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Anthem Adrift
All Kinds of Fun
08/06/2010, En Route to Rarotonga - Day 1

Calm at Maupiti Pass

August 5

Couldn't ask for a more perfect day of sailing... well, except that the wind was too light and too far aft and seas weren't as smooth as they could have been and... but all things considered it was wonderful. Although based on predictions from weather weasels, anticipate veering and freshening breeze by tomorrow which will, as hope runs amok, allow landfall in Rarotonga on or about (meaning sometime later) Monday morning.

No matter how recent a last overnight, at sunset after the first day of a passage, there is a feeling of anticipation. Many dislike sailing in the dark, but there's something really magical that just isn't present in daylight. Whether the moon gives your seascape a silvery glow or visible stars create what appear to be millions of pin pricks in the heavens and an iridescent milky way stretches from horizon to horizon or, on a cloudy night, the world is completely impenetrable blackness, restricted vision pulls the universe into a small space and paradoxically accentuates its vastness. It could make a person philosophical. I normally just get sleepy, but it takes all kinds.

"When I works, I works hard; when I plays, I plays rough; and when I thinks, I falls asleep." - Anonymous


Where? When?
08/05/2010, Maupiti, Leeward Society Islands

Turtle Lookin' Thing

August 4

Bike tour of island did nothing to dispel favorable first impression. Passed another marae without stopping (seen one...) and peddled/walked up a small valley searching for petroglyphs. After wandering up and down for awhile, finally discovered what fellow bikers had begun referring to (because of sign art back at the road) as 'turtle lookin' things'. This was slightly unfair as there was also a crab lookin' thing.

A moment of epiphany and subsequent cipherin' (required ability to count four) revealed reality that, belying yesterday's comment, there was only one more day here, today, which is, as this is being written, rapidly expiring. Oopsie. Complete blame for snafu should fall upon chart table calendar picked up in Panama as Spanish is not best language (still looking for that). Now in contemplative process for departure in AM. As accompanying boat, Inspiration Lady, is not keen on Maupihaa layover and my own enthusiasm has trickled away, will probably press on to Rarotonga to arrive Monday (he said confidently despite preceding boats going over plan in light winds).

At least, after whirlwind of activity (following music and program swap with Bill & Kathy from Jarana ('H' sound)), boat is more or less, maybe, probably, ready and important projects, whatever they were, planned for this stop have most likely been completed. As can be seen from previous sentence, napping in the afternoon leaves me groggy and befuddled as opposed to normal state of alert befuddlement (not an oxymoron for some).


Thoughtless Activity
08/04/2010, Maupiti, Leeward Society Islands

El Maupitan

August 3

Maupiti is a mostly undiscovered treasure. Just as well as it's too small to absorb much abuse. South end looks like a 650 foot, volcanic El Capitan. Village is along full length of east side and features flowers and sundry fruit trees in the yards of neat houses. Don't know percentage of Chinese, but theater runs on Friday and Saturday with mostly kung fu movies. Ferry runs three times a week from Bora Bora and probably carries the exported watermelon and copra. Snorkeling so far... OK, the place isn't perfect.

Unpacking laz was a pain, but allowed fixing rudder position problem, finding a (but not necessarily 'the') pressure water leak and rearranging space for additional storage. Nothing has broken, so todo list has again contracted - maybe fourth or fifth time since January of the year nine. Life is good with another couple of days to make it better (see next paragraph). Second thought, may just maintain stasis by screwing off... Oh wait, that IS better.

Due dicey prospect of getting into Maupihaa, may remain two more days to assure arrival Rarotonga past weekend if proceeding straight through. Suggested circumnavigation of island via bike tomorrow may evade any possibility of ennui, but would imperil stringent day of indolence that has just been penciled into schedule. Fortunately, that decision is twelve hours away and thinking induces somnolence.

"When I works, I works hard; when I plays, I plays rough and when I thinks, I falls asleep." - Anonymous


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


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.


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)


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.


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


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