It's Who You Know | Cruising World

It's Who You Know

Del Viento gets prepped to ride out the hurricane season on a mooring in the Vava’u group of islands.

It's about who you know.

And fortunately, I know Sara Johnson.

Quickly, for those of you who don’t follow the Wondertime blog, Sara and Michael and their two daughters are weaving an interesting life. They sailed from the PNW to Mexico in 2011, crossed the Pacific in 2012, cruised and settled for a spell in New Zealand, got residency, moved back to the PNW to try the house life for the second time in their married lives (they’ve lived aboard and cruised three different boats), abandoned said house life this year, and moved back to New Zealand to travel and explore the country in an RV.

All of which put them in the perfect position to be ready and available when an old cruising friend asked them to oversee the lux resort they own on a small private island in the Kingdom of Tonga…for almost three months.

All of which put the Del Viento crew, hanging in Tonga for most of this cyclone season, in a perfect position to hang out with the Wondertime crew late into the evening for their daughter’s birthday party a few nights ago.

We’ll be back in time for Thanksgiving dinner, cooking in a large, open kitchen in paradise.

In the meantime, we are preparing Del Viento to ride out a major storm (or storms) on a mooring in the relatively protected waters of the Vava’u group of islands. It’s unnerving. There is no discrete, perfect list of things we can do to guarantee a good outcome if Mother Nature unleashes on Tonga and Del Viento. It’s a matter of doing your absolute best with all the knowledge you have and can get from others, and then hoping for luck.

We’re prepping to attach two independent mooring lines to the boat via the anchor rollers, attaching both our anchors to the leads where they attach to the mooring blocks, and running last-resort, back-up lines through the bow chocks, around the mast, and down to the mooring.

And now for the rest of the story: We’re all headed back to the States in a few weeks to stay Christmas through Easter with our families. We’re leaving Del Viento unattended for a chunk of the season. Unattended for the first time since we began cruising.

Before we depart we need to remove the sails, the dodger, the solar panels, some running rigging, the kayaks, the dinghy, and everything normally attached to the rails. The spinnaker pole deck chock could chafe some of the lines we plan to run, so that’s coming off too.

We’ve got to prep our water tanks—If they’re filled with rainwater, how much chlorine bleach do we add to stave off yuck and yet not damage the stainless?—and make sure every locker is ventilated. We’ve got to eat all our food and open the fridge up. That's just a taste; Windy's making lists.

Then we can start being anxious about our uninsured home floating alone, thousands of miles from us.


In our twenties, we traded our boat for a house and our freedom for careers. In our thirties, we lived the American dream. In our forties, we woke and traded our house for a boat and our careers for freedom. And here we are. Follow along with the Roberston's onboard Del Viento on their blog at www.logofdelviento.blogspot.com.

Holly turning 7 at the Mandala Resort on Fetoko Island. It could be worse.

A splendid place to hang with old friends.

And it's pleasant enough at night to enjoy a fire--though it's supposed to get warmer as the summer months come.

This was our approach to the Vava'u group. The geographic comparisons to the San Juan and Gulf Islands came immediately.

This little speck of a each is on the end of a small island that I snorkel circumnavigated. I saw some things I've ever seen and unfortunately didn't have the wet camera with me. We've got months here though and I think we'll spend a lot more time exactly here.

These clothes are for sale. Someone hangs them here daily, in Neiafu. Haven't seen the salesperson, but I think these are her kids.

School kids catching a ride back out of Neiafu to home.

One of the highlights of my week was receiving a copy of the book I wrote, brought to me by one of my co-authors. This thing's been selling for a couple months and I've heard nice things from so many folks who've all seen it before me. Weird.

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