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Anthem Adrift
Adorably Piquant
11/15/2011, Day 10 to Opua

16 November 2011

Beautiful motoring last night. OK, that's an oxymoron, but didn't suck to have level boat for awhile particularly reference toilet, shower and grilling on the barbie. Now have SW 15 on the beam and able direct destination at 6.5 to 7 knots. Even better than not sucking. Latest GRIB (Grotesquely Ridiculous Information Botch) shows good wind to permit arrival Friday. This is clearly a triumph of hope over experience and recent history.

Unique trip, having sighted 3 sailboats, 2 freighters and a 225 foot sailing yacht. Didn't have a single siting crossing the Pacific or on virtually any other passage. Crossed tacks one night at 0400 with "Scream", Steve & Derusha. As stand on vessel made him alter course to pass behind. Remarkable proximity in a really, really big ocean.

Jan has been engaged whipping the bitter ends of line (No Cal, non-sailing, longtime friend, this is not as kinky as it sounds), cleaning toilet/shower, beading (again, completely moral and ethical) and assembling hot meals every day in addition to helping sail the boat. Indolence is not customarily countenanced, but what can be done? She's diabolically cute.

I, for my part, have been napping, reading, fiddling with the rig and otherwise hanging out looking appropriately salty and adorable. Well, that first thing anyway.

Jack

Cerebral Sabbatical
11/13/2011, Day 8 to Opua

14 November 2011

Latest word from weather router that he won't be back now until Wednesday no big deal. Would say we're not going anywhere anyway, but actually headed through Tasman Sea to Antarctica. Never been. Might be fun. Shall we need a jacket?

Apologize for mostly lame recent entries. Amenable to, preferably aberrant and twisted, suggestions.

"Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don't necessarily understand, just decides to go to the store for a quart of milk." - Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

Continue to write each day primarily to place position on Google Earth overlay and to befuddle admirers of coherent prose.

"This book fills a much-needed gap." - Moses Hadas

Jack

Chicken Little or Pollyanna?
11/12/2011, Day 7 to Opua

13 November 2011

After squandering 28% of fuel motor-sailing last 24 hours (this is something of a misnomer as much was without benefit of wind) we again resort to big white baggy things to propel us toward New Zealand. Running well with wake streaming aft we are pleased with progress... toward Tasmania. One is reminded of much government activity. Doesn't really matter how backward, wasteful or destructive a probable result, all's well if everyone feels good about it.

Weather router, away in Christchurch since 8th for a show, will tomorrow sprinkle us with sageness and expertise. Anticipate paraphrasing and condensing his report to "you're screwed". Still considering wait at Norfolk Island until advent of west or north quadrant wind which, if occurring before we get there, will prevent it. Of course in that case movement toward Opua would be possible until well past Norfolk at which time southeastlies are likely to resume.

Have decided that previous paragraph too pessimistic so now expect four days of 15 knot west wind for beautiful beam reach into Bay of Islands Thursday morning. Thank goodness!

Jack

Prognostic Perplexity
11/11/2011, Day 6 to Opua

12 November 2011

Because, for foreseeable future, motivating air will be wafting over New Zealand before making its way to this vessel and we are a full keel, heavy displacement cutter, present passage will likely become second longest after crossing the Pacific. A leg wax or shoulder massage is riding on whether we arrive before or after next Thursday midnight. Feeling less tense already. Idea of ripping great swatches of hair out by force makes me queasy.

Finally had to awaken the rackety red bilge creature (suspect Westerbeke thinks that particular shade is best at hiding oozing oil) to assist as tacking into both wind and adverse current was making for minuscule progress. Have now improved advancement to mediocre, still not direct.

Anybody remember an impetuous comment or two relating how sailing is about the journey not the destination? Uh huh, uh huh... Absolutely true. Have not even thought about a tantalizing bowl of chocolate sprinkled cappuccino at Opua cafe, warm full-flow showers or partaking in adult beverages at the OCC (Opua Cruising Club)... at all.

"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." - Niels Bohr

Jack

Perdition Attrition
11/10/2011, Day 5 to Opua

11/11/11, 11:11:11 Local time.

