Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Apia: Stevensoned; snorkeled; oiled; dried; polished; unadhesived; ship's stores; unnewsed; delayed
I took a taxi up to Robert Louis Stevenson’s last home, Vailima, yesterday. Taxis are abundant, relatively inexpensive, and the usual way for visitors to get around other than walking.
I visited the house when I was here in 1985 but did not remember how big it is and how remote from the world in which he was famous when he died there at age forty-four in 1894.
His grave is a fifty minute walk up the hill behind the house. I hiked up in 1985, but not yesterday.
The house has spacious grounds and a beautiful view out over the ocean far below.
It is a fine house. But Robert Louis Stevenson isn’t there. He can be found in his works.
The Palolo Deep Marine Reserve is a five minute walk from the marina. I went over there Sunday to investigate and continued along the road past a church in front of which ladies in white dresses and wide brimmed white hats were sitting talking and girls in white dresses were running about playing.
After a cloudy morning, this afternoon became sunny and hot, so I collected my snorkeling gear and returned to Palolo and went snorkeling and swimming for the first time in years.
You swim out a marked trail fifty or more yards/meters in very shallow water before the coral drops off. There were colorful fish and less colorful coral, a lot of which looked to be dead. A lot of the world’s coral is dead.
The water temperature was perfect.
It was good to be immersed.
The tiller and GANNET’s interior wood showed the effects of sun and sea water. I sanded the tiller and parts of the companionway bulkhead and applied Deks Olje yesterday and today. More tomorrow. Had the wood been varnished, I would have had to do a lot more sanding, back to bare wood. That’s why I don’t varnish.
I keep finding damp places in GANNET.
I removed everything from beneath the starboard pipe berth, which took the full force of the incoming knock down wave. And when I went under the forward v-berth to get the Deks Olje, I found cans of paint and a saw stored there wet, too.
Today while oiling the forward side of the main bulkhead I noticed mold on the overhead and scrubbed it.
Yesterday I was asked to move from the slip I was in to the adjacent end tie so a catamaran could take the slip. To do so with GANNET was easy, just a matter of pushing her out and then leading her around a piling, but when I went to tie down the tiller amidships, I discovered that the new tie down line I bought had been washed away by the knock down wave. It was a very pretty line.
The metal polish is also stowed under the v-berth, so I used it to polish stainless steel, including the bow chain plate that I missed in Honolulu.
Adhesive has been removed from around the companionway. Several readers suggested WD40 which didn’t work. Others praised products that aren’t available here. I finally found a can of acetone—perhaps the last in Apia—and it, along with a putty knife and sandpaper and two hours, did the job.
I had used two types of Velcro, regular and industrial strength. They each have different adhesive backings. The regular was easy. The industrial was industrial.
Several readers also suggested cassette tape as superior shroud tell-tails. I think that an excellent idea, except that the technology is so old that I haven’t been able to find a cassette here.
The masthead Windex is behaving itself these days.
I also haven’t found pantyhose, though I must confess I haven’t looked very hard. I have seen red yarn, and may buy a roll.
The solar regulator is also behaving itself.
I changed the gas cylinder on the JetBoil two days ago. The new cylinder is only the third since San Diego. I already had four on GANNET, and have yet to touch the case of twenty-four I brought with me on the train.
I also just moved from the stern the first of the five monthly sacks of freeze dry food I brought from Evanston. I already had almost fifty meals on GANNET, which lasted this far.
I will buy more freeze dry food in New Zealand because I like their Backcountry Cuisine brand.
I may never have to buy more JetBoil gas cylinders.
I have little idea of what is happening in the world.
My internet time does not permit reading newspapers, beyond occasionally glancing at the headlines at the NY TIMES and NZ HERALD.
I, who routinely read a half dozen newspapers online when at home, find that what the world considers news doesn’t matter to me out here.
You may recall the line from an old Simon and Garfunkel song: I get all the news I need on the weather report.
Of weather reports I was planning to leave for Tonga Saturday. However, I checked the weather apps this morning. The wind between here and Tonga will be southeast Saturday at twenty-five knots which almost close-hauled would turn GANNET into a submarine.
Not departing Saturday.
In fact I might not even go to Tonga, but go west to Fiji instead.
Where I’d really like to be is the Bay of Islands, even though a friend who lives there emailed that it was 1°C/34°F a few mornings ago.