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Anthem Adrift
Getting Religion
07/23/2010, Careenage, Raiatea

July 22

Ambitious plans to perform magical deeds upon several small boat projects (this is a triumph of hope over experience as virtually every one of these minor efforts morph, like transformers, into a monster) came a cropper when early bike ride into town with bud on Nordic 40, 'Wonderland' lasted until Miller time. Full day's productivity, not counting shooting manure with friends on Pearson 434, 'Whoosh' at Uturoa marina or, of course, the exercise thing, consisted in buying smooth peanut butter (suspect French Polynesians have a religious stigma attached to crunchy), apricot jam and a spark plug for the 15 horse Johnson.

May move to surprisingly inexpensive dock tomorrow to access water for washing deck and hardware, untouched by boat soap since Colon, Panama about four months ago. Rain has mostly removed salt from horizontal surfaces, but furler bearings and other moving parts won't rescind the fatwa until receiving a good flushing.

Land tour of Tahaa, smaller island inside this reef system, and multi-anchorage circumnavigation of same are in the offing for next week. Have faith that additional opportunities for amusement, currently shrouded in mist, will reveal in the fullness of time.

Jack

Windward in the Leewards
07/22/2010, Careenage, Raiatea

Return to Raiatea

July 19, 20, 21

Just deleted comments on last three days. As well there's no way to recover since it sucked. Not worth rewriting, so will merely provide a recap.

Monday: Hauled dink onto big boat deck to redo poor beach effort. Shaved long, green fringe from waterline with plastic razor.

Tuesday: Sucky dive on lagoon reef in turbid water.

Wednesday: Lovely beat back to Raiatea. Anchored by outer reef on northwest side.

"It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy." - James Thurber

Jack

Running Against the Wind
07/19/2010, Toopua, Bora Bora

Bora Bora Biking

July 16, 17 & 18

Although extensive recent rain showers did not prevent a bike ride south with Inspiration Ladys to famous Bloody Mary's Restaurant for lunch and attendance at dance presentation Friday night it has generally prompted my remaining aboard accomplishing long overdue projects. After dismounting stereo (capricious deportment of which occasioned purchasing one while in US) and VHF, discovered a slight leak (salty) above them. Inevitably, sealing holes and installing new unit revealed incongruous complications (e.g. exactly opposite wiring harness from same manufacturer, different sized terminal connectors and incompatibility with old iPod), but the deed be did and boat tunes again vex close neighbors.

Saturday, after engaging butt gear, re-stitched dinghy cover, rove new bungee around its skirt, patched staysail sun cover and removed various smaller jobs from todo list, making it longer (not sure how this happens). Foregoing effort provided psychological justification for massive exchange of CFP for an excellent dinner at above mentioned restaurant with 25 closest friends. Speaking of whom, Bristol Roses are finally off, Sunday, toward Oz. There exists a slight possibility of catching them in Tonga, but may not see again until at least autumn (southern spring), year 11, upon my arrival in Queensland or later in Sydney.

Quick trip into Vaitape to get a few items, then off to anchor in atypically shallow 40 feet west of Toopua island near a beach so as to work on dinghy. Nearly enjoyed a night on the sand after futile attempts to row back upwind through 50 meters of shallow coral into setting sun. Second motoring attempt (after initially, of course, neglecting to reattach fuel line) through eventually discovered unmarked channel saved bacon. Instrument graph simulates an oscilloscope as wind bounces from 5 to 25 knots. Wheeee!

Jack

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

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