Ship's Log               s/v Uliad 


February 3:


     The nice thing about flying home for the tropical storm season is of course that you don't have to worry about tropical storms.  The bad part though, is that I constantly worry about tropical storms.  Now Uliad is safely tucked away in a boat yard.  But I can't help but worry that she's all alone and vulnerable if a big storm came along.  Maybe if I was there, there would be something more I could do:  double check the steel cradle she rests in...attend to any deck leaks...add more tie-down lines...check that the surrounding boats don't have anything that could fly loose...

     Most of the time, this is a brief neuroticism in my mind.  I go online and check the weather in Polynesia...everything is beautiful like always and I go about my day.  But the last few days have been different.  Tropical storm Oli developed in the  South Pacific and has been making a beeline toward Uliad ever since.  The forecasts are for it to veer south at the last minute and never get within a hundred miles of Uliad.  But I don't know.  Currently the wind is blowing 50 mph there and the storm was just upgraded to a category 1 hurricane (or to be accurate, they call them cyclones or typhoons in the Pacific).  So all afternoon I'm nervously watching the wind speed and webcams--not really sure whether to wish I was there or be thankful I'm not.

     The current view of Uliad's island as I write this:

Typhoon Oli approaches Raiatea

OK, so it looks windy.  And rainy.  But the palm trees aren't leaning too bad, and there's certainly not any significant storm surge at this point.  If it gets no worse than this then we'll be fine.  But we really do need the storm to take that sharp turn to the south as predicted!!


February 10:

      It took us a few days to get word, but apparently all is well in Raiatea and Uliad is safe and sound!  We're told they experienced winds of up to 85 knots, which is well above official "Hurricane" strength.  Yet apparently no damage ocurred to any boats in our yard.  As further proof, our caretaker sent us some nice photos of Uliad smiling in the sun:

Uliad after cyclone Oli (white on hull is a protective compound) 

      I particularly like the little ropes that someone has tied across the top of the boat--apparently to keep her from flying away off her stand in the wind.  But hey, I'm from Minnesota.  What to I know about hurricanes, right?  Whatever the yard staff did, it sounds like they did it right, and we're feeling like we made the right choice as to where we left Uliad.  And now, two other tropical storms have popped up on the sattelite pictures.  So it looks like my storm watching hobby/obsession will continue for a while longer.  Wish us luck!



February 25:

     There's been a definite shift in the mood of the Erickson house over the past week or so.  I think it started when Emmett's Cub Scout leader asked him to give a little presentation to his den on living on a sailboat.  We started putting together a slide show for him to describe his life and soon it started to look like a pilot for Animal Planet:  Here's Emmett petting a's Emmett swimming with sea's Emmett playing with he is studying an iguana...and this is Emmett with a black a Galopagos tortise...and a huge lobster.  "Man, it sure was fun living on a boat," he moaned, "how much longer until we go back?"

     Less than 6 weeks, the calendar told us.  And with that revelation, Kathleen started a flurry of shopping for all those things she'd been meaning to get for the boat.  Soon we were anxiously studying airline baggage restrictions and wondering if we'll have room for everything.  Suddenly, our preoccupations have shifted from land life to planning our return to Uliad.  What happier feeling is there than the anticipation of something good?

      Seeing our ever growing pile of stuff to bring to Uliad, I got a bright idea.  Why not just pack up a box or two and ship it to the boat yard in Raiatea.  Then we won't have to lug all this stuff through the airport and pay extra bag fees.  I carefully packed a box of spare parts and boat supplies and brought it down to our local FedEx office thinking how smart we were.  Only to have them tell me that their charge to ship a 32 pound cardboard box to Tahiti would be $804 !!  The clerk, trying to be helpful, then checked and found that DHL would ship the same box at the bargain rate of $794.  Which is not too far from what it would cost me to buy my box its own coach ticket on Air Tahiti Nui.  Even an ocean freight consolidator on the west coast wanted over $400 for our box.  No wonder everything is so damned expensive in the South Pacific.

     So it looks like we'll be humping a mountain of luggage back to Uliad in a few weeks.  But its funny...all I keep thinking about is the "few weeks" part. 



                                                                                                                              created by Steve Erickson 2007-2012
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