It’s been an exciting and hectic six weeks in New Zealand. Getting Illusion ready for the journey has been a journey in itself. We’ve come a long way, with many milestones to show for it:
- the successful mission of reclaiming Illusion from flocks of marauding seagulls;
- the sail past Auckland, along the coast and up the Mahurangi River to haul her out (interesting challenge, as even at high tide we only had 30 cm of clearance);
- unstepping the mast in order to re-rig it (impressed with the crane operator who maneuvered the 72 foot (22 m) mast around like a toy);
- provisioning for 12 weeks at sea, with the ensuing game of packing Tetris to stow it all away;
- passing the surveyor’s inspections with flying colors;
- getting the all clear from the boatyard manager that we had done enough sanding and were ready to start painting (never thought I would be so intimately familiar with the bottom of a boat);
- Janice’s arrival to complete the crew, and the team building we’ve all done through working and living together over the past weeks;
- having the hull painted and getting the mast re-stepped, making Illusion look like herself again and making us feel that being on the water is not all that far away.
And the biggest milestone, for me of course, was Mikee leaving us after a month of working on the boat and returning to Vancouver. Our anniversary was a few weeks after he left – it was our 25th and the first that we have not spent together. It will be challenging to be apart for so long, but I’m looking forward to the adventures and learning experiences that are to come (as well the reunion we’ll have in Hawaii).