A pelican

Just after dawn it is cool in the cockpit. Coffee and la Testament Francais make my tiny bit of a hangover quite manageable. Miss Perfect is asleep back aft and will, I expect, stay so for some time. A pelican sits sedately on the pulpit of a neighbouring boat, and I wonder what he’s thinking about.

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Busy with boat repairs, we haven’t explored Ecuador. This last trip produced a catalogue of problems, more than usual I think. Or perhaps I am just getting older and less patient. Still we have worked through them and now I can sit, basking in a barely-earned sense of accomplishment.

We hauled down the big genoa and the torn leech has been repaired. With a software restore program the main computer has stopped its irritating habit of fast scrolling to the right regardless of which program is open. The new mainsail battens have been ordered and they should arrive from Puerto Lucia in 3 or 4 days. The engine kill switch has been replaced, the Honda generator serviced, the starboard nav light fixed, the leaks in the dinghy’s inflatable skirt have been patched, and so on. Now it remains only to install the battens, then load fuel, water and provisions.

The open air bar at Puerto Amistad is a haven. Every afternoon after a shower, we repair to its shady balcony, where a small beer and the cool breeze replenish. Before Maxine leaves for Europe we will spend a few days exploring Quito. I don’t enjoy these crew changes. They are always an upheaval – once you have learned how best to respect your partner’s particular space and privacy needs, to tolerate her idiosyncracies, the boat becomes larger and more homely. But this takes time and it is always sad to see the end of the unique comfort and the little rituals which define a shipboard relationship. Over the last 3 years Miss Perfect and I have shared many thousands of miles in Tainui and the three of us fit together seamlessly.

But the next adventure looms – my wonderful younger daughter arrives on the 20th and a few days later we will set out for the Galapagos.

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