Posted by: nativeiowan | May 1, 2016

The Sea Beckons

I was born n raised in Iowa.  was born and raised to physical adulthood some 2000 miles from the closest ocean. I never saw the briney blue until I was 23.

Explain to me then, why I am so drawn, attracted, driven to be seaborne?

I cannot explain it. Maybe someone out there can help me. Give me a hint, a clue as to the why, where, what for, of it all…

Editors note… Power just failed here at Vuda. My computer works. But all else has failed, ceased, stopped, or otherwise been disconnected. Lets hope it comes on soon. It’ll get hot n smelly without aircon. Willis farts a lot. Of course, I never fart…

Back to business…The “mother- mother ocean” syndrome is severe with me. As much as the sea repeals me, makes me ill, makes me frightened… As much as I hesitate to commit to the deep blue, as much as I long to be a “lubber”… I yearn for the briny blue.

I didn’t know it when I was young, but when I could still remember the sound of the womb, I was experiencing the sound of the sea. The dull sound shifting silence of a solitude filled session on the deep.

Sinbad, Blue Beard, Lief Ericsson, Columbus, Magellan, Mendanna, Laparous, Walter Raleigh, Shackleton, Ahab, Cook, Drake…

All are my idols. All are sailors I read of from youth. I may not have understood what I read but I understood the idea of setting sail, leaving sight of land and voyaging into the great deep unknown. What great, amazing, intrepid men they were…

Imagine, voyaging into the complete unknown… It’s hard to but try, try to imagine… leaving love and kin, hearth and home, familiar and filial… to board a lugger, a brig, a barge, and sailing into the unknown…

Today we are all pussies in comparison.

When I hit Fiji… January 13 1981, I was a foolish child. I knew shit-from-shinola but I figured it out. Eventually. I paid my journeyman dues. I learned a lot and still have much to learn. I may be fit to undertake the planned crossing, may be just, almost, but not quite. I don’t have enough hours in. Enough salt in my blood. But that’ll come in due course.

And thats why I got my intrepid compadres to help me gain my blue-water certification. My water-wings. I can not do it on my own.

So, after almost 60 years of existence, for the first time, I prepare to cross… Cross the blue-water. To sail from land prepared to not look back, setting a course for a shore some thousand or so miles off.

I’ll trust the charts and the crew members and, of course, the vessel. Without a trusty vessel and a good crew you are fucked from the start. You have no hope or no chance.

Neptune is my friend. I honour him and the myriad of other gods,great and small, of the briny blue. I shall make offers to the god, large and small. I shall stand watch at night, turn my face to the stars, tune my ears to the waves, and wait n watch and listen for a sign. An acknowledgement of my existence, of my presence. I want to become a seaman, a seafarer, a mariner… I need their approval…

And my chance is now…

And I smile…

A big arsed goofy type of smile…

More later…

 

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 30, 2016

ICBound v1.7

Whew… the last 24/ 30 hours have been fun, frenetic and friendly… The run to the Coral Coast was grand. This morning was gentle and the drive back to Vuda was relaxed.

Willis is grabbing some Zs. He flew in at 5am yesterday morn… a 9hour flight from LAX after a short hop from Sanoma County and a long wait at LAX. He got to Nadi by 6am, was at the Marina by 7, met and did some yarning with the ICEBound gang then by 11am we did the run down the coast to fun n family and grog n food. He hit the sack at 1am.

So he has a bit of an excuse for his pussi-ness, his nap.

…view from Ryan’s digs up on the hill…2016-04-29 13.02.00

Dusk is on the ocean.

I left Willis curled up (with his sandals on) in his fold out bed. I am sipping a cold ale and listening too the bar chatter. A Saturday night band is playing out on the lawn. A number of diners and drinkers file in as the light fades. I am the guy in the corner stuck in his computer. The lone drinker to my right must be new. He don’t appear to know many of the folk. The 3 single males to my left are drinking white wine, smiling and toasting each other for some unexplained ‘win”. They are probably in the late 60s/ early 70s. They must all be off some boat here but I am the true stranger. And I like it that way.

Hans and Cynthia arrive right about now. We’ll head over to the Hilton – where Hans n Cynthia will stay- and have supper with them. Don has a written schedule for the next few days so it’s getting closer to being carved in stone — We Sail Thursday –.

I do look forward to it.

Not much other to report. I shall be very happy to hit the hay this eve. Its a few hours away and I am sure we’ll have a good meal and a good red and a good conversation, but once its all done, I’ll welcome my rented bed.

More later

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 29, 2016

ICEBOUND v1.6

Saturday morn in Fiji.

