Anthem Adrift

02 December 2016 | Teluk Orensbari
26 November 2016 | Momfafa
25 November 2016 | Waisai
17 November 2016 | Fruit Bat Bay
05 November 2016 | Sorong
30 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
17 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
14 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
10 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
29 September 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
24 September 2016 | Doom Island off Sorong
22 September 2016 | Waisai, Raja Ampat
17 September 2016 | Pef Island
16 September 2016 | Alyui
15 September 2016 | Alyui
14 September 2016 | Wayag
10 September 2016 | Kokara Besar
08 September 2016 | Doruba

On A Mission

02 December 2016 | Teluk Orensbari
Monday 28 November 2016

After a hot, rolly, downwind motor, Amsterdam is not bad. Getting in the coolish water before dark, even better. The Charlie's located a WWII (the good war if memory serves) landing craft which we dived on this morning. Considering it's been down there for 70 odd years there's a lot of skeleton left and it's larger than one might suppose. Lots of big fish and coral.

Unfortunately the wind, which is generally non-existence in Indonesia, can be a perverse thing and, in a fit of mischievousness, decided to blow big waves and us toward a lee shore by late morning so off we scampered (this was an aberration as we more often scurry, scuttle, scoot, skip or sprint) for Manokwari, an overnight venture.


Sailed downwind, wing and wing with breeze over the transom, but it was hot, rolly, rainy and various other words meant to express discomfort. Arrived around 1400, but the harbor at the end of a narrow bay with apparently little flow is a pit worse than Sorong, so we found an anchorage off the mainland due north of Mansinam Island. This means absolutely nothing to you, but though deep it was lovely and near a resort that we found useful for food (homemade ice cream) and information.


Six of us hired a car for yesterday morning into afternoon to do a little sightseeing and shopping after breakfast at the resort that left some with a touch of jelly belly. This regrettable experience suppressed enthusiasm for dinner there that evening, so we decided to get together on Anthem to eat soup and discuss plans.

Although no excuse is normally required for hooch fueled attitude adjustments, a visit by immigration, customs, port authorities, police and various non-uniformed personnel who tramped over the yachts for an hour and a half (nearly encroaching on happy hour) examining paperwork, taking photos of all and sundry and inspecting liquor supplies with the admonition to not take it ashore, gave us one. Because of rampant overindulgence, alcohol is no longer legally sold in West Papua and authorities are cracking down on usage. They should invite Anheuser-Busch into the country to promote responsible drinking. All efforts in our case were typically and rather impressively counterproductive.

Nevertheless, all 3 anchors were weighed and catted by 0800 to head south toward Kwatisore and whale sharks - about 140NM. The downwind motoring was hot and rolly (detect a pattern here?), but only until 1330 when we stopped for tonight in a hooked bay, where it was not hot and rolly (huh?), not wanting to sail overnight through extensive reefage into the depths of the Bay. After checking calendar, will probably do just that tomorrow night.

Plan C (or so): Four or five days of swimming with whale sharks (he optimistically projects), then we start back west even earlier than previously envisioned. This should allow time to wait out adverse weather, revisit favorite places and enjoy new ones on the way back to Malaysia and still arrive into Puteri Harbour by end of February. Witness another triumph of hope over experience.


Fugu You

26 November 2016 | Momfafa
Sunday 27 November 2016

Enough of the "what we did over summer vacation" type essays. You know, all that sailing and diving crap that makes blogs so tiresome. Instead, let's discuss something really important: fungi. They flourish in dark, moist environments - for example the nooks and crannies of a sailboat. This is called mildew. They don't have chlorophyll so can't make their own food and, being lazy, don't hunt or gather so lay about eating dead stuff. Some can make you sick, some can make you well and some taste good sautéed in butter. They reproduce with spores, so don't date, fall in love, get married or go to the pub after work to keep from going home. Except for mushrooms, which can occasionally enjoy a caper, they are brooding and sullen creatures and can coat your surfaces or stink up your boat just out of meanness. They have the mental acuity of a hormone-infused teenager and unlike dogs, cats and horses.. OK, dogs and horses, cannot be trained. We use Mold Away to motivate acceptable behavior. The headliner over our bunk has recently requisitioned an intervention.

