Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No more Clos? Faka-Rava. (Fakarava, Tuomotos)

16 03.325 S
145 37.380 W

It seems like the more built up a place is, the less I have to say about it. I take less pictures too. Its not that the place turns ugly or some such thing, I think its just part of the wonder dissipates. Or its that I'm too busy stuffing my face at a restaurant to think about anything other than digestion.

Second biggest atoll, probably the island with the "newest" feel so far. Sealed roads, marked channel, massive concrete jetty etc.

Seemed to be another bank Holiday so there wasn't anything open. I had a fever, and the only cure was Internet. 5 mile hike to a resort, old Macintosh, emails about stuff that got dealt with 10 days earlier, unfriendly staff blah blah blah.

There is a really nice Snack (the Polynesian term for in between a Roulotte - chip wagon - and a full restaurant) along the way. We had lunch there several times over the last few days. Ate my favourite poisson cru thus far, served with a strawberry vinaigrette. Walter and I came here on the way to a artisan's shop and we watched six 1' rays, two 3' black tipped sharks, two 7' reef sharks (Lemon? Grey? where is a handy fish chart to make me look learn-ed when you need one?) with jack fish swimming around in about 3 feet of water. Although they all had clearly defined boundaries with each other, it had a very symbiotic appearance. Then the cynic in me piped up and characterized it as "mutually parasitic".

Another Walter kid shot. I have to make a point of saying that Walter isn't a pedophile. He does have a knack of capturing kid type moments though. She was fun, and I shared her excitement of the pretty fishies.

Shortbox landrover convertible - I want one. Apparently they also come with a V8 engine.

Really nice, gentle woman selling shells that she had sewn together in a little hut. She was very apologetic for not having any water in the midday heat, but would twist off a coconut and stick a straw in it for you as (I think she thought at least) a consolation prize.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

There is someone in my head, but its not me. (Kaeuhi -> Fakarava)

16 02 S
145 40 W

No wind. Straightened the leg and headed straight to the pass at Fakarava. At about 9:30pm there was enough wind to throw up some sail and we meandered along. Its actually nice to not have to be anywhere soon either in my head or in reality. Chris took over my shift at 10 and I laid down on the bow and stared at the moon for a couple of hours. Relived my Pink Floyd concert a la mp3 and had another one of those moments. I was almost in a trance watching the moon roll around. A bright moon to be sure, not great stars but still saw a couple of the shooting variety and the southern cross stood vigil as usual. Eventually Chris rolled in the sail above my head and we just blazed along at 0 knots on bare poles (counter current). Rocking good times (pun intended).

"All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All that you feel
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All that you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy
beg, borrow or steal
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
everyone you meet
All that you slight
everyone you fight
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come

and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon."

(Pink Floyd - Eclipse)

My new nighttime sailing hobby - clamping the tripod to the boat and letting the boat motion draw on the frame with bright celestial bodies (13 seconds of a 3/4 moon - f/8.0 ISO 50 - sounds counter intuitive to me, but I had a lot of problems with noise and over exposure and this achieved was I was looking for in the end).

It looks like I will be able to do it with bright stars, although the moon was still up and there was a lot of reflected light on everything around. I also didn't have the tripod setup, so some of the motion is mine for sure (which isn't the point). I have some different options on my film camera, but with my experience and without immediate LCD feedback it will be dumb luck if I get them to show. I have a vision of the stars in the big dipper, or the southern cross expressed on a black sheet as identical, smooth arcs. We shall see.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Flotsom and Jetsom

The atolls that we are visiting have passes and enclose a massive amount of water. As tides ebb and flow, you get a bottleneck at the pass as all that water shwishes in and out. Kauehi has a tide of 0.5 metres in the lagoon, so 9 x 12 miles x 0.5 metres = roughly 138,240,000 cubic metres (tonnes) of water at the command of the moon's gravity and the rotation of the earth. Nothing more than a useless fact, unless you want to float a boat through that pass safely. In some passes currents can go to 9 knots with evil standing waves and strange eddies and pools. Apparently there are a number of factors that make crossing into the lagoon more or less dificult including Voodoo and luck as far as I can tell so far. The trick is to sneak in and out during slack tide (ideally the point when the tide through the pass reverses) but figuring out when slack tide happens is an elusive beast in these parts. We went in at full ebb at Kauehi becuase it looked fairly benign, we were there and we were tired of being at sea (and even still we squeeked by with a whoppping 0.3 knots over ground against the current at one point). Its not something that we can count on moving forward (in or out). Timing becomes a bit tricky when you want to go to another Atoll that is only 30 miles away.

