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Anthem Adrift
Waxing Enthusiastic
11/21/2011, Hahangaroa Bay, Bay of Islands

21 November 2011

After various and sundry chores, escaped Opua early afternoon for gusty sail under yankee and staysail to Hahangaroa Bay. Gorgeous location with 6 other sailboats until BUTT (big ugly tourist transporter, i.e. small cruise ship) dropped anchor just behind. Anticipate night of raucous party noise, probably ABBA and the BGs at high decibel.

22 November 2011

All quiet on the cruise ship front. Perhaps it was movie night for a geriatric clientele.

After gusty wind under overcast sky, morning became clear and calm allowing break of fast with Malaysian born, Australian friend in cockpit of Costa Rican built, US registered yacht on French toast, Canada maple syrup, New Zealand butter and Thai orange juice. In a paroxysm of international eclecticism, partner threatens a Brazilian wax. Seems rather extreme for likely negligible effect on world peace.


Idylling Along
11/20/2011, Port Opua, New Zealand

21 November 2011

Although protracted and on the wind, passage from Fiji was not terribly uncomfortable and allowed a timely arrival Opua for last two days of All Points Rally festivities. Old friends and new forced us, forced I say, into flagrant abuse of mind altering, grape based substances. Beautiful evenings (have been assured of this by unbiased observers who actually remember) metamorphosed into less idyllic mornings. One should occasionally over-indulge as a reminder to never do it again.

Buddy Maggie drove from Auckland yesterday to help us cruise the Bay of Islands for several days. For the barbie she brought lamb, beef and various other meatage (not a real word) from her spendy, but excellent, butcher. Expect departure from Opua this afternoon after a few chores (including possibly leaving club foot with Northland Spars and Rigging to be repaired) for anchorage off Russell, former capital and all round fun place.

Weather has been delightfully dry so far with chilly nights and almost warm days - blue jeans and jackets. Regrettably, a change looms tonight with winds to 35 knots and some rain. No worrys. We have food, popcorn, movies, libation and a cribbage board. Some judicious mixing and matching of these should easily hold rampant ennui at bay.


Going Down the Espresso Lane
11/17/2011, Day 11 to Opua

18 November 2011

One tends to sleep on same side as tack, i.e. right side for starboard and left for port. This due to wanting back on solid object and feet toward bow so that any sudden stop resulting from running upon a reef, semi-submerged container or whale does not break one's neck. This allows additional time to reflect upon one's life and, possibly, convert to Buddhism (thus facilitating return for another try) before drowning as now holed boat disappears into the depths.

Five NM to Cape Wiwiki, entrance to Bay of Islands, eleven more into Port Opua. Beautiful sail under clear skies in calm seas since 0400 with apparent wind varying between 10 and 20 knots and boat moving at from 4.5 knots to hull speed of 7+. Rather have good weather at beginning. Now just want to keep sailing... Oh wait, a cappuccino (heavily sprinkled with cocoa, of course) calls. Never mind, we're going in.


Omitting Official Ordure
11/16/2011, Day 11 to Opua

17 November 2011

Oddly enough entry into Port Opua tomorrow appears assured, possibly before Quarantine, Customs and Immigration decamp for the day, and astonishingly as WAGed 12 days ago in required C1b "Inward Report (Small Craft)" and NZCS 340, "Advance Notice of Arrival" (behold UK inspired bureaucracy). Remaining fuel and forecast winds are critically, interdependently determinant. The latter varies from good to bad and back with each subsequent GRIB (Grievously Reprehensible and Inaccurate Bullflop) report. May avoid bad reports by not downloading any more after next suitable. That should work. In the immortal words of Harry Callahan, "Are ya feelin' lucky? Are ya punk?".

Meantime, we attempt to clean or cook and ingest all remaining meat, fruit, nuts and vegetables that will be confiscated, perforce, upon our arrival. In our selfless gesture of compassion to ease responsibility for hardworking New Zealand officialdom, tonight's feast will convey lamb sausage, eggplant and other delectable comestibles through alimentary systems and, by morning using apparatus and plumbing specifically designed for that very purpose, to the surrounding sea (One cannot be squeamish living on a sailboat). This is our civic duty and no show of gratitude will be necessary or expected.


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.


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


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!


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


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


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


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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
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