Trip Reports

What's Niue (25-Jun-2001-18-35):
6:35 PM local time Saturday June 23rd. (0535 June 24th UTC) 19 03 S 169 55 W. Temp. 83, Humidity 80%, cloud cover 80%.

Warm greetings from Niue. (Both Niue and Samoa were misspelled a couple of editions ago, but I've forgotten all about that now.) We had a 10-day crossing from Bora Bora to Niue, which is a little over one thousand miles. Nothing particularly awful happened to entertain you with.

Before we get on with it, In re: ratting of the hair in the last missive: Ship's Hairstylist Terry Shrode has made the Captain cognizant of the fact, which he here belatedly reports, that Caroline Fernandes was, at the appropriate moment in history, also herself master of the paralyzing bouffant. As if we couldn't have guessed?

And now to Niue. Few people come here cause it's a bit weird for a yacht and the airlines don't have regular flights. It's sitting out here by itself, is about 6 by 8 miles, is politically affiliated with New Zealand, and they call it "The Rock of Polynesia," and I mean, on the VHF radio they say, "Welcome to the Rock of Polynesia." It seems to be kind of the Mayberry of the South Pacific. You call Radio Niue, which is associated with the AM radio station, on the VHF to ask them, of course, how to arrange for customs, and they tell you to stand by, while they call up the customs guy and tell him to get down to the office. Then they come back on and say fine, come on in. When you go to customs you notice there's an open door between them and the liquor store, which the customs guy is kind enough to give a plug, not failing to mention our duty free status.

On the radio we also called the Niue Yacht Club, which is also the car rental place, and we ask the nice lady there whether it's too late on Friday to get New Zealand dollars from the bank. She says the bank closes at three and we've already missed it but come on by and she'll take care of us for the weekend. We go by and she gives us New Zealand dollars, which by the way have a window in them, and charges it to our credit card, plus of course a little fee and who knows what exchange rate. Can she do that? Is that a black market thing? There's not really a yacht club in the sense that there is a place which is the Niue Yacht Club, unless you call the car rental place a yacht club. There's not even a bar at the car rental place, so you can tell it's not really a yacht club. Nonetheless, your correspondent, the Captain, now possesses a burgee and a t-shirt, so it must exist. And indeed we were better taken care of there than at the yacht clubs with bars that don't let us in.

Now Mary at the car rental place/yacht club is also a wealth of information and connections. She says, anything you need, if you can't get us on the radio, just call up Radio Niue on channel 16 and they'll call us at home and we'll call you on the VHF. No problems, mate. We ask her about where to get a bite to eat, and she recommends a place or two and then we ask her if they're serving yet. She says, wait, and she tries to call Lava. Hot Lava, as it turns out she calls herself, runs a snack shop. She calls the snack shop but it's disconnected, so she calls Lava's home number, which is also disconnected, and so she calls somebody else, I don't know, Lava's boyfriend, or sister, or aunt, and asks where she is and whether she's at the snack shop and when she's going to open for dinner. Well, the best she can do is say, I think she opens at six so just go over there and find her and tell her to feed you. So we go over there and no one's around but the neighbor across the street says, Lava's downtown, and folks she's exaggerating since there can't really be a place here they call downtown, can there?, but anyway, she'll be back in a minute. Which was about a half hour, but Terry and I, we're starving to death cuz the last two days were pretty rough and we ate, maybe one bowl of soup each for forty eight hours. So while we wait we go to the auto parts store, which, yessir, has ice cream cones. As we're walking there and back, no one at all fails to wave first. And so on for Niue. Got the T-shirt.

If you haven't visited the Maverick website yet, it's It was set up by Jim Mead and Tim Eschliman, and the fact is that Eschliman's a ringer, being in the business and all. Mead, on the other hand, wasn't sure of his alphabet before he got on this project, but now he has a major hand in it. The site is way, way better than the Maverick crew deserves and we are in fact, and I'm sure there'll be no argument on this, not worthy. PS to Michael: Welcome aboard. Hope Hank enjoys the adventure. PS belatedly to Paul's Mom: The crew managed to leave French Polynesia without stealing anything or, as hard as this may be to believe, besmirching the good name of Maverick in any way. In fact, we expect soon to see our names on Bloody Mary's list of celebrity guests, along with Marilyn Chambers, Charlton Heston, Tony Orlando, and my old boss, Commander Cody.

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