We had great fun at the marina-sponsored Rally Dinner
Of course there was an open bar, and some fire dancing, and really nice native drummers. Then after dinner, the music switched to dance music and we all got a little crazy.
The last week, everyone going on the rally was frantically doing last minute preparations. The marina shuttle bus was crowded every day with people provisioning, looking for parts, or working on checkout formalities. We were actually thankful we weren't going!
One of the Frigoboat units we had bought in Singapore was for Mind the Gap. They didn't have time to install the whole thing before they left, but James wanted Dave's help in bending the evaporator plate. So the night before they left, after a few drinks, the guys did the job.
Finally departure day arrived... we walked around the docks and said goodbye to everyone going on the rally, and then watched as they filed out of the narrow marina entrance, one by one.
It was very bittersweet. We had been sharing the docks with most of these boats for the past year. And a few of them, we had been friends with for a long time. We first met Carina on a beach in Panama in 2009--after talking with them on the radio for the year prior. We finally caught up with them again in Pohnpei February last year, and hopscotched together through Micronesia to the Philippines. Sidewinder we had met on the radio in 2010, when we were in the Galapagos and they were in a remote anchorage in Costa Rica with a flooded engine. Dave talked David through getting the engine going again. We didn't meet face to face until they caught up with us in Fiji in 2013. Helena we first met in Suwarrow in 2011. They were off their boat in Fiji in 2013 when we saw it right after Cyclone Evan went through. We were happy then to be able to tell Eddy that Helena was fine. And we ran into them in Pohnpei early last year. Mind the Gap are relatively new friends from last year's rally.
None of us had planned to be in the marina this long. This is a very "sticky" place. Inexpensive living, very cruiser-friendly marina, nice social activity, and a good place to get the boat fixed up after the long haul across the Pacific.
Everyone seems to be going different directions--some west, and some east, some who weren't so sure where they'd end up after Indonesia. Most said "But not back here!" We made jokes over the radio about what life on the other side of the wall was like.
Of course we followed the rally boats to their first stop in Indonesia by SSB. But radio is difficult here on the equator, and living in the noisy marina. It's not like being out in an anchorage. And of course we are still in contact by email and Facebook (thank God for Facebook!!). We all said "Keep in touch, we'll see you somewhere!" ...but only half believing it. But that's the nature of actually getting out and going cruising.
Meantime, with all the rally boats gone, we've met a few other people in the marina we hadn't had a chance to get to know before. And life goes on...