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Anthem Adrift
Full and By
09/26/2010, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

September 26

Perfect weather, big 'yeller' moon shining down through a canopy of trees, dancing black-lighted skeletons on a ship's bow sticking out of a steep, close hillside, movie projections onto stretched boat sails either side, DJ with good, loud, thumping music, cheap food, strong drink and four or five hundred people - great Full Moon Party marred by atrocious logistics for getting bodies back and forth to island. Some waited three hours to arrive and late attendance was undoubtedly winnowed by fear of forced stay past fun threshold. Some intrepid souls dragged home around 0400. Personal training ameliorated morning aftereffects.

Scheduled potluck lunch on nearby beach was not well organized, advertised or attended, but an ambulatory few had fun anyway.

Magnificent sail back to town in 12 to 15 knots with calm sea. Short-tacking isn't the gnawing desire of most heavy displacement, full keel cruiser owners, but enjoyed honing technique through narrow upwind channel into Neiafu. Return today was necessitated by Chinese restaurant. It alone is open on Sunday and personal chefage - not an option. Besides, Tridecagon-athon (don't know, but signed up) is at 1030 tomorrow. Notice indicated water and dirt would be involved. Sounds like fun if personal humiliation is not a distressing concept. Plan to leave, however, at first sign of Maury Povitch.

Jack

Home From the Sea
09/24/2010, Pangai Motu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

Race to Tapana

September 25

After a rainy morning, sky cleared, wind picked up to 15 from the perfect direction and excitement built for looming excellent adventure. In preparation for the ten NM sail, managed to find hidies for under-dinette jetsam, but additional organizational skills (such as they are) will ultimately be required. Expect to get all pending improvements to boat, including leak stoppage, completed in next several weeks before departure toward Whangerei... or not.

In the race to Tapana Island, site of tonight's Full Moon Party, would like to announce, with great pride, that Anthem did not finish last. Yeeesssss! It was a pyrrhic victory for all those speed sleds, miniature cruisers, rowboats, inner tubes and jellyfish that beat us, because we had way more fun, avoiding the debilitating stress of competition. Crew were two young Aussie women on extended vacation (experienced one on the helm and first-timer as decorative ballast). After the party am expecting a menage a un as girls will be cabbing back to Neiafu. OK Cal, your immediate thought was naughty, wasn't it? Don't lie to me!

Arrived at festivities locale around 1400 to anchor in 90 feet and dash out a few words. Do not expect further additions to this codswallop (love the English), after returning home at some highly irregular hour yet to be determined. Have every expectation that this event, like Agincourt, will cause those to curse their fortune who were not here this night, at least the survivors... bloody, but unbowed.

Jack

Mooning the Anchorage
09/24/2010, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

Usable Dinette

September 24

Neglected to mention huge leak, not located, that inundated saloon during sail from Niuatoputapu with at least two gallons of ocean. Suspect companionway hatch cover as only venue able to introduce that much water, but further research will be necessary. Water pooled beneath dinette, site of considerable storage, so new locations will henceforth be necessary to keep area open for observation. No clue where this might be, but having usable table again rather than decoration since third week of March will be a pleasing change.

As may not have escaped notice, last night was a major hoot, this morning somewhat less so. This is another of those activities in which one must occasionally engage as a reminder to never, ever do it again. Have now reached peak training condition for tomorrow night's Full Moon Party, so today will remain a contemplative day of rest. I'm tanned, rested and ready. Anyway it's children's day at the Regatta and psyche is not a kid friendly environment.

Due to massively negligible demand for this knowledge, far side of the world is now Niger.

Jack

Compelling Conquerors Contemplate Carousing
09/22/2010, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

September 23

While devotees of clear, understandable writing will cheer, production of this hooey for the ensuing week will probably be retarded (yes, I'm aware this is redundant), but prodigious demands on time for other nonsense take precedence. Went ashore early to run a few errands, like checking in with immigration, but was entrapped by event planners to play a game that proceeded through mid- afternoon. Hope Tonga government won't be too put out by a visit tomorrow.

Today's activity was a cornhole tournament. At this point it might be appropriate to disabuse many of the idea that this is a similarly named euphemism, which, due to the only obliquely (and sometimes furtively) naughty nature of this site, will not be explained. Teams take turns lobbing small bags of corn onto a slanted board with a hole at top. Think horseshoes without horses.. or shoes.. or stakes... well anyway it was fun and team Frozen Anthem, Don from Freezing Rain and I, became, against withering competition, champions of the universe. The multitudes go wild!

New Zealand party barge (where intoxicants are rumored) is next venue ostensibly to promote that country (and indeed may be for them) followed by a pub crawl during which, it has been alleged, additional adult beverages may be consumed.

Jack

Running Athwart
09/22/2010, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

Tonga Bob's by Daylight

September 22

Wind began to back and ease overnight after several squalls went by permitting sail right up to Vava'u channel. Very close reach, however, caused reduced speed delaying, until dusk, arrival onto last available mooring ball.

Inspiration Lady, the scurrilous dogs, forced me, forced I say, to immediately head ashore for all-you-can-eat buffet at the Dancing Rooster, then T$5 beer and transvestite review at Tonga Bob's, so, given lack of sleep due vacillating wind in squalls last night, tonight's anti-literary foolishness will be curtailed.

Hope to provide catch-up abuse tomorrow, although diversions provided by Neiafu during Vava'u Regatta seem destined to thwart any such ambitions.

Jack

Effing It
09/21/2010, En Route, Vava'u

September 21

OK, kava, a narcotic sedative made from crushed root of a pepper relative, it smells like grass with a touch of anise. It's slightly bitter and makes your tongue numb. Guys sit around on mats in an open room talking, joking, playing guitar or ukulele and singing while a virgin ladles out from a large basin several coconut shell cups of the stuff that circulate as each man, in turn, chugs the contents. Traditionally a male oriented function, Evi partook as Kara, her 23 year old crew, performed the virgin role as well as playing fiddle. Music as expected was superb. During return to boat, detected no cranial effects and ambulation seemed normal, but slept like an infant and felt great at 0515 wakeup.

Now in process of racing full moon to a party, Saturday, in its honor. While considerably faster than Anthem, it has a tad farther to go. Have been and, for duration, expect to be hard on the wind at 18 to 20 apparent into a meter and a half sea with reefed main, yankee and staysail. Hoping to arrive tomorrow in daylight, but not holding rhumb line or breath. Idyllic days of off-wind sailing have come to an end as direction to New Zealand is south with mostly east to southeast trades. Predominant motion of vessel goes from rolling to pitching. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all." - Douglas Adams

Jack

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