Passage Hawaii to Vancouver - Day 14
24 July 2013
Today, Day 14 of our passage, with perpetual overcast skies and the insidious chill of the raw northern air gnawing away at our spirits, I have a compelling need to write some bad poetry, again. I don't know why. Perhaps it is the relentless droning of the engine. Or perhaps it is the need to find humor in the midst of a somewhat long and tedious voyage. I apologize.
ODE TO THE MOTOR
There was a boat named Sarah Jean Across oceans she would go The wind, it filled her crisp white sails And rarely was she slow
But then one day, the wind, it stopped Then slowly did she go The sails, they cried, the motor laughed And said, "I told you so!"
For the motor knew the wind would die The forecast it had seen The calm would last for days and days It was the motor's dream
And so the motor sparked to life The propeller, it did turn The sails called out, "No fair! No fair!" But diesel, it was burned
The pistons raced, the flywheel flew Sarah Jean was on her way The sails they drooped and pouted so Their mood, it was dismay
But then one day the fuel was gone Forever, it could not last The sails, they laughed, "A breeze we feel! Please raise us up the mast!"
There was a boat named Sarah Jean Across oceans she would go The wind, it filled her crisp white sails And rarely was she slow, rarely was she slow.
There is no Joanna story today. But she and her slippery log are still plunging down, down, down into the deep black hole, to where I do not know. I must say she has exhausted me lately with all her antics. I needed to take a short break and think about how to extricate her from her latest dilemma. Unlike a good chess player I do not think too far ahead. All I know is her story is far from over.
Those of you who are following along with Joanna might be interested to know that her adventures are all based on things that Beth and I have seen or experienced in Vanuatu or other islands in South Pacific. For example, on a rugged jungle trail we met a group of men with machetes and hunting dogs carrying the carcass of a massive wild boar they had just killed and butchered. It had been chopped up and put into many burlap sacks for transportation back to their village. Each sack was incredibly heavy. It must have been quite the beast. No doubt it had been roaming along the jungle trail just ahead of us!
At a remote anchorage we came across two young boys, approximate ages 10 and 12, who were living alone near the water's edge in a makeshift thatch hunt. They did not go to school and spoke no English so we never learned their story. The boys lived on coconuts from a nearby grove and fish they caught themselves. Feeling sorry for the boys Beth gave them each a freshly baked chocolate cupcake. In return, the youngest scrambled up a nearby tree and knocked down two coconuts. His older brother quickly picked them up, husked them on a sharp stick set in the ground and then ceremoniously presented them to us. I have great photos of the whole sequence. While young and living alone in primitive conditions these boys were very courteous and knew how to say thank you, island style.
On another occasion we rode upon a river that mysteriously disappeared into a large dark hole in the ground. The river was not raging at the time but surely would have following a heavy downpour. We followed the river into the hole where wondrous things awaited us.
In Vanuatu and the South Pacific islands we met many wonderful and fascinating people and saw countless amazing sights, too many to possibly recount to family and friends. I hope by presenting a few of them within the context of a story others might be able to share our experiences, at least a little.
The further adventures of Joanna will continue with the publication Chapter 7 on Friday, July 26.
The forecast is for very light air for at least the next 5 days. We have therefore become more serious about our light air sailing by silencing the motor and unleashing THE WHUMPER, our huge furling asymmetrical spinnaker. We are now zipping along at 6.5 kts in 9.8 kts of wind, close reaching. Yup, we can sail THE WHUMPER upwind to 60 AP. Always volatile, this bright blue and yellow sail can get ornery in sudden wind gusts as the boat suddenly accelerates, making sailing it a bit like playing with a live grenade; lots of fun until the pin falls out! THE WHUMPER promises to add some much needed speed and excitement to our otherwise dreary sailing conditions!