And, Damn, it happened again… My ol’ mate Willis n I hit the Coral Coast and we have a grand time… Lets see, I first came to this land with Willis in about 1990. That time we were coming back from the US from a joint -drum up business trip- hired a car on a Saturday morn in Nadi, drove to Trade Winds and had a full day, yee haw, arse kick’n 24 hours worth of fun n adventure.

Yesterday, Willis arrived where I was about 7am. By about 10 we were on the road toward Suva.

A group of ol friends live a semi-off the grid lifestyle in an area called Windroka. They surf and live in the jungle and raise gorgeous children and surf and fish…

Well, Hell… we rock up unannounced yesterday about 1pm. We drive up the mountain to Ryan’s place, and yep, Ryan is there. He sends a quick text (they are not 100% off the grid) and Shilo shows up. We drink a few Fiji Bitters and explore their developments and schemes and dreams. By about 5pm we’re in Pacific Harbour hanging with another ol buddy. We hit the jackpot…a BBQ is planned that eve and we’re the first to arrive…

In classes island fashion we end up with about 20 folks and half as many kids and a dog, all running an playing and talking and singing and guitar playing and, well you get the picture.

About 11 we head to the hotel we so wisely grabbed a room at and end up in the bar as the party had moved from the house to the dance floor. I sat and watched and swilled a couple more beers. Guess I made it to bed about 1am.

It was fun, very fun.

So tis about 830am, gotta head back up to Vuda, get ready to be ICEBound.

Life is guud…

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 28, 2016

ICEBound v1.5

A brisk breeze blows through the boathouse bar n grill.

I have uncharacteristically chosen to have some lunch. Eating during the day usually slows me down, but Don n Brownie and Jane are cleaning ICE. So I am hanging loose…

We put the boat in the water at 8am. The engine flashed up like a champ. Got to the mooring and went through the systems. We left one valve open as we were lowered into the water so a bit of seawater flooded into the engine room but that’s par for the course. Not enough water to make a difference. But enough to remind us all how much there is to forget…

Ice at the mooring: 2016-04-28 13.17.38

So as the gang cleans ICE, move their gear off and tidy it all up – for me to move in –.

I do look forward to it!

I left them to their duties an hour or so ago. Nothing I can do and even big boats are small inside, so rather than be in the way I bailed, played with my satphone, and decided I was hungry.

So I sit and swill a couple adult beverages and chop down a decent burger.

This is a busy bar. The same staff appear to be on duty pretty much all the time. The big dude behind the bar smiles and chats but his hands are busy. He’s a good tar-bender. The gals all hustle and smile and laugh and chat in the lyrical tones of the Fijian language. The prerequisite dainty-gay-guy serves and chats and, frankly, has better makeup than the girls. Flamboyantly-camp, this guy adds a flair only the camp can deliver.

I really love being back in the islands!

I am still land-bound. Not sure if I move onboard tomorrow. I am hanging to move on but I don’t want to do it until I can claim my own space. ICE is my boat. Its big enough to share with plenty of folks but I shall keep my place my way, not share too much of it with anyone other than wife n granpups etc. But, first, Don and Jane need to clear out from the master-cabin. And yachts are notorious because there are hundreds of small storage lockers. Every bit of spare space around the boat are cupboards of various sizes and shapes. It’ll take them a bit of time, and that’s OK.

Willis arrives early tomorrow, Friday morn. Hans and Cynthia arrive Saturday eve. Fricky next Wednesday. We should be sailing Thursday morn.

Life is indeed good…

 

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 27, 2016

ICEBound V1.4

Sitting in the bar at Vuda Marina, Nadi, Fiji. ICE just got lifted and positioned for a splash 8am in the morn. My second night here. The staff know my name so I am greeted in proper Fiji style, that means by name, by all staff as I walk in.

Hi Mike, How are you Mike, I like it a lot.

Very polite and proper and quite professional. Hans is going to be jealous.

I sip a cold cider as the winners and losers, as the wieners and hot dogs all gargle down grog.

This marina is quite busy. There are at least 50 boats at mooring in the marina. There are another 50 or more on the hard – up, out of the water and parked on land.

A lot of old folks, a lot of americans. A lot of down n out types but I don’t think they’d last long here. This is an expensive place.

So we have Jerry, off a nice little double-ender with a pretty bowsprit. He showers and dresses for dinner before coming to the bar. A Yank, obviously, but he has been here long enough to be known by all the other yachtspeople.

Scott, appears to be a looser. He sits next to me, sips white wine and exudes loserness…. He was here early last eve and left early, with a stagger and a wobble in his boots. I’ll pay attention to where his boat is so I can see if I am right or wrong. A boat tells all about its owner.

