During the last two months we have not been idle. At the end of June we both crossed the 'pond' to visit our daughters in New York and to celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday. Patrice went ahead of me via the islands for his first round of consulting in the Caribbean. I'm pleased announce that our consulting firm, Taka Technologies, is now officially open for business.
Upon our return from New York, we headed straight back to La Rochelle and we have been living aboard Taka Trois in the Port des Minimes working hard at making her into a home and getting her and ourselves ready for her first big passage to Spain (see 'The Plan'). So what does 'getting ready' entail? Just to give you an idea, here's a sampling of what we've been doing:
- Patrice has attended various courses in onboard electrics, diesel engine and outboard motor maintenance and we both took a two day intensive first aid course where we anthesized and sutured pigs feet, gave antibiotic shots to grapefruits, administered an emergency tracheotomy and CPR to plastic dolls and learned about all the potential hazards that await us both on the sea and in the sea--yikes! When the instructor asked us if we had any questions at the end of the first day I said: "Yeah, does anyone want to buy a boat?" Just kidding (sort of).
- We acquired, installed and inspected a host of emergency equipment--flares, fire-extinguishers, the newest, state-of the art life jackets, grab-bags, two large duffel bags of first-aid equipment, etc. etc. We already had a life-raft on board, but regulations require that it be tested every 3 years, so early one morning we dragged the thing out from the hold and took it to the test center where they inflated our raft--a little like jiffy-pop popcorn --and we got to have a good look and even taste the absolutely disgusting survivial biscuits provided inside. Note to self: Add some decent tasting biscuits to the emergency grab bag.
- Inside the boat we've installed a cornucopia of electronics, satellite phone, a de-salinator, a generator, new valves for the heads (toilets), fans, shelves, cupboards, etc. etc..
- Outside we've installed new sails, new rigging, solar panels, a hydro-generator, canvas side panels, etc. etc.
It's been fun, exhausting and expensive, but we're almost there. Within the next week all the work should be finished and I will be concentrating on provisioning--Patrice has already taken care of the 'wine cellar' aka 'ballast of over 100 bottles. After all, the first commandment of Taka Trois is: 'Thou shalt not go thirsty onboard this vessel!'
Our farewell party on the pontoon is scheduled for August 2nd and we've invited everyone who has been working on the boat in the hopes that it will shame them into actually finishing their jobs by then--I'll let you know how that goes. D-day is now set for August 4th which is the day we start waiting for the perfect weather window to cross the Bay of Biscay. Up until recently we were highly doubtful of that happening, but as of last week, summer and fair winds have arrived here, at last! We'll let you know how we get on...