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Anthem Adrift
Work? Just Say No!
07/30/2010, Abeam Baie Tapuamu, Tahaa

July 29

Adroit use of wrenches, screw drivers and other implements of persuasion have enticed alternator to resume operation. Can't seem to induce its long-term assumption of responsibility as culprit is a different wire each time. Rewiring that and engine panel joins an expanding list of details for New Zealand.

Upside of working around the engine, besides obvious delights of getting greasy and scraping knuckles, is avoiding shower and head cleaning. Downside of letting that go indefinitely is fear of being grabbed through its grate by something growing in the sump. Eventually, like super bacteria, it will become resistant to Clorox and take over the boat. Hoping then to be ashore thus avoiding messy hostage situation.

After deicing frig condenser and before a stray rational thought could intrude, found myself influenced by previous musing and subsequently elbow deep in stinky, murky guck. Boy, hope that doesn't happen again soon.


Droning and Drooling Drolly
07/29/2010, Abeam Baie Tapuamu, Tahaa

July 28

Engine alternator didn't show up for the game this morning so, with negligible wind last night at bottom of bay, Honda has been brought in from the sidelines to score electrons for the Gipper, er batteries (a stretch, but one finds analogies where one can). Motored out to discover 20 knots of breeze which sailed me around to northwest side of Tahaa, but it's gone again. Hope three charterers are more thrilled than me to have a gas engine running nearby.

Snorkeling through adjacent 'Coral Garden', the goal of today's exercise, may wait for electrical fix. Will round up usual suspects after SSB nets starting at 0730 local, then indulge in either fun or indolence. Leaning toward that second thing for which accoutrement have just been obtained as will be explained in next paragraph (or possibly the one after, unless something comes to mind which causes a detour into some other area of interest that would then interfere with the smooth flow of thought and could conceivably cause the omission of any explanation for the statement earlier in this sentence) when this one ends, if ever... Ah!

Have just acquired, from another cruiser, 5000 electronic books. As donor has two kids, a smattering are Lemony Snicketish, including... right, and light on sex and violence, but still, figure there's enough to occupy downtime until January, 2073, when CS Lewis and Lewis Carroll might be just the ticket if drool doesn't short out the screen.


See Sea at the Top
07/28/2010, Baie Haamene, Tahaa

Hannah & Evi, Haamene Bay

July 27

Blew off further tinkering with shifter cable to go walkabout on Tahaa. Hannah (visiting niece of Evi, on "Wonderland", a 70 year old who can kick my butt and yours too), hereafter referred to as the hikemeister, wanted to do the eight hour tour over a mountain and along opposite coast. Walk to top of ridge, allowing view of ocean east, west and north was spectacular, but she would have been on her own after that. Oh sure, hiking is good for you and unlocks new vistas, but primary purpose is to provide justification for that sody pop at sundown. Three hours was a gracious sufficiency and we accumulated untamed bananas, papaya and sprouted coconut during return.

As time to continue west nears, have begun focusing on weather which has recently featured modest winds and moderate to heavy seas. Prefer other way around as higher breeze stabilizes and moves the boat. Rarotonga is about a four and a half day passage, a touch farther than run from Marquessas to Tuamotus. Anthem is about mid-pack in westward migration with boats strung out from Nuku Hiva to Nuie. Hate to leave French Poly, but feet are beginning to itch and the sea is always bluer on the other side of the reef.

"Life is just one damned thing after another." -- Elbert Hubbard


Shifting Winds of Fate
07/27/2010, Baie Haamene, Tahaa

July 26

Slip at Uturoa Marina, which was to be available for a week, became unavailable when owners returned early. This was a good thing. Ummmm, OK?! Decided to reinstall trany, if only temporarily, for moving boat in 20 knot winds to discover shifter cable that appeared to work, didn't. Hmmmmm. Several hours of experiencing paradise from inside the port lazarette culminated in a late day solution that may get boat and crew to New Zealand (or possibly Pago Pago where a new cable might be bought or shipped). An hour of adjustment was necessary this morning and may be again tomorrow, but on the whole, Anthemland has returned to insouciance.

