Trip Reports

Damage Report (16-Apr-2001-20-00):
8:00 PM local time Easter Sunday, 15th. At anchor in Hiva Oa. Temp 82, Humidity 85, cloud cover 20%.

"Scottie! Damage Report!"

"Aye, Captain. The light in the head has been fixed and we planed down the cabinet doors which were sticking. The autopilot turned out to be just a wee belt, which we expect to have sent in to Papeete." The Captain, who has provided the ship with spares of just about everything, including even the guts to the stereo and a second complete one, is somewhat embarrassed at not having a belt for the autopilot on board. The manufacturer was consulted on this issue and told the Captain the belt couldn't be replaced by amateurs and anyway was Kevlar and would last until the universe had gone through almost an entire cycle of death and rebirth and had gotten back to where Dobie Gillis had gone off the air but Gilligan's Island hadn't started yet. The Captain was persuaded by his assurance, and decided against ordering a spare.

One thing that eight year old boy of the last missive could not have enjoyed was the pleasure of alcoholic beverages, which is just as well since he would inevitably lack the self discipline to consume them responsibly, and in moderation, the way their manufacturers recommend. This is without doubt the very way the crew of Maverick imbibed them on Saturday night, last, after doing some very pricey grocery shopping in town. Easter morning dawned, however, with the boys still in their bunks and it was quite some while before they summoned the energy to arise and begin the day's chores. These included doing the laundry at a faucet on shore where we also took showers, and then hanging it all on the lifelines and Genoa sheets to dry.

We hitched a ride into town from a Marquesan to look for ice cream, our Easter celebration, with serious doubts. We were surprised and pleased to find the same solitary snack bar, run by a French couple, was open and we each had two orders of mediocre ice cream which was to us very good indeed. We took a walk outside of town, to the countryside, as it were, and viewed a landscape which was extravagantly verdant and psychedelic quite beyond the Captain's powers of description. In many places palm trees climbed the steep hillsides, which seemed peculiar though lovely, and we surmised that these must have been planted, as coconuts don't roll up hill. Later, after inquiring at the gendarmerie we were directed up a steep incline to a cemetery where we found the grave of Paul Gauguin, which held fresh flowers, seashells, and other offerings. We did not locate the grave of Jacques Brel, but it's there someplace too.

Tomorrow we're going to check our halyards, see about some fuel, and then sail about ten miles to the island of Tahuata and an anchorage which, according to Eric Hiscock, is one of the three most beautiful in the South Pacific. But the crew of Maverick really feels no need at all to outdo the impression already given by the first one.

PS to Ordinary (formerly Able) Seaman Jim Mead, et al: We have chosen to use local time because we feel the reader when visualizing the situation of the Captain can be better aided by information about its being morning where the Captain is than morning where the Captain is not, namely Greenwich. Therefore we use UTC aboard for HAM operations and other marine and weather information, but as this is not in general use we think it puts an unneeded burden on the reader. For our reports to you at home we use the local time established by the relevant authorities wherever we are (by the way, the time zone in the Marquesas is Z-9:30), but at sea we have decided to use the time zone of our most recent port, because we don't change time zones rapidly. We may amend this policy, however, when going east-west on long passages like the Indian Ocean. Further, the Captain is quite opposed to giving over complete authority on so grand a subject as Time to a bunch of politicians and dweebs running atomic robots. For the measurement of Time is a human creation which the Captain thinks is better left to actual humans; and here the reader is directed to the works of Earl Palmer and Al Jackson, or the rhythm section on "Gee Baby" by the Jo and Ann Trio. In any case, the greater issue you raise with this and other points is answered by the general policy that, on board ship, without exception, IT IS WHATEVER TIME THE CAPTAIN SAYS IT IS. If he says it's 11:00 AM when it's evident that the stars are out, and says the day is only 17 hours long, the proper response for a sailor of your rank is limited to "Yes Sir." We have had high hopes for you, Mead, but in service in Maverick's Navy there are certain lines the prudent seaman will not cross, and surely we won't have to point this out to you again.

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