Friday 2nd December 2016
I have just checked us in on our flight, the packing is almost done, a tingle of excitement runs through us, even as we are, knee deep in laundry and last minute boat jobs. Excitement with a tinge of anxiety, Raya is somehow so much more to us than just a home or a form of transport, we can’t help being a little worried about leaving her for two months.
To allay our fears our preparation has been thorough. Many lists have been written and items running from , ‘Turn off the gas!’ to ‘Crack off the halyards’ have mostly been ticked. We have cleaned everywhere including the bilge, which after all the problems and work on the engine, was full of a lovely gooey, water/diesel mix. The toilets and grey tanks have been sanatized with a mixture of fluids all promising to banish bad odours and the freezer which typically, has, now we don’t need it, perked up in the cool New Zealand waters and taken two days to defrost. The watermaker has been pickled and for the first time in twelve months the AIS has been turned off. On deck the sails are neatly furled, all the lines have been tidied and secured and the dingy has its cover back on.
Unfortunately we can’t leave knowing the engine problems have been solved. The injectors and pump were sent a couple of weeks ago to be serviced, whatever was in our fuel had caused substantial damage and they will not be ready until the beginning of next week. Rob the local engine man who took them off, will come onboard to fit them back on in our absence, he will also check Raya is OK for us every week. Fingers crossed we will return to a fully working engine. We have heard of quite a few boats arriving from the Pacific Islands with fuel problems this year but there is no consensus on how to prevent picking up dirty fuel, especially as in our case when the contaminant breached two layers of filters.
In between the cleaning I have been trying to rationalise the 9000 or so photos we have accumulated into watchable small albums for the lucky folks back home. This has taken me hours, as I have tended to dawdle through them, reliving all the great times we have had getting to the other side of the world. What will, no doubt to everybody else, appear to be yet another white beach, tourquoise sea or green mountain, is to us a memory of a particular outing, snorkel or special moment. I have inevitably included way too many.
It has also been a reminder of all the fantastic friends we have made, many of whom we will hopefully bump into again when we all return to the Pacific islands next year. But for some Australia or New Zealand has been the end point of their adventures for awhile and it has been sad saying goodbye.However, all our old friends and family await us in the UK and we can’t wait, just the fridge left to clean, a few last bits to pack and ‘Don’t forget to turn off the gas!’