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Anthem Adrift
Is It Fun Yet?
09/03/2011, Day 4 to Fiji

Ditch Bag

3 September 2011

Bought waterproof ditch bag during a recent visit to US for when boat bursts into flames or crashes into the odd semi-submerged container to sink like a stone. Loaded it with all the emergency gear no self-respecting life raft would be without: food, water, flares, signal mirror, sun screen and cribbage board... no sense letting imminent death spoil the fun.

Hand steering for the next 4 or 5 days at first seemed like the cat's pajamas, but upon reconsideration rigged Voyager wind vane when electric autopilot, having gotten a tad hinky of late, assumed 'former' status. After a few petulant attempts at returning to New Zealand, Waldo (OK then, you think of a better name) has now kept us headed toward Fiji for several hours biding it's time until middle of night to go squirrelly (immutable law of nature #57).

Latest forecast indicates previous 4 straight days of wonderful sailing may stretch into tomorrow afternoon before effluent impacts the air movement device with winds Monday and Tuesday into 30s and seas to 4 meters. Woohoo!

"It's only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis." - Margaret Bonnano

Jack

Fun and Games
09/02/2011, Day 3 to Fiji

Icom HF Radio and Chart Table

2 September 2011

Formerly effective Honda generator has become obstreperous after some months of inattention. Oil change finally induced it to run, but not to accept a normal electrical load (battery charger). Black smoke and horrible burning odor after several minutes of attempted operation might possibly also not be a good sign. Will probably take it to authorized repair station in Fiji for remedy... and angels will probably fly out of a bodily orifice.

Automatic control of SSB has become indisposed due either a USB cable or hub. Symptoms are inconsistent and illogical. Must be a computer. Where's Steve Jobs when he's needed - hasn't returned a single phone call. At least data cable works if spoken to very gently and with feeling.

Otherwise another beautiful day of sailing passes as rain associated with a cold front that has chased us since morning draws near with backing and apparently, temporarily easing wind. Enhanced trades expected Sunday for a boisterous starboard tack reach last four or five days of passage. Let the games begin.

Jack

Music of the Night
09/01/2011, Day 2 to Fiji

Cup Locker

1 September 2011

Another good day of sailing averaging 6 knots with only the occasional death roll. Wouldn't be so noisy if someone would secure loose detritus in cup locker (cups?). Not holding breath from here on as forecast shows wind going astern then east and running to 25 within next few days. May need that new third reef.

Not quite smooth enough to grill lamb on the barbie. With kumara, green beans, grilled tomato and a vintage iced tea dinner was 4 star (point off for Clif Bar dessert).

Midnight watch swaddled abed in heavy duvet. First watch ready for same in 3 long hours. Always takes a couple days to get into rhythm. A scythe of moon peeking through clouds is meager help for rereading Asimov's "Foundation and Empire".

Jack

Food for Thought
08/31/2011, Day 1 to Fiji

Marsden Cove Piers

31 August 2011

Off we went like a one turtle herd at 1045L after ingratiating ourselves to customs guy Bruce by hiding in the cafe over brekkie when he arrived early. He probably didn't mind wasting 20 minutes looking for us before continuing his otherwise chockers day.

Initial wind (as forecast, oddly enough) was 140 degrees off port bow (for the compassly (not a real word) challenged that's 40 degrees from dead astern) at 14 to 17 knots. Partly cloudy sky and easy sea made for an uncharacteristically auspicious beginning for a passage.

Having scant appreciation for a captain's duty to abuse crew, Jan took issue with the 2100 to 0800 watch, but agreed to make dinner and take midnight to 4. Alimentary inducements have thus produced malleability in said captain.

Jack

Is It Warm Yet?
08/30/2011, Marsden Cove Marina Near Whangerei

Anthem at Marsden

30 August 2011

Lay day in Marsden Cove due waiting for weather and customs. Neglected to send 48 hour notice reference that second thing. Who knew they took silly rules so seriously? Would have waited until this evening anyway, so take that. Spent extra time to rig 3rd reef in main and fix washdown pump and solar panels. Why, you may ask, wasn't that stuff done in Auckland? Ummm... I'll have my people get back to your people with that answer in a few days.

Just to impress everyone with newfound diligence, wish to mention also topping off diesel tanks, draining all water to refill with some that's actually clear and tasty (Pier 21?) and performing a multifarious assortment of additional tasks too numerous to mention.

Should be off the dock around 1000 local which is 2200 GMT Tuesday or 1800 EDT Tuesday. Very confusing. Would much simpler if everyone was on my time. And speaking of daylight savings time - bah humbug!

Jack

It's Alive!!!
08/29/2011, Marsden Cove Marina Near Whangerei

At the Helm

First a Cliff Note of catch-up. Extended stay in Kiwiland was due excessive and costly boat work and circumstances attendant to association with Jan, a Canadian permanent resident of Australia. She's a beautiful and talented, 51 year old surgical nurse who independently loves all the lifestyle concomitant with cruising and with whom a permanent partnership has been initiated to share the adventure. More specific information for the inquisitive few will require individual contact.

So, after nearly 10 boat months in New Zealand (seems longer in people months), Jan & I, echewing caution, good sense and really fine if inexplicably pricey lamb, have left Auckland to begin sailing north toward balmy Fiji. Having been apprised of an affliction here referred to as winter, we are girding to avoid loss of nether regions due associated thermal conditions expected first several days. As location is South Pacific this circumstance seems horribly wrong.

