Archive for June, 2019

I “lost” Rangaroa, one of the largest atolls in the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Actually, I didn’t lose this atoll but it was where I thought it was.  In truth, I wasn’t where I thought I was. So really I was lost at sea. Nothing but unbroken horizon around.

Here is how it happened: I had arrived at Huka Hiva, after 43 days of solo sailing from La Paz, BCS, Mexico. Nuka Hiva is not an entry port for the French Poltenisa Islands. I was issued a temporary visa for thirty days but had to check in with immigration in Papette by 14th of July.

The voyage from Nuka Hiva to Papeete is a little over 800  miles. So figuring a hundred miles a day (4 miles per hour) I had plenty of time to stop and visit the third largest atoll in the world. I left Nuka Hiva early July. I planned on 5 days sailing. Visit for 4 or 5 days and finish up with a three-day sail to Papette. I would get to Papette on or about the 14th of July. The 14th of July is Bastille Day, a major holiday. Ok, so much for plan A. But, Murphy as usual. screwed around.

I watched the high reaching mountains of Nuka Hiva drop slowly into the ocean until again I was at sea, with water horizon to horizon. I set the autopilot and zeroed out the sum-log. 300 miles to the atoll. The first three days of this passage was great we were making just less than 100 miles a day. My sextant shots at noon were dead-on.

On the third day, the clouds obscured the sun so I had no noon position fix. No sweat my dead reckoning was right on. On the fourth day, my dead reckoning said that I  should see the atoll about noon. But Murphy reared his ugly head and we had another day of solid overcast. Noon came and went and there I sat “knowing” that I should be near the atoll, but all I had was water to water on all horizons.

So it boiled down to two choices, raise sail and continue to Papette or “guess” that I’m north of the atoll. I had aimed to enter through the north passage, as it was near the only town (1500 people). So I decided to motor slowly in a southern direction. I would give it until dark and if I didn’t find it, up-sail and head for Papette.

Please stick with me, because here I have to teach you about navigation. All of us have been on the beach and looked out at the horizon. Any idea of how far you are seeing? If you are about 6 feet tall, you can see about 3 miles. So standing in the cockpit of my boat my horizon is only about three miles away. Hopefully, the atoll has coconut trees about 30 ft high. Good, I can see the palmtops from 10 or 13 miles away,

I was moving southwards at about 4 MPH. One PM came and went.  Two and I’m beginning to sweat. At 3:30 I spotted something on the horizon, but it didn’t make sense. It flashed for a brief second then was gone, but back again, and gone again. But this was something manmade at it must be on the atoll. Finally about 4 PM the mystery was solved. The thing I saw was a large wind generator. Now coco-palms and the village were visible. I had found the ‘lost’ atoll.

I had arrived at flood tide. Thousands of gallons of water rushed through a hundred-meter gap. The current swept the boat into the lagoon like it was a leaf on a river. I had no control as the water just picked up the boat and I was on a sleigh ride. I panicked, but there was nothing I could do about it. The villagers had lined the banks to watch the show.  I got a huge round of applause.

I spent 3 days here with the world’s friendly people, I sailed around inside this 30-mile by 50-mile stretch of flat, crystal clear water.  Memories of the automatic bakery and the hot baguettes every morning. And the resort played Vivaldi’s “Rite of Spring” every morning at dawn. And I caught my lobster each day. And bartering my home canned apricots for black pearls. I was to visit many other atolls but the first is always the best.-

Hope you enjoyed my little sailing story.

 

(de)Volution of an Idea

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

I had just finished. carving a spoon and was about to throw away the scrap wood It was about 6″ X 3″. Instead of throwing it away I decided to carve something else with it.  First here is the spoon.

 

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The shape of the scrap reminded me of long shape. So I carved it into this

Weird guy maybe a Brontosaurus? I think I was thinking of a giraffe. Oh well, throw it away … but wait a minute, let’s cut off that long neck.

I don’t know? A wolf, dog, pig, what ever but back to the scrap pile. But wait a minute the neck and head are still here. Let’s try a giraffe

Shitty looking giraffe. Try something else.

Made new head and changed him into an African antelope. But wait a minute, that neck and head is still here.

The Loch-Ness monster rises from the sea. Enough of this shit. Throw it all in the garbage can and grab a beer. Have fun while you are still able.