The winds were gaining, not lessening, as the weather forecasts predicted, and there was a switch to the North. This put the Shearwater only a couple hundred feet in front of a thundering reef. The moorings were questionable as they are tied to coral, literally. And to lessen one's confidence, one boat, yesterday, in benign conditions broke off the mooring and drifted out to sea. Had that been today, it would have drifted in the opposite direction and now be a wreck... on the reef! So, as dark approached, and as all signs shouted at me to leave and despite wanting to see my filming to its logical conclusion, I cut loose and headed into the darkening sea.....its night now and I am on the way to Tonga.
Once again, I found that the camera is a powerful instrument...my filming caused consternation. I felt I actually became somewhat unwelcome on the island and, in fact, began to meet resistance. Angry words flew in my direction, as a subtext to the apparent harmony started to appear. One week ago, I arrived at the island fascinated by Mr Marsters and his three wives and his descendants....I leave even more fascinated...not really being allowed to get the full story.....but... maybe that, in itself, IS the story.
But and perhaps more importantly...yesterday was a gift, a truly unique day from the filming point of view and... it was not of the Marsters! I have the raw footage ready to go and as soon as I get to Tonga I will post it... I wont give it away - it was a stunning day for my camera and me.
PS Interesting note: a 57 foot catamaran in the waters just ahead flipped over in a sudden wind of 60 knots! all rescued.
MR MARSTERS AND HIS THREE WIVES...PALMERSTON ATOLL
01 August 2010 | Palmerston Atoll in the middle of the Pacific
Five days at Palmerston Atoll amidst the 50 living descendants of Mr Marsters and his three polynesian wives.
CHASING HUMPBACK WHALES AT PALMERSTON
31 July 2010 | Palmerston Atoll - middle of the Pacific
david/film lynn spouse /expert dinghy driver!
Perhaps the most unique and unexpected event of my Pacific voyage!
MR MARSTERS AND HIS 3 WIVES
21 July 2010 | 150 Miles from Palmerston Atoll
Just in front of me is tiny atoll called Palmerston Atoll. You might inquire as to this anglosaxon sounding name in the middle of the S Pacific. Well, let me quote from one of the only accounts I could find about this island:
"The island's inhabitants have a unique history. They are descendants of a patriarchal figure, William Marsters, a Lancashireman who settled here with three Panrhyn Island wives in 1862. He fathered 26 children, divided the islands and reefs into sections for each of the three "families" and established strict rules regarding intermarriage." From Charlie's Charts of Polynesia - Charles and Margo Wood
Apparently 50 descendants still live in this very isolated atoll, so much so that they have to wait patiently for a cargo ship to bring supplies to them - 2 times a YEAR! My intent is to stop and meet these families -the story could be quite rich. I expect to arrive early evening, tomorrow, Saturday.
A CURIOUS SIMILARITY
21 July 2010 | On the way to Palmerston and then Tonga
Just the other day, as I swam underneath Shearwater, I thought of whales - how similar - her two dark hulls suspended in the water, big and round and smooth. Today, I am convinced another creature, other than me, thought the same thing. As I sat in the cockpit, I noticed an aspect to the water that seemed different. And then, there she was, almost the exact same length of Shearwater, going the same direction and slowly, slowly sidling up - a whale! How close she came, almost touching Shearwater's side, the motion of the two in sync, elegant and smooth. Ever so gradually, hugging Shearwater's side, the whale pulled ahead and almost in slow motion crossed within inches of the port bow as though she wanted to touch. She crossed to the other bow, once again almost touching and then she dove... and was gone.
WEATHER ROUTER - TO FOLLOW OR NOT TO FOLLOW TO THE KINGDOM
20 July 2010 | One day out of Papeete
Its a glorious day, sun is shining, the wind of 12-15 knots is on our tail pushing us firmly along WITH the waves, and hence a smooth ride.....may it all last!
Lesley, my dearest sister, gave me a present before departure from Panama.....a weather router, excellent, well known man out of NZ - Bob McDavitt. This is a person who outlines a route to a sailor that will be the safest and the quickest and who, upon perceiving dangers en route, will (hopefully) warn of such.
The problem, this time, is (excuse me, Bob) that I dont like the route....too much southerly(remember that is the direction of the 'southern ocean' where many of have met their maker) and some winds the other end of up to 40 knots. So I have decided to do the opposite...go north. After studying the situation and talking with some knowledgeable sailors from Papeete Im going to take a bet on lighter winds up north and some careful timing to miss the 40 knotters. I hope I dont rue the day that I did not take the advice of my renowned weather router to the Kingdom of Tonga.
Mango is a smart, funny, sensitive and totally unique wheaton/sheepdog. . He is my partner on this patently undoglike voyage but remains cheerful about the whole affair. [...]
David, the "Me" part of MangoandMe is awed by
Shearwater as it will always be a better boat than he a sailor-the way it should be. First stop, South America.
Shearwater is a 47 foot, very sleek and light catamaran.
She is part of a fleet of 11 that were built - its a sister ship of Shearwater that holds the unofficial speed record.
Of the this fleet, only one has flipped...so we are on the side of good odds!