2C Update #123
(Photographs by The Two Captains)
After several relaxing days poking around the outer reef anchorages of Taha’a, the date for our haulout at CNI on Raiatea finally forced us to pack up our cruiser mentality and start prepping the boat for her long stay on the hard. We spent a couple of nights on the dock taking down sails and folding them away, soaking the salt out of the running rigging and giving the old girl a real good fresh water washdown.
CNI uses a haulout system that we have previously seen used on catamarans, but never before experienced. We positioned Tackless over top a steel cradle fitted with removable axels that had been rolled down a ramp into the water. Divers then raised and positioned hefty pads that are attached to the steel cradle. Then the boat was winched out of the water by a tractor power takeoff. After the usual pressure wash, we were parked snugly between two other boats, the steel cradle atop about two feet worth of blocks right near the office (and the head!). A perfect spot.
The yard actually hauled us out a day earlier than expected, leading us to think, for a brief while, that we might fly out several days early. Hah! Who were we kidding? There were plenty of projects topside and below to keep us both busy for a week. We dropped the rudder (which Don had been worrying about), changed out the cutlass bearing on the prop shaft (an unexpected chore), and Don jumped on some blisters that had cropped up on the bottom, opening them up to air out while we are gone. Topside I continued with cleaning and stowing while inside I cleaned out all the cupboards and lockers, always a depressing job as you pitch or giveaway months’ worth of stores.
We actually did fly out of Raiatea one day early, but as Air France doesn’t fly to LA on a daily basis, we were forced to relax for two whole days at the Maeva Beach Sofitel. This was not quite as extravagant as it sounds since CNI gets a discount, plus we kept the Tahitian meal expenses down by buying roast chicken and packaged salad at the nearby Carrefour and eating it in the room with our fingers! We did however enjoy the pool during the day and made a “supper” out of the 2-for-1 happy-hour Mai Tai’s served poolside with popcorn! On September 29 th, we had a good flight back to the US on Air France, whose in-flight food was, as you might expect, noticeably better than any airline meal we’ve had before or since.
In LA we had a great four days with our daughter Tiffany and her husband Derek. In September, Tiffany was seven months pregnant, expecting to produce us with a grandson (or as Don likes to say…. “a little captain”) around December 28, which is the reason we are back in the US for the winter. A highlight of our visit in LA was a reunion Tiffany orchestrated for us with our old cruising buddies Mac & Sam. Formerly of the Hans Christian 42 Sandi Lee, Mac and Sam have spent most of the two years since we parted ways aboard their RV “Dry Den” ( a delightful play on Mac’s real name which is Dryden…Sandi Lee is Sam’s real name.)
From LA we flew east to Burlington, collected my sister Jo’s Volvo and drove pretty much the length of the East Coast visiting family and friends along the way: my cousin Patty and Doyle in Vermont, my Aunt Jo in Williamstown, MA; my old diving buddies Peter & Becky Hearn and Jackie Lynfield; college buds Chris and Alice Hallowell before collecting Jo at JFK upon her return from a trip to Egypt. (In New York we cheered the Red Sox to their breakthrough victory over the Yankees drinking ale in a Upper Westside Irish bar! Stayed at a great traveler’s hotel – the Riverside Tower -- on Riverside Drive and W81st – two blocks from the 79 th St. Boat Basin in one direction and from Zabar’s in the other!)
From NYC we overnighted in Annapolis area to check on our friend Bill Church and his ongoing boat rehab project; continued on down to my other sister’s gorgeous home in Hendersonville,NC; stopped off overnight at Jo’s daughter Katy & Jason in Columbia, SC where we also visited with my nephew John and his kids; to finally end up in at a ocean-side condo in Indialantic (near Melbourne), FL.
This condo, belonging to one sister and being rented by the other, is right on the ocean. Indeed, after two hurricanes, it is even more right on the beach than ever! Fortunately, damage to the building was not too bad and negligible to the unit itself. On the second floor, the glass doors look right over the top of the sea grapes to crashing surf at high tide and a long white beach stretching in either direction. When the nor’easters blow, Don and I find ourselves getting up to check the anchor.
We are here for the month of November, sharing with sister Jo. We have signed up at the local gym and are on a regular regime of workouts and beach walks. We’ve got cable TV (Don is in heaven) and broadband Internet (more heaven). You’d think this would add up to a leisurely life, but we’ve found ourselves quite busy (How DO people fit living and working in the US into 24-hour days?) , with the chief interruption the annual Seven Seas Cruiser’s Association Gam, the subject of the next Update.
All text and photos on this site Copyright Gwen Hamlin 2006