Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aotearoa Awaits

Back in Neiafu we’ve had our hands full. Sixteen ligatures and eight snips equals four castrations. Voilà! Tropicana café was closed for the day so we commandeered a café table and Moppy, Reynold and Solitia were anesthetized and prepped, assembly-line style, and the deed was done. Rusty (DaMojo’s rescue) was castrated at Mala Island Resort, his new home, with a couple of guests playing curious onlookers. We were invited back the next evening to partake in the resort’s beachside “Tongan feast,” food for medicine, as usual. All pooches fared well and don’t seem the wiser.

Kiara, owned by Treena and her husband Scott, the pharmacist, has been a greater challenge. She has an ovarian remnant producing estrogen willy-nilly despite a spay, and a second exploratory surgery, by the vet from Tongatapu (he visits Neiafu twice yearly from the capital down south). Unfortunately the problem isn’t solved and she experiences heats, male “advances” and, most recently, vaginal hyperplasia. A third surgery isn’t an option so I’m investigating hormonal therapies. In the meantime she has had a little procedure at the vulva and has the distinction (and humiliation) of being the first Tongan dog to wear an E. collar.

Now that we have provisioned, fueled up and checked out we are close to saying our farewells to Tonga. Sunday is likely the day for departure, but the plan, as always, is open to revision based on the weather’s whims. The passage to New Zealand should be a challenge—1200 nautical miles with a transition into temperate seas. We anticipate an added layer of cloths for every degree south, and will likely be decked out in full foul weather gear by the time we get there. Every cruiser has an eye to the “weather window” so it’s the talk of the town. The trick is to time the passage around the brisk advancement of lows blowing in from the southwest. We’ll play it safe and report on our progress…

Aotearoa awaits!!

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