Monday, August 25, 2014

Neiafu: three solo sailors are sitting in a bar

        Three solo sailors sat at a table at The Aquarium Cafe last evening having a few drinks.  They had a lot in common.  
        All were slim, fit men.  Not incidentally, they had all arrived by muscle power:  two rowing; the other paddling an inflatable kayak.  This would not have been true of any other table in the crowded cafe.  Or perhaps world.
        With varying levels of experience, each had the self-confidence to find his own way and they discovered that they all had reached many of the same conclusions.  
        All had solar panels.  None refrigeration.  None powered much.  All believed in getting adequate sleep.  And in a harbor where the average vessel is around 45’, they owned by far the three smallest boats:  24’, 30’, 31’. 


        Neiafu has many cringing, depressed dogs, and many happy, snuffling pigs.  
        I often see pigs in empty lots and yards when I walk into town.  Generally munching on vegetation or sleeping contentedly.  There are some piglets, which are cute but elusive.
        I have yet to get a good pig photo.  If I do, I’ll post it.
        I watched one pig wait on the sidewalk when he heard the sound of an approaching vehicle around a blind curve.  When the car passed, the pig looked both ways before trotting briskly across the road.  How, I wonder, does a pig learn to associate the sound of a motorized vehicle with danger without being hit?


        This has become a sailing ‘blog’.  Not a word that I normally use or like.  I expect that is fine with most readers.  But there is more to life than sailing.  And less.
        I, who in Evanston read five or six newspapers online each morning, have seldom read any since leaving San Diego.  Here they take too long to load, and when I did see the front page of the NY TIMES a few days ago practically everything there would have been depressing had it not seemed so remote, as though happening on another planet.  I’ve often felt that way at sea in the past when I heard the news on the BBC World Service.  Now I don’t turn on the Sony receiver, though I will as I near New Zealand to try to learn about the weather.  I don’t even know if the BBC World Service still exists.
        However, if you want a view of a different world, you would do well to go to my friend, David MacFarlane’s site.  As some of you will recall, David is a New Zealand obstetrician/sailor, who sails, works, and volunteers for Doctors Without Frontiers in Africa.  He has done so previously in Ethiopia and South Sudan and is now on the other side of the continent in northern Nigeria.
        The Internet here is slow and his photos don’t download properly, but his recent entries, particularly “The Hospital At the Bottom of the Cliff”, are exceedingly well written.