Our plan is to get the tail end of the tide leaving Kauehi at dusk and do the same at Fakarava at dawn'ish. There are 80 small islands in the lagoon of the 'Rava and we don't really want to run the risk of running that guantlet without good light.

So, we have 6 hours of sailing to accomplish in 12 hours to be as safe as possible. We've got a pretty dogleg scribled on the chart to kill some time and we'll lay up off the coast if there is any more time killing required.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tearavero Settlement, Kauehi Atoll (Tuamotu Archipeligo)

49.560 S
145 07.152 W

One afternoon, as I sat cross-legged on the end of a runway, I had a nagging feeling in my brain. There was a thought in there that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I knew that it was an obvious one and fancied it profound in its simplicity. Then something else hit me.....

This place is _not_ like other places that I have been to.

Kauehi is an atoll. What is an atoll you might ask? Well, I asked the same question. I knew that it was a type of island, some sort of spit of land in the pacific and that the Americans and the French like to blow them up.

To The Planet:

"Strung like Jewels across the Pacific, the Tuamotus (too-ah-moh-toos) are a world apart. These rings of coral were witnesses to what was once, according to Darwin's theory of atoll formation, an archipelago of high islands as mountainous and grand as perhaps the Marquesas or Society islands are today. The 77 atolls, scattered like confetti on an ocean of ink, stretch 1500km northwest to southeast and 500km east to west. The closest islands are about 300km to Tahiti. The atolls, coral crowns not reaching more than a few metres above the water, surround a central lagoon. Pearls, sand, diving blah blah blah"

Basically, picture a volcano in the ocean. A coral reef grows up around the ringed base of the mountain and then the volcano sinks over a million years or two. The reef that used to ring it is left, paying homage to the big ass mountain that once was. The mountain in the middle of Bora Bora is sinking at 1 cm per century or some such thing. I've only ever heard it referred to as Darwin's "theory" but I haven't heard any other ideas, although there may be some.

The anchorage is idyllic and a few hundred yards off the town with only one other boat, French, that has the look of one who has been here a while. The lagoon is a 1000 shades of blue and the atoll itself is approximately oval and approximately 9 by 12 miles in size. It looks like there are about 30 families living what appears to be mostly a subsistence life, although there is at least one pearl farm (currently closed). I've been pretty bad at guesstimating population on this trip so it may be more or less. There is nowhere to stay, no restaurants, a church, cemetery, some crushed coral paths / roads and a small store. There seems to be one busted down car on blocks for each person in the town (but there isn't really anywhere to drive to even if they worked), dogs seem to outnumber people by a factor of two and these huge and unbelievably creepy coconut crabs outnumber the muts by several orders of magnitude. One report that Chris read claimed that only 10 sail boats a year make the trip, but I am skeptical around this for some reason.

Its kind of like a lake in the middle of the ocean and I have been enjoying it (not that it makes up for me missing the cottage on May 24th weekend - Boo). The lagoon is a water sports paradise. You could happily spend an entire season Windsurfing, dingy sailing etc. (and this is only a medium sized atoll).

