Monday, August 23, 2004

Passage to Suwarrow

7 days
700 nM

Route to Suwarrow

The weather looked like there would be little wind, but we tried anyway. We had a great sail to the edge of Bora Bora before the wind died, so we pulled in for the night. The next day wasn’t any better so we hung out, and finally left the next day along with Danseuse de La Mer and Dragonfly. We had light wind spinnaker sailing during the day, but the wind would die for part of the night so we motored a little. It was a great time for KT because there were  no swells and she felt like this was the best trip so far. The third night out Dragonfly suggested we start a comedy hour and Janna started it off with a bang. She has sooo much energy and threw it all at the telling of her disgusting joke. It was great and I have never heard such a good a joke teller!! The next day, during my morning watch I had a small bird land on the boom. I went to check him/her out and he/she flew up and landed on my shoulder and just sat there exhausted, as we stared at each other. It was a surreal experience. We caught a fish the next day and KT did the normal “I’m sad for the fish” routine. He was thrashing about and I asked KT to grab me the cheapest bottle of booze so I could pour it on his gills to put him out of his misery. Well it turns out that she grabbed the cheap Mexican Tequila, but it has this stupid pour cap required by the government. Well it was stuck, so I tried to suck on it to free it, and got a nice shot of booze. A fly on the wall (wind screens) must have thought it was the craziest thing, watching some lunatic catch a fish and immediately start chugging on the strong stuff. The wind started picking up to 20+ so we had a good final couple of days sail into Suwarrow (although the seas got pretty big and short).

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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Bora Bora (Part II)

including short stay in Raiatea

July 25 - August 7th
By Chris

We ended the day with a gift of macaroni and cheese from Island Sonata. It’s amazing how the simple things in life can make you happy. KT was in heaven!! The next day we rented bikes from Club Med (our land base) with Island Sonata, Ascension, and Whisper. Wow, are we out of shape. Our butts were sore within two miles as we struggled around the island. It was interesting to see the difference between the back side of the island where the locals live and the front side where the main town and tourist centers are. We stopped at various sites and had some great views we could have only seen from the bikes (or a very long hike).

The next day was Robin's (from Whisper) birthday. The girls had a swim team meeting and enjoyed sites of a moray eel, trunk fish and a stingray all within the anchorage on the various coral bommies that littered the bottom. I was trying to weave Robin a head piece like KT’s (after all she did coin the princess term that has stuck the entire trip). I wasn’t having much luck so I wove her a princess fan out of a palm frond. I saw one the day before and thought it would be fun to try. KT came back and asked me where I bought it, she didn’t believe that I made it. Oh well!! We had Island Sonata and Whisper for homemade fondue, for some reason the recipe we used required 10 times as much cheese as it called for but it was a hit and we may have future investors in our fondue restaurant when we get back (one of the many crazy ideas we have now that the “slate” of our careers has been cleared). We continued the birthday celebration on Island Sonata with a music night, and wrapped up another full day in paradise.

I had been having some issues with my bladder, and tried to discuss my symptoms with people at the party. Hey, without complete medical care we all need as much support and sound boarding as possible. It’s amazing the things that become table conversation out here, which most normal people would feel strange talking about to their doctors behind closed doors. Oh well, turns out it looked like I might have a bladder infection, which of course is uncommon in men (because of the difference in the length of our urethras compared to women… see there I go). Anyway someone told me I should definitely get it looked at because it can turn into a kidney infection, one woman ended up in the hospital with IV antibiotics for a week to get that taken care of. Yikes! The next day I went straight to the Doctor's office, I had to hitchhike around to the other side of the island, but luckily this time I got a ride quickly. Fortunately the symptoms were worse than they had ever been so I could pin point them to the doctor (who spoke broken English). She said she thought I had an infection and gave me a prescription for some anti-spasmodic, antibiotics, and some pain medications (all for $35). It provided almost immediate relief. We spent the next couple of days relaxing around the boat, emailing from Club-Med and trying to get Emerald on the SSB (we were waiting for them so we could go to Suwarrow).

We moved back to the front side to start our final provisioning and preparation for the 700-mile trip to Suwarrow. After the shallow water experiences of the backside of Bora Bora, the “shallow” reef pass on the front side of the island could be taken at full speed. KT started slowing down as was typical in twenty feet of water, I was like “What are you doing?”.. “Slowing down like usual”, “Come on, we’re in 20 feet of water.. Full speed”. It’s funny how your perceptions change as you experience things ... after the blows of Maeva Beach, my tolerance for winds has increased to 30 –35 knots (provided there is not a lot of fetch for the waves to build up).

