Hey, hey, hey! Boy, does it feel good to say “hi” to you guys! I’m pretty patient, but I can’t help getting a little antsy as the cyclone season draws to a close. Whew! It’s been a hot and rainy one, but more importantly, we did not have a single cyclone here in Tonga. I have been safe and sound this whole time.
What have I been up to? Well, I spent most of my days lounging around, napping, and trying to stay cool. It’s hot and humid here during cyclone season. When the sun comes out, it is unspeakably intense. Then, big black clouds billow up and approach the yard from my starboard side. My mast would stretch up to the sky and I would enjoy a drenching, cooling fresh water shower most days. I quite enjoy a good fresh water shower.
Once per week, Brian/Brianna would come to see me wearing his flower skirt and carrying his parasol to keep the sun away, he would open up all my doors to let some fresh air in. He would wipe away any mildew forming, and for this I was grateful. Mildew really stinks after a while.
Periodically, I would check all my systems. Everything seems ok. My engine feels good, my electrical is fine, the batteries are staying charged, my solar panels are working. My biggest worry is Grin. He isn’t tied up to my deck like usual, but tucked between my keel and the cyclone cradle. I worry someone will want to take him out for a ride and forget to bring him back. I can’t really see him down there, but I can feel his weight against my keel. Every morning, or after my naps I check to see if he’s still there. “Grin, are you all good, buddy?”
“Eio!” He replies. I want to keep everything perfect so Andrew and Leslie will be happy when they return.
Once in a while, Fredie and his dog Tout’e wander over to check on me at dusk. We watch the clouds turn pink and yellow together, the sky a brilliant turquoise behind them.
On Tuesday nights, all my boat yard mates would get together to play my favorite game, Texas Hold’Em. I feel like there are plenty of clues to warn my friends around here, but I’m a ringer at Texas Hold’Em. I really cleaned up!
One day in the first week of April, Pacific Quest’s owner arrived in the yard. Pointing here, directing people there, in the span of just a day, Pacific Quest’s cyclone cradle was kicked down and the big blue trailer picked her up and carried her away. “Wow!” I said, that was fast. “Bye, Pacific Quest! Fair winds and following seas!” I called as she was spirited away.
After that, my low simmer of impatience bubbled over into full blown angst. “Where are they?” Every morning, I would try to count the days since they left and calculate what day it is now. I wished Leslie and Andrew had left a calendar for me, but they didn’t. “Is it April 4th yet? It has to be soon.” I tried to look over Joe’s shoulder to see the date on his phone, but I couldn’t. “Uhg! Where are they!?” If Pacific Quest can go back in the sea, I can too. My naps became restless. I tried to conjour the same mood I am in during a long passage: purposeful patience, but I can’t. There is nothing for me to do here. All I can do is wait.
Then, one morning, I see Fredie and Tout’e’s van drive in through the gate. That’s odd, they are only on night shift. The van pulls up right next to me, where Pacific Quest used to be, and my heart gives a lurch. From way up here, I can’t really see inside the car, but I think I can see legs in the passenger seat from my view above the windshield. Sure enough! Andrew and Leslie both climb out.
“Sonrisa!!!” Leslie says, “How are you?” She pats the dry underbelly of my hull.
Andrew walks away and returns with a ladder. Now, I’m nervous. Will they be happy to be back? I’ve tried to keep things tidy and good, I think I did well.
While Andrew is gone, Fredie is laughing and laughing. “I’m shocked. I’m still in shock.” He tells Leslie.
“Why?” I think. “What’s going on?”
“You are just so fat!” He tells Leslie. He walks around by the car laughing and saying “Eio, eioo! So fat! So fat! Amazing.”
I squint down at Leslie. She’s wearing a blue dress with flowers and a New Zealand adventure hat. She doesn’t look any fatter than normal. I know exactly how she feels. People say I am a "double ender" all the time; they rave about my "round stern". I prefer to say my stern is curvaceous.
Leslie climbs aboard and carries one of several pieces of luggage up the ladder. A conveyor chain of Fredie, Andrew, and Leslie forms to get a giant pile on board. They open up my doors and peek their heads inside.
“She smells good.” Andrew says, referring to me. My heart gets warm. Leslie peeks her head in and climbs down the companion way.
“Look at this! LOOK AT THIS!!!” She says.
“What, what???” I think. “Look at what?”
“Everything is just as it should be! Hooray!” Leslie says. She comes directly over to my mast and gives me a big hug. I am so relieved. As they settle in, there is nothing but praise for my condition. They seem so happy to be back.
Eventually, Osmond the Comfort Owl pops out of one of his pack pockets, along with a new friend. She is a funny shaped bird, I think. A long beak, no wings and a round bottom. I’ve never seen a bird like that before. Osmond takes her on a tour from bow to stern, and he introduces her as “Tasman, the Adventure Kiwi.”
This poor little Kiwi seems to be melting. Birds don’t sweat, but if this one did, she would be drenched in a puddle right now. Osmond puts his wing around her and takes her to perch in one of the hammocks next to Sergio, the Ship’s Parrot and a fan. Tasman looks a little confused right now, but I think she will adjust.
I am in seventh heaven. I am just so happy they are back. Together again! Now to get me back in the water!