I took the dingy out for a run with my beer can hat firmly in place. I had this vision of a narrow piece of sand, with the Pacific on one side and the lagoon on the other. I am sure that it exists here, but in retrospect the distances are too vast for the 3.5 horse motor to get to without knowing for certain that you were actually going to get there if you take my meaning (spending 4 hours in the blinding heat and sun to get to a piece of land in the distance that is just like the piece of land that you left would be disappointing). Also, because of the size of the lagoon, it can actually get pretty rough if the wind blows in certain directions which I didn't really want to be stuck in. As it was, I headed for what I thought was a beach about 5 miles in the distance which actually turned out to be an airport of sorts. Its a strange feeling to spend some time on a runway with _nobody_ around. I kept feeling like I was going to be arrested by some French flavoured homeland security patrol. Interesting coral on both sides and a weird tidal pool in the middle (off the runway of course). It is the only piece of pavement on the entire atoll that I can see and it appears to be recently done and in good shape. That being said, it would be quite an adventure to land a plane on it me thinks.

Another highlight was when Walter and I took a walk to the end of a path and were inexplicably invited to sit with an old woman on her back veranda overlooking a house on stilts. Limited conversation to be had, but with our French knowledge she seemed to be emphatically complaining that all her sons were on other islands. All told though, she liked to laugh. Thats good.

More forced nothingness. Its getting easier but I am starting to crave a bit of nightlife. Should be 3 weeks or so until Tahiti, at which point I will shortly wish that I was in the middle of nowhere again I am sure.

Right now though, I'm happy to be at anchor. That was a tough bit of sailing.

Distanced Sailed: 548 nm
Time Taken: 5 days, 6 hours
Avg Speed: 4.3
Best Daily Run: 110
Worst Daily run: 94
Avg Daily Run: 104

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fresh Horrors with Harriet, O Lord forgive us.

15 37 S
145 02 W

Thumbed through a book called "Defining the Wind".

Aside from being a prolific sailor and doing a lot of good work for God and country, Sir Francis Beaufort slept with his sister when he was 61 and she was 57. His honest to goodness, same mother, blood sister. Yuck. Then he wrote about it in his diary.

Another lesson - don't write your thoughts down where anyone could read them ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Ocean V: The Revenge of Ocean (Oa Pou, Marquessas -> Kauehi atoll, Tuomotus)

14 08 S
143 44 W

My definitions and understanding for the things around me keep getting changed.

Its like when new relationships redefine your feelings about communication, love or sex. With experience, your capacity to understand each broadens. When a relationship opens your eyes, you look back and laugh at the fact that you thought you were previously in love, not because it wasn't love or the love wasn't real, its that your old definition of love only comprises a small slice of your now broader one. You loved within your capacity, its just your capacity and depth for such things has been increased. You've been "re-potted" and you can't reverse it, unless you cut out a part of you to squeeze back in the old confined space. Look back on those laughable days when you had sex without a goat, a compass and a garden gnome in the room. Like wearing socks in the shower, the doors of perception are flung wide. You move from the minors to the bigger leagues. You rest, panting next to the hole in the floor that you just climbed through. I'll call them "gateway" experiences (half the room groans. Bush and Nancy Reagan smile broadly and give each other a high five).

Anyways, back to sailing:

Admiral Beaufort developed something called the Beaufort scale. Well, there are some reports that he copied it from someone else, but it's got his name (so if he did steal it he did a good job). The intent of the scale was to provide sailors with a tool to succinctly and uniformly describe the state of the wind and sea. It runs from 0 (Calm) through 6 (Strong Breeze) to 12 (Hurricane). We use it in our deck log (as well as position, barometer, heading, distance travelled and any other notable items) which we fill in at the end of every watch. It enables pattern recognition and allows those coming up on watch to get a handle on what is going on (and a good diary of the boats travels). We are not so slowly working our way up through the Beaufort scale during this leg and I find myself filling in new and interesting assessments of the current state of things with each passing day. True to form, my definitions of what a "big" wave means or what a "strong" wind is have shifted through experience. (Mike - Hahahaha you were such a neophyte 6 weeks ago, now that you are a neophyte +.5 you are so wizened). The idea of "Endurance" is slowly taking on different boundaries as well. We have been hand steering in 2 and 3 hour shifts for 5 days and although we didn't count them, we have endured 30 squalls or so as an estimate (conservative?). The moral I am taking from this long winded mess: don't walk in like you own the place and don't squash a tale retold with wild eyed excitement. There are different capacities for experience and you never reach the end of the learning curve. Love is love.

