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Anthem Adrift
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11/04/2010, En Route Opua Day 5

November 4

Feeling a tad melancholy today, so those who sign on for the odd and curious may be disappointed. Second thought, given usual content here, what follows will be odd and curious.

Passage from one place to another can be difficult. Leaving what you know to strike out into the unknown can bring excitement, but is sure to bear uncertainty. There will be new territories to explore, new pitfalls to avoid and just possibly new ways to find your place in the universe. Change is stressful, unreliable and fraught with danger, but is avoided at even greater peril. It is a defining characteristic of life.

The last two years have been an amazing adventure. Some of the irony, anomaly, beauty and wonder of the experience have been herein described, often with a slightly peculiar twist. It has been an expression of delight. This will not be the last dissemination in this series of twaddle (no booing), but suspect that in the interlude from cruising, while hiding in New Zealand from Pacific cyclones for perhaps five months, a respite from writing will also occur. Such prediction has, to the chagrin of many, proved unfounded in times past and perhaps may again. Such will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Jack

The Far Side of the World
11/02/2010, En Route Opua Day 4

November 3

Crossed 180 degrees east just before noon. Perhaps because there is no 180 west the meridian, so distinctly charted on maps, only shows up while traveling in the opposite direction. There would, of course, be a completely separate and possibly more nefarious reason for not sighting the equator.

Wind died in wee hours precipitating the grumble of diesels all over this patch of Pacific. Subsequent to advice from weather router, some expedition is considered necessary to outrun a low bringing adverse conditions after Sunday. Quietude has returned for now, but frontal passage Friday unfortunately requires off-track run to west for predicted southwest shift on backside. Appears that Monday arrival now working hypothesis as Freezing Rain has offered extra diesel if necessary.

Thought drifter was done for duration, but light pre-frontal wind backing through stern (sound vaguely redundant?) over next 36 hours has given it renewed reason to live. Invigorated momentum has allowed moving ahead of proffered diesel yacht so some burning of additional fuel will not be required to keep up with his normally faster pace thus making more diesel a necessity. Explanation of foregoing apparent logic anomaly must defer to wider forum and acquisition of two, possibly three, chalkboards.

Jack

PS Apologies to the formerly animate Patrick O'Brien

Prohibitively Peerless
11/02/2010, En Route Opua Day 3

November 2

Partly cloudy sky, 14 to 18 knot east southeast wind, 4 meter long period swell, course 210 making 6.5 to 7.0 knots. Have run highly specialized calculus equations to confirm that, indeed, it can't get any better. Last 24 hour run 164 NM. Will hold this thought as conditions change over next several days. For better? Suspect not.

Circumstance of being in 'the west' to change tomorrow. As future location will be in southern and eastern hemispheres and opposite to U.S., other-side-of-the- worldliness will commence. For your edification, lines drawn through earth's center from Opua, Whangerei and Aukland exit in N. Morocco, Strait of Gibraltar and S. Spain, respectively. Is that cool, or what?

Unable to dredge up any sufficiently gonzo preposterousity (not a real word), so will end with:

"Anything invented before your fifteenth birthday is the order of nature. That's how it should be. Anything invented between your 15th and 35th birthday is new and exciting, and you might get a career there. Anything invented after that day, however, is against nature and should be prohibited." - Douglas Adams

Jack

Cool Rock
11/01/2010, En Route Opua Day 2

November 1

Dude! It was cold last night. Wearing shoes, blue jeans, T-shirt and windbreaker with side curtains enclosing cockpit, toasties couldn't be maintained. Have broken out long shirt, long underwear, wool sweater and socks for potential utilization as passage south progresses. Current latitude is 23 with Bay of Islands at 35. Previously checked lows in Whangerei have been 20 F (11 C) cooler than here. Well Toto we're not in the tropics anymore.

Rip roaring passage through increasingly boisterous conditions continues as GRIB (Grievously Reprehensible, Inconsistent Bilgewater) forecasting lighter wind then further easing maintains consistent accuracy. No complaint, however, as average speed first 24 hours was 6.5 for 156 NM.

As surmised, leakage into cabin perseveres, but at dramatically reduced rate. Source confirming amelioration adds toil intensive item to planned and ever- expanding New Zealand repairs. Said list to languish until end of rally festivities on the 20th and obligatory subsequent convalescence.

Jack

Twin Bypass
10/31/2010, En Route Opua Day 1

October 31

Underway toward Opua in beam wind and sea with only 974 NM to go. Almost there. At current rate arrival could be Sunday morning. Not gonna happen. Tradewind conditions are forecast for three or four days then it's a crap shoot as low pressure coming east from Tasman Sea could provide south wind for a day or two. Big ocean swell is nice change after choppier Tongan water.

After heads up from Freezing Rain ref. a reef, checked forward on chart plotter to discover course went directly over it (the term 'over' in this case is highly misleading). Yowzers! Middle of nowhere. Three to eight thousand feet deep all around. Though currently out of range on smallest detail zoom, presumably would have seen it on closer approach, but Marie gets a free drink next available watering hole. Something like that could ruin an otherwise perfectly acceptable evening. Course altered appropriately.

Buddies on Inspiration Lady who made Kiwiland on 28th are bedazzled after two years away by first-world civilization. Lest you have forgotten, Gary's the guy sailing around the world who doesn't like fish or salt water and hurls when the boat rocks. Give him KFC and Clamato juice (to mix with beer... it's a Canadian thing) and he's a happy camper. Have requested more critical information in next email like best bars and location of highest coronary-artery-clogging ice cream.

Jack

Catting the Anchor
10/30/2010, Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu Group, Tonga

October 30

It was stated by female crew of Freezing Rain that otherwise gendered captain was multitasking. This activity as everyone knows is the sole domain of women and not built into male functionality. After being reminded of foregoing reality, said crew explained that Don was drinking beer and doing something else. Ah! An exception that proves the rule. Note with asterisk added to Book of Immutable Laws of Nature.

Multifarious tasks were accomplished today making ready for tomorrow's anticipated egress. Waterline no longer has green tendril forests swaying with 20 knot wind chop and prop, which had accumulated a layer of crust, is now smooth as a babies tush. Why, he queries, does copper, active ingredient in most anti- fouling paint, work (somewhat, sometimes) when bronze props so easily foul? It's a quandary.

Bid farewell to cruising friends and staff at Big Mama's during barbecue tonight before returning home for good night's sleep. Anthem will be at large by 0900 or so after captain abuses airwaves as Penguin Net control starting at 0730. Roll call of boats underway has been shorter with fresh breeze, high seas and squalls, but should escalate by Monday morning with several departures, most to Opua, Sunday. 1100 NM trip with good wind takes as little as 6 days for fast boats. If this crew expects quicker than 9 they're dreaming. Mutiny watch will be maintained after day 5. The cat will not be spared.

Jack

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