Val + Alma went off to do some washing ashore (if you understand me) in the morning. Jack worked on his rudder post, and I got on with my assignment: fitting up a couple of fans, one in our cabin, + one in the main saloon. Electricity is not my forte (I sonmetimes wonder what my forte is) but I was pretty well pleased with the job I’d done. Val, Alma, + a friend of hers called Joan, came swimming out at lunchtime, dragging the boat behind them, + then lunch once again – a grilled cheese sandwich – quite delicious. In the afternoon, Val + I cleaned the sides of the boat – she did one side, I the other, + seeing as everyone else had disappeared for various reasons (tho’ I don’t really think anyone would have complained had they been there) we took ourselves a cleansing, refreshing swim. We went over to the village later, to have a beer, to see Joan off on the ferry, + to shower. By the time we got back, + had eaten, time for bed.
Today, with any luck, we would be under way (again). However, first things first. Val + I were dispatched to the island to undertake the great mango hunt. J + A had a friend on the island who had several mango trees in her garden, + tho’ she was absent, we had permission to purloin what mangos we could. Alma had the idea that I would be able to climb the trees, but when we arrived, I only had to look at the tree to reject that notion. In fact, we were beginning to despair of returning with any mangoes, till we discovered we could get Val up onto the roof of Jan’s bungalow. From there, she could pick some + knock others down, so we ended up with quite a respectable total. We bought some bread, had a farewell beer on dry land, + rowed back. Jack was still working on the rudder post, so it didn’t look as if we would be leaving today, especially when, just as he’d finished, 2 friends arrived in their boat to invite J + A over for a farewell drink. Still, a good meal in the evening, + the promise to leave tomorrow.
We have become used to delay – it seems to have been our major way of life for ages now – but it does seem as though we are going to be off soon, and Jack seems to be a more experienced sailor than Dave, and so with greater hopes for a successful journey.
Pamela J Blair
It’s amazing how traveling as we did then can alter one’s sense of the importance of time. When I was traveling in Sudan, I had to wait two weeks for a visa, during which time the Black September movement kidnapped and killed several US and Belgian diplomats, then a haboob blew in from the Sahara, blanketing Khartoum with several inches of sand, then, on the way down to Southern Sudan the train stopped at least three times with engine problems, then, when I arrived in Wau (wow!) I found the lorry, the only transport to Juba, my destination, had left that morning and the next one wouldn’t leave for a week, then the paddle-wheel boat I took down the Nile (now going north) got stuck in a papyrus swamp and it took a day to untether it from the papyrus. Waiting, at least in Africa, is part of the deal, as it seems to be if one is taking a boat across the Pacific. And no ruffled feathers, since why hurry? There’s nothing in the plans to be late for. It’s one of the beauties of traveling with no itinerary.