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Anthem Adrift
Kibbles and Bits
05/25/2010, Taipivai, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

May 24

Beat up to the NE corner of Nuku Hiva, then had wind to reach around the coast to Baie Controleur. Anchored in Hanga Haa Bay at the foot of Taipivai (Typee Valley) which is lovely. Dinghy ride up river to the village at high slack water was uneventful. Return on outgoing against the breeze was a sleigh ride.

Original settlers lived in the hills, so enjoyed a fair hike up to place where Melville was afraid he would be sacrificed or eaten. Looks like a set from "Apocalypto". (Marquesans, contrary to Tahitians who ate the naughty parts, were considered more civilized because they ate only thigh meat). Hope to download his novel to Kindle with internet tomorrow in Taiohae.

Had drinks on Anthem with English couple from "Elysion" (Steve was an easy sell as his beer supply had run out) and an Italian fellow on "Nausicaa" who, besides his native tongue, speaks Spanish, French, Portugese and a pretty passable English. Marcello, a single-hander, was decrying his country's laws and education. Huh! Glad the rest of us have perfect systems. Brits also speak a little English, so that with minimum hand gestures we were able to communicate.

Looking forward to a modicum of civilization in the big town (about 1800 residents) for a few, then, after a day in Daniel's Bay just west, off to nothing like it atoll.


Let Them Eat Cake
05/24/2010, Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

May 23

This anchorage is the Hotel California. Had planned to leave two days ago, but with one thing and another... and couldn't miss pot luck on the beach tonight. Anyway, tomorrow for sure. May give Taipivai ("Typee") a pass to head directly to Taiohae for internet, laundry, propane, gasoline, fresh produce, bread and restaurant with petit dejeuner. Will be first professionally prepared breakfast in over a month. Cour de franc Pacifique (CFP, about 92 to the dollar) are burning a hole in the one pocket that doesn't already have one.

Idea of damaging coral causes a cringe, but with bottom here 95% covered with the stuff, idea of not getting an anchor back seems more urgent. Dived on it yesterday to find chain lying across tops and pointy end of hook not even stuck in tiny plot of sand where it rested. No obvious damage to any coral. See why all-chain road is de rigueur in the Pacific.

Well, time to go party. It's a hard life. Share dish will be brown rice with shredded, canned chicken. Delicious unless you have ever, in your life, used salt, then a tad bland. Would be more for me, but usually prefer what people who know how to, have cooked. Fact that OPF (other people's food) always tastes better surely not a commentary on personal culinary prowess... probably.


Same Difference
05/22/2010, Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

May 22

Again proceeded to Jackster, now armed with new version of Airmail application, to slay the dragon preventing contact with Sailmail shore stations. Tweaked a few parameters; checked that every cable was connected properly and each bit was intercommunicating properly and voila! No connection. Dragon 2, Jackster 0. Bugger! Obviously there's some PFM (ask a friend) at work here. Good news is that assistance record is intact. Consistency, the hobgoblin of great minds... something like that.

Due desire to dive on anchor, fearing ensnarlment (real word or not?) by ubiquitous coral, first took scuba to manta locale. Spotted two spotted eagle rays (how else to see this species?) playing on the surface (budding romance?) then found one at thirty feet and shortly thereafter the large manta. Way cool. Marginal video. Anticipating next island group with great visiblity.

Expect to bail Anaho tomorrow for Taipivai or the big village, then, in a week or less, off to next adventure. After convergence zone type weather, seven day GRIB shows good wind for four day reach into the atolls of Tuomotu, called "The Dangerous Archipelago" because the only things taller than a few feet are the sparsely distributed palms. They hide, then pounce. Pucker significantly ameliorated, but not eliminated, by advent of radar and GPS. Marquesas, all volcanic island; Tuamotus, all reef; Societies, volcanos surrounded by reef. No uniformity here, but, after all, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Oops.


Where'd the Day Go?
05/21/2010, Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

May 21

Problem with goofing off is that it's seductive. The first hit feels good, so you do it again and then again. You tell yourself that you can stop anytime, but find that projects lose their urgency. After breakfast a little nap of the dog feels good. A few hours go by and it's too late to get into defrosting the freezer or cleaning the deck so you read another chapter. Eyelids get heavy. You wake to discover that there's just time to grab a bite before heading over to a neighboring boat for drinks. You are ravaged by guilt, but tell yourself you deserve a little break and, after all, can stop anytime. But then, while licking peanut butter dinner off the spoon it hits you. You've hit bottom. You need help. Slackers Anonymous!

The vision was so frightening that I actually did defrost, clean, repair some holes in the hatch fiberglass and reorganize storage. After rationalizing the ability to handle it, lay down with a book for balance of day until time for crunchy Peter Pan and partying. I'm a functional slacker.

Bristol Roses braved first real wind in a few days with accompanying waves to make it here this afternoon. This may be our last sight of them until Australia (they're trying to catch up with World ARC and get home by October), but have thought same at every goodbye since Grenada, so remain skeptical.


Luscious Lingering Langor
05/21/2010, Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

May 20

Will never again utter a disparaging word concerning manta ray's sense of personal responsibility. One showed up on schedule, about three feet tip to tip and then another at perhaps four. Unfortunately, murky video missed barrel roll by smaller guy. This time missed two sharks, so another sortie in works for tomorrow, although they are notoriously unreliable. Promises of fame mean nothing to them.

Aussie buds are working around from Taiohae (Tah-ee-oh-HAY-ee), Gotham of the Marquesas (maybe 8000 residents on all five inhabited islands), so plan to stay in Anaho for their arrival tomorrow afternoon. No hardship as this is best anchorage in entire group, although wind sucks as it doesn't blow enough for generator. Finally, an excuse to goof off. And to answer the question on the tip of your tongue (look if you don't believe me), yes, all afternoon. Several little projects are planned for morning to patch guilt riddled psyche.

OK, enough of this twaddle. Further torpidity (real word) beckons.


A Forest Below
05/20/2010, Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

May 19

Although visibility is not the best, snorkeling here is amazing. Never seen such densely packed coral. Comes up six to ten feet off the bottom right under the keel. Spooky. Only occasionally is the underlying sand visible. Retrieving the CQR (it's the anchor, Cal, a play on word 'secure') could be a real challenge. There are also a plethora of winsome fish, turtles and rays. Jacksters saw a manta by Matoohotu Point after my pass. Have scheduled a reappearance for photo tomorrow morning although they are not very reliable. Brown cow-nose rays are the only ones even remotely conscientious about keeping appointments. Probably a sociological problem.

Next bay east is redolent of coastal South Carolina, especially the smell. Lots of sand, surf and even the short grass and crawling vines bring back memories of ill spent youthful summers around Myrtle Beach. Any reminiscence is quickly shattered, of course, by a quick look around at the volcanic skyline that accompanies an even more entertaining present.

Cleaned the boot stripe and prop, so the old girl runs well and looks good from a distance. Try not to let anyone aboard until after dark. Cockpit's OK, but poop deck still looks a bit shaggy awaiting future effort. Speaking of travail, this is the South Pacific (as far as you know) for crying out loud, so when do the feckless days of depraved indolence begin? Would use Paul Gauguin as my exemplar, but don't have a penchant for thirteen year old girls and can't paint.


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