Yes, you can tell a lot about folks by their boat. Some boats are worth heaps. Some boats are heaps. This bar filters all and everyone together into one shared reality.

Some are dreaming of forward plans and future adventures. Some are getting ready to sail onto other plans and amazing adventures. There is a difference.

ICE was lifted and antifoul n zinc anodes all finished off, so it’s into the wet tomorrow. I should be moving onboard soon.

A place like this brings all sorts together for similar and understandable reasons. You can hear it in their discussion…

… how’d you go with immigrations… we got 2 months… I was up the mast today… big job… no, just wanted to climb the mast…

I like the idea that ICE is classified as a diesel Duck… it is not a yacht so shall never be a yachtie… Call me A Duckie instead…

I was on the boat when it got lifted by the “traveler”…

2016-04-27 16.31.062016-04-27 16.31.09

looks big, out of the water…2016-04-27 16.44.192016-04-27 16.44.462016-04-27 16.48.28

final stages of antifouling…2016-04-27 16.53.25

Don McIntyre has an evil grin… I simply do not like my picture taken….2016-04-27 16.53.53

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 26, 2016

ICEBound V1.3

On the hard…

2016-04-27 08.58.09

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 26, 2016

ICEBound V1.2

Morning 1, day 1… I wake in my little cabin at the Vuda Marina…

2016-04-27 07.29.25I cranked the aircon last night and, though it was quite comfortable, I was hunkered down in my blankets keeping warm. That lil-aircon worked real well.

The Myna birds chatter and lie. Don;t leave anything they can steal on the verandah.

I just rubbed citronella oil on my ankles and back. Mosquitoes are prevalent and hungry.

This place is kinda cool, busy, productive, and – did I say- cool? http://www.vudamarina.com.fj. 

About 730am, I’ll make some coffee then head over and see what I can do for/ to ICE.

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 26, 2016

ICEBound v1.0

I sit in the bar at the Vuda Marina. I have been onboard ICE. Things are coming together. Coming together nicely…

No photos yet, she’s on the hard, in pieces, and not looking like herself.

Don and Brownie reckon we splash Thursday. Once the hull is wet the real work can begin. Its going to be a lot of work but also a lot of fun too.

We’re on the west coast of the Big island, Fiji. The low tide/ exposed reefs give off a pungent perfume. The lyrical lilt of the Fijian language makes me smile. A nice breeze blows in with the sparkling rays of the dimming sun.

Yee haww… I’m going sailing… more later…

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 4, 2016

2016 v4.0

Sitting in Palmwoods. Busy, busy… but not too busy to not miss the circus that is the United States’ two party mud wrestling match also called “the primary race” for Party nomination to run for the Presidency. If you are following, I am sure agree with me per the overall entertainment factor of the whole show. If you ain’t in the know, hell… get watching, its more fun than the Oscars.

Whatz to say about the spectacle that be the Primary Race… makes me wonder if there is a secondary race…

But I shall not discourse lyrically about the fudged up political nonsense there-in… but rather, talk about fun, adventure, hardship and, did I say fun?

Preparing to go to Fiji to pick up the “ship” I bought… ice copy

Check this out for a good description of ICE…

http://www.boatpoint.com.au/editorial/reviews/2009/motorsailer/ice-mcintyre-50-motor-sailer-17773

Plan is to sail ICE from Fiji on or around 6th May, stopping by Noumea, then onto Brisbane.

I have a crack crew of trained specialists to assist… PB, aka Brownie, is skipper for the trip; HMZ, aka Honeymooner, is 1st mate because he told me buying ICE was a good idea; DF, Frickcenstien, is Chief Petty Officer; WE, aka WE, is Celestial Navigation Officer; I am the greenhorn, doing his first “blue water” crossing. They call me Dammitt Mike.

The trip entails some 1400 nautical miles starting in Nadi. Leg will be a short 5 day run to New Caledonia… Untitled copy 2

Second leg will be from Noumea to Brisbane… Untitled 3 copy

I have set a Facebook page up for grins n giggles…

https://www.facebook.com/ICEBound-1756492264587932/

More to come…

Posted by: nativeiowan | March 28, 2016

2016 V3.0

Month 3 of 2016 passing without much comment…

Lets see… what can we offer…

Had the gaggle of glorious ol Bikes out for a clean up the other day..2016-03-26 12.48.20

almost full moon rising…2015-12-25 19.04.31-2

garden looking lovely…2016-01-07 18.08.34

New snooker table arrived and successfully installed….

Life is good…

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