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Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - Coconut Crabs
08/08/2007, Penrhyn Atoll, Northern Cook Islands

The bonefish were not biting today so, instead, we went hunting for coconut crabs. Three good-sized specimens were found under some coconut trees and cooked for dinner. I found them to be much like our dungeness crab but perhaps not quite as sweet. Nevertheless, it was delicious fare and the price was right. We finished off the last bottle of Bordeaux which I had brought from Tahiti. The cheap Mexican rum is still in the bilge where it may remain for a long time.

All else is well onboard. The weather was settled today except for a brief rain squall late this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - Parade of Rain Squalls
08/07/2007, Penrhyn Atoll, Northern Cook Islands

The weather has been terrible for the past 24 hours. Dozens of rain squalls have come from the southeast bringing high winds, heavy seas and lots of rain. I have not left the boat for fear it will be blown on to the beach. So far, though, the mooring to which Sand Dollar is attached is holding up and I have an anchor out just in case the mooring line parts. I am hoping tomorrow brings more settled weather so I can go fishing or snorkeling.

Another Seattle boat, "Bold Spirit" with Jeff and Kathy onboard, arrived this afternoon and is anchored outside of the pass waiting for the weather to change before entering the lagoon. I first met Jeff and Kathy a year and a half ago coming down the California coast. Their plan is to go north to Hawaii in September and then return to French Polynesia in April for another season there.

All else is well onboard. Tomorrow I will receive a loaf of fresh-baked bread from the village.

Monday, August 6, 2007 - Constitution Day in the Cook Islands
08/06/2007, Penrhyn Atoll, Northern Cook Islands

The Cook Islanders today celebrated their independence from I don't know whom. They say they are self-governing but they are all citizens of New Zealand and carry New Zealand passports. There are only 10,000 of them living in the 15 islands but over 250,000 living in N.Z. There is very little economic opportunity in the Cook Islands so many of them just pack up and move to Auckland, especially the kids.

There was a parade today in Omoka, the main settlement on Penrhyn. I think there were two floats entered in a contest and some young kids marching. We missed the parade but showed up for the barbecue and hung around for about an hour waiting for the food to be cooked but no one was in a hurry so we packed up and returned to the pearl farm.

Another boat arrived this morning, my friends Larry and Trinda of "Katie Lee" out of Seattle. They remained anchored outside of the pass because of high winds in the lagoon. Let's hope the weather settles tomorrow as I would like to do a little more bonefishing.

Sunday, August 5, 2007 - A Quiet Day at Penrhyn
08/05/2007, Penrhyn Atoll, Northern Cook Islands

The church law and local custom here dictates that Sunday is a day of rest and worship. Operation of any mechanical equipment or doing work of any kind is strictly forbidden. This includes visitors and residents alike. I broke the law and worked on my windvane autopilot for most of the day but was not within sight of the village so I don't think it counts. For my penance though, I will voluntarily take two days off work next week.

For dinner I make up a batch of brother Jim's Gut Wrenching Bean Soup and served it up to Mike and his fishing guide Ba'a. They enjoyed it very much but I find I am reaching for the Pepto Bismol. Must have eaten too much.

Saturday, August 4, 2007 - Bonefish on Vacation
08/04/2007, Penrhyn Atoll, Northern Cook Islands

The never-ending search for bonefish nirvana was dealt a setback today. Although I had great expectations, eight hours on the flats produced no fish to the hand and only a half dozen or so to the eye. Either I am losing my ability to spot fish or they are not around. Maybe a combination of both. The moon is waning so perhaps that will have some effect and bring them back up on the flats. Regardless, the scenery is beautiful and the wading good exercise. I will rest the waters tomorrow and turn my attention back to boat projects. We will see how the weather is on Monday.

Friday, August 3, 2007 - French Naval Patrol Boat in Port
08/03/2007, Penrhyn Atoll, Northern Cook Islands

The big excitement in Penrhyn today was the arrival of a small French Navy boat on a goodwill tour through the Pacific islands. The whole town was out to see them come in to the harbor. That's about all I have to report for now. The weather has been very nice, not too hot except for a few hours in the afternoon. I've been working on boat projects so that tomorrow I can go bonefishing without a guilty conscience.

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Sand Dollar
Who: Don Pratten
Port: Beaux Arts, WA
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