of Spring low tides and I worry that the lagoon will drain and prevent me from getting back to my mooring.

So, so shallow, I have to anchor the boat way out in the lagoon and even there she dries out.

So, so shallow, I have to anchor the boat way out in the lagoon and even there she dries out.

The shore is alive with families collecting food from the reef.

Ancient seaweed arts being passed on.

Ancient seaweed arts being passed on.

Grandma plays with baby while the rest of the family  pulls Moray eels from crevices in the rocks.

Grandma plays with baby while the rest of the family pulls Moray eels from crevices in the rocks.

The tide comes back in, as it tends to do, and I set off for a gentle evening sail to watch the sun go down. It is perfect. I have a surprisingly fast and stable boat. Check this poorly made movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf-fOFUDbAw

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