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Anthem Adrift
True Lies
04/24/2010, Day Seven

April 24

Economic news from the US has been a little sparse, even in Panama. So what's going on? Has the country fallen into the despair of failed five year plans or has it soared in the sunlight of free-market capitalism? I'm guessing that, as usual, there's more than a little arsenic in the ambrosia. Tastes fine and keeps you alive, but what about that enervating heartburn? Just lucky the government manufactures so much Zantac. Please, may I have some Valium, too? As one may discern, a good night's sleep has restored a semblance of frisky impertinence.

Bobbing along on a very broad reach at six and a half knots with reefed main and yankee in 6 to 8 foot, 7 second swell. Boat is rolling over now and again, but comfort level well above yesterday. Passed 1000 mile mark with scarcely more than 1900 to go. When she asks if we're there yet, always assure Jackie (Inspiration Lady), that "yes, yes we are". It seems like the right thing to do and everyone feels better. Reality and truth should always yield to feelings and desires, don't you think?

At this moment there are perhaps 100 cruising boats en route to Marquesas from west coasts of North, Central and South America. This is a WAG ('wild-assed guess' for non-cognoscenti), but even quadrupling that number and factoring in surface area of eastern Pacific, have determined that likelihood of running into one is roughly equivalent to 'W' and Hillary chucking it all and running away together. Bet they'd go to French Polynesia, too.

Jack

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

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