I am tired. Its been really tough and slow this go around, but there have been some brilliant moments as well. This leg has been a little bit more technical with more to deal with, learn, take on, enjoy and not enjoy. I wrote in the log one day that "today has restored my joy of sailing." I guess that has to say something. I have also seen some pretty cool conditions like rain so strong it turns jagged seas into smooth intestines and spray being whipped straight up the back of a wave and off the crest.

The courses are something I am interested in, but I've squeezed all that I can from the lectures today. Schools out long ago and I am getting tired of detention. Looking forward to land.

long passages on small boats are a mindfuck.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One boat and the mountain goats (Vaiehu Bay, Ua Pou, Marquesas)

09 23.155 S
140 07.701 W

Pretty cool anchorage tucked barely behind a cliff on the 'Poo. A stones throw from the shore, it felt like we were anchored in the wide blue ocean to one side while kissing a hard place to the other. Turned out to be well protected and we had a contemplative time watching the wild goats navigate impossible looking paths on the side of the cliff.

Goodbye Marquesas. I will miss you and we will probably never see each other again, but I gotta go.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hehehe its pronounced "Poo" (Hakahau Bay, 'Ou Pou, Marquesas)

09 21.513 S
140 02.851 W

Sailing the way it should be. Close hauled, no reefs, full head sail out, heeled over, sun shining and more than 3.5 knots. Fantastic day on the water.

I like this place quite a bit. Its the kind of place where stray dogs chase a horse down the street and children stay out until they are tired instead of that pesky street light alarm. Tidy and compact (maybe 1000 people in the village), not a lot going on. People just doing their thing.

Had a wonderful, family style meal at one of the pensions. Three different fish dishes (Mahi Mahi steaks, the best poisson cru _ever_ and a fish quiche au gratin), bread fruit au gratin, bananas, rice, baguettes and on and on. SO good.

Boat life is pretty static and I've tried to go for a walk in each destination to move my bulk around a bit. I picked two hills at opposite sides of the bay and ventured out to each of them. Tried to get a photo of me from the boat, but we had some technical difficulties (I turned out to be about 2 pixels high on Walter's camera and he refused to take a picture of me mooning them. weak ;) The one hill turned out to be a bit of a bouldering problem at the top which was more than I was entirely comfortable with, but I was quite pleased with myself for the jam that got me over the one piece.

After it was all said and done, tired and sweaty, I sat down for some cold hydration. A very sinister sounding jeep came down the road with everyone in chemical suits. They stopped and looked at me for about 30 seconds then drove off. I didn't know what to do other than take their picture. I think they were spraying for bugs but in any event I decided to get to the boat.

New million dollar idea: I've been NoNo'd. NoNo's are very bad bugs. Bug spray should have an antiseptic agent (maybe it inherently does?) for bites that you have inadvertently picked bloody, but when you need to re-apply spray. Two birds with one stone.

Sailing destinations as they stand (7 or 800 miles?):

- Vaiehu Bay, 'Ou Pou, Marquesas (tomorrow)
- Kauehi, Tuamotus
- Fakarava, Tuamotus (this is my new "Holy Crap" statement. Like "Faka-rava, did you see that?". I am trying to make it stick. The pause after Faka and slowly drawing out the Rava is very important)
- Toau, Tuamotus
- Rangiroa, Tuomotus
- Tahiti

After that I will tour some of the leeward and windward society islands solo before heading to Thailand to spend some time with the Moore family (because they are good people) and hopefully hit Rangoon on the way to Beijing (then follow the rails to western Europe and fly home - this is the current pipe dream part of the trip. Visas and train ticket availability are the biggest holes in my knowledge). Dates are about as undefined as they could be.

