April 5

Today we bolted on the new bow pulpit finally. The boat is finally looking like her old self again. The bow pulpit, for those who do not know, is a steel railing which surrounds the pointy end of the boat. It turns the bow into a safe place to work. It was crafted based on the original plans provided by Shannon and custom fit to our boat. Tomorrow I can re-attach the lifelines (steel cables which surround the boat) to the pulpit and we will once again be whole.

Now we just have to complete some small items and fix one or two pesky things like our malfunctioning solar panels (most likely the voltage regulator - aka charge controller). This evening our next door neighbor "Renegade" hosted a dock party complete with keg of beer. It was big fun and tons of people showed up including some we haven't seen in months even though they are at the same marina (it's a big place).

We are still debating when to leave. The problem is that its getting colder here and we want to move North to the tropics. However, it is still technically typhoon (hurricane) season in the tropics. April is the last month of the season so May 1st is "technically" safe. Of course, late season storms do happen and a mid or late May storm is always possible. On the other hand, the statistical probabilities show that a storm after April 15th is extremely unlikely. Our plan now is to leave April 25th. Its app. 6 days to Minerva reef (the edge of the tropics at latitude 23S) so we will arrive on or about May 1st. Of course, as I said above, a late season storm is possible so even that does not guarantee we will not experience a tropical storm. To be really really safe one would have to remain outside the tropics until mid May or even early June, but by then we are into the Southern winter and New Zealand will be quite chilly (it already is - yesterday night we hit 6C which is approximately 40F). For us its damn cold here already.