After a couple of days near Motu Toopua (on the front side), we decided to move to a mooring at Bloody Mary’s for Emeralds anticipated arrival. Bobulona called us and told us a boat was leaving and we immediately hauled anchor and motored over. We jokingly suggested they sit on the mooring while we were motoring over ... luckily they did - turns out they had to turn four boats away while we were “getting fuel”. We played Homies (like Mexican Train Dominos but we don’t have trains so we use these Homie figurines), on Island Sonata while enjoying some amazing banana cake that KT made. We spent the next day provisioning some more and enjoyed another Bloody Mary’s dinner to celebrate Emeralds arrival. The next day we moved back out to Motu Topua where we spent a couple days prepping the boat while KT pre-cooked all of our passage meals (so she doesn’t get sea sick). All we needed now was a good weather window and we were on our way.

We spent the next day doing some last minute emails and more town stuff. I had just taken my last scheduled antibiotic (they gave me a ten pack and told me to take eight). I don’t like drugs of any kind so I stopped …LUCKILY. The next day I woke up and was in pain again, and took another trip to the doctor. She examined me and suggested I might still have a kidney stone stuck in my urethra. I thought no way, it had been over six weeks, and doubled check with emails and phone calls to Flipper and Dr. Stan. The only way to be sure was to go to Raiatea or Tahiti for an ultra sound (they don’t have the equipment in Bora Bora). I looked into ferries, etc but decided the safest plan was to bring the boat in case some bad weather came through.

Back Track to Raiatea

On Saturday we watched Emerald, Equanimity, Ascension, and Endless sail west without us. I heard them describing the awesome sailing and had to give them some flack for “rubbing it in”. The next day we motored “backwards” towards Raiatea with Bobulona (who was planning on leaving their boat for a trip to Hawaii) and picked up a mooring ball at CNI. We spent the afternoon walking along the shore where we saw 1000’s of crabs along the road in little holes. We had sunset drinks on the dock in front of Bobulona and met Sea Bride (a Tayana 37 about to finish a 10 year circumnavigation) and Dragonfly. Graeme and Janna are about our ages and would be great to hang out with. It is amazing how many younger people are out cruising, and how well everyone gets along.

We spent the next day hiking around town looking for the hospital, only to find out that the only ultrasound technician was on vacation for the entire week. We finally found another outfit and made an appointment for Wednesday (he was also on vacation). We saw Raya on the town dock and said hi as they invited us on board. They are an older Dutch couple, who designed their own boat and have sailed it around Cape Horn and spent a season sailing in the fiords of southern Chili. They also traveled all the way up the west coast and spent some time in Northern Washington/Canada. They don’t mess around; they are planning to sail non-stop from Cape of Good Hope to Europe (about 6000 miles). They both have lots of energy and love to talk, I can’t believe they actually like very un-crowded anchorages, and spent six months cruising without seeing another boat; maybe they are trying to catch up. Turns out they know our friends from Stardust.. it’s a small world out here. We finished the day with dinner and drinks on Bobulona with Dragonfly.

We finally got to see the doctor on Wednesday and he immediately saw the Kidney stone on the ultra sound machine, stuck right there at the end. He did a whole bunch of X-rays and injected dye into my veins so he could watch the flow through my system, into my kidneys, and down to my bladder. It was amazing to see that it all happened so fast. The X-rays showed that my right urethra was partially blocked and that I was VERY lucky that I didn’t head out to sea in my condition. He gave me some more anti-spasmodic medication and more anti-inflammatory medication, and told me to drink some special water (lower pH??) in a couple of days to see if I could flush it out (that was $600). Our outboard died on the way back to the boat so I had a boat project to occupy my time, but we didn’t do much while we were waiting. We had dinner on Dragonfly and they were planning on leaving on Saturday or Sunday… great we'd get to watch them sail off too!! Well I drank my water like a good boy and the stone finally passed, I was glad to be free of it and the pee filter to catch the bloody thing. I woke KT up and told her we could go. I rode to town with Graeme to do our final provisioning while KT pre-cooked all the meals again (for the second time). This time we were going for sure.

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