Editors note: Walter took the photo of the kids and I am jealous. Posted with permission :)

Vaipo Waterfall

Walked up the Hakaui valley to the waterfall. There was a small settlment at the head and several _old_ abandoned villages in the forest along the way. There were also bits of stones that used to comprise of a "Royal" road. Got my archaeological fix as well as flexing some muscles for the first time in a bit. Parts of the forest walk actually reminded me of Algonquin (seriously) but you would have to ignore the odd palm tree, the ruins, and the goat that Walter and I rescued from entanglement. The waterfall was a bit of a bust (I guess not enough rain) but the end of the valley was striking, although a bit gloomy. Well worth the effort in my opinion.

6 Miles. A world apart. (Taioa Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas)

08 56.621 S
140 09.805 W

Had a great moment in our new anchorage. It is pretty rugged with a sliver of a beach and the palms. It has 1000? foot cliffs and land mass all around which gives the impression of no way out. Stood on the deck at midnight with the glory of the southern hemisphere above and listened to Death Cab for Cutie "Transatlantism". Wow. Been a socially tough day on the boat and it was a fitting and reflective end.

Apparently the third largest waterfall in the world is 2 hours up the valley. Not sure about the ranking though (it is 350m?). Might be a bit of local pride coming through, although I have no idea how high other waterfalls are. Should be good in any event.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Couple of snippets from someone else:

Four quotes from "The Water in Between" (great book):

I actually identified with the author quite a lot. The jacket says that he is trying to burn away his failings, but although we might have shared the intent, I don't believe either of us was / is striving for that in the end. I think anyone who goes on a long trip and is somewhat introspective goes back and forth a bit. I know that I have been.

"This was precisely what I had longed for, those winter nights in the little army house. The days were bright and beautiful, the water streamed under the boat, the sails swelled out in a broad reach. I looked at the sea and saw a grey haze on the horizon. It was that haze that I stared at. A thousand miles ahead was the end of the ocean. The grey on the edge of the water was where I was going and what I thought about. I was aware even as I was doing it that it was a mistake to disregard the accessible beauty in favour of the distant and unseen, assuming it to be lovelier than the immediate. But the logic of escape is premised on this error."

That's me.

"It is so hard to abandon the sense of schedule - until it abandons you in the face of large and implacable settings. The ocean just goes on and on and contains its own momentum, a rhythm unimpressed by anything else."

"Languor is underrated. It is not possible to be immobile in modern urban society except by dint of constant effort. Holding on tightly to the riverbank and fighting the current is not languor. Nobody likes that. But bone-lazy idleness. hours and hours spent staring at the sky and remembering books and birthdays and great kisses: this is a pure pleasure that eludes the productive in all their confident superiority. Languor is sunny and hot. It is at home near the sea and is best appreciated in environments of beauty and limited promise. It contains within it the idea of boredom, but is also coloured by idle fancy, and the understanding that some things proceed best with limited attention. Fishing, for instance. If you're always reeling in and checking your bait, you'll worsen your chances. Relax."

"But an aspiration begins with the conceit that things could be better, and the first step in realizing that aspiration is pretending that they are."

There was also a great quote about him tying the anchor with rope instead of chain. He didn't realize the importance of such things. Good lesson, literally and figuratively.

Ani DiFranco has been on heavy rotation. She doesn't disappoint. "Decree" From the album Reprive:

"and Cancer, the great teacher
has been opening schools
downstream from every factory, still
everywhere fools are squinting into microscopes
researching cells
trying to figure out a way we can all live in hell.

Well step back, look up, you'll see I'm dimming the sun, but you wont really know - thats a good little one.

Cuz Daddy knows best here
This is the news
In 90 second segments, officially produced
and aired again and again and again
by little black and white pawns of the network yesmen.

While the stars are going out
and the stripes are getting bent."

And the brilliance of Negativeland. (Whose samples don't really translate to written form, but apparently I have nothing but time.). "The Gun and the Bible" from the album Free:

"Out of the Wilderness.
He said.
carved this nation.
out of the wilderness.

The bible and the sub machine gun.

The sub machine gun. brass knuckles. knives. bayonets. pistols. axe handles. shotguns. carbines.

