Opua to New Caledonia

Posted 30 May 2012

First of all, I apologize for the delay on the blog. I left Opua on May 10, bound to Vanuatu with 15 knots of wind from astern. The wind eventually picked up to F7 during the night and it carried on well into the afternoon on the following day, making for a boisterous but fast sailing.

On the 2nd night out the wind calmed down to 10/12 knots and so did the seas, giving me a more comfortable ride, but on the 3rd day out from Opua I had a very unfortunate accident in the galley. I had a pot of boiled water on the stove, when the boat lurch dropping the contents on my lower back and within seconds the skin disappeared. Although I was not in a life treating situation, still was a very serious injury.

I have been very careful in preparing the boat for offshore sailing, it shows on the little equipment failure that I had and the good condition that Vida Nova is in, but I must confess that I overlooked this detail. It is one of the major dangers that a single hand sailor faces, the others being run over by a ship while asleep, run into a container or a reef, a fire aboard, falling over board and off course a burning accident in the galley. I should have known better.

Before we left on our trip, one of the many dock experts of Shelter Island harbor came to my boat while I was working on it and said that one cannot be prepared for all contingencies, I didn't say anything but I disagree, one should be prepared as best as possible for all contingencies and the best time to do so is when you are at harbor. The truth is, I was not prepared for this and I can't blame nobody except myself.

I altered the course westwards to New Caledonia instead of Vanuatu, as the medical facilities are just much better. I didn't want more complications in a already bad situation. It was very uncomfortable, and to add insult to the injury, the wind shifted and increased, and for next 2 days and 2 nights I bashed to windward in 28/30 knots towards my destination, I couldn't sit properly and sleep was only possible belly down.

I made the passage just under 8 days and after clearing out I went into the hospital where I was treated promptly and off course first class service; every 2 days a nurse came aboard to change the dressing.

I am enjoying New Caledonia very much, the French are super nice, full of life and very polite, but I am itching to get going to the Solomon's, where I would like to do some diving on the WW2 wrecks and also visiting the abandon ruins of the Japanese occupation.
I am doing some minor boat chores while waiting for a go from the doctors, so I am not sitting on my ass HA HA HA.

Warm regards to all