In the Bahamas and numerous other places around the world one must take care when eating reef fish. The cute, colorful little rascals often carry a dinoflagellate that produces a neurotoxin that causes ciguatera. These organisms are called Gambierdiscus toxicus. Although many of us took no Latin in school, one might reasonably make an inference. Apparently fish themselves are not harmed and are seldom literate so pay scant attention to the name, but humans can get very sick and may be crippled or on the odd occasion die. Because reef predators eat infected fish and effects are accumulative, larger ones such as barracuda are an especially sporty diet. Going into the anchorage last afternoon Jan, following a considerable period of fishing, but not catching, hooked one a meter long (as an aside, they can also bite the snot out of you). Being friendly and incautious we made dinner for the 2 crews sailing with us. The fish was delicious and there were leftovers. Today being Sunday we had banana pancakes with, of course, real Canadian maple syrup (Jan's Canadian, you know), but tomorrow morning - barracuda omelets.


Wet's Happening?

25 November 2016 | Waisai
Monday 21 November 2016

Guess what? (you hate it when people say that, right?) We saw both at Manta Sandy, mantas as well as sand. Not like the 7 meter guy we saw in Atlantis aquarium in Nassau, but maybe 2.5 meters (8 feet). Got some decent video, a frame of which will possibly show up on the blog if the appropriate, good-for-nothing, slacker crew will take time and we ever get internet again and those 2 events coincide.

Calendar has been perused, days have been counted, plans have been made. Hope to see more of Raja Ampat, dive with whale sharks in Cenderawasih (Chen dra Whah see) Bay, renew visa in Biak and ski Heavenly Valley at Lake Tahoe in early March after taking boat to a secure setting a mere 2 flights from San Fransisco. The above referenced setting is across a bridge from Singapore in Puteri Harbour Marina, Johor, Malaysia. As we're continuing east for awhile that's a wee tittle over 2200 NM in perhaps 50 days. Hey, wait a minute, isn't cruising suppose to be relaxing?


Well Plan A lasted a day... Plan B: less Raja and sooner to Cenderawasih so everyone (an indeterminate number of boats and crew, but there are several we know in the area) including those who must go home for Christmas (Lisa - it's the children thing) can dive together with the big sharks. Also allows Anthem crew to start west sooner and swing by Triton Bay (more diving, more whale sharks, maybe).

Very interesting dive on our own today. Scheduled 3 for tomorrow with Biodiversity Resort who will charge us 15USD/dive/person - must really need the business.


Two good dives yesterday morning then a night dive, all of which we could have done on our own, but prices are very reasonable, which we like to encourage, and it creates good relations with the local operators. Also had great lunchs and dinners with them that were also $15 - they're in a rut. These guys were Spanish (actually, they still are). Highlights: large cuttlefish that flashed light and dark like the strip in Vegas, banded pipefish, turtles and, the pièce de résistance, epaulet sharks (walking sharks).

Redid the night dive in the morning.. is that possible?.. and goofed off the rest of the day.


Sailed to Waisai Friday morning for reprovisioning and dinner. Fresh market this morning and now really starting east. Layover tonight in Momfafa (No, Cal, that's not a slurred, naughty word), either a long day or short overnight to Amsterdam (no, the other one) where a sunken landing craft begs to be dived on, then either 2 or 3 day-sails or 1 overnight to Manokwari where we will again reprovision (crikey, how often do these people need to shop?)

For non-divers a lot of this is really boring, so I'll include a joke: How are a Japanese tourist run over by a bus and a lobster alike? They're both crushtaseans. It works better verbally, so read it again, out loud, with your eyes closed. You'll laugh until you wet yourself.


