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Anthem Adrift
Gone With the Wind
10/11/2010, Avalau, Vava'u Group, Tonga

October 11

Proceeded ashore early to steal a march on user horde descending upon Aquarium Cafe for free internet. Horde, having same idea, was not fooled. Patience and persistence finally allowed a trickle of data to squeeze through. Then, after a low pass by fresh market, returned home to semi-organize the accumulated disarray for departure.

Vava'u has been a huge blast. Had not anticipated a return, but will reflect on it over austral summer before return north from New Zealand. Would also like to visit Suwarrow atoll, so this would be en route. As planning that far ahead is akin to landing a man on Rigel Kentaurus, will merely store idea in bank of possibilities.

Reference sail to Ha'apai, only day with forecast wind this week is Wednesday so thunderstorms are predicted when? You're too quick. Staged south this afternoon preceding decision whether to leave in the morning, afternoon or following day. Have fuel to make Ha'apai and then Nuku Alofa, but since it has been posited that Anthem is a sailboat (credibility high as this notion has been corroborated on several occasions over the previous two years) thought a hint of breeze might be apropos. Also, as Mickey's little hand has displayed unseemly enthusiasm, crew speculates that O-dark manana has been relieved of its tenability.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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

Jack

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