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January 2003

Dear Friends:

After the past three weeks, I will have far more sympathy for Southern Hemisphere mothers. Down here holiday celebrations and summer holidays happen at the same time. That means shopping for gifts, preparing for and going to Christmas parties, putting on the traditional all-family feast, then packing up kids, dogs, boats and homes to go off for two or three weeks of sailing. To add to the confusion, almost all the businesses shut down from the day before Christmas until the second week in January to give their staff time off to do all of the above. Though we did not have the kids and dogs, we did have a few boats to get ready for their owners, plus Jonquil to ready for our own holidays and a lot of visitors due. But by Christmas Eve we were both ready to lay back and enjoy.

Fortunately the weather was wonderful, sunny but not overly hot, moderate or light winds. Larry really got to know his new fizzy (a 30 year old, 14.5 foot run about with 50 horse power Mercury outboard)- barreling across the bay 5 miles in l5 minutes to pick up Steve Callahan and his partner Kathy Massimimi to spend the first days of the holiday. Steve and Kathy shared their tales of trying to ready a cruising boat that is in Australia, bought by internet from America. They are taking a year off to cruise and write. Steve who spent 76 days adrift in a life raft after loosing his mini-transat racer off the coast of the Canaries (see his very readable book, Adrift), has developed a wonderful combination folding tender/sailing lifeboat. Called the FRIB, a few have already been manufactured, but now Steve is looking for a good firm to put them into real production. Any ideas out there? His book, Adrift, is still one of the top selling adventure books and is worth a read. (We have info about his FRIB under cruising tips.)


Sailing with Steve and Cathy on Jonquil was a real hoot - and the weather was grand.

Alvah and Diana Simons who have had some wonderful sailing adventures on their 33 footer, John Henry, both in the far north and far south, came to stay and we all ate too much, took walks through the undeveloped parts of this island searching for wallabies, bird life and skinned knees. Then of course there were afternoon sails on Jonquil as Larry works to get her in tune for the regattas that start at the end of January. We never knew who would sail in to drop anchor and join us for the day or two days. Special memories include tons of laughter from around the pool table when unexpected shots potted balls that shouldn't have been potted, serious state-of-the-world talks long into the night with folks who had never met until they came to visit us, yet seemed like a group of long lost friends. Tossing tortillas during a fajita feast, and just messing about in boats.

Larry is most at home on board a boat under sail.

The New Years was toasted in quietly with four local sailing friends after visits to a few of the open parties held by neighbors. Then New Years day came the crazy push. We had decided to sail our last set of visitors back to the mainland as the start of our own holiday cruise. That meant getting four slightly over indulged people out of bed, breakfasted and packed onto a boat along with the food for six days, clothes, foul weather gear, boat gear etc. Had the tide to catch on the far side and a tea party to join. As the tea party was being put on by a German couple, we knew being too late would not be on… That is when I felt like the Kiwi mothers must. We did catch the tide and after one last party Larry and I set off for a lovely sail into nostalgia.

We called this dinner, Flying Fajitas. That's Steve Callahan, Kathy Massimimi, Diana and Alvah Simons at our Kawau Home.


It has been at least 30 years since we went on a cruise in a weekender. Jonquil is essentially an open boat with a sleeping cuddy. Her stove has only two top burners, she has no sink, no water system (in fact no systems at all other than a bilge pump). So food is stored in a portable ice chest and two boxes, clothes in waterproof duffle bag. Our table is a big wooden tray which doubles as my cooking surface. Did I enjoy it? I loved it. With such limited facilities I didn't even try to cook fancy meals, mostly bread, pate and cheese for lunch, simple one-pot dinners with a salad. Did we go far? Nope, meant to head 30 miles south to the islands near Auckland. But instead sailed only 15 miles to a nearby river, anchored and ended up sleeping and reading a book for a few days. Took a grand dinghy excursion 5 miles up river to town, ran into friends and came home with the last of the tide enjoying a Chinese takeaway dinner as we savored the solitude and abundant bird calls. Then we heard reports of heavy rain heading our way so after four days had a memorable sail back to our homebase through the local islands, racing each boat we came close to (even if they didn't know we were racing them) trying out new sail leads, getting the new nylon drifter to set perfectly and just enjoying the sheer delight of sailing an elegant, simple machine over almost flat waters.

Steve set up his automatic timer for this one.

It was a reminder of how much we enjoy sailing - be it to cross oceans or just to enjoy a day in the breeze. Of course crossing oceans is now beginning to fill our minds as we sort through charts in earnest for our upcoming voyage. A few days ago, when heavy rain and storm force winds was forecast (the tale end of a cyclone), we realized we would get little done here at Mickey Mouse Marine. So we drove up to reunite with sailing friends we'd met at Puerto Williams, 50 miles from Cape Horn. Noel and Litara who readers of this newsletter may remember from our March and April letters, have arrived here after attending a princesses wedding in Samoa. Litara is Samoan and was treated as a VIP on her return home after 7 years. Noel used this visit as an excuse to go into the highlands and cut timber for the next boat. He has a warning for all "palengi" or non-native visitor to these tropical islands. He received several small nicks and cuts from his tree felling and ignored them. Even when they turned into small infections, all he did was wash and put band-aids over the worst. He ended up with a staph infection that required several days in hospital and only four months later is under control. Warning - in the tropics, treat every scratch, no matter how small, with antibiotic ointment immediately if possible, and twice daily until it is completely healed.

This is typical island foliage, the magnificent pohotokawa tree has bright red bottlebrush like blossoms that burst into color for Christmas. This tree is probably a few hundred years old.


Noel and Litara sent us off with a forty-pound load of charts for all the Pacific Islands and now we have to sort them and decide which route we will take as we head north from Chile. We fly from here to rejoin Taleisin February 12th, then hope to set sail late in February.

Fair winds to all of you,
Lin and Larry


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