So Wrong

17 November 2016 | Fruit Bat Bay
Sunday 13 November 2016

Just wanted to write to give everyone the news as it may have slipped by you. Donald Trump has been elected president of the US. Oh sure, I know it was a foregone conclusion, but being compassionate and kind wanted to comfort all you sensitive, caring guys and gals who voted for Hillary either as the lesser of 2 weasels or because you really, really think she's a great women's roll model and because she wants to bomb the crap out of anyone who pisses her off. The disappointment will fade over time and lets face it, her administration would have been dull and predictable, not to mention dispiriting what with all the lawsuits and such. The excitement of having a game show host president who hasn't got a clue about how to head anything bigger than a casino will be terrific. Since no one has a clue what he's going to do, we can assume the fun surprises will come fast and furious. Man, I can't wait for all the cool stuff and subsequent gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair from the usual suspects and to be honest, as long as no one steals my savings and pension (and we remain on the other side of earth to avoid splatter), it's all going to be great theater. For anyone who gives a crap (and there's no reason you should) I didn't vote for either the crook or the art of the dealer, but thinking in terms of ideas, not specific buttheads and not concerned that either major weasel will, contrary to pundits and scare-mongers, actually destroy the country before the next election, cast a ballot, as always, for the Libertarian. Most of you live your lives socially tolerant and fiscally responsible, why not vote that way? Oh, never mind, you should probably disregard all after "...president of the US."

So the interminable campaign season has ended and we can all resume our actual lives and pretend the whole thing was an LSD flashback. Not having used the stuff, Jan & I must resort to gin and wine to make it go away, but hey, whatever works.


Now that we've returned from the western hemisphere and I've pissed off nearly everyone in the US and confused everyone else, it's back to writing about crap that happens while living on a boat in the wilds of Southeast Asia.

Sorong harbor is a smelly pit. Anchorage is just in front of a shipyard, a fish market and a creek that with each rain flushes out tons of waste including rotting fish and feces. Do NOT go in the water. Nevertheless found many necessary parts in town and people to fix a broken exhaust manifold on the Panda and get the 2 Kw Honda generator running. Yesterday with installation of a new pump also got the water maker churning out beautiful sweet water. Thanks Wick for all your help. Glad tidings of great joy for the fixes and that we haven't grown a third eye or second head. As of Tuesday, however, we have moved on. Goodbye Sorong - forever.


After a couple nights of rest and relaxation in the clear, clean water of an open roadstead 10 west of Sorong we headed for a deep bay on the northeast end of Batanta that was reputed to be awash in hornbills. We saw 3. However, there must have been over a hundred fruit bats circling as they relocated from tree to tree. These guys are big. Really big. I mean BIG. With the new and outrageously expensive stabilized, 14 power binoculars (if you're going to squander assets, may as well be on really cool toys) we could see the expressions on their foxy faces like we were inside their formation. It's a good thing they're not carnivores and/or most of us are not fruits or vegetables. OK, we've met a few kumquats, but they're a rare exception.

On to Manta Sandy where, oddly enough, we hope to see mantas and sand. Pretty confident about the sand.


Fruit and Vegging

05 November 2016 | Sorong
Monday 31 October 2016

After 26 hours with our eyeballs half a meter from a miniature TV screen we arrived in Singapore early yesterday morning. Wandered around looking for breakfast and sim cards awaiting room that was made available around noon, then managed to stay awake until after an early, outrageously expensive dinner. Slept through for 11 hours and subsequently awoke feeling the need for more.

Arrived at the Indonesian Embassy before 0900, surprised at the efficiency of their operation. Found ourselves scampering (slight misrepresentation of reality) on the way to Singapore Botanical Gardens by 0930 lightened of passports and $150SG. Expect to get IDs back with an entire page effaced by visa Wednesday 1500, but not in time to make latest available flight, so additional day delay returning home. There are worse places to loiter.

What's wrong with this picture? Atmosphere is a sultry 33ºC, a stone's throw from the equator in October and we're listening to Frosty the Snowman on the sound system, drinking a hot Starbucks venti Christmas blend, looking out the window at a fully decorated, 5 meter Christmas tree in a predominately Buddhist country. Deepavali ended on the 28th so perhaps they just want to keep the party going. Singaporeans are a very happy and tolerant people.


Spent maybe 5 minutes in the Embassy picking up newly visa'd passports good for 2 months in Indonesia, renewable. There is consequently some skepticism that this is the same country we sailed through for 4 months last year.


