How Much Longer Can It Hold?

I’m looking at the anchor rode and let myself be mesmerized by the conglomerate of little critters and things that have chosen to make this their home. There are long strings of green algae, slimy globs, spiky Idon’tknowwhats and underneath it all the classic barnacles, all of them calling upon the twisted fibers for growing roots against being washed away by the ebbing and flooding of their environment. During the month and something we’ve been sitting here in Taiohae Bay we’ve only once raised one of the anchors to reset it. This was done in order to be a little closer to the pier, thereby improve the Wi-Fi reception just a tad so as not to bore you too much with reporting in just plain old text and serve you with some visuals to wash it down with. It had the nice side effect of reducing our almost daily paddling stints a little bit whenever we want to let our feet stroll on terra firme.  So what lies beyond the visible ten or so feet of the ¾” thick three strand nylon ropes that lead down to our two anchors can only be fathomed with a great deal of imagination and speculation. The fact is that Aluna has been holding firm and steady in the many sudden gusts that flagellate the waters of this bay, when the trade winds tumble down in wicked twirling eddies from the eroded walls of the ancient devil’s cauldron. To estimate how long anchors continue to hold is the business strictly of a devoted believer. There I would never trust probability calculations nor any engineering modeling. Too many things can go wrong in the murky waters of a harbor.  Believing is something you have to train for, and for quite a considerable amount of time, so whenever you’re anchor is recently set, you worry yourself silly about possible mishaps at the invisible end of the line, seeing yourself jumping out of your bunk at three in the morning, frenetically hoisting sails while drifting towards the rocks. With time your worry wears itself down and blind trust replaces fear. But since I’m a skeptic at heart even after the month and a half here I still every now and then sin by imagining the rode wrapped around some coral head slowly chafing through and one sunny day leaving us not only adrift, but also with one less anchor for any future resting place. Imagination hence must be driven more by our emotional ups and downs than by our rational reasoning.


Aluna getting ready for a good night's rest


Our way of travelling turns out to be the perfect pattern for a diehard masochist. Nor do we stay in a place and cultivate long-term, trustworthy friendships and other forms of mutual emotional soothing, nor to we hop from place to place like the majority of cruising folks, who refuse to create any kind of bonding between them and the multitude of landlubbers they are passing by on their hasty run around the globe. We stay in a place long enough to sink in, to create emotional dependencies and to shake the rattles of juicy gossip. Now we’re once again making our way towards separation anxiety, struggling to bring to a close our network of affections as gentle as such a violent thing is possible. The wish to be able to stay on and continue the accumulation of a treasure trove of shared experiences has all but faded away and transmutated into the brutal bravery of an emotional worrier who flies in impenetrable stealth mode above and beyond the brutal world of diligently rewarded emotional investment where most of mankind spend their lifetimes adjusting shackles and chains. But even the worrier’s heart that thirsts, if for anything at all, for action and knuckle resolve, falls prey at the odd moment to the trickery of conditioning and the little fears gnaw into its fortified center of will, wish and want.

I’ve surprised myself lately with imagining Aluna’s anchors actually dug deep into the sticky mud of the seabed below Taiohae Bay. So much it has sunk in that its shaft, shackle and chain are all buried by layers of muck, debris, shattered and inconclusive ideas, bleached coral crumbs, sunken and forgotten sediments, disintegrated intents of human self-pity, simple sifted sand and crushed shells of hordes of mollusks and crustaceans. I had warned you previously that the anchors of our lives are set in a realm of hyperbolic imagery and stinking thinking, but what I wanted to demonstrate is that a little bit of Freudian soul searching will blatantly reveal why I would want, in my minds eye, Aluna’s anchors to be stuck; stuck so hard indeed that it will be impossible to pull them up and our departure will have to be postponed indefinitely. Maritime impossibility will supersede terrestrial legislation and comfort will slowly but surely strangle courage until it vanishes from the face of the earth, like a squeaky dog with its tail coiled up between the hind legs after having felt the hard end of a swinging broom stick.

But thank God and for Christ’s sake the worrier’s heart does not listen to the brain for advice on what action is appropriate. Just today a respectable stash of tasty provisions crawled aboard and into the holdings and bilges of Aluna, courtesy of a surprising bout of superhuman generosity by our friends Camille and Taifun; water containers are being filled with drinking water from Taipivai; the big mizzen sail is awaiting termination of its new joint at the foot, while the masthead is undergoing a radical overhaul, receiving an actual crane that will channel the halyard line up and over it so that in the future the sail can be pulled up from forward of the mast;


This one came out a little straighter



Messy background reveals reality!



Another cheek on this side will enclose it all


cabin lights are now shining brightly into the night from our cabin and others are ready to be mounted over the galley table;


And there shall be light!



Lights made from bamboo and sandal wood



and recycled LED assemblies from


new and not yet crumpled charts that have never been navigated are being peeled out of mailing tubes and then spread out on more or less even surfaces; possible routes into the fast approaching future are charted on them with sparkling eyes; precious internet time is frugally wasted staring at turquoise waters inside lagoons from satellite perspective while more bananas are drying in the scorching sun on deck.


Bananas in the drying rack


Like late season mangoes experience a burst in flavor and juiciness, so is our daily hence and forth intensifying. Time spirals once again down into a warp of acceleration where moments become precious before their taken away into the realm of memory that is unable to act. This volcanic soil is ready to tremble once again and shake us off its eroded back like you or I flip the tiny nuisance of a fly from our hairy forearms while sipping tea in the sun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: