Friday, August 17, 2012

Pot Luck

I probably should have gone snorkelling yesterday when it was so calm but I hadnt expected the strong winds to return so soon. Today the Lagoon was a sea of whitecaps beyond the lee of the island, and few squalls with heavy rain blew across in the morning. I didnt want to go anywhere snorkelling on my own so I watched to see if anyone else was going out with the intention of following anyone who did, but everyone stayed aboard today, or else went ashore to stretch their legs. I was visited by Chris, a Norwegian sailor that I had a long friendly chat with on the island yesterday, not long after he and another norwegian guy had sailed in from Bora Bora after six days on their red hulled sloop. Chris was interested in how Sapphire was set up for solo sailing, as eventually he plans to sail on his own as well.

After he left I noticed a lot of activity aboard Morning Cloud a white ketch that left New Zealand six years ago and is close to completing a circumnavigation ( When Yachties talk of a circumnavigation they are talking about sailing right round the world) I had met Selwyn her skipper at a "Pot Luck" dinner - more about this later - around the camp fire on the beach the previous evening. He was a remarkably unflappable older guy with weathered brown skin and thin wiry legs where every sinew and muscle could be seen like on an anatomy model. The engine on Morning Cloud had broken down just before arriving at Suwarrow, so he negotiated his way in under sail. Most of us these days tend to drop all sail and use the engine to negotiate tricky unknown passes, and to find anchorages and moorings but Selwyn had no choice and obviously made it in OK. Now after a couple of weeks he was leaving after being unable to repair the motor, and he was heading for Tonga and New Zealand. He was obviously a very skilled sailor and I watched as they raised the anchor and sailed off through the moored boats, tacked a couple of times and then turned for the pass. The wind was strong and the ketch was heeled well over and moving at quite a pace as he dodged the reefs near the pass and headed out to sea. I guessed it would be a rare sight to see a yacht sailing out of the pass, so it was a useful lesson to see what good sailing can accomplish without the use of an engine.

The "pot Luck" Dinner seems to be a cruising yacht tradition, wherein yachties gathered in an isloated place such as this, meet on the beach for dinner, everyone bringing what they would havbe been cooking that night anyway, or maybe a little more, and all the food is shred around. Bruce came by and said there was a "Pot Luck" dinner tonight, he had some fish to cook so I should come too but just bring rice. So I went ashore later with some extra juice and some biscuits as well as the rice and when I showed it to Bruce he said "Youre supposed to have cooked it!" I had never been to a pot luck before! So I went back out t the boat and cooked a big pot of rice and took it back. Later I realised Bruce should also have told me to bring a plate and a knife and fork and a cup!

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