Skypark and Gardens by the Bay are magnificent and not to be missed. Hop on a flight to Singapore this instant. OK, you might want to pack a bag and call the office, but it really is nice. Spent several hours taking in the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Super Tree Grove and various surrounding gardens, tiring ourselves out before catching the first of 3 flights overnight to Sorong.


After a heavy rain induced, barely passable, muddy drive, arrived at the boat (oddly enough in good shape although the fridge had apparently just recently decided to stop cooling - quick fix) around 0800 Friday, plugged into crappy shore power (97 volts), re-energized electrical system, shipped dinghy and 2 outboards, opened all seacocks and other appropriate valvage, unpacked all bags and stored most of it before vegging all afternoon trying to cool off and then slept overnight for 11 hours. Got an early start today to get over the river bar before 1020 high tide and, after running aground trying to follow chart for shortcut rather than circuitous previous track, are now anchored off Sorong vegging. Expect to go ashore this afternoon to check in with port captain, top up data so I can send this interminable blather, re-provision for food, gin and limes (tonic supply OK) then persevere with vegging.



30 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Tuesday 18 October 2016

Dragged semi-comatose carcasses from bed at 0245 to catch first Delta flight out of Toronto to Atlanta. Availability after that sucked until 2014 and would have gotten us into Tampa well after midnight - the joys of flying standby. Managers have apparently learned how to run airlines, which now make money, but consistently full flights reduce the blessing of that particular benefit.

After 3 1/2 years since last family visit, a week probably seemed all too short to Jan. Rest of crew may similarly think 7 days in St. Pete isn't enough, but we're both anxious to get back home after what will be nearly a month. Our buddies in Indonesia are using up all the fun.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Great to see lots of longtime friends, explore old haunts, eat local grouper and hogfish, drink rum runners and spend almost 10 hours in dentist chairs for a root canal, 2 crowns and various other patching and grinding. OK, that last thing wasn't optimal - reason for staying additional three days. Anyway took that long to get all the bits and pieces necessary to fill 4 checked bags, 2 backpacks, a humongous carry-on and a meter-long water maker membrane - something over 110 kilo (almost 250 lb). Delta was over-booked, so used visa points on United Friday to Houston, San Francisco and now en route Singapore (16:05) to arrive around 0700 (1900 Saturday EST).

After checking outrageous costs and severe limits on diving in Palau, probably blow it off and stay in Indonesia for same, so expect a few days in Singapore to get 2 month renewable social visa rather than have to leave in 30 days on a visitor type. Love Singapore, but hate to be so near (1600 NM is pretty close, right?) and not yet home.


Siblings And Driblings

17 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Monday 17 October 2016

On the way through Toronto Friday we stopped to see Ed Tower, Jan's investment counselor, so that she could withdraw money for incidentals and to buy me that 88 inch Samsung TV without which life will be dull and meaningless. When Jan is reminded of this she suggests I harden up. Pointing out that she is a "nice" Canadian has so far proven ineffective.

Many years ago when she was just a sprite, Ed enlightened her about the joys of saving and the miracle of compound interest. He has done well by her since then becoming a great friend. A likeable fellow and, despite being in the financial industry, with a great sense of humor, he has a mischievous smile and always looks like we've caught him doing something naughty. Not completely sure we haven't.

That night we stayed with Jeff & Debbie (Jan's #2 sister) who ride motorcycles across countries all over the world and think we live an interesting life. Funny how one often thinks other people's lives are more fascinating than one's own. Not that it matters, but they have a TV that is more than 3 times as big as the one on our boat. Jan was unimpressed.

Now with Ted & Teri (#1 sister) who dote on their nearly all brand new grand children produced by their 3 girls. We met the ankle-biters for the first time today and of course as everyone with half a brain and anything over 20/400 eyesight agrees they are the 4 most uniquely attractive babies since the dawn of time. With the exception of her of course, Jan's family is shockingly functional and it was great fun seeing them again after 3 1/2 years.. yes, even the babies.



