Tuesday, June 28, 2011

chatter boats!

Toketie has been 'relaxing', code for pinned down by strong winds and heavy rains!!  The sun is out today, the 8th day here and that is always a relief.  We do have NZ friends anchored nearby and we have made our way over for a visit and had them onboard for scrabble.  The nights are tiring though as the wind gets up and though we are in a safe and sheltered inlet, the gusts come barreling down between the hills and Toketie's bow slews off to leeward till the slack on the anchor chain pays out and then she slews off in the other direction, followed by a calm period where the tide turns her beam on to the bit of swell that has found its way to the head of the bay.

For entertainment, we have taken to listening to the morning and afternoon 'scheds' the charter boats hold.  There are three bareboat charter companies operating out of the area and as this is prime cruising season, they are all busy.  The charter boats are required to report back to the company by VHF radio with their location and their plans for the day.  Most boats are families with young kids on board.  In fact yesterday, Linda looked out the porthole during a lull in the rain and wind gusts to report a young fellow in a dinghy having trouble starting the outboard.  He could not have been more than five years old and had been having a great time entertaining himself racing around the inlet...but at the moment he was standing and tugging at the cord on the outboard.  He managed to put a small anchor down on the reef so he was not drifting away and he was wearing a lifejacket!  After watching for a while, we decided to put our dinghy in and go to the rescue.  We had lifted ours on a harness and it was hanging off the side of the boat so not much drama dropping it in the water.  The young fellow had been calling to his dad on the deck of their anchored charter boat behind us so I decided to head over there first to ask the dad if he wanted to ride over to his son.  He accepted gratefully and after correcting him on our Maple Leaf being a Canadian, not American flag, I took him over where he proceeded to start the outboard with one pull....seems the young fellow wasn't quite strong enough.  He thanked me, saying "that's twice he's done that now"....I'm sure when they get back to Melbourne they will have stories to tell.  Meanwhile we have been here so long now, some of the boats are starting to look familiar.  I guess for the thousands of dollars they are paying to charter, they feel they need to make an effort to get out during the day and see more of the islands in the area...I'm sure when they get around the corner from the inlet, they realize just how sheltered it was where they came from.  But many of them bravely make it out and undoubtedly find another little bay, probably with more swell, to snorkel or explore the trails off of sandy beaches.  And by late afternoon, most of them are crawling back into Nara Inlet or Cid Harbour to shelter for the night.  The VHF radio scheds are quite comical, often young kids coming on to reply when their boat name is called.  They report their location, sometimes with a long pause while they check with the parents, and haltingly as children do describe their plan of action for the day.  It might go something like, "after breakfast, we might try to get to Butterfly Bay and see what it's like there"....  One small catamaran, "Lulu", did not seem to be having such a good time....when their name came up on the rollcall, the husband came on to announce they were heading back to the marina and "getting off this boat"....they had two very young kids on board, I hope it didn't turn them off of sailing as it is an entirely different experience when the weather is calm....

Linda made sushi last night and there is lots left over for lunch today...and carrot cake the day before so we are not suffering....we have lots of books, some beer, no wine and some rum for when we really get restless....but the wind generator is humming and the batteries are happy...wish we had more movies that we haven't seen several times over....but the cockatoos still put on their show every evening and a pair of very large sea eagles have been circling in the updrafts.

Canada Day coming up!  Might have to break out the bigger flag!

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