I am back on our boat After 42 hours of elapsed travel - flying to Los Angeles, Tahiti, and Auckland, then buses into Auckland city center and on to Whangarei, car to McLeod Bay, and rowboat to Ladybug. The last legs of the journey were a bit tiring as I staggered around with two heavy backpacks and a light one, trying to find bus terminals and buying groceries for a few days isolated on the boat.
Have you ever tried to go shopping wearing three backpacks? I know a little of what homeless people feel now as I pushed my shopping cart, piled high with the packs around the aisles of a crowded supermarket. Later I waited with my packs and groceries on a park bench for my friend Jo to finish work, so I could drive with her out to McLeod Bay. It was dark now and I was seated near the town basin marina in Whangarei. Groups of cruisers walked by, the families avoiding this stranger seated on a bench with all his possessions. One mother, passing nearby, explained to her children about some people being less fortunate than others. I could only smile.
Ladybug had weathered a month of sun and rain and even a storm bringing sixty to seventy knot winds to the bay. Jo and Rob, on the hill above, had a fence blow over during the storm, but the only sign of this on board Ladybug was a few books on the floor and empty water containers in strange places. One port light showed signs of having leaked a little, but the computer fan and dorade vents combined to keep the interior clean smelling and almost entirely free of mildew. In a wet, climate, this is a real concern when leaving a boat completely shut up for so long.
I will sail up the river on Sunday and haul out first thing on Monday. Rani will join me when she returns from her niece Sandy's wedding in the UK. As I type this, I can see my breath, for it is now winter in New Zealand. Most of our friends have sailed for Fiji, although I talked with Craig on 'Gato Go' yesterday who plans to sail within a week. I look forward to joining them there in a few weeks.