America was built on a gun

Its good to see you all of you there toting guns he said. America was built on a gun. The gun. The gun and a bible carved this nation out of the wilderness.

Mayor Dukes, if you want our guns come and get them.

Your bullet can't see red. You are the eyes, the mind and the will of every bullet that you fire. Reason enough to take great care. And reason enough to remember again that liquor always comes later... after the guns are cleaned and racked. Thats the time to relax with a drink. The only time.

This is the wild side of life isn't it Wilkus?

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Tomorrow we are on our way to the Tuomotos via another Marquesas island and an additional anchorage on Nuku Hiva. Repairs are as good as they are going to get and its time to move on out of here.

Been enjoying the Internet glut, sitting on a boat with my feet up and catching up on the happenings. Still haven't read any news (which is surprising), I would have thought that that would have been the first thing I would do. It is a little bit unnerving though - surprising how quickly you fall back into being disappointed that there isn't any mail waiting for you. The good thing is that I am excited to hear from people, not fearful and peeking with one eye about what new tortures my inbox holds. The worst ones from soulless machines.

Read Garth's blog. Got hooked up against Google Analytics. One more example why Google will take over the world one day. I come from a place and time where people used to pay _massive_ amounts of money for a site license for such things. I know Google will be selling consulting on it and I am sure that an integration with a Google appliance or similiar enterprise will be in the works. (free, managed Google firewalls and gateways in exchange for anon usage information would be a nice fit - why not?). Someone from Valdivia (Chile) visited yesterday. Strange.

I am also reminded that tech ebbs and flows (but mostly flows) over your head once you swim to the bottom to see what that shiny thing is. I will have to start treading again at some point before I run out of air and the tech in me dies.

No more real Internet until Tahiti ("real" is subjective. 128k DSL serving a couple dozen yachts isn't what I would call blazing). Probably for the best. Back to not being able to check my email, but borrow someone else's one byte at a time over the SSB.

Have to keep reminding myself about where I am at.

If anyone has any info on taking a train from China to Europe, please drop me an email. Plans change ;)

With a Capital T (Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas)

08 55.000 S
140 05.864 W

Spent a bunch of time doing a bunch of stuff. Not feeling particularly verbose a the moment.

Everyone had a day at the one resort like place on the island drinking proper coffees and catching up on reading / writing.

Provisions / repairs / showers / fighting and socialization are all a byproduct of civilization. Poisson Cru for breakfast is tough to get into but it is tasty. Most yachties out there have more money than you and like to let you know that fact. Freehand Tattoos by non English speaking dudes are a tough thing to get your trust behind. Repairs are necessary on any boat. Time is chunky. As much as you think its not possible, life goes on outside of your crucible. French emergency wards are superlative and free. Internet and baguettes are addictive like crack. You can actually think too much. 2 months without wearing shoes is a luxury. I understand more French than Spanish, but still not enough. Coconut tree wood looks pretty cool when carved. When securing anchors, make sure you actually secure them. 100 CFP does not equal a dollar i.e. don't cheat yourself in mental equivalency exercises (88 CFP = 1 USD bankrate). 4am markets are early. Fresh and simple food cannot be overrated and always remember that most French food is rich. Everyone has something to teach, and sometimes the lessons suck.

Friday, May 11, 2007


One of the things that I've been working through on long lonely nights is the idea of the worth of a man (this is not an invitation to rail on me about my gender insensitivity - the worth of a human sounds ridiculous and you know what I mean). The worth of a man is a summation of his experience. Experience exists in either your mind, the minds of those who shared it with you, or in some physical testament to the happenance. To exist in ones mind boils down to memory, leading hopefully to a changed and improved pattern of thinking, leading to improved and increasingly robust experiences. Memory is a lossy compression (i.e. information is irrecoverably lost during the process). Compression is intolerant of uniqueness (i.e. compression efficiency goes low as uniqueness goes high) although not in all compressions, but I believe this is true in memory's case.

