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Anthem Adrift
Zoning Out
04/23/2010, Day Six

April 23

Ending first 1/3 of passage more sluggishly than it began. Speed over ground 5.7 in wrong direction. Ten knot apparent wind has difficulty holding sails from slamming with choppy seas, so course is south of desired, bringing it toward the beam to keep rig from taking a pounding. Expected trade wind conditions have not materialized, so soldiering on until they do.

Passed 105 degrees west so have set clocks, not on Greenwich Mean Time, back an hour to equivalent of Mountain Standard Time, which, by the way, few are currently observing. Daylight Savings Time, foisted on a tractable population, is a miserable idea. Always figured the government could accomplish the same misguided effect by just getting TV networks to move prime time up an hour.

State of consciousness at an awkward stage, too tired to be flippantly ironic, cheeky or whatever and insufficiently so to hallucinate. Could go either way, but have decided on the less interesting choice of a restful night to regain normal aplomb.

Jack

Nemo No Mo'
04/22/2010, Day Five

April 22

Going fast was exciting on day one, great day two, OK on three and tolerable by four. It's day five. Now looking for promised easy downhill slide. Could even endure only 6 knots to eschew galley strap (not an S & M device). (Note skewed perspective as preplanning speed was 5) In fact, notwithstanding previous snub at equator crossing, Neptune has seen fit to lay off a bit, but still rolly doing 7.3 knots.

Raised main before weighing anchor in Isabela and fell off just right to sail out of anchorage without engaging noisy mechanical thingy below cockpit sole. May get to Hanavave, Fatu Hiva before having to endure it again. Cool! Will, however, as at this very moment, be subjected to grumbling Honda for battery recharge.

Deck continues to be littered with fish and squid. Although flying fish skim the surface, one can visualize a max. 'G' pull-up to avoid that big plastic wall, but why precursory calamari? Maybe they were inspired by "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and think they can take me. Squid are not very bright.

Jack

Honkin'
04/21/2010, Day Four

April 21

Another day of hanging on. Making hull speed with yankee and reefed main. Sea two meters and choppy; later three meters, more regular, but peaks from cross swell have boat rolling over and wagging its tail periodically. Finally laid in another reef. Jimmy Cornell indicates this area and south as being a bit rough, now exacerbated by winds higher than average. Could continue for a few days. Still averaging 7.5. Tough to complain given great progress, but will anyway.

Similar to last night, sauteed potato, carrot, onion and garlic (all fresh) for dinner. Also cooked up some rice and made a salad. This for those expecting a diet consisting solely of peanut butter, canned beans and tuna. I wave my spatula in your general direction.

Pleased to report admirable compliance of head with requested obligations. No leaks, no smells, no sh... fooling and process of movement from inside to outside suggestive of a goose.

Jack

Almost There
04/20/2010, Day Three

Oceania

April 20

Took today off. Didn't ask the captain or anything. If he doesn't like it, I'll quit and then where would he be? He's not the boss o' me!

Unfortunately, enjoying a day of rest isn't what it's cracked up to be when conditions are this rambuctious. Engaged in no projects, but after a relatively mellow morning wind has been kicking around 20 with up to 30 near squalls. Currently 25. Confused seas occasionally put the boat on its beam ends. Still cracking off miles as to this point average speed over ground, 7.5 knots. Only 2500 nautical miles to go.

One gets so caught up in logistics, that the big picture is sometimes lost, but even an unromantic can appreciate the glamour and mystique of sailing off to the South Pacific. French Polynesia: Nuku Hiva, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Rangiroa; Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu. The history, the scenery, the beautiful, friendly women dressed only in grass skirts... OK, that last thing was gratuitous and, regrettably, a thing of the past, but, still, part of the narrative that has created a fascination with this area of the planet. The Caribbean was fun and exciting, Galapagos unique and interesting, but Oceania is exotic and alluring. I look forward to the unfolding adventure with keenest anticipation.

Jack

Taking the Prize
04/19/2010, Day Two

April 19

Phenomenal first day of passage. Twenty four hour run was 182 NM averaging 7.6 knots. Would be impossible without following current as hull speed on Anthem is 7.3. Continuing to average in the 7s. Have kept up with bigger boats until now, but expect that to change over next few days.

Spent another stimulating day working on Raritan head. Feared additional leaks as fetor continued to emanate. Trepidation ungrounded as system found secure. Liberal use of clorox in all effected areas plus washing rug seems to have succeeded. Had previously swapped Y-valves, putting clean one on head output. Disassembled gunky one, cleaned and put on holding tank. Placed removed scale deposit in cup of vinegar to check cleansing efficacy of flushing the stuff through. Zip, zero, nada. Does anyone know how to make pickles?

Sailing west has one effect similar to approaching the speed of light. All objects aboard experience a slowing of time. My day is 10 minutes longer than yours, which must mean I don't age as fast as you. Bet Albert didn't think of this one. Someone call the Nobel committee.

Jack

Watch Out!
04/18/2010, Day One

April 18

Did not earn breakfast that Jacksters provided this morning for helping them with Sailmail (SSB-based email). Only potentially constructive suggestion was to upgrade from older version of application. David's effort in proceeding into Villemil to download latest came to naught as all internet services were closed. Unless one is most rigorously religious and can sense the spiritual essence of a Sabbath, Sundays (for Christians) tend to be indistinguishable from others.

Since recounting daily events is likely to get a shade tiresome - watch, eat, nap, watch, eat, nap, watch - will probably begin to make things up. The really good stuff may begin after a week or so with sleep-deprivation-generated hallucinations. A reread in Marquesas after good rest should be a hoot.

