The Time Is Up

Once again the travel bug is creeping up on us. On May 18 the four months we’re allowed to stay here on beautiful Tongareva, or within the territory of the Cook Islands for that matter, will be up and Aluna will have to spread her wings anew. Here the enforcement of the ruling is pretty strict and there does not seem to be much wiggle room for retarded departures like in the Marquesas. Since our work at the school has ended I’m once again seen with epoxy on my hands doing little repairs and improvements here and there. The third beam, the one right behind the cockpit has been causing some concern during the last passage. While Aluna dances over the waves it moves laterally for a fraction of an inch, causing not only considerable wear on the rubber pads it sits on, but actually gnawing a little into the lashings, which is, quite obviously, not a good thing. So I’ve added four blocks on the underside of the beams snug to the sides of the support blocks, at the place where the beam exits the beam trough, which hopefully should prevent any lateral movement from now on. The new and improved mast collar of Alunita is almost ready to be glued in, replacing the first version that splintered while extracting the mast from the hull after flipping her on her side in stronger than usual winds on one of our fishing expeditions. The aft navigation light needs repair and the number two main sail awaits some stitching, and plenty more little things to do here and there.

I guess this time we’re a little more resigned to the by now almost routine of the emotional jump into the void of something new. Although we certainly wouldn’t mind staying on for some more time, the intense family like experience amongst the lovely folks of Tetautua does have a slight claustrophobic and almost incestuous feel to it. Their very structured way of living has started to creep up on us and it may well be that if we would stay on too long, you’d soon see us walking down the main drag of town with a black leather clad bible clamped under our arms, gesticulating wildly about the dos and don’ts of this world…

The next stop downwind is Samoa, and unfortunately not the previous German colony further to the West, but American Samoa. So we’re bracing ourselves for a bashing return to the money economy. For close to four months now we have been living a very happy existence without ever carrying a single dime in our pockets. The fact that there is no means to exchange foreign currency (there is a branch of the local Cook Island Bank in Omoka, but they only tend to local business) has put us in that awkward but quite interesting position of absolute monetary omnipotence. Fortunately nature provides, quite generously here, so my guess is that maybe a good twenty percent of our bodily nourishment comes from our newly learned activities as hunters and gatherers, while probably another forty originates from the generosity of our hosts, who give and give, and, after having done our part, we’ve also learned to ask! The source of the remaining forty percent is blatantly obvious when you happen to have a glance at the anemic shelves and lockers of Aluna’s galley. Our stores are down to almost nothing. The dried fruits from Hawai’i and Marquesas have pretty much vanished. The bags of beans, rice and flour are gaping holes by now, which is just as good, as some of them started to have a little too much added protein crawling around in them in the form of little brown critters. Goodies like canned applesauce and salted peanuts are all but distant memories. The oatmeal and even coffee is drying out!

What all this boils down to is that we’ll be in intimate embrace with our anorexic cruising kitty from day one when setting foot again on the land of plenty. Samoa is above all a provisioning stop. We’ve seen here up and close how important a well-stocked vessel is for being able to explore the more interesting places of human existence. Basic staple foods we need, nothing fancy, the fancy comes from the places we visit. We’re thinking of staying in Pago Pago for probably no more than two weeks, unless, of course, something exciting, out of the ordinary, too good to pass on, comes around. Like some kind of a job, for Christ’s sake! Daydreaming again! Then we’ll do a short hop down South to the mighty Kingdom of Tonga, where we plan to spend some quality time, as much as you may seriously plan for such a thing. I’m sure the friendly people inhabiting those Friendly Islands will eventually show us the door too, and that’ll be about the time we’ll be sailing again with the following seas towards the many dangerous reefs of the military dictatorship of Fiji. While the bombastic rulers there might be utterly questionable in human terms, as unfortunately most of mankind’s unruly rulers are, the people there seem quite unique and we’re definitely moving closer to the Asian side of this immense stretch of water under our keels. The index of exoticity is on the rise! Micronesia looms beyond, the Solomons, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, yooohooo, no end in sight on that spherical plane!

Departure date from here is thus set to May 18, weather permitting of course. It should be a crossing of about a week, eight hundred something miles, sailing within visibility range of the pearly atoll of Manihiki along the way. As usual we’ll leave a string of reports to be automatically published on this blog for you to bite your busy minds into while we’re out and about, and to keep your loving hearts from worrying too much!

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2 Responses to “The Time Is Up”

  1. Michael Rudolph Says:

    I hear that Somoa is going to experience a “DOUBLE MONDAY” soon as there is going to be a MAN MADE RE-POSITIONAL DATE LINE CHANGE. This is not the first time that this has occured. What ever would you do with back to back Mondays. I know what I would do. Just look at the same tv show like I do every day. That works for me…

    I’m still trying to picture you with a bible under your arms walking down the street. GLORY BE… Smile.

    Hope you bought up all those beans that I told you about at Wal-Mart. Just look under your seat where I’m sure you stashed them there. They are marked 58 cents a can. You should have 20 boxes or so of them hid all over the place. So many as they probably kept the Aluna from having a Tuna or Two by keeping the Aluna from flipping over during one of those raging SEA STORMS. My geography is horrible but please stay away from those crazy black people who would love to use Aluna as a pirote (as always excuse my spelling) ship to attack wondering cruise ships.

    I’m sure you have heard that Bin Ladin is a drift some TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA where Obama left him last week that is unless you have been sequstered under as many LOVELY BUNCHES OF COCONUTS. He would love to have some company but don’t join him just yet as I would not know what to do with your DINAR. That would distress me so. Your folks probably don’t need it so your might think of sending me Beatriz’s family name and address. Putting the Dinar in your bank account wont help them much. Me either… The folks where you are wont need it to buy coconuts as they will be to busy trying to cathch the ones that are currently falling from the trees as I miss spel every othr word. From what you are telling me the sky is already raining 80% coconuts. Well enough crazy talk for now.

    Please come back to Hilo as the yellow outer wall sidding that you put on is starting to come loose because the small fat flathead nails were just not long enough to keep the seated against the 2x4s. MY MY MY what ever shell I do… You must come by and fix this FINE MESS YOU GOT ME INTO OLLIE!!! SMILE. . I’m afraid that a good hurricane will just rip those boards right off the studs. Those yellow pannals are’nt cheap you know…smile… MUCH LOVE RUDY AND DORA!!! Dora will keep a bible under her arm for you. STAY WET FREE!!!

  2. Michael Rudolph Says:

    I guess another title for your last email could also be titled “THE GIB IS UP!!! that is if that fits or is it spelled GIBB??? Oh well… I hope you get the GUIST OF IT ALL… I’VE GOT TO GO TAKE SPELING CLASES

    RDY

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