16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Sunday 16 October 2016

Yesterday we passed near Toronto via a 6 lane highway on a weekend afternoon in wall to wall traffic. For some odd reason millions of people who should know better continue to live where walking outside most of the year without encapsulation in massive layers of wool will result in death. Locals must eat enormous quantities of fat to burn for heat, but fortunately can enjoy all the toothsome oleaginous delights of modern life like KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut just like less benighted areas such as Tarakan and Kwandang, Indonesia.

Ducks are essential to Canadians because they produce down. This fluff allows sufficient insulation in duvets for sleeping while avoiding hypothermia without the crushing weight of sufficient blankets. Eponymous geese are also very important for no other reasons than the name and that there are so many that fly south reminding Americans of who's up north and to distribute untaxed goose crap. They're Canada's compensation to the US for KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

As opposed to your average uncouth American, Canadians have a well-deserved reputation for being nice. However, after hanging around bad influences for years, Jan has recovered from that affliction. She is a deadly slayer of flies and thinks nothing of crushing the life out of a mosquito. She also learned other American ways such as crossing streets in the middle of the block and not waiting for the little walking guy to light up at intersections. Have even observed her driving up to 3 kilometers above the speed limit. The influence goes both ways, of course. I no longer shoot anyone with one of my dozens of automatic assault weapons or powerful hand guns for looking at me crosswise.


The Land Up Over

16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Saturday 15 October 2016

Ontario, Canada, is mostly rolling hills with an enormous amount of farming considering the growing season hardly extends past a long weekend (slight hyperbole). They grow wheat, corn, soy beans and some other stuff that matures really, really fast. They also produce a pant-load of chicken, an animal that has the mental capacity of cabbage and doesn't tolerate cold very well. These fowl (notice the similarity to foul) are, however, the number one meat eaten by North Americans even though, being amazingly filthy, they must be thoroughly cooked to avoid disease. Given this fact, one wonders whether people naturally love the taste or if they came to prefer it rather than smarter animals because they aren't good for anything else and we don't want our food to wonder what the hell we're doing to them.

Ontarians can buy beer, wine and spirits only from the government then wonder why Quebec wants independence. In order to get wasted one must go to an LCBO, which stands for Liquor Control Board Ontario. The implication, like much of what government says, is untrue as they don't control liquor, which would be pointless as it is even more stupid than chicken, they control people. For some reason humans beg to be regulated. Guess it makes life easier to have someone else, who is generally quite convincing as he expropriates half your earnings, make your important decisions for you.


Stranger in a Strange Land

14 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Wednesday 12 October 2016

Here we are back in enemy territory (well Jan's Canadian, but can no longer handle the cold, so they disowned her), but it's OK, we've mostly stopped burning each other's cities. Anyway they have to deal with Quebec on their own, snowbirds help keep Florida taxes low and we gave them hip-hop and McDonalds. Serves them right.

So far the trip north has been a success. Jan has gotten to visit with her older brother (his favorite sister as she has explained) and we scored 4 bottles of real Canadian maple syrup direct from the farm for our customary Sunday, banana pancakes.


Made it up to the "frozen windswept tundra" in time for fall colors (that would be colours for everyone who also adds a superfluous letter to aluminium, but when in Rome, as it were). The change is late and not so vivid because of a dry summer. Locals say it's still warm.. they lie. Ontarians speak a dialect of English so it's generally easy to get around. There are a few Canadians in Southeast Asia, more in South Pacific and a pantload in the Caribbean, but nothing like here. They're everywhere. You can hardly move around without bumping into one. They ought to form their own country.

"Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States." - J. Bartlett Brebner

Vessel Name: Anthem
Vessel Make/Model: 1997 Hylas 46 - MMSI xxxxxx750
Hailing Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
Crew: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Jack: Formerly productive member of the community as a Northwest Airlines Captain who retired to become a drain on, and embarrassment to, polite society. [...]
While I will be delighted if anyone else enjoys these excursions into semi-intelligible foolishness, the primary purpose is personal amusement. This is not travelogue, cruising guide or philosophical exploration of anything in particular, merely random musing of a slightly twisted mind. Despite [...]
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S/V Anthem

Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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