I broke the windlass off its footing while trying to pull up a stuck anchor in 90 feet of water. I was probably over confidant in the footing's ability to withstand the forces applied to it since I'd had the whole thing rebuilt in Fiji. Sabotage. It was truly sabotage. Nothing short of sabotage. The man who did the work made a mistake, and my mistake was in not watching him correct his. He took a massive shortcut and now I'm back in Honiara, the capital of Guadalcanal, Solomon islands, grinding fiberglass and drinking too much. I was supposed to be breaking the Indo border at the first of this month but mechanical mishaps have conspired against me. Now I'll be lucky to get into Indo before mid Oct. Good thing none of this matters and the only reason I exist is to churn up further challenges and then begrudgingly tackle them. This voyage is just an enormous Outward Bound. Have I used that reference before? See - drinking and scratching makes for lousy literature. I promise not to send this email.
Random notes on The Solomon Islands:
1. Men hold hands. They're not gay, just friends. Nixon, the wood carver, tried to hold mine. Awkward. Try to imagine him repeatedly trying to take my hand.
2. Nixon, Kennedy, and my favorite; Aldrin (named after Buzz Aldrin) - they are so enamored with America that you'll find familiar names everywhere
3. Great pidjin expression: "Hem now" - It means "That's it! I'm in full agreement"
4. There are a lot of blonde pikininis. Seriously, some are blonder than Suzi. How does that happen? Is there a geneticist amongst you who can explain this to me?
5. There are very few sailboats up here.
6. The people from the island of Malaita scratch designs into the faces of their children. The scars last their whole lives. You should see some of these people. SCARY
7. This nation had the most notorious headhunters.
8. There may be reason to believe that cannibalism is still practiced on the out islands.
9. The hourly wage for unskilled labor is 60 cents US
10. The hourly wage for a gifted mechanic is $1.40 US
Suzi says she has a great gift for any cruiser - It's called "An Abracadabra Stick". It's a magic wand that fixes all the things that break on your boat. When others complain about their broken systems, we just say,
"Not me cuz I've got this."
"It's my abracadabra stick! Costs only $39.95"
Suzi was the smart one. She took some local Australian friends up on their offer to stay the night at their place. Super nice people. Jeez, we've been here so many times and for so long that we have friends who offer beds. That's kinda sad.
I'm gonna eat another helping of Vietnamese soup that Suzi left on the stove and open another beer. It'll be a late start tomorrow.
Oh, I'm not bitter. The lessons learned are worth the struggle. I'm slowly becoming a structural engineer without ever taking a university course on the subject. It's a cheap way to earn a valuable degree, if one doesn't count his time and all the clothes he's ruined.
Big cheesy smiles,