Through publicizing my diary, I am: creating an experience that can be shared; creating a physical testament, a literal mile marker of the event through pictures and description; and improving the chances that I will remember (uniquely) the 100 or so thin slices of time that will, in future, characterise this excursion ("thin sliced" not in the "Learn How to Prejudge Those Around You in 90 minutes" bible sense, but in the "small slivers of the whole cake" sense). I am imprinting what would otherwise be fleeting and highly compressible memories into my indelible stack of experience through translation and sharing.

Blogging is good for me (rather the act of expression is good and it happens to be convenient). It improves my worth.

There are some caveats that clearly need to be rationalized which I may get to. One might say that there is no worth to 1 million unique experiences of a scoundrel. I would have to disagree. A larger topic to be sure, but I believe that we are on this planet to learn. I do not believe in a higher power, but in a higher order ("something going on", spirituality and energies can fit into an order that we do not currently understand). I do not believe in an omniscient being that created the heavens and the earth, nor a greater organization requiring daily mental or physical servitude. If the summation of my entire life compresses to almost zero (say that I lived a million minor variations of one experience) then my worth is less than a scoundrel who has learned, adapted and internalized through every step of his reprehensible life. Now, someone can have unique experiences every day on their way to work, watching a hockey game or digging a ditch. Don't get me wrong - I am not saying they aren't worthy experiences or enjoyed by people of no worth (and in fact am saying there is the potential for quite the opposite), but (however it happens), we had all better survive memory's compressive vice or we run the risk of running into trouble at the end of the day. I am also a strong believer in being a good person, which adds an additional dimensional quality to the preceding statements which might not rightly fit. Further, if I truly believed this working definition, then the whole idea of worth boils down to a retention model and I would never lose an hour of sleep, certainly wouldn't taste a drop of alcohol and shun the metallic food container and aluminum infused deodorant conventions that I frequent so often. (again, it needs some thought).

Speaking of modelling:

Thinking of how to describe ones experience as vectors and the volume they could subscribe as someones "worth". The idea being that adding orthogonal experiences to an existing plane of experience gives you the most bang for the buck (an orthogonal experience to another experience gives a plane). Any point within the resulting volume can be interpolated based on your experience - it becomes "familiar". The more experiences that you add, with long vectors jutting out at weird angles, the better. 1,2, and 3D personalities as well as being "well rounded" or "focussed" takes on a visual representation.

Can't you then give that volume a notional mass and model "attraction" through Newton's universal law of gravitation? (it is universal after all :) I.e. any two bodies of mass exhibit a mutual, attractive force which is governed by their masses and their distance between them. In this case, two bodies (personalities / worth / experience) will attract each other based only on the distances between their respective centre of "gravity" (the location of their core) and their mass (the amount of space that their representation of experience in a 3-d vector space takes up multiplied by the mass of one unit of worth). It would take a lot of doing in terms of definition of the axis et al and boy would I ever need to pull out the old textbooks. Also, it would become difficult to apply when the shape isn't a sphere and it would run into some serious problems when the two shapes melded. So, not sure if this idea would fall to pieces quickly and it probably is only valid in some very narrow "opposites attract" situations. Besides, isn't making a bigger resultant shape through relationships what it's all about? Although, how the shapes intersected, how the familiar was replicated in each shape and how the "cores" moved towards each other regardless of the model of attractive force would be interesting to think about. For this stuff though, it would likely make sense to add more dimensions which will preclude the use of Newton's law (I believe).

[Editors note: Right brains on. Nothing beats a good kiss and this is prob a load of crap. If its not then I am sure to not be the first to think in such terms, such is life - take it for what it is.]

Thursday, May 10, 2007

This town needs an Enema

Of course I am ready to dive. Let's do it.

