Recently, I celebrated the two-year anniversary of my initial departure from Onset, Massachusetts. To mark the occasion, Anna and I splurged on a gourmet feast served at a small bungalow on the beach. We had arranged the luncheon on Saturday afternoon and had made reservations for six people. However, the unexpected break in the weather on Sunday morning resulted in the other three boats deciding to haul anchor and set off for New Zealand, Fiji, and points beyond. The sudden exodus left the entire anchorage of Port Resolution to us.
It is always difficult to be left behind and the temptation to head off for New Zealand was strong. However, we have been closely monitoring the weather forecast awaiting a favorable "weather window" that would provide the most comfortable possible conditions. As always, my father has been invaluable in assisting in tracking the various complex weather systems at work in this area of the world.
After a rapid exchange of e-mails over several days, we decided to enlist the assistance of experts and hired a weather routing service to help us understand the weather patterns and to select the optimal time for a trip south. The route to New Zealand is particularly susceptible to bad weather and most cruisers that have completed the trip in the past say that they have been hammered at some point along the way. Following our recent traumatic passage from Erromanga to Tanna, a relatively short beat into wind and waves, we are not inclined to endure any more punishment than necessary.
Despite the departure of the neighboring boats, we decided to go ahead with the feast. Flush with cash â 9,000 vatu or $90USD â we opted to have our chef Lea prepare the feast for six people and we took the large quantities of leftovers back to the boat. The meal consisted of a delicious omelet, a terrific chicken in sauce, rice, bananas, sweet potatoes, papaya, salad, and pumpkin. As plates, we were served on woven mats covered by a big banana leaf. Lea told us that she had begun gathering the food from the garden in the morning and had spent the next several hours preparing the feast. The meal was served in a small bungalow nestled on the white sand beach. As always, we cherished the break from our boring diet and the feast was the gift that kept giving: we spent the first half of the week grazing on the leftovers.