He had that time worn, weary, heard it all before look complete with wispy white, gone to seed, unshorn, unkempt hair set off against a gentle, patient half smile seemingly embossed on his face. Sue from Macushla graciously agreed to come along to translate and hold my hand. After hearing Sue’s French translation of my meandering English explanation for this early morning consultation, the doc asked a question or two. No, Bora Bora has only an X-ray machine which would be a waste of time and money plus the discomfort to the patient…he let that hang in the air for a moment and then asked what she was taking. He had no argument with the meds, just that he liked this over that a little better but we would have to get our patient to Tahiti which has a brand new MRI. This would involve transferring Marce from Escape Velocity to the dink and a short, probably choppy ride to the Mai Kai dinghy dock, transferring our favorite patient out of the dink, walking through the club to the owner Teiva’s kindly offered car for a ride to the airport where we would have to find a way through the airport into an airplane where she would have to sit even though she hadn’t been able to sit up for our entire stay in Bora Bora! No this wouldn’t do.
Maybe a plan B was called for.
I’m a simple man with a simple plan, which is to tuck M into our stateroom and drive straight to Papeete which, with any luck at all, should take about 35 hours, tie up Escape Velocity to the town dock marina and get M to the hospital. She liked the plan and as luck would have it tomorrow morning’s weather promised relatively calm seas and a window long enough to make it to Papeete the following day in the daylight if we could average at least four and a half knots. We hadn’t had a chance to install the redesigned masthead bit so once again the burden would fall to the Volvos.
I’m not used to doing everything myself so everything had to be thought through carefully. The day dawned beautifully and I soon found our mooring gear comprehensively twisted around the mooring ball but with very little wind I was able to get it sorted and we were headed for Passe Tea Vanui, Bora Bora, by 6:30 am. I settled in for 35 or so straight hours at the helm. As you Escapees know I hate to go backwards, it just feels like defeat but just the same, this feels right. We need to know what is going on with Marce’s back or at least give it a name.
It’s always sad to leave a beautiful harbor and as I turned to watch Bora Bora fade into the mist this was no exception. We had a calm sea state as promised and a little current to push us along but I knew it would turn against us during the night so I kept the starboard engine turning over at a good clip monitoring the engine which will overheat if given half a chance so discretion was the order of the day. It was a balancing act of keeping M as comfortable as possible while maintaining a daylight arrival the following day and making sure the engine didn’t overheat.
It didn’t take long before the motion of EV at sea hit Marce’s already overwhelmed stomach and in addition to enduring serious back pain, nerve pain, and nausea while taking handfuls of pills, from the sound of violent retching from the head, I could hear out in the cockpit it would be safe to say that you could add sea sickness to the butcher’s bill of this night’s torture for her. It would be a long night.
Normally we do six hour watches at night but tonight my watch will never end so I concentrated on managing the engine and trying to find EV’s groove as the sea state evolved. There was no need to check the clock. During the night the wind picked up and so did the waves and countercurrent, all of which conspired to rob the piggy bank of our extra speed salted away during the day.
Eventually I realized that I had to either raise the jib or start up the port engine for a little extra push. I wanted to get M to the hospital that day, but the wind as usual was on the nose so it was back to Doctor Diesel for the handy bloke.
I expected high winds and waves while coming out from the lee of Moorea which would be torture for Marce but for the first time in four crossings of this stretch of ocean it was realitively calm and we made reasonable time. Marce got permission on VHF radio to enter Passe Papeete and we tied up near our old slip at the town Marina. At 4:00 pm it was too late for a run to the hospital. Marce was in no shape to travel anywhere so tomorrow would have to do.
Come to think of it, I was in no shape either.