Although proceeding toward Norfolk Island, Australia, momentary situation better than one might expect. Making around 2.5 kts. VMG (velocity made good) toward Opua. As motivating air will be wafting over New Zealand for foreseeable future before arriving at this vessel and we are a full keel, heavy displacement cutter, approach to North Cape should occur a couple of days before the end of eternity just in time for SSW gale. For now, at least, less heel and easy motion make ambulating around boat more agreeable. In otherwise dire event food runs out may send cabin boy to fetch rats from the orlop.

As witching hour approaches will maintain watch for calamitous world events or end of life as we know it. In case of the second coming and subsequent rapture, as no one will be offended, those left may expect this blog to become significantly more naughty.

"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife." - Douglas Adams

Jack

Boring, Don't Read
11/09/2011, Day 4 to Opua

10 November 2011

Good day and night not counting twenty odd knot squalls around dusk. Wind seems to pick up late afternoon to ease back to 15 to 17 in the wee hours. 5 or 6 knots makes a big difference in sea state when driving into it. Heading kinda, sorta toward general vicinity Northland. With expected backing toward south in a day will at some point tack starboard, thus increasing distance from Opua (that doesn't seem right does it?) to return some easting.

Recaptured staysail clew for sheeting back to a block by cockpit, then used barber-hauler to pull into position. Works well except for inconvenience tacking. Won't happen often, but will require rigging another snatch block and line on port, furling sail and carrying sheet around mast. May scrounge for sufficiently long additional line to avoid deck dance.

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit. - W. Somerset Maugham

Jack

Footloose
11/08/2011, Day 3 to Opua

09 November 2011

Wind and sea eased yesterday afternoon yielding returned to the pink of crew, notwithstanding differing genders. Situation remained stable after warm dinner of pork chop, rice and eggplant.

Lighter wind would have been better news if club foot gooseneck had not broken also parting outhaul. Jury rigging loose footed staysail for more advantageous speed and angle will be project for today. (Foregoing will be complete cipher to Cal and other non-sailors. Suffice to say we had a boo-boo, are down a sail and hoping to remedy shortly.)

Jack

Blinking
11/07/2011, Day 2 to Opua

08 November 2011

This will be short as all crew suffering from mal de mer, avoiding hurl de mer so far. Weather sage claiming easing winds soon. No mention of easing "moderate to rough" sea which seems particularly ill tempered.

Hard to complain as we make good time in OK direction. Center of Tasman Sea is a good place isn't it?

Only 935 NM to go should we actually get to Port Opua. Blink of an eye.

Jack

Fluctuating Fortuity Finally Favorable
11/06/2011, Robinson Crusoe Island

Custom Dance

05 November 2011

Circumambulated Likuri Island then had a swim from boat to cool off, clean prop and attempt to avoid being swept away by incoming tidal current. Oddly, as boat turns with tide to point into current, wind often shifts to continue coming through forward facing hatches (could be other way around, whatever) - cool in afternoon heat and beautiful for sleeping. No mosquitos, sand bottom, no burning garbage, no roll. It's probably karma finally saying after immoderate recent adversity, "Who's your daddy" (question mark omitted due inclination for this to be a rhetorical query requiring no answer). Hope current benevolent trend carries through for passage.

Great fun, good food at fire dance show last night. Lots of good looking people in great costumes dancing. Also lots of music but, although Tom Jones singing of his love for Fiji was quite good, some seemed a tad inauthentic. Was told Fiji somehow missed out on this mellifluous aspect of Polynesian culture. Probably main reason it was placed instead in Melanesia.

Jack

Peerless Passage Positively Presumed
11/04/2011, Robinson Crusoe Island

04 November 2011

Devilishly clever plan to avoid pitfalls of Lautoka by anchoring 3.5 NM away in Saweni Bay came a cropper as mud and mosquitos were joined by permeating aroma of burning garbage manifesting after wind shift at dusk. 0815 arrival at customs this morning due feckless alarm clock (which was subsequently a deserving recipient of several muttered expletives) put us last in que delaying departure for Robinson Crusoe Island until after 1000. Onshore breeze filled in early before eventually dying for delightful sail until afternoon enabling daylight arrival.

Previous two weeks of sailing have been beautiful, but placid in light winds and calm seas - sailing for non-sailors. A tad too tranquil frankly, Jan & I being sailors and all. For foreseeable future this appears also to be forecast condition of great swatches of ocean between here and New Zealand. Almost certainly, however, by departure in two days the environment will have adapted to our wishes for a perfect 1150 NM broad reach passage to Port Opua.

Jack

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