We didn’t see any whales. I’m always glad we didn’t hit a whale, but I would like to pass one by and just say “hi” from a distance. Maybe we will see one on our way to Tonga. As we neared Rarotonga, the waves and the wind shifted directly behind me. While this would usually be great, I could also see the harbor directly in front of me. So, the waves were pushing me along, passing me by, then bouncing into the tall cement wall or “quay” where we were about to park.
Leslie takes the helm and guides me toward the small opening in the reef. This will be my crew’s second “med-moore” parking job, but the first one where other boats are parked first. The marina area is small, so we circle around and lay down my anchor. Leslie puts me in reverse to back into our slot along the quay. I try to swing my stern to starboard, but I just can’t. I have two left feet when backing up. Leslie puts me in forward, and turns my bow to the left. This straightens me up a bit. We go back in reverse, and although I lean a bit to port, with a little speed, I straighten up nicely and edge my way backwards. I slide in next to Lufi and hover near the quay, my anchor holding my stern away from the dangerous looking cement and tires. Leslie throws two stern lines to friends waiting on the quay, and they tie me up. Success in one shot!
Usually, at this point I could rest, but this is not a quiet anchorage or steady marina. We all slosh around together, in a line, hoping no one sloshes the wrong way. Luckily, I have some nice springy lines that keep me (mostly) in place. Andrew and Leslie unfold Grin and put him together. They tie one end of him to me and the other end to shore, making him into a bit of a “plank”. He bounces and swerves in the waves; sometimes we knock into each other. I don’t know about this; I think someone is going to fall in.
Andrew and Leslie head off to start exploring the island. Leslie is standing on the dock, having successfully traversed the Grin-Plank/Tire-Ladder for the first time when from the corner of her eye she sees a small child waving out the driver’s side window of a van. The little girl’s dark brown eyes squinted as she giggled. The van began rolling, slowly at first then it picked up speed. “Someone needs to save that child!” Leslie took a step or two in the direction of the van before realizing the steering wheel manned by an adult driver is safely on the right side of the car (rather than the left), and the child is only an unbuckled passenger.
Relieved, Andrew and Leslie head over to the Fish and Chips stand just across the street boasting the “Best fish and chips in Rarotonga.” They stand at the edge of the road for what seems like fifteen minutes:
Andrew: “Now which way are the cars going to come from?”
Leslie: “Well, let’s just look both ways.”
Andrew: “Yes, but ok, we are safe.”
Leslie: “No! Look, the cars are coming from that way!”
Andrew: “Right….wait a minute….”
Leslie: “Ok, now!”
Andrew: “No, wait!”
Eventually they did make it safely to the Fish and Chips spot.
Shortly thereafter, Andrew acquired a scooter for $14/day. Andrew arrives at the marina after surviving his first clockwise roundabout experience, and picks up Leslie. Wobbling off, I see Leslie pointing vigorously to the left indicating “that is the left side! No, that is the left side!” They survey town and get a lay of the land, and soon they return to get gussied up for sundowners at Trader Jacks.
Dressed in their cocktail attire, they attempt to negotiate the obstacle course to shore. Andrew climbs over my stern rail, feet planted on my toe rail. He times his step down into Grin at a moment where Grin and I match cadence on the waves. Letting go of me, he transfers his weight into Grin, crab-crawls across Grin’s benches, then grabs the industrial sized tire hanging from the cement quay. He scrambles up the tire, using his long monkey legs to stretch from the bottom of the tire to the top. Success.
Leslie follows suit, but things first go awry when she grabs the rope holding Grin in place. The rope tightens, and Grin immediately starts to scoot away. Holding the rope at chest level, Leslie’s feet slide out from under her in Grin, leaving her upper body dangling over the water. “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”
“Grin!” I call out, willing him to scuttle beneath Leslie and keep her dry. But, his momentum was already going the other way. First, Leslie’s ponytail hit. Holding out in hopes of keeping her cocktail attire dry, Leslie clings to the rope stretched taught from tire to Grin to me. But, now, the waves are pushing me back into the quay which results in Leslie drooping further into the water. Now, Leslie is laying in the water with her feet stretched out in Grin. Her whole backside is wet, frontside is still dry, and she is laughing too hard to do much about it.
Grin catches the next wave set and he moves toward Leslie, but she can’t get her weight far enough to his center to keep him upright. Now, Grin is turned up on his side perpendicular to the water, and Leslie still isn’t giving up. She is hanging onto the rope with her entire body in the water, save for her shoulders, arms and head. Andrew and I just stand by watching, trying not to laugh.
Leslie pulls herself onto Grin, reverses the process and unlocks my door to change. Can’t go to cocktails soaking wet! A few minutes later, the whole process starts again. She made it across this time, but stay tuned. I’m sure this will happen again.