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Anthem Adrift
Plowing a Rut
10/10/2010, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

October 10

Tongan feast was good, not great, where two thirds of attendees were Sunsail charterers from Colorado, sailing capitol of the front range and inter-mountain west. Food was agreeable and dancing girls (children) were pleasant, but once was more than adequate.

After returning to anchorage, meandered over to a huge party barge of two rafted cats and a monohull celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving. Chris of Stray Kitty, center boat and epicenter of merriment, was dispensing a tasty single malt scotch that it would have been discourteous to refuse... several times.

As gaiety was winding down, microburst from a thunderstorm blowing up overhead emboldened apparently poorly tied dinghy to loose its painter for a quickly thwarted escape attempt. It's comportment remained uneffected by my verbal reprimand and expressions of disappointment. While quite useful and resilient, Caribes are incorrigibly simpleminded and require constant supervision.

Other than return to Neiafu, Sunday has been a day of pervasive, unremitting, dissipating, sybaritic rest.


Too Much And Not Enough
10/09/2010, Port Muerelle, Vava'u Group, Tonga

October 9

Had to work at it, but slept until 0830 for a little catch-up. Mo' bettah. Also managed to do virtually nothing thereafter, so yesterday's expectations have been met. I love it when a plan comes together.

Moved this afternoon back to Port Muerelle near Barnacle Beach, site of a Tongan feast tonight. Because prospect of overindulgence in midst of over two weeks of it approached certainty, had avoided these things, but then decided that an opportunity in one day to commit both sloth and gluttony, two excellent deadly sins, was too good to pass up.

Gave thought to continuing south from here, but need eggs, produce and bread, so expect one more swing by the big town to stock up and bid a fond farewell to several favorite bars. It would have been rude to sneak out. Besides, still air is still forecast for still more days. Since tomorrow is Sunday and little happens, have even contemplated a soupcon of boat work. This possibility has engendered cold, clammy sweats, but have survived worse. Cruising on a sailboat is not pretty.


Efficacy Entropy
10/08/2010, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

October 8

Clearing out to Ha'apai with customs and immigration, plus extending visa and purchasing forty two liters of petrol for 107 TOP (something north of sixty US dollars) was sum of useful activity for entire day. Previously decried socializing brings fecklessness as its handmaiden. To get a grip on this ill- favored behavior, will attempt to avoid extended conversation with friends and acquaintances by remaining, for much of tomorrow, supine in V-berth unless overcome with urgent desire to fix something. Likelihood of any such impulse seems, at the moment, rather trifling.

Since productivity has been trending downward all day, any further efforts here would be unseemly, inappropriate and wrong. Tah.


Healthy Hostility
10/07/2010, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Tonga

October 7

Plan was to hit the resort early for breakfast and free internet, then run four NM into Neiafu followed by boatwork and a quick nip into town for the odd errand. Yeah, right! Met a single-hander from Washington (state, not the festering cesspool of political saviors) and didn't get underway until noon. Beat most of distance to town on yankee and stays'l in a couple of hours, then hunkered down in heavy rain until late afternoon after which socializing at local hangouts blew the balance of usable day and early evening.

This fraternizing with interesting people thing has gotten out of hand. Oh sure, it's harmless at first. You have fun and begin to do more. Soon it's happening all the time. You can stop anytime, you say, but don't. You catch yourself being friendly to complete strangers, carrying on conversations for hours. Boat work suffers (your reason for existence). You find yourself smiling for no reason at all. It's against nature, but you finally realize you're powerless, lost and it's too late. Don't get started. Be grumpy and irritable, don't make eye contact, expunge "please" and "thank you" from your vocabulary. Frown at every opportunity (It requires more muscles than smiling, so stay in shape). For heaven's sake, save yourselves. You have been warned.


Averting Hostilities
10/06/2010, Mala Island, Vava'u Group, Tonga

October 6

After departing Hunga anchorage early to negotiate narrow, shallow pass at higher tide, proceeded 200 meters off west side of island with two humpback whales playing inshore. Too cool. Made photos, but low sun spoiled result. Day- stopped at Avalau Island for tea with Jacksters (they're English, you know), then eventually, in negligible wind, motored back to Mala Island due boat motion in open rodestead and desire to proceed toward Neiafu, tomorrow's probable destination.

As may have escaped attention, you not being mind-readers, oil pressure warning horn ceased function yesterday and alternator followed this morning. Fearing spread of rebellion, subsequently heightened vigilance of other systems. Considered, if necessary, bringing in maintenance "enforcers" or ultimately threatening the "nuclear option" of replacing mutinous parts with new. Fortunately, the imperative for drastic measures has eased. Removal this afternoon of 100 amp Balmar, which, by the way allowed easier access to oil pressure sending unit, thus revealing the ugly underbelly of serendipity, enabled flow of amps, but other solution must await further investigation, beginning with horn at back of crammed lazerette.

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works." - John Gaule


Shrifting to Shift South Shortly
10/04/2010, Hunga Island, Vava'u Group, Tonga

October 5

Already time to start checking passage weather. Can't believe departure is looming. Just got here, right? May want to come back next season. Vava'u is suggestive of a more verdant BVI - protected sailing, numerous beautiful anchorages and much of interest underwater and ashore, plus the people are friendlier. Would even choose here for chartering over Raiatea/Tahiti in the Societies. Ha'apai group, a long day or short night south, is reported similar with fewer people and great snorkeling/diving. So many places, so little time.

Have gotten on a movie kick, so this dross has been getting short shrift last few days. May devote medium shrift as availability of or interest in other diversions ebbs. First time viewing of "Chocolat" was great on jumboish 15 inch flat screen, which has languished since U.S. (and, by the way, just learned difference between 'that' and 'which', delineating essential or non-essential information, respectively - cool! Mrs. McCaskel would be so proud - after application of smelling salts).

Out here on the western edge of Vava'u at Hunga Island, Ika Lahi Fishing Lodge restaurant is maxed out for dinner, so have been reduced to raiding onboard larder. Given high tolerance for marginal culinary results this is not a bad thing as freezer is full of meat prohibited from New Zealand. Used occasion to disassemble for cleaning Force-10 grill, which would barely stay lit. Pan fried pork cutlet was delicious after non-optimum conclusion of foregoing effort.


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