Because customs and immigration status approach limit of local tolerance until arrival of FBI report allows permanent residence application, we will clear out at Marsden Cove to cast off into the great ocean Wednesday morning, he confidently avers, for the perfect 9 day passage. Weather router in Maine probably meant to assure us of this.

Finally, to the chagrin of preposterously thousands of literary critics, this moribund blog is thus declared alive to a currently indeterminate degree. Frequency and extent of future postings will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Jack

Swans Don´t Sing
06/14/2011, Pier 21, Auckland

I Love the Irish

After sevenish months of near spamlessness (not a real word), many of you have concluded that I went crazy and ran away to the South Pacific, never to be seen or heard from again. This is not entirely true as the sanity question remains open. Anyway, as more perceptive of you may notice, this note contains, to some degree or other, communication.

Ship and crew currently reside at Pier 21 in downtown Auckland, New Zealand (as distinct from Old Zealand which was apparently misplaced) where they will remain, but for a side trip to visit friends in disparate locations using a more weatherly craft made by Boeing, until at least August.

Nebulousness (real word) enshrouds subsequent plans as uncontrollable circumstances will dictate for awhile. All crew are earnestly hoping for a couple of months sailing Tonga before return Kiwiland November to again avoid cyclone season.

Despite vow of sloth (coincident with unintentional vow of poverty) will be applying for "work" visa in this country. Alas, due to engendering chills and queasiness, both the word and its physical manifestation had for some time been expunged from common usage, but fear not as no such activity is in prospect. Allowing a longer stay for process, the visa is a step to gaining permanent residency. Huh? you may query. A little shaking of head, 'tsk'ing or blind faith may be helpful at this point as there is no intention to cease cruising indefinitely, quite possibly in a generally westerly direction. Think expansion of options. Events will, as always, unfold in the fullness of time.

The following for personal friends and email recipients only: For some of you changes since November may have inhibited outflow of warm fuzzies. This is regrettable, but should ultimately not have been as great a surprise to you as it was to me. Hopefully subsequent events, should you keep apprised of them, will not further suppress what remains. At any rate, I love each and every one of you like a brother or a sister and will be delighted to receive and subsequently, courteously reply to any manner of correspondence.

Having expended numerous words on scant explanation, will further not elucidate why emails will cease. All those wishing exposure to future effluvium must now wait until it reflows and then bring it upon themselves online at Sailblogs.

Fair winds and following seas to all.

Jack

Change for a Bad Penny?
02/03/2011, Opua, Bay of Islands

February 4

There I was, flat on my back at thirty thousand feet in a flat spin. All I could see on the dials was the manufacturer's name. Much to the chagrin of bloodthirsty lovers of coherent writing, recovered in time to tap out this bit of blarney.

November arrival in New Zealand saw me busier than a one-armed paper hanger. Beavers are slackers. OK, enjoyed an unseemly mount of fun as well, but keeping repair shops solvent remained primary occupation. Won't bore with myriad details except for engine losing interest as injector pump failed while technician was in bilge exercising malfunctioning transmission. All rejuvenated bits were reattached and ostensibly operative after unconscionable time and outlay of plastic Kiwi bucks. Also, deck hardware bedding along entire starboard side, during deep port tack, allowed seawater to lap around interior from V-berth to quarter-berth. Ripping out furniture to access backing plates has not been a lifelong dream, but less drastic ameliorative efforts will now commence following just ended return to US over holidays to tidy affairs for extended absence. Anybody jonesing for an eighteen year old Miata or an experimental aircraft Thorp T-18?

Despite widespread trepidation over recommencement of this verbal detritus, your fears are probably groundless as boat work and studious mitigation of disgraceful rum over-abundance in Opua and close environs will necessitate full extension of efforts over at least the next few weeks. Raucous cheers of relief at this point may be understandable, but are somewhat indelicate and should be avoided.

Jack

New Zealand
11/07/2010, En Route Opua Day 9

Customs Dock Opua

November 8

Anticipate remaining busy for duration of day upon arrival at Opua customs dock, so this will be early and short.

With any luck New Zealand authorities will not have read these logs and determined that their tolerance for unsavory characters has been exceeded. Request your indulgence to refrain from informing them.

Thus ends one journey and begins the next. Looking forward with expectancy to future adventure in whatever form it takes, although, with one addition, can't imagine a more complete satisfaction with this patch of the universe than experienced over the previous two years. This is the best thing I have ever done.

For those with low schmaltz threshold, please take magic marker and strike through preceding paragraph then erase entire message. Use care when removing black marks from computer screen.

Jack

Last Night at Sea
11/07/2010, En Route Opua Day 8

November 7

Wind never quite went sufficiently east for direct sail to port, but still managed to do a little of that sailor sh... stuff and now doing motorboater stuff. Currently motor-sailing with just enough breeze to help a couple of tenths. Weather cleared off last night for a beautiful Milky Way sky, but it was coooooold. Suspicious this is related to calling them cold fronts.

Expect to hear fossil fuel related sounds until arriving at Opua customs dock around 1430 tomorrow. Thanks again to Irv and crew for providing a floatout to make this possible.

Still experiencing sleep deprivation and so, to the delight of millions... well, thousands... alright, a long suffering few, will again attenuate this missive, prepare for sleep and let the crew stand night watch.

Jack

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