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Anthem Adrift
Parely Pehaving at Poisterous Pash
07/16/2010, Bora Bora

Lemon Shark

July 13, 14 & 15

Just hangin' out in Pora Pora. Parades, music, dancing and such-like don't actually extend around the clock, but the serenading does come across from Vaitape well past bedtime. Polynesian music abounds, although interspersed occasionally and incongruously with 'Proud Mary'. All quite pleasant if a jot heavy on drums.

With Jacksters, biked circumference of main island with a stop midway, east side for pizza. That and Chinese seem to be the primary non-piscine restaurant offerings in all of the Societies. Twenty three year old, dry-rotted tires unaccountably held up yet again during four hour tour.

Last night's non-surprise 60th birthday party cum pot luck at the Bora Bora Yacht Club was heavily attended and a roaring good time including dance version of karaoke by, among others, new sexagenarian and crew of Bubbles (formerly Wild Sea Monkeys, who continue to tiptoe, with high energy and great good humor, along the edge of the abyss of tasteless roguery).

Lemon sharks are not nearly as aggressive as bulls or makos, but the big honkin' guy Jacksters and I saw this morning during a dive along outside reef, kept passing by. Guess we made him nervous, intruding on his territory and all. The black tips were pretty good sized, too, but at least not so much bigger than us. It's interesting how quickly one can begin to feel soft and squishy.

Fun/effort ratio has plummeted recently, so you may henceforth, as last two days, receive a less frequent dollop of abuse. Humanitarians and literarians (should be a word) everywhere, who have been scandalized and appalled by the unremitting daily fabrication of over 500 (includes previous trips) instances of this unconscionable twaddle, may now de-escalate to medium dudgeon.

Jack

Sans Ennui
07/13/2010, Bora Bora

July 12

Anthem is beginning the twelfth year of a four year refit. Probably be done in another twelve, but this old design will still barely be tolerable. That's OK though, because, while difficult to work, she sails well and, when abandoned for awhile, upon first sight, the sweeping lines and sparkling brightwork always bring a lift and a smile. For me, sailing is not utilitarian, it is graceful, elegant, esthetic.

Lagoons in the Tuamotus and Societies are typically 100 feet deep. This would be a good thing except for coral heads randomly placed to excise your keel and a paucity of strategically placed shallow sand anchorages. Like the boats that roam through, even paradise is a compromise. Perfection is boring. Adventure doesn't allow for it.

The three 'Tahiti' charter companies are probably located in Raiatea because of easier sailing inside the lagoon, which surrounds both it and Tahaa, and better access to Bora Bora and Huahine (also guessing a tax angle) where, like in the Caribbean, their boats swarm like locusts, often motoring with furled sails. Perhaps arrival briefings don't mention the big floppy things that are sometimes used for movement. Obligatory abuse of charterers, despite a similarly ignominious past, is often well deserved.

Jack

Vive le Revolution
07/12/2010, Raiatea

Huahine Marae

July 10

After helping rescue a Tayana 37 single-hander, whose engine had decided to part ways with its prop shaft while entering the bay, four of us started out for a bike ride to northeast Huahine (correct previous pronunciation to Wha-HEE-nay) with the expressed purpose of observing some archaeology. Due equipment malfunction (as differentiated from costume malfunction) and closed bike rental, two of us made it to observe some stone platforms. Not exactly Machu Picchu. Worth the effort, however, as we thoroughly enjoyed Polynesian dance and singing practice at a local school and, of course, there was that exercise thing.

Spending an appalling number of francs for drinks, dinner and camaraderie (actually, that last thing was free) helped ease some pain for the not-me contingent of our excursion who had (and still has) three broken toes care of a dropped hatch. My involvement, as a good friend, was sympathy profligacy.

July 11

Run, today, to Raiatea was a surprisingly genial affair as moderate wind and easy two meter seas (when ill-tempered conditions from previous crossing were expected) even allowed flying the big downwind sail. Located for the night on a mooring near the Moorings Tahiti charter base, which even a cursory examination reveals is not really in Tahiti. Will temporarily give this island a pass en route to Bora Bora (as there are no 'B's in Polynesian, this is really Pora Pora. An alteration in spelling was probably nixed by some PR guru) for Wednesday's Bastille Day fete.

