Tainui came to terms with her abandonment in Puerto Montt. She sat on the hard through a wet cold winter with injured dignity but little to show for it other than dead batteries and a gentle bloom of mould.
It took us a week to re-commission the boat. Martin re-rivetted the main track to the mast while I helped Mani install new engine coolant pump and starter motor. Dave recovered from pneumonia. I allowed some local fellows to do the antifouling – twinges of shame replaced the twinges of pain which usually accompany that exercise. Provision? – excellent Chilean spuds, very good cheeses and cheap local wines mean we will want for little. 30 gallons of extra diesel in plastic drums lashed to the cabin top.
These days Chilean computers don’t do “@” signs or apostrophes. I bet things were better under Pinochet.
Today it is wet and windy. Sometimes I do wonder what I am doing here. Yesterday was much better – still, cloudless and warm. A perfect day to spend $500 on a new starter motor, $800 on antifouling, $5,000 on marina fees and $2,000 on Mani. I have been glad Chris isn’t here, what with the endless traipsing back and forth to Armada, Aduana, shops, engineers, chart copiers, gas bottle fillers, banks; with the messy saloon, engine bits everywhere, and not to mention the difficulties of life aboard a twig-propped and grimy boat.
We’re back in the water and suddenly Tainui has come alive again. I left her alone too long, but now she looks good and I think I am forgiven. There is now time to look around and take stock. I had forgotten the striking contrast between blue sea and snowy peaks, the lovely smiles, the poverty, the allure of the waterfront.
I still wonder about Chris, me and us. It is good that she misses me at least when you’re anxious. I should be very happy with that, and I am. I miss her too, now that the mechanical stuff is behind me. How do we fit our zany, pressured lives together. Parallel journeys are all very well, but parallel lines by definition never meet. Ours do, they should. They must. I’m lucky to have her around. I tell her she’s lucky to have me too. Toby’s right – we’re a good team.
And finally the Armada comes good with a cruising permit to Puerto Williams and off we go.