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Anthem Adrift
Stick a Fork in Me
05/08/2010, Hanavave, Fatu Hive, Marquesas

Anthem at Fatu Hiva

May 8

Arrived in Hanavave just at sunrise after minimal sleep, tidied working rig, unshipped dinghy and motor, ate breakfast and, then, accompanied friends on several kilometer trek up to mountaintop cross overlooking anchorage, then another to waterfall for icy plunge in its lower pool where crawfish nibbled our toes. Large sixteen year old Fatu Havan girl gave me papaya and requested to visit boat, was waiting at quay for our return. Jacksters graciously volunteered to stay while large (did I mention large) jeune fille requested gifts of everything from rope to rum. Interesting exchange, but will henceforth look gift fruit in mouth.

While hefty guest was denied adult beverage, host was not and imbibed mass quantities before and after canned chicken and dumplings dinner. Will now shower and retire to boudoir where long, uninterrupted repose will ensue to prepare for onshore, local prepared barbecue of pig, goat, fish and chicken at 1100.

Chamber of Commerce type hyperbole has described this anchorage as most beautiful in the world. With disappointment written all over expectations, was surprised to discover agreement. The place is absolutely stunning. A photo gives some sense, but the panoramic vista from a boat (or walking around) is quite remarkable. Catholic missionaries, shocked by inhabitant given appellation, renamed it Bay of Virgins. From picture (pending), guess original name and which is more apropos. Think naughty. Starts with a 'P' ends with an 'S' - too easy.


Rocks and Rolling
05/07/2010, Day Twenty

May 7

Last day turns out to be most uncomfortable of trip. Surrounded by very short period 2 and 3 meter peaks that throw the boat around like a rag doll. Despite previous comments, wouldn't want to do this indefinitely. Am now eagerly anticipating anchorage at Hanavave (Hah-nah-VAH-vay). About 40 NM remaining and have slowed to arrive dawn tomorrow.

Conditions did, however, provide a convenient excuse for not doing housework. Boat looks like the last hour of a garage sale and it's OK. Things that had been secure for nearly two weeks were flung about and that's OK, too. Will clean it all up after sufficient rest in a day or two or so... probably.

Talked to a couple of boats (manner of speaking, actually spoke to people inhabiting them) about anchorage. They loved it. It's crowded, 100 feet deep, rolly and subject to williwaws. After three weeks at sea, Playita in Panama would probably seem like heaven.

Not too much sleep tonight watching out for converging cruisers, a big motu (rock) about 15 NM this side of Fatu Hiva and, of course, the island itself which is quite hard and must be avoided even during arrival at leeward side anchorage.


Perplexing Occupation
05/06/2010, Day Nineteen

May 6

Leaving the poled-out drifter in place overnight was a not completely unforeseeable error. By late evening wind had piped up to an unlikely 20 to 25 with commensurate sea. Crashing along at more than hull speed was second least desirable option behind going forward at moonless midnight to stow 700 square foot sail and whisker pole. Fortunately, nothing carried away and boat behaved remarkable well until morning. After SSB nets and breakfast (marlin, cheddar, onion omelet and bacon with pear nectar), switched sail plan to yankee and double reefed main with wind still 18 to 20 and 3 meter choppy sea. Speed only decreased to 6 and frenetic motion became merely uncomfortable. This hour of effort bore an uncanny resemblance to work. Really ought to retire. Appropriate individuals have been notified; steps will be taken.

Having gotten into toil mode, finished scouring/waxing cockpit and did a load of laundry. While permissible to turn underwear inside out for a second day, prefer to have fresh clean skivvies next to baby soft keister.

Three quarters of this passage has been in 'confused' seas causing, well, confusion. What happened to lazy, long-period swells, gentle days of easy motion? Have been told this is atypical, possibly caused by El Nino. That baby's a real pain. I want some of that famed Coconut Milk Run, but can't kvetch at 20 days instead of planned 25.

Expect to spend a goodly portion of tomorrow preparing boat and crew to be reintroduced into civilized society. This will include, but not be limited to, shaving, combing hair and not only finding clean clothes, but wearing them.

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." - Mark Twain


Shooting the Curl
05/05/2010, Day Eighteen

May 5

Flopped along in sloppy one to two meter cross sea (we're both vexed), wing and wing with main and whiskered drifter, for bulk of day. Southeast trades have lost their way, meandering east and east northeast. Some of morning was spent with wind coming over transom bringing mind altering effects from Honda exhaust. This is evidenced by commencement of work to scrub and wax cockpit gelcoat. Don't know what else could have caused this odd behavior. Returned to broad reach for the night, leaving pole in place to anticipate more downwind tomorrow.

Last three evenings have been devoted to shooting stars (none were harmed during this exercise) for navigational purposes. Fixes have been 15, 12 and 9.2 miles. Great inaccuracy is blamed on unwillingness of stars, horizon and boat to remain still. This is intolerable. Emails have been sent; heads will roll. Too many clouds tonight, so shall make do with backup global positioning system to which many sailors have gone.

Have neglected to shave since departing Isla Isabela (what was it, six or seven months ago?). Now (to quote Bill Cosby) there are "little tiny hairs growin' out my face". Didn't know humans could get mange. Shaving prior to arrival will seek to avoid traumatizing small children and squeamish adults. Just hope there's booze at the humanitarian award ceremony.


He Went Thataway
05/04/2010, Day Seventeen

May 4

Another day, another dollar (not spent on the boat) - an often unappreciated advantage of being at sea for three weeks. Liz is smiling at this. VISA bill remains below ionosphere, probably feels neglected. Chase Bank concerned at resultant necessity to discharge employees. GDP suffers. All to be reversed, if cost reports are accurate, in Papeete.

After first several days of getting tired and run down, have gotten into a rhythm and recaptured a more typical joie de vivre. More than a month might seem like a rut, but for now it is most agreeable.

Fourth day of beautiful trade wind sailing. Although southeast trades have backed to east and east northeast, which would require nearly a run to remain on rhumb line, discovered that staysail seems to help drifter stay full for increased speed on a broad reach. This is a surprise as it is useless off the wind with yankee and appears, now, to have little pressure on it. Unfortunately, unless wind rediscovers its proper direction, a jibe onto starboard tack looms in the future. Possible arrival in Fatu Hiva, Saturday.

Have begun to nibble around the edges of cleaning up gunge that envelopes Anthem. Actual work could begin any time.


Whatcha Got Cookin'?
05/03/2010, Day Sixteen

May 3

Weevils have formed a civilization in the brown rice. As it was well sealed assume they are indigenous. Don't mind ingesting the little black carcasses, but don't need the protein so long as peanut butter holds out. Marlin also a help on that with added advantage of avoiding any potential mercury deficiency.

For someone being miserly with propane (only one ten pound bottle) red beans are a trial. Finished cooking some this morning subsequent to running out of time last night. Expect next batch to soak overnight and succumb to pressure cooker. In a related comment, sailing solo has a number of advantages including uninhibited expression of rude noises with accompanying aura. TMI?

Thought all Bolitho novels were in Kindle, but discovered, to loud lamentations and gnashing of teeth, that his career in wake of making Lieutenant must remain a mystery until internet connection with Amazon can be obtained, hopefully, in Hiva Oa next week. Bugger. Dan Brown will be called upon in the interim to fill in with "The Lost Symbol". Hope it's as engaging as "Angels and Demons". May need that and more if wind continues to ease and expected Saturday arrival Fatu Hiva delayed.

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered." - G. K. Chesterton Bob Bitchin said it better, "Attitude is the difference between Ordeal and Adventure".


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