For some strange reason an attack on a fortress/prison in France over two hundred years ago has been adopted as a huge deal on the island. This whole operation is bound to be crowded, noisy and expensive. Should be a hoot. So, do the locals call it Pastille Day?

Jack

Barely Hare Today
07/10/2010, Fare, Huahine

July 9

Decided to proceed Huahine (Wah-hee-NAY) in Leeward Societies rather than stop Moorea, due time constraint of reaching Bora Bora for Bastille Day, as conditions improved for awhile then went in dumper for balance of night, dunking cap rails during periodic death rolls. Couldn't nap much anyway as surprising amount of traffic was incessantly intruding into near environs. Two hour examination of eyelids after arrival prompted a slight headache, but otherwise helped ease the malaise (don't know what it means, but think Jimmy Carter spread it on sandwiches) and served as practice for imminent extended recurrence.

Bristol Rose, also in residence off Fare, shared several chunks of fresh caught yellow-fin tuna, some of which was seared in sesame oil for dinner with side of carrots. Don't know why Bugs likes the things so much, but, as with frying, sauteing in onion and garlic makes anything tolerable . Have been unable to detect improvement in night vision, so rationale for eating orange vegetables seems negligible.

Tomorrow, after restocking perishables in a remarkably good market for such a rural town before its early Saturday closing, expect to break out a folding bike to visit the large archeological sight cross-island in Maeva. All such plans assume getting derriere in gear before sun crosses the yardarm at which point other imperatives may intrude.

Jack

OK to KO
07/09/2010, En Route to Huahine

Passing Moorea

July 8

With so many opportunities for calamity, the day went surprisingly well. During yesterday's fruitless wait for clear-out papers, left boat documents in knapsack at adjacent bar. English cruisers met in Nuku Hiva found and returned them this morning in time to fax relevant info to duty free shop which delivered exact order earlier than promised. Agent Francesco apologized for no-show with everything necessary for legal departure and fuel dock was available when desired at 1330.

Left Tahiti harbor with no wind until approaching Moorea and that's when the wheels came off. In about 10 seconds a 3 knot zephyr turned 180 degrees and picked up to 25 on the starboard quarter. Double reefed main and staysail were too much with two plus meter seas, so ran on yankee only at better than 6 knots with only moderately ugly motion. So, whose idea was leaving Papeete now? Oh right, that was me. Wind forecast strong for next several days.

Jack

Dreadfully Dreary Dreck
07/08/2010, Maeva Beach, Tahiti

July 7

Completely devoid of any publishable idiocy, for this edition, that might provide a little personal titillation (no Cal, this is not a naughty word and, by the way, apologize for neglecting you lately - "flobbadap" (inside joke, don't ask, and, by the way, whatever happened to Mary Alice?)), but will, nevertheless, proceed to pelt you with appalling pap.

Last trip into Papeete today before sailing over the horizon to Raiatea, Bora Bora and beyond produced, at some expense, a load of duty free French wine to be delivered early PM tomorrow and something called rope until shipped, when it becomes something else. One of only three ropes on any boat activates the bell clapper. Forget what pettifoggery is accomplished by the other two. A little help?

Somewhat unreliable clear-in/out agent failed to enhance his rep this afternoon by missing appointments for at least three boats awaiting paperwork. Our small coterie will reconvene at 0730 for another run at him.

If business finished sufficiently early may head for Moorea, 3 1/2 hours away, otherwise Huahine, which everyone seems to think is the cat's pajamas (bee's whiskers.. whatever) at 20 hours, to achieve arrival in good daylight.

Jack

Boat's Afloat
07/06/2010, Maeva Beach, Tahiti

July 6

Outdid previous trip to US, returning with 151 pounds of toys for five boats - fun things like pump heads, gaskets, bearings and shackles. Neither airline objected to extra pound for each checked bag. Carry-on and computer were only 49 pounds.

Telescoping hatch adjusters made it through Tampa and Minneapolis OK, but LAX security thought they could be wielded as weapons. Not, the supervisor took pains to inform me, that I might use them, but someone could dig to the bottom of my carry-on and turn one or, if ambidextrous, both against me. Made top ten stupid statements in history of TSA. Forced to check bag with 'fragile' sticker attached. That could actually have helped as when soft-sided duffel arrived, a day late, nothing, for some bizarre reason, was missing or broken. Don't you just love happy endings?