Inspiration Lady has decided to try six hour watches. Although on-watch is lengthy, off-watch crew have time to get really useful sleep. It seems like such a fine idea that Anthem will also effectuate this system with half the crew being on watch at all times.

Progress westward will probably demote winlink to secondary status. Sailmail has closer stations with, probably, stronger signals that should, theoretically, provide better access.

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is." - Chuck Reid

Jack

Happy Feet, and Blue
04/17/2010, Villemil, Isla Isabela, Galapagos

Booby, Blue Feet

April 17

With accompaniment of Inspiration Ladys went walkabout on moonscape island to look for blue-footed booby and penguin inhabitants. White bird excrement covered every outcropping of jagged volcanic rock. Saw literally herds of marine iguana, a few lava lizards, many red crabs and one bird flying away. First suspicion was that whole flock went up to cabins on Seymore for long weekend after our Tuesday visit. This last guy stayed behind to shut off the lights. Finally got pictures of blue-footed boobies and penguins on dinghy ride back to boats.

As head is apparently project of the week, found leak at joker valve (post bowl segment, Cal, of course) which led to discovery of another leak when through-hull valve accidentally left closed for test pump. Beseeching poo god to intervene with head to properly discharge its responsibilities, henceforth.

Last walk into Villemil for internet disclosed finances and sailblog in acceptable order and resulted in extensive acquisition of pastries upon instigation by Robert on whom entirety of blame descends.

Four boat flotilla leaving for Polynesia tomorrow are Inspiration Lady (Canadians Gary & Jackie), Bristol Rose (Australians Robert & Trish with sons Owen & Elliot, 23 & 20 respectively), Jackster (Englishmen David & Jacqui) and Anthem (the token Yank). Additional amigos and acquaintances are ahead and arear. Anticipate being turtle of group due significantly shorter waterline. SSB 'local net' for mutual contact is initially 8149.0 MHz @ 1300z and 2300z (0900 & 1900 EDT). Propagation to St. Pete unlikely, but friends there are welcome to come in if able.

Jack

It's the Custom(er)
04/16/2010, Villemil, Isla Isabela, Galapagos

April 16

Possession of electronic Galapagos charts required purchasing 300 + dollar South America chip for no other reason. Ergo, only a very small scale, limited detail paper chart is on board that doesn't show mile and a half reef across path to Villemil anchorage. It's really pretty impressive upon close approach. Anyway, headed away from land for circumnavigation then entered small, crowded anchorage surrounded by lava islands for short nap.

Apparently, port captain is rather indulgent as regards autografos (technically required to stop at any port other than original landing) but suspect his inclination has more to do with economics than temperament. Nice little town has a few restaurants, hotels, limited groceries and two internet cafes. There is slim possibility that proper Sailmail position reporting ops will be confirmed before month-long loss of on-line service.

Penguins. They're tiny little buggers. Tomorrow morning's walking tour is reputed to include a penguin rookery and blue-footed boobies (heard that story before). In a like vein, reputed smooth anchorage has been a cruel hoax. Last calm night, other than marinas, was Chichime in San Blas.

Head (toilet, Cal) had been a little hinky since hose cleaning, raising some concern. As turns out, joker valve, which prevents return of chunkage to bowl, had been inverted by malfunction induced back-pressure. Introduction of substantial gobbets through confused gate set things aright so that ongoing scatological activities may proceed in their customary manner. You wanted to know, right?!

Jack

Pooped
04/14/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

April 15

In recounting fun with grey water several days ago, obliquely referred to black water, AKA poop. What a delightful coincidence. After a few weeks of hinting darkly, the head, always a little mischievous, picked day of departure from San Cristobal to discontinue passing the aforementioned substance from porcelain receptacle to its intended and more appropriate location. This occasioned dismantling of significant bits of effected system. Most difficult hose in the boat to take out was culprit (rule #33). It provided entertainment all morning and early afternoon. Scale had reduced inch and a half orifice to a mere shadow of its former dimension so that numerous whacks with a rubber mallet created an impressive hill of grey/black slag on appropriately named poop deck. Reinstallation was far more challenging than removal, after which a quick trip into town for eggs and bread allowed weighing anchor at 1600 before good sense could suggest resting up to leave a day later.

Overnight passage should place next arrival late tomorrow morning. Expect a day or two in Villemil, San Isabela with penguins then on to Fatu Hiva.

After a few hours twelve knot beam wind quickly became nine knot beat. Held out well north of rhumb, until avoiding Isla Santa Fe became impossible without a tack, then awakened bilge monster. Availability of cheap fuel before the big jump made that decision easier and besides, I'm too pooped withal.

Jack

Easy Come, Easy Go
04/14/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

Kicker Rock

April 14

Will not have personal relationship with checking account for up to a month, so spent much of day with bills protecting credit rating. Liz will be pleased at impossibility of spending money during passage, however, because of tax structure, French Polynesia promises to nullify some of that advantage (bread is subsidized). Grocery binge in Panama, besides evading malnourishment en route, was designed to stanch more egregious levels of monetary hemorrhage.

Scofflaw Jackster, providing lame excuse in Puerto Villemil, Isla Isabella, has successfully gained access for a few days prior to setting off for edge of the world. Inspiration Lady and I plan same. Not legal without autografo, but port captain reported to be mellow. Anticipating smooth anchorage, clear water and penguins, cute little ones.

As underway opportunities for interesting photography will be limited - water, boat, water, boat - may eventually add pictures of Galapagos to posts from passage. Holding breath until blue while waiting will be of limited utility as internet is necessary, but unavailable until at least Hiva Oa at just shy of 3000 NM away.

Jack

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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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