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Anthem Adrift
Dancing on the Wagon
08/08/2010, En Route to Rarotonga - Day 3

Maupiti

August 7

Weather guesser seems to have been a day late and a Beaufort short on forecast as wind began filling in at O dark hundred and just kept building early morning along with sea. Previous zephyr became 20 to 25 gusting over 30 all day in 3 meter sea with prospect of continuing until arrival. Boat, reaching at hull speed with double reefed main and staysail, isn't exactly dancing like a meth- doped Lippizaner, but big rollers periodically submerge lee deck.

"Weebuls wobble but we don't fall down."

Ride has been relatively dry except for that one pesky wave right at the beginning that filled the cockpit and poured Pacific Ocean onto me, quarter berth, cruising guides and computer. Immediately undertaken preventative and remedial measures have, so far, yielded acceptable results.

Research shows that one or two adult beverages a day is good for you. Well then, since previous four days were dry, celebration on night of arrival Rarotonga should accommodate five to ten so health on passage will have been retroactively maintained. Hmmmm, wonder if I can pick up that day last week and, maybe, when sick in Daniel's Bay and wasn't there a day a couple months ago....

Jack

Fare Thee Well, but Fair... Well?
08/07/2010, En Route to Rarotonga - Day 2

Biking Maupiti

August 6

Snuffed the drifter at 0400 as breeze began to freshen under overcast with distant flashes of lightning. When wind died at 0530 in torrential rain and engine did too right after starting and didn't immediately restart, boat was actually going backward in half knot eastward current. After checking various potential culprits and noise of rain decreased, restarted initially stumbling Westerbeke which then ran OK. Suspect coking from running too lightly. This was sum of excitement for a day which was primarily spent reading back issues of Latitudes and Attitudes magazine and napping with periods of sailing at from .5 to 2.5 knots without disagreeable clatter. Torpid brain has congealed into Crisco.

Due departing French Polynesia, will soon haul down $3 blue, white and red courtesy flag-on-a-stick and begin flying equally chintzy one for Cook Islands. Having lasted through St. Martin, Guadaloupe, Martinique and FP, it should be forgiven for having tattered away all red. It now represents either a backward "H" or international distress signal, "I've fallen and can't get up".

Polynesia was such a delight, fear that future stops will be disappointing, but am told it gets even better. Like many Kiwis, Aussies, Brits and some Canadians, who are often intelligible, with effort, to people in the U.S., islanders now will be using, as their second rather than third language, English. By the way, it seems wrong that England should name a lingo that they can't even speak without an accent. Of course, I don't suppose many Americans are embarrassed about having hogged the word that describes an entire hemisphere. Life just isn't fair.

Jack

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

Jack

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).

Jack

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

Jack

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

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