Carefree motor/sail this afternoon from Careenage to a deep bay on southeast Tahaa is prelude to a possible hike, tomorrow, cross island from Baie Haamene (Ha ah MAY nay) to Baie Hurepiti (Hoo ray PEE tee - by the way, there is no sound in English that duplicates the French 'U') past a vanilla plantation which will suffice for previously mentioned tour that costs 5500 CFP or upwards of $60. Tahaa grows 70% of French Polynesia's vanilla or about .35% of world production. Valuable brain cells have just been squandered.


Careenage, Raiatea
07/25/2010, Uturoa Marina, Raiatea

July 25

Having the attention span of a three year old, being easily confused and forgetting how to write after about 48 hours has again provoked a daily effusion of this effluent. This could conceivably continue for awhile. Forewarned is forearmed.

The Hurth HBW150-1,9R seems to disfunction as well as for previous two years, so could, probably, reinstate into the bilge bowels behind engine with a cable adjustment and get to New Zealand. Even if it completely crapped could still get there (sailboat), but with one less option when wind dies (fuel only lasts for three days of motoring, anyway). "But what", one might ask, "about tight maneuvering, say in a marine, when the failure would certainly occur"? Aye matey, there's the rub. Will, therefore, give local craftsman, if one really exists, an opportunity to desecrate its innards before pressing onward. Pivotal data to be acquired in the morning. Will not wait weeks for parts.

Scheduled 'Vanilla Tour', tomorrow, is delayed until dust settles on locomotion commotion. In the nonce, for your edification, the beans grow on orchids - who knew? Additionally, vanilla is the most expensive spice after saffron and French Polynesia is responsible for a half percent of world production. Amaze and delight friends and acquaintances at your next soiree.


PS Decisive input descended upon me subsequent to above. At present gently swaying at anchor near outer reef by Careenage. Elucidation a demain if hangover allows.

It Means Nothing
07/25/2010, Uturoa Marina, Raiatea

July 24

If it weren't for a rib crushing hang into the bilge and the grease, three hours of transmission removal would almost be a chore. Fluid was fine, so resorted to a more drastic measure to determine cause of its reluctance to turn. Malletization of shifter lever (this, as the word suggests, utilizes certain kinetic properties of a hammer-like device) seems to have restored the unit to perfect order... !@#$%^&*()_+. This is shorthand for "Oh my" or, at least arguably, could be if only shorter. What to do now?

Three opinions gleaned from various sources relative to gearbox work on Raiatea were: 1) Not happ'nin', send to Tahiti 2) Careenage Marina can work on it 3) "What's a Hurth?" Careenage is closed until Monday and a recommended guy was number three.

Question is, do it need to be did? Was the shifter shoved too far forward by a misaligned cable? Could it be returned to service with an adjustment? Rather than enjoy the Day of Rest, may reinstall (and if necessary re-uninstall) tomorrow to check and/or have someone at Careenage take a look Monday, hoping his knowledge is not entirely pervaded with squat.


One To Go
07/24/2010, Uturoa Marina, Raiatea

July 23

May not have mentioned the pressure water system leak that has been creating chafe in the fairlead of my contentment. Beginning with that flooding incident returning to Papeete from the Rendezvous, a minor leak has awakened the pump every 10 or 15 minutes and pressure is not maintained very long after shut off. Working from easiest, second most difficult access was investigated today with no success, so connections beneath lazarette floor will follow.

Above job will be made easier as laz will be empty for work on transmission that packed it in arriving at marina. Disaster averted by shutting off engine at suitable moment entering slip. "Didn't you (those who have been following this tootle since Bahamas of the year eight may query) replace the trany just two years ago?" That rebuilt operation was never quite right (often displaying a disinclination to engage forward short of a stern warning), but seemed OK until, ummm let's see... today. Late Friday afternoon is, as one should expect, the perfect time to require professional help. Didn't try. Will make inquiries tomorrow after troubleshooting, but, barring something inconceivably simple, expect to remove the truculent unit myself over the weekend.

Hey!, don't these things come in threes?


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.


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


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!


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