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Anthem Adrift
Lips, Skirts and Eardrums
09/04/2010, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Pago Pago Bus

September 3

Last night's planned anchor drag has been delayed. Opportunities for rescheduling, however, should abound as wind gusts increase tomorrow, forecast 15 to 30 through weekend. Amps leaking from wazoo at prodigious rate; batteries smiling (this is a figurative term as Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries lack lips). Despite wind not coming directly from Starkist, eddies periodically bring air through hatches, chewy with essence of rotting tuna. As no maggots are nearby, am spared sound of their gagging.

Advance intel on Samoans has proven accurate. These are substantial people, sturdy people, big people. Many play for the NFL (American football). Men often wear a traditional skirt-like garment, the lava-lava. Nobody makes fun. Small, trim individuals, being at far end of bell curve, awaken health concerns among friends and family. Despite ability of many locals to squash modest-sized individuals with an eye tic, all have been delightfully friendly.

Utilized local conveyance today in proceeding to retail establishments for acquisition of various useful (he claims sincerely) items including surprise discovery of a holy grail, 10 year old Talisker single malt scotch (it's not 'the' holy grail, of course, that would be the 18 year old). Driver/owner on first bus may have spent more for stereo woofer than the wooden coach, as is how most are constructed. Riding with him could be a status elevating experience to the degree that bleeding eardrums is a positive social statement.

Jack

Scheduling Tight
09/03/2010, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Pago Pago Arrival

September 2

Well, what do you know, GRIB (Grievously Rendered Insufferable Baloney) was eventually right (even a blind pig...). Wind filled in from ESE with ensuing good sail featuring ambiance of only wind, wave and rig after 0130. Performed highly unusual maneuver after dawn by double reefing early (he said early). Wind kept building to 20 on the beam, probably making up for lack thereof previous day, for a rip roaring sail into harbor. KISS is punching out amps like it's doing the same as wind-o-meter is jumping well into 20s.

Spent all afternoon with Swiss and Thai couple from Dilan walking and waiting for customs and immigration. Now cleared in for indefinitely (they have 30 days) paving way to fritter away tomorrow spending vast sums of US lucre (some extracted for my benefit at gunpoint from taxpayers) on replenishing stove gas, gasoline, diesel, staples, fresh produce and fixing Honda carburetor, laundering clothes, making a dent in Cost-U-Less inventory which includes adult beverage and myriad other things too numerous to contemplate . Deep breath. Pass the rum. Preceding enervating rendition requires a shower and early bed to prepare for dragging anchor scheduled for 0300.

Jack

Tenacious Turned Tenuous
09/02/2010, En Route to Pago Pago, Day 4

September 1

Smug with supreme confidence that weather would change, continued beating toward Pago Pago. This faith was rewarded when wind, which had backed north allowing perhaps a faint smell of tuna to waft the 100 or so miles to here, died altogether. OK, not what was in mind (or whatever occupies that space), but was yet smug with supreme confidence. that.. weather... would.... change. Hmmmm. Could easily motor there by tomorrow, but having come so far with so little help, preferred not.

In fact, morning GRIB (this, as previously reported, is possibly an acronym for 'Grudgingly Reported Inaccurate Bullflop' or, more likely, GR stands for 'Gleefully Reprehensible' (sportier readers may substitute more expressive terms for 'flop')), indicated wind becoming SE at 15 tonight. Smugness reigned, but frayed at edges as sea continued glassy throughout day.

Finally gave up at dark as wind remained insufficient to keep pointy end stabilized on any heading at all and progress since 0900 was one NM due entirely to ENE current. Movement forward now noisily proceeding apace with anchor set expected just after noon tomorrow.

"The best way to compile inaccurate information that no one wants is to make it up." - Scott Adams

Jack

Samoa East Wind
09/01/2010, En Route to Pago Pago, Day 3

August 31

Another month kicked in the tookas. Looking back, seems like time was well filled, but it still scuttled past like a frightened crab. For September plan to be in Neiafu (village), Vava'u (island group), Tonga (country) for sailing regatta middle of month after visiting Samoa (Western) and New Potatoes. This all assumes first making it to American Samoa at some point in the near future as light wind remains north.

Enjoying down time of leisurely passage to Pago Pago, however roused torpid carcass for utilization of toolage to delve into tightly engineered archana of Honda generator hoping to make the thing quieter and save fuel. It's currently running flat out full time while feeding battery. Carburetor throttle control found frozen like it's welded. Now where did that carb cleaner on buy list go? Still in store?

Accounts are flooding in (two) that indicate destination harbor is actually pretty nice. Reporting boats must be upwind of north side tuna factories and probably consider dragging through mud slurry bottom a fun and interesting pastime. Must be as everybody (unsubstantiated hyperbole) is doing it. Hope to find out some day.

Jack

Polar Primate Prognostications
08/31/2010, En Route to Pago Pago, Day 2

More Whale Tail

August 30

Another day, another 90.9 nautical miles. That two day thing was frittered away yesterday by killing the Westerbeke (excessive violence was unnecessary). May arrive Pago Pago (don't forget the unwritten 'N') sometime Wednesday with occurrence of either actual forecast for wind backing to NW or veering to SE, depending on which monkey threw the dart. I'm rooting for chimp number two. (apology to apes, which are neither monkeys nor consistently wrong about the weather).

Despite tracking languidly toward Niuatoputapu (nyoo ah TOE poo TAH poo - referred to as New Potatoes, for good reason), 204 NM west southwest of destination, there are no plans for utilizing exploding diesel to push pointy end in better direction as sailing is excellent with no urgency to anchor off largest tuna packing operation on earth before mail arrives on Monday. Heard fish goo is piped offshore now instead of into harbor, however, one should nevertheless eschew eating anything caught there or swimming. Breathing, for those with a sense of smell, is discouraged. Amputating any body part dipped into the water is probably excessive and widely considered unnecessary.

Although lethargy inducing reading has occupied preponderance of waking life last two days, managed to mend frayed lazy jack (no relation), reacquire stereo power and drill & tap boom to move preventer control block for better function. Expectation for reprise of useful occupation tomorrow is minimal.

Jack

Bob's Your Uncle?
08/30/2010, En Route to Pago Pago, Day 1

Whale Sounding

August 29

Benefit party at Matavai Resort went way late as ride back to Alofi stayed until bitter end. Whale breaching just off shore at sunset provided good PR for research group, plus music and dancing made the evening very enjoyable. Begging for bucks was agreeably low key, but pecuniary production was impressive. Factoid: Unable autonomically, whales breathe consciously and therefore can't sleep. They rest by shutting down half their brains. This is a habit of many humans, as well, who neglect to restart.

Preponderance of whales are either tardy or have removed Niue from this year's itinerary. However, observed two a tiddlywink flip behind boat Friday night (loud breathing sounded like a fireworks rocket going up), the one last evening and a cow and calf in the anchorage this morning. Considered staying awhile in case area gets lousy with them (was told it was hard to sleep last year for the noise), but whales are as notoriously undependable as weather guessers who predicted fair east wind (Pago Pago is north) for next two days before three day lull with some northwest making anchorage uncomfortable. Unwarranted trust in verisimilitude of the biped currently has boat beating into 4.5 knot north zephyr and hoping for American Samoa before shipped parts arrive Monday a week.

Meanwhile sea, virtually calm, exhibits a very long two meter swell, larder is stocked, grog is at hand, no albatrosses have been harmed and, preferring peacefulness, pressing posthaste for Pago Pago appears pretty passably purposeless.

Jack

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