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Anthem Adrift
The Far Side of Nowhere
11/24/2011, Corpse Cove, Bay of Islands

25 November 2011

So I lied. We ate barbecued chicken thighs Wednesday. The Scotch filets were Tuesday and lamb shoulder chops Monday as well as last night except with mushroom pasta instead of rice and broccoli. It's not pretty, but someone has to live this way and being humanitarians all, we wouldn't want to force the exertion upon anyone less fortitudinous (real word?).

Stiff sail in 20 to 25 knots to Kerikeri Cruising Club where there were no moorings, no anchoring locations, no slips and they don't monitor a radio. Deucedly unfriendly. Harumph! Motored to opposite side of peninsula where there was, in addition, no internet and, after assiduous effort with best lures, no fish, ergo the lamb (actually these were leg chops).

This unnamed bay, henceforth Corpse Cove, is not shown as a viable anchorage, perhaps because of the dead guy. Well, initially we saw him walking around as we anchored then he was splayed out on his back, unmoving. Every suggestion to our two resident angels of mercy to minister to the poor soul was met with derision and callous nurse humor. Florence Nightingale's example has obviously been frittered away. Thank goodness the gentleman recovered sufficiently to stumble away, hopefully to find more compassionate help.

Jack

Endeavor to Persevere
11/23/2011, Sunset Bay, Bay of Islands

24 November 2011

Snorkeling was quite pleasant in a nipple popping sort of way as new, 3 mil, full length wetsuit ameliorated more dire hypothermic complications for about 45 minutes, although another 15 was necessary to locate appendage for a certain kidney related physiological function. Associated highlights were navigating, through a swell induced surge, underwater canyons leading toward several caves and a non-shy octopus crawling around among the waving kelp.

Sailed then motored to Sunset Bay for a very comfortable night as boats in the more popular bay cross channel rocked around the clock. A beautiful, large house above us on private Motukiekie Island was inhabited (we saw the lights and occasional movement), but residents seemed unfriendly as they kept curtains closed and did not invite us ashore for drinks and dinner. We were forced to subsist on salad, buttered kumara, incredibly succulent Scotch filets and a wonderful Taylor (Clare Valley, Australia not New York) Cabernet while watching the required (ergo the name) gorgeous sunset. We soldier on in the face of grueling hardship.

Jack

Bumps on a Goose
11/22/2011, Urupukapuka Bay, Bay of Islands

23 November 2011

Lovely Urupukapuka Bay has trees, grass covered hills and newly sheared sheep (accompanied by resultant excreta - hills are really, really green). Also in evidence are incredible views of Bay of Islands from loftier bits.

Early afternoon air moving from zephyrous to howling at 23 degrees (73 for the Celsius challenged). Tentative plan to snorkel in 19 degree water will depend upon first bonehead taking a dare and others shamed into same. Waited until 'heat' of day, now hoping no one else remembers injudicious suggestion. Oh crap! Got to go.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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

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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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