Being back in Opua was like a homecoming. The place was the same and the marina personnel were the same but most of our former "classmates" had either moved on, or had returned home – literally. Just a few of our former cruiser friends returned to Opua. Coming in now were the newest group of "Puddle Jumpers". Boats who had either left the west coast as we had done in 2008, or who had come through the Panama Canal. We could tell how bonded together they were and could feel their excitement at having made it this far. This is a long way from home and indeed a very long way to sail!
It took us no time at all to get the cell phone card charged up and to begin making calls to vendors who would happily take our money in exchange for: repairing the generator, repairing the engine, re-stitching our sails and replacing the UV covers, repairing the broken toilet (dirty job!), stripping the external varnish (we have decided to go gray!), and having a new companionway board made to replace the one that went overboard. There was a parade of tradesmen on and off the boat beginning early each morning for days on end.
I tried to stay away as much as possible so that I would not have an anxiety attack watching the mess being made of Destiny, and also so that I would not embarrass Frank every time I heard a price quoted, by exclaiming something like…"You want $5,000 just to strip the varnish? That is outrageous!".
Frank hooked up with Earl May from Mahurangi and went running around for Guy Boat Things. One day he returned to tell me that he had bought a new dinghy motor and that we would finally be getting rid of that horribly heavy, unreliable fancy Honda. I was beyond asking what it cost, I was so happy!
I spent a fortune in time and money getting laundry done at the marina laundry mat, but was thrilled to be doing my own laundry once again, and to know that it was done in hot water with soap and that I would get it all back. I dropped another small fortune getting a hair cut and color. Once again, my hair turned out black and slightly purple, but not as bad as before. I used a different gal this time. Then Marsha (Mahurangi) and I went shopping for Girl Boat Things.
We had lots of get-togethers with old and new friends and then before we knew it, it was time to fly home. Of course that is a relative term, since Destiny is our home. We had made arrangements to fly to Virginia and had asked our children and my siblings and parents to join us there. We only had time for a quick Thanksgiving trip and knew this was a hardship for them, but we hoped that they were missing us as much as we were missing them and could swing it. Besides, it would be like a big slumber party for us all at Tom and Mary's home, which is large enough to accommodate us all comfortably. We are so blessed to have such a close-knit family!