Decided it was time to try that Scuba diving thing that I've heard so much about. I wanted to test, yet take it easy on the eardrums after Honduras last year and figured this was an ideal situation. It has always taken me a bit to equalize and I had a couple of problems at various levels on the way down, but it worked out and I took it slow. The kit that I was diving with was average, but had no depth gauge (I don't know why this was, maybe everyone is expected to have dive computers these days?). There were only a couple with me and the dive master so it wasn't the end of the world, but uncomfortable. The depth was a bit deeper than what I would have preferred for my "trial" as I was told that they never dive deeper than "open Water" specs (that would put it at 60ft). As it turned out, we hit 90ft early and stayed there (we were all qualified to do so and nobody pays attention to these things anyways, just that I was told one thing and I ended up in quite another situation).

After spending so much time puffing my chest out to the sea, trying to take up space and fight the feeling of insignificance, it was a strange feeling to want to roll my shoulders forward and slink back into my shell. The landscape is harsh with big basalt monoliths all around (some will get that reference), not great visibility and eerie colours. Saw some smaller fish (Lion and stone fish are interesting mostly because they can hurt you), some smallish groupers, but no big predators. 40 minutes later is When all the fun started. As we went up, I got what was called a "push" in my right ear. I had heard about such things, but this was the first that I had experienced (high pressure on inside of ears, unable to equalize with the pressure that is lessening on the outer ear). hmmm. It fucking hurts. Same thing as problems equalizing on the way down, you retreat slightly and try again. No luck. As I describe the remedy, you will likely have an idea of how much it hurts by the fact that anyone would actually do such a thing. Close eyes (I wear contacts) inhale salt water through nostril, gag, repeat, wretch, repeat, projectile Sinus explosion, ahhhhh. I am not clear on what the published "by the book" procedure on this is, but it was time to take an active approach to the situation and it worked... and it was absolutely vile. Another vile experience is watching the other two divers do their second tank dive (with Hammerheads and Mantas) while I sit on the surface contemplating my navel (another first.. the waiting for divers thing, not contemplating my navel of which I have some experience).

I'd rate the dive 5/10. Everything else was a -9/10. I would say that I have something wrong with the old ears... and a cold perhaps? Don't rightly know, but diving is off the to do list for now.

Friday, May 4, 2007

It's easy to look crazy and unwashed.

Step 1: You cut a hole in the box
Step 2: Go more than slightly crazy

(and this was only after 10 days at sea or so)

I am actually on the Internet for the first time in a long time. I will be trying to update some stuff, generally do some blog maintenenace and hopefully send in some photos. So, anyone out there who cares, take a look down through my old posts for hopefully some photos and comments in a few days.

And now! I sleep.

The Ocean IV - OCeanessy McBlasé (Tahuata -> Niku Hiva)

Yup - Overnight'r again to Oa' Huka. I like hand steering, but it gets tiresome after a while and especially at night. Not sure if it was the way of the winds, but we arrived to the anchorage and it was "untenable" (good word) and overall looking decidedly grim. We would have been better off laying up in the middle of the ocean. Got the call to secure anchor and we were going onwards another 10 hours to Nuku Hiva. Turning a 13 hour into a 23 hour sail is tough under any circumstances and it took a bit to change the mindset (for me) and head off again at 6:00am. Right decision all around from even my feeble sailing perspective. Nuku HIva is the capital of the Marquesas with a nice holding anchorage and lots to see and do so it is not like I am being punished or anything. Another tropical rainstorm to greet us to the island (just like every single island that we have made landfall on so far). Snuh.

Time to get some repairs and some fresh food.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Buffy, Chad and Lance (Hanamoenoa Bay, Tahuata, Marquesas)

09 54.481 S
139 06.251 W

Today I did nothing. Woke up at 5:30am. Did... nothing. Well, I read a book in one sitting for the first time in a decade. Swam a couple of times and hung on the anchor chain like I was 7 years old. Watched as Buffy, Chad and Lance went ashore in a dingy and then secretly snickered as they all fell over trying to launch from the steep beech. Oh well, tonight they sleep in air conditioning and I don't. Chris delighted in pouring flaming brandy on over-ripe bananas (damn fine and dangerous) and we had our daily confab with Klos. Klos has been good to us.

This bay is beautiful and deserted. There are a few neighbors of the nautical kind (and they even provide the aforementioned free entertainment). Me likey.