Less than one week to go…

I’m sure I’ll regret this post title.  How many times can we delay our departure and maintain credibility?  I can faintly hear one or two friends shouting “go now for God’s sake, put us all out of our misery!”

Still, here it is: we reckon we’re close to finishing our preparations, and with weather permitting aim to depart NZ around Fri 26th Aug. OK, I’ve said it, so it must be true!

Rebecca has bought approx 50 years’ supply of tea bags, loo roll, marmite, weetbix etc, and is now searching for suitable places to put it all!  (There have been moments of tension between storing gear and fixing boat problems when we could have suggested where she could put them!).  She’s assembled a medical kit that should cure most of the South Pacific of all known illnesses, and might just be sufficient for us.  And she’s built impressive mosquito nets for all the hatches, with fantastic help from several friends (thanks Cathy, Trish and Andrea) who were forced into a day-long sewing sweatshop on the boat.   Very productive and cheap labour (free, actually) – I think we have a viable business to build here.

I’ve spent the last 3 days replumbing our fresh water and replacing toilet outflow pipes.  As with most jobs on the boat, it’s two steps forward and one step back; backward steps created by unearthing further problems or my own DIY ineptitude.  Fortunately my DIY abilities have been supplemented by friends who do know what they’re doing with a screwdriver – Jason, Conrad, Dave etc thanks heaps!

Tonga Moon spent most of her life in charter, and while she has been sailed between Tonga and NZ several times she’s not set up for long-term offshore cruising; so we’ve had to revamp the battery supply, fit solar panels and a wind generator, install long distance high frequency radio, figure out how to get clean water out of the taps, add a liferaft and lifelines, set up a storm jib, splice 100 metres of rope to hold a parachute anchor, and so the list goes on.  I think we’re finally getting near the end of our list, which is a great relief to us and no doubt some disappointment to our local chandlery.

Those who know us well, will know that we’re not naturally the tidiest people.  But even by our standards, the boat is a complete tip and on the face of it would appear to be several months away from being ready.  Never fear brave reader, those looks can be deceiving:  if you subtract our usual quota of Nolan messiness, this should bring it back to only a few simple steps of putting all my tools away, and figuring out where we store the mountain of other “stuff”.

Happily we have now assembled our full list of toys, which includes a windsurfer (plus rig for teaching the kids), 2 inflatable kayaks, a doughnut, an Optimist dinghy, lots of fishing gear plus snorkelling and spearfishing equipment.  So we shouldn’t go hungry or bored!

That’s about all for now.  Back to work on the boat, and here’s hoping for fair weather later next week.

The boat – our building site!


Preparations continue, including a blitz to stop the boat leaking (above the waterline, that is).  We inherited a very leaky boat, and have unearthed a number of leaks and sources.  We’ve reseated all windows, rebedded much of the deck hardware (thanks for the help, Jason), and have ordered new portlights for the saloon.  The boat is finally starting to dry out – halleluia! (is that how you spell it?).

In the meantime, the boat is a complete tip with stuff everywhere.  No surprise, I guess, when we proudly show off our new home to friends and get a somewhat muted response, ranging from the  “yes, ummmm, very nice, you’re seriously going to LIVE on this for over a year?!”, to the more direct “God, what a mess”.  Our most recent visitor took one look at my tools and commented “Abit worrying to see you using a circular saw on the boat….things must be worse than we thought” (thanks Conrad!).

The preparations continue (with circular saw – it’s amazing how quickly you can cut things with it)…!