Day 37. The day began in the middle of the night.
“Dunc, it’s the change of watch.” Huia whispered.
“Thanks bro.” Head still cloudy, salt still on my lips from an hour or two earlier. “All good?”
A couple of minutes later I rolled slowly out of my bunk, hands and feet instinctively searching for support in the dark as the canoe bounced and jolted along. Sleeping in your clothes has it’s advantages, a minute later shaking the sleep from my head I slipped my lifejacket on, grabbed my torch and pushed the heavy hatch skyward climbing out into the night.
A fresh breeze knocked the tops of the dark swells, white crest shining in the half moonlight. “We had a strong squall come thru so we dropped the headsail.” With the bigger headsails the masthead can bend alarmingly in squalls. If it’s too extreme you have to drop it quickly or risk snapping the top off the mast, not a welcome prospect.
“Sweet mate, nice work.”
Ra’s new light gilded the edges of the clouds as we scudded along with the smaller headsail and the host of other canoes around us. The wind rose to a steady 20 knots lifting the seas with it, buffeting and hammering against the hull in a way we’ve become all to familiar with over the last month.
“I thought we’d got thru this shit.”
“At least it’s warm!”
It’s true. Another wall of water leapt out of the sea and landed on Murray. There was a roar of laughter from the rest of the crew on deck. Dripping head to foot he shook his head like a dog on the beach, wiped the water off his glasses and grinned. You dry a lot faster if you’re just in shorts and a t-shirt and when the water’s 27 degrees anyway it’s just not a problem.
Mid-morning warm spicy smells wafted across the deck. An hour earlier Brendan had been needing something (sorry wrong spelling) kneading something in the whare. With a little waka creativity, Uncle B’s boil-in-the-bag tortellini (very nice tomato sauce) pizzas with cured ham and a few other bits were a raging success. The joys of having a baker on board.
He followed that up not long after with lime and garlic chicken wings, baked wahoo steaks and a fine local vegie stir fry.
Good food goes a long way towards good spirits. The deck is ringing with laughter and snatches of song, waiata from home, Papua New Guinea, Hawai’i. The night has rolled in. The day has ended much as it began, dark and warm with a skyful of stars and patchy cloud.
The waka is bouncing along nicely before a steady 15 knots. God is in his heaven, as they say and all the world is at peace.
Arohanui no nga tuatahi o Haunui
Posted on May 24, 2011 by Duncan for Pacific Voyagers