Spent yesterday and today storing, installing or quizzically contemplating all the new bits. Also replenished gasoline (essence, sans plomb), fixed leak in pressure water system and unburdened wallet of 800 cfp for one small load of undried (word was that the driers don't) laundry.

After relinquishing clear-out documents to agent at 0730 in the morning, plan bus to Papeete for sightseeing, provisioning and duty free booze. Anticipate refueling and pressing out of the big island in afternoon or Thursday for either Moorea or Huahine. Undecided on location to watch Sunday's solar eclipse, but hope to be in Bora Bora on 14th for expected Bastille Day bacchanal. Still hoping for an unburdened few days of absolute sloth, but events keep intruding. When will the madness end?

Jack

Come Again?
06/27/2010, Maeva Beach, Tahiti

June 26

Round trip to airport took only three hours. Won't go into nettlesome detail (which included sorting problem out just after departure time... maybe), mainly due my fault aided by unique Air France procedures, but have switched allegiance to Air Tahiti Nui for tonight's standby attempt. Fortuitously returned to find two needed snatch blocks at morning's flea market and fix bilge pump. So pleased, now, that boat will sink with dead batteries (see previous).

Rather than a preparatory nap, have decided to go out carousing with Inspiration Ladys before 2330 flight. Coach in an Airbus 340 is not too bad, so expect arrival in Tampa after midnight Sunday fresh as a daisy.

Looking forward to visit home, but anticipate being busier than a one armed paper hanger for duration. Return to Tahiti will attend parts and parcels for six boats. May have reprise of Panama with twin fifty pound Samsonites.

Daily nonsense will recommence, possibly, in a week or so if Independence Day weekend flights are not sardined.

Jack

Au Revoir, A Bientot
06/26/2010, Maeva Beach, Tahiti

June 25

Last minute prep to leave the boat (at 0530) is always a joy and no matter how well planned (not a forte) always ends in a rush. For example, I rushed onshore before sundown to shoot the shinola with friends and down a $7.50 beer. Should be riddled with guilt for not fixing auto bilge pump, but rationalized that any inflow large enough to sink the boat would run batteries dry and sink her anyway. Because anchored in ten feet, any waterlogged remains should easily be located.

As implied did not dock or moor, but rather have found a shallow, sandy, open area where hook is buried to China (this has little meaning here as other side of earth is somewhere around Egypt, but you get the idea). Location is brilliant unless boat sinks, drags onto reef or gets run down, then somewhat less so.

Actually went onto land (where etiquette demanded overpriced social engagement) to retrieve passport, boat documents and entry paperwork (after being in French Polynesia for over six weeks) so as to exit tomorrow. This may seem backward, but it possesses a certain symmetry and the French insist. Leaving for a week does not reset three month visa (EU citizens get six), but does extend it by time away.

A cool, sweet smelling breeze gently rocks the boat and suffuses the cabin; full moon light ripples across the sandy bottom through swimming pool clear water; dozens of boats and the island of Tahiti are outlined against a cotton ball smattered sky. This doesn't suck.

Jack

Assume the Position
06/25/2010, Maeva Beach, Tahiti

June 24

Shipping bits and pieces to various, out of the way corners of the world tends to be surprisingly quick, distressingly long or impossibly difficult and always extortionate. Although this morning's tracking info on standby ticket from Faaa (not a misspelling) Aeroport to LAX (money saving means of transport requiring purchase at a Delta location, e.g. Tampa) showed it in Auckland awaiting clearance, arrival was this afternoon, two days before Fedex had ventured. Cool, but earlier than planned flights seem to be full and, anyway, karma will no doubt blind side me later for this benefaction.

Still floundering a trifle as to boat positioning for week trip home. It's a price/safety/availability/hassle conundrum which, to this point, has resolved down to a mooring at Marina Taina or Med moored on the downtown quay. Remaining anchored at Maeva Beach excels everywhere but safety if it comes a blow. Additional cogitation to ensue.

Shiny new coffee press (French press) is in hand for preparation of morning drugs. Also in possession of powdered milk (to kill roaches and/or possibly, in extremis, to drink) and tinned butter (reputed best) from New Zealand.

AM activity will be to troubleshoot automatic ops of bilge pump and then goof off so long that only option will be to leave boat as is in situ.

Jack

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