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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

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

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