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Anthem Adrift
Taking Liberties With Security
08/03/2010, Maupiti, Leeward Society Islands

Bye Bye Bora Bora

August 2

Masterful plan to leave early ran afoul of submerged buoy. Nearly pulled the bow under trying to power anchor out. Used half a tank of air at 70 feet in clouds of obscuring silt, unwrapping it by touch from chain, rope and a yatchsman anchor attached to concrete block. In the sage and prescient words of Roseanne Roseannadanna, "It just goes to show, it's always something".

Easier seas than yesterday's reports made for an OK 26 NM sail to Maupiti. Entry not bad if one avoids looking at impressive surf crashing onto boat-eating reef a stone's throw either side. Lamented furling main which could have helped with three knot outbound current (past slack, due anchor drill delay) and awkward situation if motor had hiccuped mid-reef. Channel into Maupihaa, 102 NM further west, is less expansive than here.

Lay day tomorrow may... may find contents of lazarette elsewhere for purpose of sorting out loss of rudder position input to autopilot. Can't see much degradation in performance, but the thing has taken to beeping in a highly menacing manner. Have heard that, like cats, they can suck your breath out while you sleep. Don't really believe this, of course, but, as with astrology, phrenology and palm reading, one would be a fool not to follow all possible avenues for avoiding every conceivable risk to make life totally secure.

"The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life." -- George Carlin

Jack

Pretty Good
08/02/2010, Anchored Off Bora Bora Yacht Club

Whisky and Whiskey

August 1

It is again one of those august occasions when necessity requires learning to spell a new month. And on the subject, was taken to task for a misspelling. Irish and Americans make whiskey, but Scots and Canadians make whisky. Only one superior product is made with each name. At risk of offending, will not enlighten the benighted half of that division.

Obtained Thai green curry paste at Chin Lee's grocery, so decided to abuse, as it happens, Canadian friends who, while finicky about their food, are somewhat tolerant of me. Turned out much better than anyone had a right to expect, but not the exquisite culinary experience that the really good stuff can be.

After cleaning a truckload of dishes, putting outboard on transom and securing dinghy to davits, will dash off just a snippet more and then to bed for 0700 departure to, if conditions allow, Maupiti, about twenty six miles downwind for a slack tide, noon arrival. If its pass is impassable due to unswell swell, then Maupihaa, an overnight farther (arrival at slack), is alternate. If that doesn't work, will then be off to Rarotonga for arrival Friday so as to not pay overtime at customs and immigration. Years of preparation and study have culminated in this example of faultless planning. I am not just a pretty face.

Jack

Here to Help You
08/01/2010, Anchored Off Bora Bora Yacht Club

Bora Bora Yacht Club

July 31

Duty free diesel is 84 CFP per liter versus 127. With 41 liters purchased, probably saved about $18.75 before subtracting $4.25 to copy paperwork (five government documents that will no doubt be treasured by the Total station into perpetuity), cost of fuel used to dink into town for said copies and the time expended. May reevaluate effort on next circumnavigation.

Also relished Byzantine bureaucracy when checking out at gendarmerie. French Polynesia requires everyone to clear in and out in Papeete. Done, finished, el finito a month ago. Suppose to notify the cops Nationale at last point of contact (in this case Bora Bora) when actually leaving. Many (most?) cruisers don't bother, but wouldn't let me check out two days early. Convinced agent of sudden epiphany requiring departure tomorrow, Sunday. Nobody knows, cares or checks. Having kvetched about this, should concede that French here and in Caribbean have been, by far, the easiest.

After rereading above, am consumed with guilt as FP has been a delight. Caribophiles might reevaluate after spending a little time here. Islands are spectacular, people are warm and generous, beers cost from five to eight dollars... oops, how did that slip in? Anyway, this corner of the world is a treasured and magical place, but now on to the next adventure (although not until Monday - don't tell).

"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
(Obviously anal and a bore at parties)

Jack

Charitable Thoughts
07/30/2010, Toopua, Bora Bora

July 30

Close look at weather indicated that today was as good as it gets until next Wednesday so, since five more days in Raiatea/Tahaa was a few too many, packed my duffel and headed back to Bora Bora just in time for a potluck at the Yacht Club. My meal to share might be leftover rice and black beans. Hey, it's the thought that counts, right!? Although depriving the folks who attend, may remain on boat rather than brave long wet dinghy rides cross lagoon. Time will tell and I'll be the first to know.

Anchored west of Toopua (where the wind occasionally gusts to 30), but will move tomorrow either to Yacht Club or Bloody Mary's for wifi service with most prepaid time. By the way, did you hear about the pilot who was so cheap that... oh, you did. Hmmm.

Last evening, broke out the Bushmills single malt purchased at duty free in LAX on return from U.S. to Tahiti. Not bad and love the Irish, but Scots make a better whiskey. With rum supply dwindling (did I mention that French rum reeks?) and Talisker nearly gone, a more charitably eclectic attitude may henceforth be necessary.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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